Sunday, July 6, 2014

Climate Chaos

The arguments about what the right CO2 concentration and global temperature is are getting a bit dull. And to be honest I have spent far too much time on blogs and reading scientific papers on what looks to me like an entirely nugatory exercise. And I hate to see wasted effort. We know that even with supercomputers and some of the best meteorological minds in the country the weather repeatedly fails to listen to what the Met office tells it to do. And despite rising CO2 in the atmosphere the warming is stubbornly failing to materialise. There are explanations like at a certain concentration all the IR that is s going to be absorbed has been absorbed. And there are  other negative feebacks in place that kick in when something goes wrong. Another way of saying that that should appeal to the Gaia-ists is that Gaia heals herself. Surprisingly though they all seem to be in the interventionist camp. I might blog about why I think that is another time.

Suppose the climate is a set of linked chaotic but bounded systems and the past does not accurately predict the future. The climate record and the statistical models that are used to analyse the data for trends are meaningless. In a truly chaotic system any possible outcome has an equal chance of coming to pass. They must be somewhat bounded however because -10 in July in Surrey has to be an edge case. It is not however impossible. I remember vaguely a science fiction book I read many years ago. It might have been Players of Null A where one of the protagonists suffocated when the outside chance of all the O2 molecules in the air, which are constantly in random movement, moved in the same direction, to the other side of the room.

Most people don't like chaos. It is threatening. So we try to make guesses. Mostly based on prior observation. Some systems are predictable, sunrise and sunset, the movement of the planets and stars for instance for these our guesses are good. Sometimes we just plain get lucky.

Thousands (millions) of man hours and pretty well bottomless funding has come up with a conclusion that there is a 95% certainty there will be 0.3 to 6.4C of global warming in the next 86 years. For all the work that has gone in to deriving these numbers the error bars are massive compared to the observed temperature anomalies.

Do you think it is not a chaotic system? Do you think the outcomes are predictable? Want to prove me wrong?

Here is a challenge for those who presume to tell me what the global temperature anomaly is going to be in about a 100 years to an accuracy of 6C and with a 95% certainty. Take a single land based surface thermometer, one with a good and reliable record, anywhere in the UK or CONUS, I'll let you choose. Look at the raw data record or any adjusted data you want to use and tell me what the temperature on that thermometer will be tomorrow and each day at any given time for the next two weeks to within +/-0.5C. That's a pretty big target to hit from a short distance. I've eliminated the necessity gridding and infilling because that is a fairly contentious issue. We are talking about a single location, although you can use any statistical jiggery pokery that you think it helps your data accuracy. You can use any other data inputs you want including GCMs and satellite data, solar activity.  You have a simple series of ~200 years worth of data points. You can manipulate it however you fancy.  Just give me 14 temperatures. I don't even want to see your workings. It should be easy.

Let's make it interesting. For the first person that gives me 14 numbers only, I'll buy you a pint of Timothy Taylors Landlord for every day you hit the mark within the given range.

And yes, I know the difference between weather and climate. Climate is weather averaged over time and area. But I want keep things easy by specifying over small area and a very short time. That keeps the variables down, right?

1 comment:

  1. The other explanation about the CO2 and global temperature (is there such a thing) mismatch is that the models were wrong. So if the models were wrong then, why are they right now? And if the interventionists accept that the models were wrong will they have been happy spending billions to change the climate of Earth when they could have made it worse. The Precautionary Principle sometimes makes things worse than accepting that there are risks in everything and weighing up properly the costs vs benefits.