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models and climate

21 March 2015
Inside science

If you thought C14 was useless for dating purposes, as some revisionists declare, you may take onboard that it is now being incorporated into climate models. The increasing complexity of climate models is mind boggling. They are guzzling all kinds of data from different sources, from aerosols to feedback mechanisms, from tree rings to thermometers to satellite measurements, and yet all they have to show for it all – is noise. Noise as in a statistical gully situated between the positive and the negative.

At http://phys.org/print345882196.html … we learn that added to the brew, or shortly to be so, are fluctuations in solar radiation. The surprising thing about the models is what a minor role the Sun plays in the witches broth – forever stirring, forever adding this and that. How can models reflect reality if the Sun does not figure mightily in the calculations. During the recent eclipse there was a distinct chill in the air when the Moon temporary obscured the face of the Sun. However, the assumption was that the Sun provides constant heat and therefore does not require a prominent role in model design – or something like that. In other words, they do not take into account the nature of the solar wind and how it impacts with the Earth.

Unfortunately for modellers the Sun is beng heavily monitored by scientists at the moment, and they are determined to discover all they can about how solar radiation affects life on Earth and satellites in near space. The affects of the Sun on the Earth are a feature of an upcoming talk at the SIS Spring Meeting with Piers Corbyn forecasting the weather from the perspective of solar and lunar effects and cycles. It promises to be a good day at the Friends Meeting House in Watford. However, if you can't make it then read a post by Israeli solar physicist Nur Shaviv at www.sciencebits.com/sights-field-trip-milky-way … which provides lots of info on solar and cosmic radiation and how it affects the Earth.

Climate models appear to be more about being vague and less than definite than in presenting a bold face with open and shut data capable of setting a good case against the sceptics. Activists, on the other hand, appear to have complete and utter faith in the models – without bothering to try and understand how they were constructed. It is not just a case of the solar wind inter-acting with the ionosphere, or bursts of energy heating up the upper atmosphere or sending the jet stream doolally, but various other factors such as the role of ultra-violet light and transient features associated with sun spots emitting jets of plasma in the direction of the Earth. How will the models change once the new information is added to the already overcrowded amount of data used to produce all that statistical noise? What elements that now have a prominent role will be left reduced and seen as grossly inflated?

Well, there is some evidence that aerosols have been hyped up – go to www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2015/3/19/climate-sensitivity-takes-another-tum… … which concerns a paper just published in the Journal of Climate and written by Bjorn Stevens. It is a new estimate of the cooling effects of pollution (aerosols in this case) on the climate.

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