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Scientists admit worst case global warming prediction won’t happen

The uncertainty of science: In a commentary published in the science journal Nature last week, a scientist admitted that the worse case global warming prediction, cited more the 2,500 times in the literature and a favorite of politicians and global warming activists, is not likely to happen and should no longer be referenced.

What is surprising here is not the discovery that this climate computer model doesn’t work, but that Nature was willing to publish the admission, and that this scientist, who still fears human-caused global warming, was willing to write it. The major science journals have in recent years taken sides in this scientific field, advocating the theory that increased carbon dioxide will cause the climate to warm, something no journal should ever do.

The article however has this quote that clearly illustrates the uncertainties of all climate predictions:

Scientists are still uncertain as to how sensitive global temperatures are to a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. The value, known as the Charney Sensitivity still isn’t known for certain, over 40 years after it was first introduced in 1979 by the United States National Academy of Sciences and chaired by Jule Charney. He estimated climate sensitivity to be 3 °C (5.4 °F), give or take 1.5 °C (2.7 °F).

Without knowing the true climate warming response to increased CO2, essentially all climate models become a crap-shoot. It is a glaring illustration of just how imprecise climate science actually is.

Note that this area of ignorance is only one of many. We don’t know the influence of pollution on the climate. We don’t know the influence of the Sun on the climate. And we don’t know the influence of clouds on the climate. And I could go on.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • MDN

    Bob, I disagree with one comment. We know for certain that the Sun drives ALL climate on Earth. Without it we would be no more than a few degrees above absolute zero.

  • MDN: Yeah, but that’s understood. What is not known is how much the Sun truly varies, in all wavelengths, and how much that variation drives climate fluctuations.

  • wodun

    Being humble and modest are not attributes that our scientific community posses when it comes to recognizing their own limitations or their place in the grand scheme of things. On an individual level, many people do but not when looking at science as a whole.

  • Steve

    I always say that anyone who knows what the climate is going to do, either way, doesn’t know what they are talking about. It’s such a complex system of systems with more variables than you can shake a stick at we may never be able to figure it out. We can barely predict local weather accurately more than a week out, if that. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do certain things. But you don’t destroy economies over it. If you truly want to kill people, go destroy economies.

  • Cotour


    If you destroy economies, the entire world economy for that matter, under the name of a mandate for “Life” and the saving of the entire planet, and you happen to see people die because of your mandate, then its all good. They need you to save themselves from themselves.

    Its a bit crazy and counter intuitive but just blur your eyes when gazing upon it.

    By any means necessary is not just a bumper sticker. It is the “New” Democrat party’s mantra. And they mean and need every inch of it.

    I do not know what the current Democrat party will emerge as when this schitzo fractionating cycle is done, it has the potential to be either more insane or less. But I can not determine at this moment in time what that new political animal will actually look like.

  • Max

    Climate? Which climate?
    The climate in the mountains is different from the climate desert. The climate on the coast is much different than the climate in the Midwest. The climate in Alaska doesn’t even compare to the climate in Hawaii.

    Thousands of people move every year from New York to Florida, Texas, Arizona to change their climate…

    MDN, The sun does drive our seasons and sunlight is solely responsible for photosynthesis in life.
    Saying we would only be a few degrees above absolute zero is incorrect. Every planet with an atmosphere generates heat from the pressure. The thicker the atmosphere the greater the heat. This is why the larger planets further from the sun are the hottest planets in our solar system.

  • “He estimated climate sensitivity to be 3 °C (5.4 °F), give or take 1.5 °C (2.7 °F).”

    I had no idea the variability in the defining metric was that wide. That’s a lot of room for error, considering the first thing that pops up when Googling ‘ projected average earth temp 2100’ yields:

    “Results from a wide range of climate model simulations suggest that our planet’s average temperature could be between 2 and 9.7°F (1.1 to 5.4°C) warmer in 2100 than it is today. The main reason for this temperature increase is carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping “greenhouse” gases that human activities produce.”

    It seems the models aren’t sensitive enough to differentiate signal from noise. For a detection instrument, that’s useless.

  • Blair Ivey: That google quote does not understand any of the science. CO2 is not “the main reason” for any temperature increase in any of these global-warming models. It is too small a component of the atmosphere.

    The models all assume that the increase in CO2 will cause what they call “feedbacks” that will cause the true greenhouse gases, water mostly, to capture and hold more heat, thus warming the climate.

    It is important to emphasize this. These models are all theories based on this premise, that CO2 will influence other greenhouse gases to warm the planet. It is also important to note that at this time none of these models has ever succeeded in predicting anything correctly. They have all failed, both in predicting what will happen as well as predicting what has happened. When these models are plugged into the climate at some past date and then run, they do a poor job of predicting the climate that actually transpired in the following decades.

  • hondo

    And all this when we are pretty certain we are still in the Pleistocene Ice Age, and this blimp in time is just another interglacial.

  • Greg the Geologist

    hondo’s taking a big risk. Do you really want to be labeled a “Holocene denier”? How dare you?

    Seriously, check out the “Friends of the Pleistocene”. They run great field trips, with a high volatile liquids content, if you catch my drift.

  • Edward

    Robert noted: “It is important to emphasize this.

    There are other important factors to emphasize, more than just a feedback of CO2.

    We already know from ice core samples that, historically, CO2 increases after temperature increases, and that CO2 decreases after temperature decreases — there have been natural variations even before man started adding CO2 to the air. According to the models, these after-the-fact changes should lead to runaway greenhouse warming or runaway cooling. We could become Venus or Pluto, and should have happened millions or billions of years ago. Clearly, there are factors that are stronger than atmospheric CO2 levels. We do not understand the role or the extent of the role that CO2 plays in climate or temperature. Even among scientists, CO2’s role is all just an assumption, and they should have learned by now that this role is minor compared to other factors.

    In addition, because the Earth has been warming ever since the Little Ice Age began to end — again, before man started adding CO2 to the air — the additional CO2 in today’s atmosphere may be natural, not man made. Man’s role in CO2 levels is yet another assumption.

    Where, historically, did all that CO2 variation come from if not from man? Studies have shown that when the ground is warmed, CO2 is released into the air. Other studies have shown that tundra also releases CO2 when it thaws.

    Wait. There have been temperature variations and CO2 variations in the far distant past, before man started pouring huge amounts of carbon into the air? Why, yes. Nature has done a nice job of changing the climate without mankind’s help.

    In fact, we should have learned a hundred years ago that mankind still does not have mastery over nature. An iceberg can still sink an “unsinkable” ship. Just as government direction and lawmaking was flawed back in the days of Titanic, they are flawed these days, too. Back then, they failed to account for safety requirements on the ever increasing size of ships. These days they are failing to account for the health benefits of technological and productivity advancements. These days we do not have heaping mounds of horse dung in our streets, and we have tetanus shots to avoid lockjaw from all that dung. Is the CO2 produced worse than the methane (a greenhouse gas almost 100 times more powerful than CO2) that would have been produced by horses and other beasts of burden that engines have replaced?

    Perhaps worse is that our lawmakers are depending upon bogus conclusions based upon fudged data in order to make laws and direct us as to how to keep our climate from changing — as though we could control climate in the first place — and these laws and directives add to the terrible consequences of NOAA’s data tampering.

    Between data tampering and the constant use of the extreme worst case scenario, it is no wonder our policymakers thought that we needed to prevent a huge increase in temperature by the end of the century, something that Nature now acknowledges is unlikely to happen and should no longer be referenced.

    The conclusion is that we should have been skeptical of this extreme claim, after all, and that we were only in “denial” of the unlikely. This shows that the skeptics are smarter than the Chicken Littles, taking reality into account, not just some fantasy that is based upon extreme predictions.

  • Andrew

    Considering these stories from NATURE, why is this a surprise. NATURE seems to be working out a real problem that most folks here are unaware of. These stories take the “uncertainties of Science” to a whole new REALM of insanity.

    If these stories are true, NATURE magazine is telling people that it is far more likely for any published article to be complete BS, as in “… not in any way shape or form SCIENCE at all!” than for it to be legitimate. Because if the first criteria of Science is reproducible results and more than half of published “science” isn’t reproducible then half of published “science” isn’t “science” at all. It’s pure B.S.

  • hondo

    Dear Greg – same here – Geology and Geography. Backed into it in the Army –
    fell in love with it, and Uncle Sam picked up the tab.
    Reference CO2, I love the term “Carbon Famine”. Amazing how Carbon levels fell so dramatically during the Pleistocene to the lowest levels in the entire planet’s history (relatively recently too – Geo-wise) – and now those levels are considered the benchmark norm for the Earth! They even gave it a name – pre-industrial levels! Some even consider any Holocene activity upward (or rebound?) as man-made. Amazing!

  • Edward

    Andrew wrote: “If these stories are true, NATURE magazine is telling people that it is far more likely for any published article to be complete BS, as in “… not in any way shape or form SCIENCE at all!” than for it to be legitimate.

    Difficulty in reproducing results is not a new phenomenon. This goes all the way back to the invention of the concept. Sometimes it is merely a poor description of the experimental setup, sometimes a poor interpretation of the description, and sometimes it is something else.

    One of my early days, as a student working in a NASA science lab, one experimenter was working to reproduce someone else’s results. She called me over, pointed to a white rat that was prone, unmoving (except for breathing), and glazey-eyed (how a rat looks like his eyes are glazed over is still a mystery to me, but that it what I saw). The experimenter told me that according to the original study, that rat should be able to walk on a treadmill. Yeah. That wasn’t going to happen.

    From Andrew’s first link: “The challenge is not to eliminate problems with reproducibility in published work. Being at the cutting edge of science means that sometimes results will not be robust, says Munafo. ‘We want to be discovering new things but not generating too many false leads.’

    Perhaps the good news is that it is difficult to advance upon work that is irreproducible, so that false lead does not take us very far in the wrong direction. However, time and resources can be lost in trying to go down such a rabbit hole. As Andrew’s second link says: “ Science advances faster when people waste less time pursuing false leads. No research paper can ever be considered to be the final word

    A serious problem with the science of global warming, or climate change, or whatever they are calling it these days, is that the scientists do not care that they are not convincing other scientists, because they have their funding agencies on their side. They have the news media and Hollywood, and most other forms of communication on their side, too. It turns out that climate scientists can do no wrong, even when leaked emails show that they are conspiring to present unverifiable conclusions, hide declines, and to shut down dissent. It does not matter whether climate science is reproducible or not.

    Even when they change their minds and tell us that we are not about to enter the next ice age in the 21st century, or that we might be entering a little ice age by 2050, or that the coming little ice age will offset global warming and we will continue the “new normal,” or whatever they decide to say. Clearly, climate scientists have no idea what is coming next, but their bogus conclusions are respected by the policymakers anyway. But only because it gives the policymakers an excuse to tell us how to live our lives, like the Chinese do (except that the Chinese are still allowed to build as many coal power plants as they want).

  • Tom T

    I think Edward has it backwards. The policy makers aren’t making bad policy based on flawed science – they are paying scientist to justify their bad policies. Government officials, whether elected or permanent, self select for people who want to control other people’s lives. This is true of either political party, to a greater or lesser extent, but the Democrats have been able to forge an alliance with much of the media (and the educational establishment is a branch of government these days), and have used this issue to corrupt the climatologist community, almost all of whom are paid for by government or media, into promulgating this hoax. The timing tells all – in the 70’s the worry was about global cooling. Then Reagan was elected. by the mid 80’s the first global warming articles were written, and by the early 90’s virtually every new teacher who graduated was a global warming alarmist.
    I also saw the paper on the Ice cores. That paper, written by a climatologist who was hired by the fishing industry so they could determine the number of new large fishing vessels to invest in, indicated that there were several interacting temperature cycles over the last 20K years or so, including at least one cycle of over 10K years, another in the multiple millennial scale, a couple in the multiple century scale, and and least 2 in the decade scale (including the 11 year solar cycle). Many of these cycles correspond closely with known solar cycles. It also pointed out that we have been in a period in which a couple of the mid-range cycles have destructively interacted, granting us an unusually consistent climate for the last 80 years or so, which we are now coming out of. So the real evidence shows that any drift of our global climate is primarily a natural one, and any human influence is likely a 3rd order phenomenon. Unfortunately, I did not keep a copy of the paper, which was written in the early 2000’s (I think!), right around the time “global warming” became “climate change”.

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