Friday, October 18, 2013

Buttons, dogs and climate trends

Sou | 7:07 PM Feel free to comment!

Someone called Kip Hansen has written a long post at WUWT about buttons (archived here).  He's referred to an article of his that Andrew Revkin put up at DotEarth, possibly to show how wrong people can be sometimes.

In the Dot Earth article, Kip discusses the cute animation from TeddyTVNorge that you've probably seen before.  I'm really only writing this because it gives me an excuse to post it :D

The cartoon illustrates how global surface temperature (or weather) can fluctuate (the dog) but the trend continues upwards, with the man representing the temperature trend (or climate trend) being forced by increasing greenhouse gases.

At Dot Earth Kip made a song and dance about trends not determining the future and waffles on about stock markets.  Well, duh.  It's the forcing from the extra greenhouse gases that determines the climate trend.

Anyway, it looks as if Kip has chosen WUWT to try to make up for his mistake, though he does it in a very longwinded way.  After much argy bargy about how trend isn't itself a force he finally gets to the punchline, writing:
Models, not trends, can predict, project, or inform about possible futures, to some sort of accuracy. Models must include all of the causative agents involved which must be modeled correctly for relative effects. 
In general it looks as if Kip learnt something from his experience at Dot Earth.  Good for him. The same can't be said of some of the WUWT-ers.

(Personally I think models can be useful even when not all information is available.  If you waited for perfect knowledge you'd be waiting for ever.  You've got to make do with the best you've got.)

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