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About Hansen's powerful demo that climate models work!

Summary: This is an insightful history of climate science in action. We were told that a 30-year-old study shows that models can accurately predict climate change. A closer look reveals a different story.

"We're toast if we do not come a different way," says Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences, sometimes referred to as the godfather of global warming science, the Associated Press said. … This is the last chance. … We see a turning point in front of our eyes … The Arctic is the first turning point and exactly as we said it. Hansen, who has been reported by other scientists, said that in five to 1

0 years the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer. "
– In the AP ten years ago, on June 23, 2008. The Arctic is still not ice-free in summer.

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© creativecommon stockphotos via Dreamstime

On March 29, 2017 The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on "Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method." The key witness was climate scientist Michael Mann, who gave a confident explanation that climate models work.

"Let go Another criticism of mine, the claims that climate models we use for the future of climate change are unreliable and unchecked. The reality is that the models have been vigorously and rigorously tested in a variety of ways and have passed some impressive tests in the past, such as James Hansen's famous success predictions from the 1980s and 1990s.

The supporting quote that gave the man to Congress was a ten-year-old blog post : "Hansen's 1988 Projections" by Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate. He discussed "Global Climate Change as described by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies Model by Hansen et al., Journal of Geophysical Research August 20, 1988. This paper is probably the most frequently cited evidence that climate models can make accurate long-term predictions of the weather, and was the basis for Hansen's statement the Senate, which ignored the campaign for public policies to combat climate change

On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, we have received a wave of enthusiastic congratulations in the media.

  • "Warned 30 years ago" Global warming is in our living room "by Seth Borenstein and Nicky Forster at AP. They interpret Hansen's study as predicting that the world would warm and ignore that the world has warmed since the end of the Little Ice Age in the mid-19th century. Hansen provided a quantitative prediction of the effect of elevated CO2 on global temperature. The AP does not even try to judge its accuracy.
  • "Listening to James Hansen on climate change, thirty years ago, and now" by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker. It links the natural weather with the results of anthropogenic climate change (the mantra of the alarmists: in bad weather, its climate change ). She also trots zombie climate myths. To expose only one thing, the forest fires in the West are a natural phenomenon that is exacerbated by a century of fire fighting (details here and here).

An endless list of other stories reflects these, such as "James Hansen's Legacy: Scientists Think About the Climate of Change in 1988, 2018 and 2048" by Eric Holthaus at Grist – "Hansen's warning was forward-looking and his predictions were alarmingly accurate. "He just cites the YaleClimate and AP stories as evidence.

These are propaganda of the grossest kind. Like most modern propaganda, it has a big lie: that the debate over climate policy is the existence of global warming. When CO2 heats the world, massive and expensive measures must be taken. But for a century we have been bombarded with the products of modern propaganda and such raw programs are no longer working.

The debate, like most in science and public policy, is about "how much" and "when." All four scenarios used in AR5, the latest IPCC report, expect warming. But the most optimistic (RCP2.6) justifies mild action, while the worst (RCP8.5) would justify serious and immediate action. The analysis of these paths requires science that ruins the simple narrative favored by hungry and alarming journalists.

A second curiosity

"Here's another special kind of audacity … the boldness of a guess that is a real risk – the risk of being tested and refuted, the risk of colliding with reality was my suggestion … that it is this second boldness, together with a willingness to look for trials and refutations that distinguish "empirical" science from nonscientific and especially pre-scientific myths and metaphysics. "
– Karl Popper in "Answers to My Critics" (1974).

A more complex analysis reveals the great curiosity of this interest in Hansen 1988: "30 years after Hansen's testimony" by Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate (he is climatologist and director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies) – "The first transient climate projections with GCMs are 30 years old this year and they have done remarkably well. " (Zeke Hausfather from Berkeley Earth provided further insights on Twitter ] Let's look at this.

First, neither Schmidt nor the journalists who look at Hansen in 1988 cite any peer-reviewed papers documenting Hansen's successful prediction. This shows remarkable amnesia: For 30 years we have been told that skeptics' writings, no matter how direct the author is (correctly, imo), are rejected as irrelevant to the political debate because the reviewed literature is the "gold standard." Do not accept Replacement! But now the evidence of one of the great threats of our time is based on blog posts and scientists cheering journalists.

Other blog posts have discussed this prognosis, such as "Review of Jim Hansen's 1988 Climate Forecast" by Roger Pielke Jr. (2006 ) and "A Detailed Look at Hansen's 1988 Projections" by Dana Nuccitelli at Skeptical Science (2010).

Wen If the evidence for this prediction was strong, why did not Hansen – or anyone – publish any expert-verified affirmation? It would be headlines.

I found a (only one) published – but not peer-reviewed – article evaluating Hansen's predictions in 1988 compared to actual temperatures: "Ability and Insecurity in Climate Models" by Julia C. Hargreaves at WIREs: Climate Change July / Aug. 2010 (unscheduled copy). She tried to enter the actual emission data since 1988 and to compare the resulting forecasts with the actual temperatures. This is the essential validation agent. Models can be tuned to accurately predict the past (hence the hindcasts are a low validation score). Only post-release data will deliver effective tests. The result: "The efforts to reproduce the original model runs have not yet been successful." Hargreaves received his doctorate in Cambridge in Astrophysics. See her publications, job history and website.

The dog ate my model. Case closed. Now let's save the world by spending trillions of dollars and changing our economic and political system (as recommended by Naomi Klein

and Pope Francis). /Sarcasm.

Funny fact: None of the cheerleaders for Hansen in 1988, which I have mentioned Hargreaves & # 39; paper. When I point out, there is chaos because they explain why it is not necessary to replicate it. My favorite PhD candidate in climate science (the next generation drank the Kool-Aid):

"Why do not you do it then? I want it, but it's a big chunk of work and I'll probably take years to get it right. "

If only we had followed such advice in the past! I think we should build Hoover Dam. "Why do not you do it? I want, but have no time." I think we should fight against the Nazis. "Why do not you do it? I do not have time." Too bad, world. None of us can do it! The other explanations are even more stupid.

That these climate researchers have so little interest in investigating Hansen in 1988 is a Tell. A robust and successful test of Hansen's multi-year decade – the validation of its results by an independent multidisciplinary team of experts – would be the greatest evidence that models can predict climate change. This would be more significant, since Hansen's model from 1988 is a toy compared to today's models, built with far deeper knowledge of climate dynamics, and working with far superior data on multi-orders of magnitude machines.

This could have significantly changed the climate policy debate. It could be possible for a team to reconstruct Hansen's code. The cost would be a trivial fraction of the global climate fund. That this is not even the case tells us how serious they are with the wonders of Hansen in 1988.

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Nobel Prize

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Nobel Prize

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A sad moment in time

What if Hansen had kept the full code for his model so that he could provide proof today 30 Years of successful forecasting of global temperatures? He would make a No received a prize for physics.

At what point in the last 30 years has Hansen realized that his model could be an important piece of evidence in the political debate? It was discussed as important in 2006-2008 (eight to ten years after publication). He probably would have been able to archive the code and update it for modern systems. As the famous James Hansen, he could easily have found the money for this research. His decision not to do so had grave consequences for him and the world. We can only guess why he chose it.


Draw your own. The evidence is clear.

For more information

Ideas! For shopping ideas, see my recommended books and movies on Amazon

Most importantly: Climate Scientists can restart the climate policy debate and win: test the models! See the list of model validation work in the More Information section at the end. It is pathetically sparse. Mostly boastful hindcasts who tell us almost nothing. Climate science can do better, but does not decide.

If you enjoyed this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter . For more information, see Keys to understanding climate change, all contributions to computer modeling, and especially these …

  1. How climatologists can resume public debate on climate change.
  2. We can end the climate wars: demand a test of the models.
  3. Milton Friedman's Advice on Climate Models and How to Win the Political Debate
  4. Save the world from climate threats, myths and fears. – Presentation by Prof. Demetris Koutsoyiannis


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