Save the world from climate threats, myths and fears

By Larry Kummer. From the Fabius Maximus website

Summary: An eminent European climate scientist discusses climate threats, myths, and fears. All are dangerous.

“It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits …”
— Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics.

 

This is post #430 on the FM website about climate change, a long series giving different perspectives on the threat and the public policy debate about ways to respond. This presentation is by an eminent professor with long experience in both climate science and climate models. It gives one expert’s answers to key questions in the debate about the best public policy response to climate change, and points to the key questions that must be answered to make sound policy. Amidst all the noise, this deserves your attention.

Saving the world from climate threats vs.
dispelling climate myths and fears

A presentation at an invited seminar by Dr. Demetris Koutsoyiannis.
Given at WasserCluster Lunz on 20 April 2017.

He is a Professor of Hydrology & Hydrosystems in the School of Civil Engineering
at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).
Posted with his generous permission.

 

About the seminar’s host: WasserCluster Lunz

WasserCluster Lunz is a nonprofit research center in Austria. It is jointly run by the University of Vienna, the Danube University Krems, and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU Vienna). It is financially supported by the Provincial Government of Lower Austria and the Municipality of Vienna. See their website.

Demetris Koutsoyiannis

About the author: Demetris Koutsoyiannis

Demetris Koutsoyiannis is professor of Hydrology and Analysis of Hydrosystems in the National Technical University of Athens, Dean of the School of Civil Engineering, Head of the Laboratory of Hydrology and Water Resources Development, and former Head of the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering.

He is also Co-Editor of Hydrological Sciences Journal and member of the editorial board of Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (and formerly of Journal of Hydrology and Water Resources Research).

He has been awarded the International Hydrology Prize, the Dooge medal (2014) by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences with the UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organization, and the Henry Darcy Medal (2009) by the European Geosciences Union. His distinctions include the Lorenz Lecture of the American Geophysical Union (2014) and the Union Plenary Lecture of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (2011).

See his page at the NTUA website, with his C.V., publications, and his opinions about key questions in his field.

Some of his work about climate change.

See his participation in the 2014 Climate Dialogue debate about How persistent is the climate and what is its implication for the significance of trends?

Among his papers is one of special note: “On the credibility of climate predictions” by Demetris Koutsoyiannis et al. in Hydrological Sciences Journal, August 2008 — Abstract…

Geographically distributed predictions of future climate, obtained through climate models, are widely used in hydrology and many other disciplines, typically without assessing their reliability. Here we compare the output of various models to temperature and precipitation observations from eight stations with long (over 100 years) records from around the globe. The results show that models perform poorly, even at a climatic (30-year) scale. Thus local model projections cannot be credible, whereas a common argument that models can perform better at larger spatial scales is unsupported.

For a less-technical discussion of this article and its significance, see “Koutsoyiannis et al 2008: On the credibility of climate predictions“ by Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit — “Par Frank observes: ‘In essence, they found that climate models have no predictive value.’” Also, I recommend reading this comment by Koutsoyiannis about the difficulty of getting non-consensus papers published in climate science.

For More Information

For more information about this vital issue see the keys to understanding climate change, about computer models, about extreme weather, and especially these …

  1. How we broke the climate change debates. Lessons learned for the future.
  2. How climate scientists can re-start the public policy debate about climate change.
  3. A story of the climate change debate. How it ran; why it failed.
  4. Look at the trends in extreme weather & see the state of the world.
  5. News misreporting a big GAO report about climate change.
  6. A climate science milestone: a successful 10-year forecast!
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54 thoughts on “Save the world from climate threats, myths and fears

  1. Yep, models are wrong.
    Yep, “climate ologists” are off the rails and into the woods

    Where exactly can I find Koutsoyiannis’s “answers to key questions in the debate about the best public policy response to climate change, and points to the key questions that must be answered to make sound policy. “???

    Nothing new here Larry. We can’t and shouldn’t be attempting to make public policies on something we don’t understand, cannot measure precisely, and cannot predict accurately. Seems the author agrees.

    • Aphan,

      “Where exactly can I find Koutsoyiannis’s “answers to key questions in the debate about the best public policy response to climate change, and points to the key questions that must be answered to make sound policy. “

      See slides 24-27.

      “Nothing new here Larry.”

      I don’t claim anything in this is “new.” Koutsoyiannis’s presentation says explicitly and at length that his answers are not>b> new. The point is that they are neither widely known now widely accepted.

    • This is actually the point. We do not need a public policy response to climate change. Which is just as well, since we are not getting one.

      It is not an accident that the popular coverage of climate change focuses on belief. The whole preoccupation of the movement is on belief, not action. If you simply agree to believe, then you will find yourself free to advocate the most idiotic proposals with no bearing on the problem.

      As for instance the plan to cover the Arctic with a few hundred thousand windmills. The practicality was never at issue and was never discussed. Advocating it was testimony to righteous belief.

      We are in the same situation as has occurred with religion in the West. People proclaim in the morning that adulterers will go to hell, and then cheerfully go off to spend the afternoon with their mistresses. When reproached, they explain they cannot possibly disappoint her.

      In the same way, if we do not eliminate emissions civilisation will perish. But we cannot limit China’s coal use or abolish the auto industry. No, lets propose to cover the Arctic with windmills.

      And go back to sleep.

  2. Collapse of judeo-christianity ,the end of the ‘cold war’, the rise of the ‘greens’ particularly in Germany has led to a psuedo-religious, Gaia-worshiping uprising in the West. CAGW fills a void, and is being manipulated to make the global elite richer by employing a public debt/private profit vehicle for absorbing the fiat created by the central banks.
    Rationally , as the extreme forecasts are debunked, you would expect this to die. However humans are very rarely ‘rational’. And as the very essence of human rationality, science, is deeply contaminated , this religion will endure far longer than we imagine is likely.

    • Collapse of judeo-christianity ,the end of the ‘cold war’, the rise of the ‘greens’ particularly in Germany has led to a psuedo-religious, Gaia-worshiping uprising in the West. CAGW fills a void

      Islam is also in the vacuum filling frame.

    • At Vatican, ‘Tenets of Faith’ Seen as Crucial in Climate Change Effort
      VATICAN CITY — Religious leaders need to tell congregations that global warming can affect not just the environment, but also the spread of diseases and other threats to human health, participants said at a Vatican conference on Saturday on climate change, an issue that has been a priority of Pope Francis.
      Persuasion “starts with the tenets of faith” more than with scientific data, said the Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the United States-based National Association of Evangelicals, noting that most of the world’s population has some religious affiliation. “Environmental catastrophes” like recent storms, flooding and droughts, he said, “create opportunities to persuade.”

    • World needs ‘brain washing’ on climate change, Jerry Brown says at Vatican

      Brown, who arrived Friday for nearly two weeks of climate talks across Europe, said the path to transformational change must include the mass mobilization of the religious and theological sphere, but also the prophetic sphere.
      “The power here is prophecy. The power here is faith, and that’s what this organization is supposed to be about. So, let’s be about it and combine with the technical and the scientific and the political.”
      Snip
      Brown acknowledged that achieving transformation will not be easy, citing his recent visit to the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia, where world leaders gathered for discussions about trade with scant mention of climate effects.
      “At the highest circles, people still don’t get it,” he said. “It’s not just a light rinse” that’s required. “We need a total, I might say ‘brain washing.’
      “We need to wash our brains out and see a very different kind of world.”
      http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article182789821.html

      • Brent,

        Thanks for posting this. We should admire Brown’s honesty about their goal of “brainwashing” the public. That’s an apt description of the Left’s propaganda campaign.

        Perhaps this is a “Kinsley gaffe” — an unintentional statement of the truth.

    • An Ecologist’s Perspective on Pope Francis’s Encyclical Letter
      Guest Contributor: Dan Botkin

      Be that as it may, the greatest importance of the pope’s document is that it makes clear once and for all that this issue is fundamentally a religious and an ideological one, not a scientific one. As I make clear in several of my books and many of my articles, the fundamental irony of environmental science is that it is premised on mythology, on the myth of the great balance of nature, which is not scientific and not scientifically correct
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/04/an-ecologists-perspective-on-pope-franciss-encyclical-letter/

    • We’ve lost our fear of hellfire, but put climate change in its place

      “Billions will die,” says Lovelock, who tells us that he is not normally a gloomy type. Human civilisation will be reduced to a “broken rabble ruled by brutal warlords”, and the plague-ridden remainder of the species will flee the cracked and broken earth to the Arctic, the last temperate spot, where a few breeding couples will survive.
      http://tinyurl.com/y9su4bd

      • Lovelock is correct in saying “Billions will die” – but not due to “Climate Change. Billions have already died since humans evolved – they are missing the point that Conception is Terminal!

      • Brent,

        Note that is an interview from 2009. It is the typical elderly scientist’s inability to see how science can advance beyond that of his generation. That’s the basis for Arthur C. Clarke’s First Law: “When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

        On the other hand, Lovelock was quite the climate doomster, but had a stunning change of opinion in 2012 — showing rare intellectual openness for a person of any age. See his statements about climate here: “A famous scientists makes a startling admission about Earth’s climate“.

        Perhaps he also changed his opinion about the coming population crash.

      • Hi Larry,
        I’m an old/former petroleum downstreamer. I’ve been active in discussion groups since about 2001 wrt future energy scenarios. Although that is my primary interest, many I’ve had discussion with have had an environmental bent and are deeply concerned about ultimate “Carrying Capacity”. Lovelock has been somewhat of a hero to many, and many had bought into his Gaia hypothesis, whereas I never did (and don’t). I regard his Gaianism as a Religion for those who believe they are Non-Religious (and which they don’t recognize as such). James Whelan’s comments were very apropos I thought.
        The issue of ultimate Carrying Capacity is a valid concern, however from my observation many have an undue certainty that they know the answer to this question and are very pessimistic. I’d note that Pierre Gosselin points out that the Pope’s prime “Climate Advisor” Schellnhuber was pleased that he said consensus had been reached by “Scientists” on an ultimate Carrying Capacity less than 1 Billion.
        Schellnhuber is but one example of a heavyweight in the “Climatariat” (amongst many others).
        WRT Lovelock, celebrity hysterics like Lovelock (and Paul Ehrlich and many others) have IMO done immense damage to the reputation of “Science” that I have a hard time forgiving. I really don’t know what to think of Lovelock, whether he was deliberately deceiving people all along (my strong suspicion), or was less than competent. In either event, his self serving posterity papers recanting (but not repenting his conduct) leaves a very sour taste with me.
        From my personal observation, there are many enviros who remain just as pessimistic (or more so) as Lovelock openly was formerly wrt Carrying Capacity.
        I should emphasize, I do believe Carrying Capacity is a valid concern. However we should approach the issue without hysteria.
        Very Best Regards
        brent

        Schellnhuber: Carrying Capacity Of The Planet Is Less Than A Billion – Earth Will Explode With 9.4 Billion in 2050
        According to the New York Times, Schellnhuber also said at a plenary session at the international climate change conference in Copenhagen (emphasis added):
        “In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something –- namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people.”
        http://notrickszone.com/2011/05/18/schellnhuber-carrying-capacity-of-the-planet-is-less-than-a-billion-will-die-earth-will-explode-with-9-4-billion-in-2050/#sthash.7NPD5zMJ.dpbs

        Another German “Will Soon Unveil A Master Plan For A Transformation Of Society”
        In Schellhuber’s view, human society needs to be scaled back and managed by an elite group of “wise men” who know what is best for the rest.
        http://notrickszone.com/2011/03/29/another-german-will-soon-unveil-a-master-plan-for-a-transformation-of-society/#sthash.bPFNZWQ6.dpbs

  3. Theories and hypotheses in climate science have bound the thinking away from many observations of reality though the use of computer models. This subset of the ‘Philosophy of Science’ and it’s adherents believe they have the answer to climate, but as Shakespeare said —

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ”

    In this the ‘Philosophy of Science’ is an attempt to organize the observed universe into a humanly understandable sense, and constrained it in our version of mathematical rigor. Unfortunately the universe is the sort of place that tends to defy the limits of human imaginings of such a stringent organizations.
    I would wager that there are both fewer things and more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in this philosophy, regardless of how enchanting the illusion appears.

  4. “Saving the world from climate threats vs.
    dispelling climate myths and fears“

    What?
    There is a difference?

  5. I finally agree the debate is over. But not because the CAGW hypothesis has rolled over and collapsed or bowed to sceptical parries. It’s more because it never really got to be a debate of the science on the part of proponents. They studiously avoided the debate despite even nature’s non compliance to the he scheme.

    So now Trump has basically simply closed the meme – none will prosecute it too far absent the US. The rest of the world depended on the US to self immolate its economy for them and surrender sovereignty to a UN fashioned bureaucracy. To continue the political stratagem of CAGW management without the US, the EU economy and culture would wither and die more quickly than was planned and to no avail. Trump basically saved the world from itself.

  6. Holy Crap!!!!!

    I had heard there were groups of delusional morons banding together at sites like this, but I never realized the depths of idiocy that “people” were willing to vomit up in public.

    Wow, you guys are soooooo much smarter than the world’s leading scientists. You all get a cookie.

      • Billy,

        (1) “Reminds me of Infowars, ”

        So that’s your response to a presentation by one of the world’s top scientists in his field, given at a major research institute. See the bio and description of the host.

        (2) “much smarter than the world’s leading scientists.”

        He is one of the world’s leading scientists in his field, which is the subject of his presentation.

        (3) Question for the audience: Is Billy’s comment a major reading FAIL, or is Billy a true “science denier”?

      • Ignore the troll, Larry. Billy is just another CAGW acolyte parroting the line. He has no interest in science or educating himself.

        Thanks for the article.

    • Billy, here are a copuple of paragraphs I posted earlier today on another thread:

      There is a wide and deep belief in the overall righteousness of the environmental Cause, and a reluctance to nit-pick its excesses, which has muted mainstream criticism of this crusade. (Environmentalist excessive claims are par for the course—see the book, But Is It True? by Aaron Wildavski.) This reluctance to criticize has given free rein to greenie true believers to populate climatology and overawe journal editors.

      The world’s scientific societies have not collectively sat down and applied their common sense to the analysis of warmist claims, as one might think from the outside. Instead, they have done what the APS and AGU have done, namely call for volunteers to serve on a committee to evaluate the matter. The volunteers have been mostly greenies, who have provided a biased evaluation.

    • Billy: Until recently, the world’s leading nutritionists were on-board—for decades—with the now-falsified “fat is bad and sugar is OK” consensus position. Skeptics of that consensus were disdained in the same way you are disdaining us.

    • “world’s leading scientists” ?
      “It appears to me that those who try to prove an assertion by relying simply on the weight of authority act very absurdly” Newton

    • ”Holy Crap!!!!!

      I had heard there were groups of delusional morons banding together at sites like this, but I never realized the depths of idiocy that “people” were willing to vomit up in public.”

      Indeed Billy, is that why you came over to find like minded delusional morons as yourself ? There are some here like you alright, with nothing to contribute, as you have just done. The subject is clearly beyond your understanding, so perhaps you should resist the temptation to join in. Or try Skepsci. You’ll love ’em. Lots and lots of delusional morons there, for you to feel at home.

    • Billy Lewis, unfortunately there are too many like you who are unwilling to spend even a small amount of time trying to understand that there is much more to the “Climate Change” issue than they get from the main stream media and the climate alarm propagandists.

    • @ Billy Lewis November 4, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      I challenge you to consider who you believe are ‘leading scientists’ and what is science.
      Consider not only the many hubristic empty noise of current ‘climate scientists™’ but also those of the past times. Can any these days be wrong? Are they any better or worse than scientists of the past? Were there not many others in the past, some highly honored and were leaders in their field, who were later proved to be wrong?
      Please remember that science is nothing more than an aggregation of human interpretations and approximations of the known and observed universe. Probably there are many things that we can not observe, can not interpret.

    • WBWilson,

      You are, of course, right. Rule One: never feed the trolls.

      I attempted to engage with trolls thousands of times during my first decade online. Then I realized the obvious. Now I give ample opportunity for trolls to out themselves, then mute them. It’s pruning the pack of drones.

  7. Billy bunter lewis .crawl back under your rock .
    The science of climate change is not settled and science has never relied on consensus .It rely s on proof .The theory of runaway global warming caused by CO2 has never been proven .Bring some proof to support your delusional ranting .

    • gwan home ya little cutie pie. I think the burden of proof is on the brave souls working to overturn the consensus of the overwhelming majority of educated thinking people in the world.

      • Your empty mindless ranting posts are only funny once.

        Your total lack of any scientific arguments is there for all to see.

        You are just another mindless, triggered,petty little trollup.

      • Billy, this is a sincerely asked question.

        May we please know how old you are and whether you have any scientific background? (in any field, it matters not).

        I really am not out to score any points or have an argument.

      • You would have had much better alliteration if you would have formed a contraction from you and are.

        Learn to put power in your words!

      • Thanks for proving me correct

        ZERO-science from Billy..

        Take a Bex and go lie down, before you hurt yourself.

      • Billy bunter lewis .As I stated consensus is not proof .Science rely’s on proof .Bring some proof or go back to the ghetto

      • Sorry Billy boy we are still waiting in this blog for the so called “97% of scientists who all agree”, to give us the numbers and not just theories. What they won’t show you, followers, is the stats, on natural warming, cooling and CO2 levels that existed on the earth going back over several Ice Ages. Our Planet didn’t begin in 1880. At this point in time CAGW is a religion until proven otherwise.

      • The way for this site to make a better impression on non-skeptics would be to provide a drop-down list atop the sidebar under the heading, “Newcomers: Read these thread first, to get up to speed” The list would contain wuwt’s 100 (say) best or most educational threads (including comments like those of RG Brown), under a dozen (say) topical subheadings. This site, and all climate-skeptic sites (I presume), is failing to “market” itself effectively. It needs to provide a user-friendly “on-ramp” to curious visiting journalists, students, etc. Every day a dozen or more of them fail to get engaged with WUWT because of the steep learning curve implicitly required.

        A second “help” to newcomers would be to move the “categories” and “archives” boxes up near the top of the sidebar, just under the existing “search” box. This is also the most logical arrangement: all the lookup material would then be contiguous.

        Anthony, please heed my words!

      • Roger Knight 8:57 pm yes!! The main problem with this site for newcomers with no or little science background is that it’s like drinking from a fire hose. The debate here is far beyond what we find in the typical newspaper article or magazine feature (if, that is, there’s any debate at all.)

      • Here’s another suggestion to help educate and influence newcomers: Provide access to a collection of the best WUWT comments, organized by topic and subtopic. For the past five years I’ve collected maybe 35,000 such comments into a couple of Word files. (These unfortunately don’t use the same heading and sub-heading arrangement—I or someone else would have to meld them, which would take time.) (Possibly others have their own collections, which someone could meld in too, eventually.)

        After a couple of greenie solicitors came to my door recently, it occurred to me how helpful it would have been if I could have given them the URL to such a document, for their enlightenment. From my brief exchange with them it was clear that they hadn’t been exposed to such material, or only to strawman versions of it..

        For maximum exposure, this document should be prominently accessible via WUWT. Intrigued, Anthony?

  8. A new paper by Professor Koutsoyiannis
    On the prediction of persistent processes using the output of deterministic models” by Hristos Tyralis and Demetris Koutsoyiannis in Hydrological Sciences Journal, 62 (13) — posted online 6 Sept 2017. Ungated preprint copy here.

    Abstract

    A problem frequently met in engineering hydrology is the forecasting of hydrological variables conditional on their historical observations and the hindcasts and forecasts of a deterministic model. On the contrary, it is a common practice for climatologists to use the output of general circulation models (GCMs) for the prediction of climatic variables despite their inability to quantify the uncertainty of the predictions.

    Here we apply the well-established Bayesian processor of forecasts (BPF) for forecasting hydroclimatic variables using stochastic models through coupling them with GCMs. We extend the BPF to cases where long-term persistence appears, using the Hurst-Kolmogorov process (HKp, also known as fractional Gaussian noise) and we investigate its properties analytically. We apply the framework to calculate the distributions of the mean annual temperature and precipitation stochastic processes for the time period 2016–2100 in the United States of America conditional on historical observations and the respective output of GCMs.

    This is timely since I am writing about the too-small literature about validation of GCMs (other than the nearly endless list of backtests). There is a large literature and methods on model validation, which the climate science field largely ignores. Odd, since the fate of the world depends on acceptance of GCMs (so we’re told).

    I compiled a list of the literature on model validation (other than hindcasts). It is at the end of this: Climate scientists can restart the climate policy debate & win: test the models!

    Tyralis (2017) looks like a major addition to this vital but too-small literature (speaking as a layman).

  9. There must be a thorough understanding of climate change to construct a real climate model.

    That understanding does not exist today.

    Claims that CO2 controls the average temperature are easily refuted by the lack of scientific proof, beyond some simple lab experiments, and the confusion of three different correlations of CO2 and average temperature since 1940: Negative, positive. and then no correlation from the early 2000’s to 2015.

    What we do have is climate computer games that make wrong predictions … and government bureaucrats repeatedly “adjusting” historical temperature actuals to move them closer to the predictions, to make the general public hysterical !

    A 12-year-old child should be able to realize the current climate is wonderful, and has barely changed in his lifetime.

    An adult should realize that thirty years of wrong climate predictions demonstrates that the future climate can not be predicted.

    In spite of the fact that he is Greek, like my wife, the professor’s lecture seems tedious, and I suspect it would cure insomnia.

    You may not agree with anything I say, but I try to be concise and to the point.

    My climate blog for non-scientists:
    http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

  10. The political reality is that the hysterical alarmists are in the end doing gods work of discrediting cagw in the minds of the average person. My hats are off to them, may the pope and the foaming out the mouth communists regale us all with stories of the CO2 apocalypse until we get to a nice 1500 ppm.

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