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

From: PvM <>
Date: Tue Feb 27 2007 - 00:25:35 EST

Understanding science is tricky especially if one relies on tabloid
resources to learn how real scientists do their work. So when it comes
to climate modeling there are a lot of uncertainties involved and the
reports on this topic are easily accessible from the various
resources, including the ICPP.
For instance, there is the issue of which scenarios will play out,
then there is the issue of the models capturing the correct physics
and chemistry, or the models capturing the physics and chemistry
correctly. Then there is the issue of sensitivity to initial
conditions and forcing and the chaotic nature of these models.
Because all of this, models are not only tested retro-actively against
data (also known as hindcasting) but also used to do now-casting and
fore-casting. Fore-casting results in the case of climate models are
based on probabilistic models which take into consideration the mean
and variation of the relevant parameters. Such ensembles, based on
many runs with the same model, using different forcings and initial
conditions as well as based on different model runs using the same,
can be effectively used to predict the future, even 100 years ahead.
Of course, that's when the ranges of the prediction increase.

Thus science has shown how existing models, and existing forcing
quite well recaptures the temperature trends in the 20th century. In
other words, these models have been validated to reproduce the
relevant trends. This does not mean that these models are flawless but
it shows how these models seem to capture most of the relevant
mechanisms and forcings to explain the trends in the 20th century.
Based on the logics of science, such models, after being validated are
now put into a predictive mode where predictions are treated with the
necessary skepticism of providing sufficient error bounds.
Countless hours of model runs, and hard work by countless scientists
have produced the results published by the ICPP.
Now one may lament that the results do not support one's viewpoint and
thus one has various options. 1) Lacking scientific arguments one
attacks motives 2) lacking an interest in ad hominem attacks one does
the hard scientific work to show that there are significant problems
with these models, and that these problems affect the predictions in a
significant manner.

Most of the global warming deniers seem to focus on 1, a few present a
'light' version of 2 where the existence of potential mechanisms is
argued to be sufficient to show that these models are wrong.

So far most of the global warming deniers seem to have arguments based
on a poor understanding of science, or based on poor representations
of science by some publications which are less interested in science
and more interested in vested interests.

Such confusion can be alleviated by scientists sharing in an honest
and straightforward manner their research and findings, such as for
instance in the ICPP and reach a convincing consensus based on solid
science, hard work. Luckily most people seem to accept the fact of
global warming and the impacts, although many still underestimate its
urgencies when it comes to having to pay for instance higher fuel
prices at the pump.
Nevertheless, it's hopeful that even in the US, people are well aware
of the facts of global warming, despite the 'education' by oil company
funded 'research' that tries to 'teach the controversy'. Sound

On 2/26/07, Janice Matchett <> wrote:
> At 06:40 PM 2/21/2007, Rich Blinne wrote:
> 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 STORY. ... What
> scientific data tells you what is going to happen in the future?
> @ Ask the guys she's talking about here:
> 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. .." ~ Rich B.
> @ Point granted. I mis-spoke. Computer models are the "tools"
> scientists are now using to prophecy events 100 years or more into the
> future. Like the scientists you quote, the scientists I quote understand
> "how science works". You just don't like the way the scientists I quote
> "interpret" the data.

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Received on Tue Feb 27 00:26:14 2007

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