Re: [asa] Bacterial Gene May Affect Climate And Weather

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Wed Feb 21 2007 - 18:40:45 EST

On 2/18/07, Janice Matchett <> wrote:
> *@ * No one is suggesting that we should "give up" attempting to
> improve the computer models as "back up" to hard scientific DATA. What is
> being insisted on, though, is that computer model forecasts/predictions not
> be used by politicians to formulate economic policy. PERIOD. END OF

Before I start one side comment. What scientific data tells you what is
going to happen in the future? The alternative to a model is a guess. Models
have the advantage over mere guesses of being tested against the data but
they are not a back up to it. Tested models also are very good tool to see
if we really understand the underlying phenomena. With respect to
understanding the relationship between anthropogenic GHG and global
temperature, the answer is yes because the models match the data. With
respect to understanding how much sea level rise that results from the
global temperature rise the answer is no because they don't. We can have all
the data in the world but it is useless without a good model. This response
truly shows you really don't understand how science works. Note to Randy: do
we have a science education outreach? We need to do a better job of
communicating science concepts to interested Christian laypeople. Back to my
main point.

That's an over-reaction to the uncertainty of the models. Evacuations have
huge economic consequences. Hurricane weather models (the intensity part,
the track part is pretty good) are worse than the climate models. So, should
the hurricane forecasters not share their best estimates (which include the
uncertainty) in order for politicians to plan for evacuations?

What should be done is a better job of communicating the uncertainty to the
politicians and the latest AR4 report shows a lot of care to try to do
that. When Randy exposed the gross errors Michael Crichton made
miscommunicating the climate forecasts it shows that the problem does not
lie only with the scientists. Here's an easy clue of how to see whether a
forecast is being politically manipulated: the forecast is expressed with
one number. All scientific data has an error range and any responsible
communicator will express that. The alarmists express the (single) worst
case number and the skeptics the (single) best case number. The really
irresponsible communicators compare apples and oranges, e.g. Lord Monckton
who compared non-comparable numbers to conclude wrong things about sea
level. That being said, the abuse of something is not an argument
against its proper use. Just because a politician can demogogue the numbers,
does not mean the forecasts should not be published for the use by the
non-demogogue. Policy makers need more information, not less.

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Received on Wed Feb 21 18:41:29 2007

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