3 thoughts on “The American Physical Society”

  1. A big problem is that there are a lot of serious idiots out there spouting all kinds of nonsense in furtherance of climate change denial. And that in turn gives the cAGW believers someone to point to and say “hah! look at those morons! they have to be wrong!” But science doesn’t give a shit about what anyone BELIEVES, one way or another. It doesn’t care if someone believes the wrong thing for the wrong reason or the right thing for the wrong reason, or any other permutation. We live in a mechanistic universe, not a teleological one, intent doesn’t enter into the picture. The Universe just is, and thinking one way or another won’t change it. Being an idiot and believing the sky is blue because a god made it that way won’t turn the sky a different color.

    And this makes it so very much more difficult for folks who have bought into climate alarmism to make careful, logical analysis. Not to mention the pull of ideology in terms of punishing the sin of industrialization and “consumption”.

    Nevertheless, the case against climate alarmism is incredibly strong. Starting from the pointy end (policy/action) and working backwards toward the underlying science. The idea that CO2 reduction is a reasonable response even if the worst case climate predictions are trustworthy is utterly bunk, it doesn’t pass the smell test. If it is to be a serious problem by far the smartest course of action would actually be to accelerate economic development, even at the risk of massive carbon emissions increases, throughout the 21st century in order to be in a better position to mitigate or even reverse the effects of climate change in the future. A future Earth with a cummulative GDP in the quadrillion dollar range and the technology of 2100 might actually be able to dial down the CO2 in the atmosphere with relative ease, let alone dealing with flooding and droughts and what-have-you.

    At the other end the idea that we can forecast the climate is pure fantasy. Not only can we not model the climate with any reasonable degree of authenticity we are also fundamentally incapable of verifying any such models, because we don’t have the data. The best records are temperature data and they are a mess due to siting issues at weather stations, lack of temperature data in the oceans (which are supremely important components of the climate), and calibration problems with satellite records. The same thing goes for ocean levels, which are even worse. And pressure/humidity/cloud cover/atmospheric composition data which is almost non existent on any reasonably long time frame. That in turn makes proxy data much more difficult to calibrate and vet, aside from all of the other problems of proxies.

    Even if we had the best possible climate model on the shelf somewhere we wouldn’t have the capacity to tell that it was so due to all of the inconsistencies and absences in the data. And that probably won’t change until perhaps 2050 or even later, when we have many decades of multiple overlapping satellite observations. But even then it’s an open question whether the climate can be truly modeled in a way that enables useful prognostication.

    The conceit of modern climate modeling is that it’s more or less a steady state system over long enough timelines, but that’s a remarkably untested assumption. What is much more likely is that the climate is a collection of coupled metastable systems. The el nino/la nina cycle being a perfect example of just one among many such systems and effects. Which means that the climate is capable of displaying non-linear or chaotic behavior over timescales of decades if not longer. Making it nearly impossible to judge the true impact of tweaking any “forcing” input to the system whether up or down.

    1. “A big problem is that there are a lot of serious idiots out there spouting all kinds of nonsense in furtherance of climate change denial.”

      The only people denying climate change are the ones claiming the Earth’s temperature was a nice straight line until SUVs were invented.

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