Guest post by Indur M. Goklany
Over at the Wall Street Journal a group of pedigreed individuals headed by Dr. Kevin Trenberth argue:
Do you consult your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations.
If you need surgery you DON’T want “a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a large number of the proposed operations.” What you want is “a highly experienced expert in the field who has CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT HIS OR HER OPERATIONS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL!”
And if before I go to a dentist, I would like evidence that the dentist does not pull the wrong teeth (even on occasion).
Unfortunately, there is no convincing evidence that climate models can successfully predict future climate — and I mean “climate” not just “temperature.” [The latter is just one aspect of the climate and for many impacts it may not even be the most relevant.]
Climate models, which are the source of the apocalyptic vision of global warming, have not been validated using data that were not used in their development. Even the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) and the IPCC acknowledge as much. Specifically, the IPCC does not say that “all” features of current climate or past climate changes can be reproduced, as a reliable model of climate change ought to be able to do endogenously. In fact, it notes:
“… models still show significant errors. Although these are generally greater at smaller scales, important large scale problems also remain. For example, deficiencies remain in the simulation of tropical precipitation, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and the Madden-Julian Oscillation (an observed variation in tropical winds and rainfall with a time scale of 30 to 90 days).” (AR4WG1, p. 601).
And the CCSP has this to say in its 2008 publication, Climate Models: An Assessment of Strengths and Limitations. A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research:
“Climate model simulation of precipitation has improved over time but is still problematic. Correlation between models and observations is 50 to 60% for seasonal means on scales of a few hundred kilometers.” (CCSP 2008:3).
“In summary, modern AOGCMs generally simulate continental and larger-scale mean surface temperature and precipitation with considerable accuracy, but the models often are not reliable for smaller regions, particularly for precipitation.” (CCSP 2008: 52).
So before one pulls society’s economic teeth, validate the models or else you could end up pulling society’s economic teeth in error.
In the medical profession this would be known as “evidence-based medicine.” Exactly the same principle should apply to climate change remedies. We should insist on nothing less.