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Climate Change: “Predictions are hard …”

Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
May 29, 2018 at 6:52 AM
Climate Change

            “Predictions are hard, especially about the future.” Yogi Berra, American philosopher

The consensed climate science community and its animated spokespersons have made numerous predictions regarding future climate change and its impacts on the earth and its population. Initially, many of these predictions were made for the near future, within the expected lifespans of the predictors and their audiences. Many of these short-time-frame predictions have proven to be erroneous; and, have become a significant embarrassment to those who made the predictions.

Some notable examples of such erroneous short-term predictions include:

  • an ice-free Arctic Ocean and an ice-free North Pole;
  • inundation of coastal areas and islands;
  • massive crop failures and starvation;
  • more frequent, longer and more severe droughts;
  • more frequent heavy rain events and more severe flooding;
  • more numerous and intense hurricanes, typhoons and tornados;
  • massive numbers of climate refugees; and,
  • widespread climate change induced deaths.

I suspect that only those who made the erroneous predictions might regret that they were erroneous.

The consensed climate science community has responded to this record of erroneous short-term predictions by vastly extending the time frame of its predictions to periods beyond the expected lifespans of the predictors and their audiences. Predictions of potential conditions or events in 2100 and beyond are far less likely to embarrass those making the predictions. However, these long-term predictions have also proven to be far less effective in inducing action on the part of their audiences.

All these predictions, regardless of time-frame, are based on various climate models using various climate sensitivity, climate forcing and climate feedback assumptions. However, members of the climate science community have recently acknowledged that the climate models are “running hot”; and, that the data against which the models have been hindcast to “tune” them are suspect. “Re-tuning” the climate models, even to the existing “adjusted” data, would result in reduced magnitude of any predicted results of climate change.

Recent research suggests that, at the current rate of increase of atmospheric CO2 concentrations, the feared doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations would not occur until approximately 2100. Most of the “scary scenarios” currently predicted by the climate models are based on the IPCC Representative Concentration Pathways 8.5 (RCP8.5), which projects a far more rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations. However, it is becoming increasingly obvious that RCP8.5 is unrealistic; and, perhaps impossible.

Regrettably, the climate models also failed to predict numerous positive climate-related events, including:

  • the ~20 year “hiatus” or “pause” in global temperatures;
  • the recent 12 year dearth of land-falling major hurricanes;
  • the declines in weather/climate related damage and death;
  • the documented greening of the globe; and,
  • the positive effects of increased CO2 on plant growth and production.

Hopefully, the recent recognition of the shortcomings of the climate data and the climate models will result in serious efforts to improve the comprehensiveness and quality of the climate data and to improve and eventually validate the climate models.