Claim: Climate Scientists Are Totally Confident They Understand the Climate

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Marc Morano – From the “anyone can hit a barn with a scattergun department”; Climate Scientists Andrew Dessler and Daniel Cohan are so confident in their models, they claim there are no plausible mechanisms other than CO2 to explain the modern warming period (as opposed to all the previous natural warming periods).

We’re scientists. We know the climate’s changing. And we know why.

Andrew Dessler, Daniel Cohan
Oct. 22, 2018 Updated: Oct. 22, 2018 3:05 p.m.

At this point, just about everyone recognizes that the climate is changing. Even Donald Trump says, “I think something’s happening.” Now, the question being debated is why the climate is changing.

Though there may be a public debate, there’s no debate among scientists like us — decades of research have demonstrated that human activities, primarily the emission of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels, are driving the climate change we are experiencing.

To understand why we are so confident, it’s useful to think about climate change as a whodunit. Climate does not change by itself, so scientists are detectives trying to solve the mystery of what has been warming the Earth for the past century.

There is an entire list of suspects that scientists have looked at, and they have not identified a single viable one. With one exception — greenhouse gases.

The timing of warming, beginning just after the industrial revolution, and the magnitude of the warming, match our theories almost exactly. The figure below shows that the rapid warming of last few decades was accurately predicted in 1975. Such predictions are the gold standard of science — if you can make a non-obvious prediction about some physical system, then it means that you understand something fundamental about it. This prediction shows that we really understand the warming of the climate system.

Read more:

What is the source of all that confidence?

In my opinion, this confidence comes from the fact climate scientists have never faced any real possibility of being proven wrong; not because they are right, but because the bulk of what they do cannot be falsified by any remotely plausible physical observations.

No matter what the physical observation, someone, somewhere has created a model which can be dusted off and fitted to observations. Even an abrupt plunge in global temperatures to near ice age conditions would not invalidate modern climate theory, because the possibility of a future temporary return to ice age conditions is covered by a climate model.

via Watts Up With That?

October 24, 2018 at 11:05PM

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