Posts Tagged ‘Edward Lorenz’

Fun with computer models? Don’t bother

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

From: The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

A reader’s question:

Putting the politics aside I would think that creating a model of global climate would be both extremely challenging and great fun. You would have to start with the obvious fact, based on billions of years of history, that no matter what input perturbations were introduced the model MUST stabilize around a “livable” temperature. Once such a model was created you could test it with varying sun inputs, asteroid strikes, varying levels of CO2 and O2, massive volcanoes, ice ages, etc., etc. In each case the climate would
have to stabilize around a new normal. Once such a model was proven stable, it would then have to be calibrated to yield something like observed history (and still remain stable) Then and only then could we start asking it questions like what is the effect of man-made CO2. I am not aware that the models proposed by “warmists” have been proven to be stable, much less able to model past history. Indeed, they seem to be inherently unstable and would predict a runaway climate in many different historical periods when we know that this did not happen. Am I missing something?

Our reply:

Many thanks for your kind enquiry. You may like to read my paper at SPPI’s website on why models of the climate can’t work. The central problem is that the global climate is mathematically-chaotic, so that even a minuscule perturbation in just one of its parameters at the outset will cause everything to go all over the place a few weeks out. The key paper on this is Lorenz (1963), in the climate paper that founded chaos theory. See also Giorgi (2005). Therefore I don’t think there’s anything much to be gained by computer models of the climate except for forecasting the weather up to a few weeks ahead. After that, all models must fail, as Lorenz proved. The IPCC is quite well aware of this, but simply ignores it because – and here’s the thing – it can only make out a case for climate alarm by using models. You can’t get to the same alarmist result by using real-world data, which all point to a considerable stability in the climate, just as you say. So, except for the very short term, I don’t play with climate models any more.

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