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RealClimate: (quasi) Niente Puo’ Falsificare i Nostri Modelli

Momenti di comicita’ involontaria sul sito RealClimate, considerato da molti il Faro e/o l’Oracolo per cio’ che concerne i cambiamenti climatici di origine antropogenica.

Gestito da ricercatori della NASA sotto lo sguardo dell’esimio James Hansen, “RealClimate” si propone da anni come il sito “de rigueur” per chi crede che le attivita’ umane stiano cambiando il clima in una maniera che a breve (nel giro di qualche decennio) si rivelera’ disastrosa.

Il problema pero’ e’ che come si sa, anche le previsioni del tempo a due settimane se non due giorni possono essere completamente sbagliate, per cui a tutta prima pensare di sapere quanto piovera’ nel 2087 o quanto saranno estese le zone desertiche nel 2103 sembrerebbe davvero eccessivo. Il tempo contiene elementi molto instabili, per cui una piccola variazione iniziale puo’ portare a risultati assolutamente divergenti.

RealClimate (attenzione: il gruppo intero, non solo uno o due persone come di solito) ha deciso di rispondere a quel dubbio approfittando della morte di Ed Lorenz, lo scienziato americano che sviluppo la Teoria del Caos proprio a partire dalle sue esperienze di metereologo.

Sfortunatamente, in “Le Farfalle, I Tornado e I Modelli Climatici” il gruppo di RealClimate ha inavvertitamente dichiarato al mondo che i modelli climatici non possono praticamente essere mai falsificati: qualunque cosa succeda, cioe’, sia che faccia caldo, o freddo, o piova, o sia secco, o se ci sono piu’ uragani, o meno uragani, o piu’ tornado, o meno tornado, o se la calotta polare si scioglie, oppure se ingrandisce di dimensione: qualunque fenomeno atmosferico, semplicemente non potra’ mai essere usato per negare veridicita’ ai modelli climatici che prevedono il riscaldamento globale e il cambiamento climatico.

Discorsi perfettamente analoghi si applicano anche a qualunque insieme di fenomeni atmosferici nel breve periodo, dove per “breve periodo” si intende probabilmente “di durata inferiore ai venti o trenta anni”.

Entro in piu’ dettagli nel mio blog sul clima (in inglese: “RealClimate rende la vita piu’ difficile ai modelli climatici” e “Ulteriori considerazioni sulla infalsificabilita’ dei modelli climatici su RealClimate“) quindi almeno per ora mi limito a una brevissima citazione:

[…] per il problema del clima, il tempo metereologico (o la traiettoria individuale) e’ [solo] rumore […]

Se per esempio i modelli indicano riscaldamento prossimo venturo, e i termometri indicano Gennaio e Febbraio 2008 come abbastanza piu’ freddi del solito, RealClimate puo’ comunque dire che i modelli sono giusti, e si tratta solo un fenomeno momentaneo (il “tempo”, appunto: “rumore”).

E se i modelli dicono che all’aumentare della concentrazione di gas-serra devono aumentare le temperature globali, mentre tale aumento si e’ interrotto dal 1998, di nuovo RealClimate puo’ dire che i modelli sono giusti, e che semplicemente la strada verso un pianeta piu’ caldo passa per alcuni anni senza aumento del riscaldamento (la “traiettoria individuale”).

L’unica maniera per verificare i modelli climatici sembra essere l’aspettare venti o trenta anni per vedere se il riscaldamento c’e’ stato. Difficilmente pero’ un tale atteggiamento puo’ essere usato per giustificare gli interventi drastici e illiberali che tanti richiedono, anzi pretendono.

Lo stesso Gavin Schmidt di RealClimate, in un blog di qualche mese fa, ha detto esplicitamente che le osservazioni servono “a migliorare i modelli” (invece che, che ne so, elaborare quelle “bestemmie” che sarebbero nuove interpretazioni). In altre parole: non e’ il modello climatico ad essere subordinato al mondo esterno, ma l’esatto opposto…

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Forse e’ solo un triste caso di “amore soffocante”, con i modellisti cosi’ innamorati dei modelli, da proteggerli a ogni costo, estraniandoli pero’ allora dalla “scienza” che e’ fatta, appunto, di teorie falsificabili, non corazzate contro qualunque critica o osservazione.

E’ davvero ironico che cio’ accada su RealClimate, dove non e’ praticamente possibile postare commenti se non di elogio e di accordo per i gestori del sito.

RealClimate, insomma, e’ il posto impermeabile al mondo esterno, dove modellisti impermeabili al mondo esterno pubblicano articoli impermeabili al mondo esterno…

Categories
AGW catastrophism Data IPCC Omniclimate Policy Science Skepticism

More on RealClimate's Unfalsifiable Models

This being the age of the Internet, not everybody reads after the second or third paragraph. So here’s a quick summary explaining why I write that “RealClimate Raises the Bar AGAINST Climate Models“:

(1) In the “RealClimate World”, models cannot be falsified by a single observation (i.e. atmospheric phenomenon). That  phenomenon is called ”weather”, and “weather” for RealClimate isnoise”)

(2) In the “RealClimate World”, models cannot be falsified by a set of short-term observations. That set is just part of a “specific trajectory” towards the expected climate change / global warming. And RealClimate is “not too concerned” about a “specific trajectory“.

Example for point (1): If models indicate the world will get warmer by the year 2100, but world temperatures dip in January and February 2008, RealClimate can still “honestly” claim the models are right, and whatever happened is just a momentary event, during which the “signal” of anthropogenic global warming has been “obscured” by this or that natural (or man-made) cause.

Example for point (2): If models indicate the world will get warmer by the action of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, but world temperatures don’t climb after 1998, RealClimate can still “honestly” claim the models are right, and whatever happened is just the way things are going at the moment, with a random pause in temperature increases that is just one of the hundreds of possible “trajectories” that will take us to a warmer world.

The only way to verify if the climate models are right is by waiting a sufficient number of years in order to statistically check the world has actually got warmer. How many years? More than 10, evidently (see 1998), perhaps more than 30, following the classical definition of “weather”. And by how much, the temperature increase? Pretty much any positive amount would suffice to state, once again, that the “models are right”.

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This looks like some kind of “suffocating love”, with the modellers so worried about their models, they have shielded them from almost all possibilities of falsification (in the process, pretty much abandoning “science” as usually understood).

And this is not the only contradiction: if the only way to see the models at work is by waiting a number of years, how could anybody advocate to “act now to save the Planet” because “the science is settled”?

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The issue of model falsifiability has already been a topic on the NYT’s “Tierney Lab”, daring to ask this past January questions such as “Are there any indicators in the next 1, 5 or 10 years that would be inconsistent with the consensus view on climate change?” and “Are there any sorts of weather trends or events that would be inconsistent [with global warming}?“.

And what did Gavin Schmidt reply on RealClimate? No, and no:

this subject appears to have been raised from the expectation that some short term weather event over the next few years will definitively prove that either anthropogenic global warming is a problem or it isn’t. As the above discussion should have made clear this is not the right question to ask. Instead, the question should be, are there analyses that will be made over the next few years that will improve the evaluation of climate models?

No “short-term weather event over the next few years” could ever disprove that “anthropogenic global warming“. And observations (events) and their analyses, in the RealClimate world, are only interesting to “improve the models“.

It’s hard to fail to spot in Schmidt’s reply that they did go back to “Hansen’s 1988” and other old projections, but whilst the bits that agree with the models are signs that those projections are “good“, those that disagree are so “for reasons that are as yet unclear“.

Instead of scientists trying to interpret the world, in RealClimate we have people subordinating the world to their models.

Categories
China English Ethics Humanity Politics Tibet

Censored! (by Anti-Censorship Website…)

Does the company of dogs inspire one to bark? That’s what looks like happening at anti-China, (allegedly) anti-censorship blog “Under the Jacaranda Tree“.

Months, years perhaps of fighting against the censorship perpetrated by what is after all still a dictatorship, have taught “Jacaranda”‘s authors “Ned Kelly” and “Catherine A Young” that the way to deal with criticism is by censoring the offending text, and by banning its author.

(that is…me!)

With friends like these, the Tibetan and journalist Hu Jia‘s plights are unlikely to get any better for the foreseeable future.

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What has happened then? While researching my “Tibet and the Olympics: Remember Jin Jing” blog on Apr 22, I have stumbled upon Jacaranda’s “Bart Simpson and Jin Jing’s spin-doctors” where Mr Kelly strongly suggests that the whole Jin Jing Olympic torch relay incident has been staged, and promises “further analysis of more evidence surrounding the incident”.

I then added to their blog this comment (visible at “Under the Jacaranda Tree: Bart Simpson and Jin Jing’s spin-doctors“) about such “further analysis”:

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter any longer. The pictures are out there. There are two assaults, not just one. Ms. Jin’s facial expression is that of a person in distress, or an unexpectedly great actress.

So obscure photographic analysis and talks about the behaviour of foreigners marching towards a demo in Paris, won’t do the trick. You may as well try to stop a tsunami with a teaspoon.

Evidently I am unable to read my own words, because they look like a straight and mild statement of personal opinion to me…yet either Mr Kelly or Ms Young took very and grave offence at them. And so despite claims of technical issues with their website, they posted a new blog on Apr 23: “Why we have banned a recent commenter“.

Don’t waste time in looking for that blog now, as it has been deleted: not early enough to disappear from my WordPress dashboard though, with the text

[…] MEANWHILE, we received a comment from this OBVIOUSLY MAINLAND CHINESE W*NK*R! […]

(without the *’s) linking to my “Maurizio’s Testimonials” page. In the meanwhile, my comment did not pass their web site moderation. Still it has not been published on “Jacaranda”, despite a second attempt to submit it.

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Based on the above, this can be said about Ned Kelly and/or Catherine A Young, the authors of the blog “Under the Jacaranda Tree”:

(1) They are so full of anti-Chinese anger, they write blogs of hate with little or zero critical thinking (I mean…leaving aside accusations of autoeroticism 8-), who can even think that I am “obviously mainland Chinese” when my pictures are all over the place?)

(2) They are so full of themselves and of their redeeming crusade to save the world against evil Beijing, they cannot tolerate the mildest form of dissent, launching themselves in verbally violent, frankly unjustified fits against the dissenter, whose words are censored and whose very name is banned from their site (sadly, this is exactly the behaviour of the Chinese government)

(3) At some point, they must have realized the absolute idiocy of their “W*NK*R” blog, removing it in the hope no-one would notice (thus demonstrating little familiarity with the ways of blogging, backtracking and WordPress)

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Mr Kelly and Ms Young know that I know, because I added some reference in my second commenting attempt (remember, they have censored that one too). They also know how to contact me (all it takes is a comment to my website).

A word of apology, and removal of the censorship, will make a huge difference: I am a regular guy expressing his sometimes flawed, other times not-so-flawed thoughts. The “sin”, rather than Onan’s, seems to be my desire for independent thought (independent, that is, from Mr Kelly’s and Ms Young’s…)

Yet it is worrying that either or both of them could so quickly think of me as “obviously mainland Chinese”. In the absence of any reply, one will have to agree with those that believe that behind the pro-Tibet campaign, there lies the spectre of anti-Chinese “post-racist” sentiments.

Categories
AGW catastrophism Data Humor IPCC Omniclimate Policy Science Skepticism

RealClimate Raises the Bar AGAINST Climate Models

With the death of Ed Lorenz and a world apparently taking a hiatus on the way to unstoppable anthropogenic global warming, It has taken a group effort at RealClimate to try to deal with the issue of chaotic weather vs. climate modelling: “Butterflies, tornadoes and climate modelling“.

Rather unfortunately for the authors, the conclusions contain a remarkable amount of unintended irony.

[…] But how can climate be predictable if weather is chaotic? The trick lies in the statistics. In those same models that demonstrate the extreme sensitivity to initial conditions, it turns out that the long term means and other moments are stable. […] Climate change then is equivalent seeing how the structure changes, while not being too concerned about the specific trajectory you are on

In other words, “climate change” is an entity that can only become observable in the long, long term. And since there is little concern for the “specific trajectory”, there literally exists NO possible short-term sets of observations that can falsify the climate models.

Another way of saying it is that for the climate problem, the weather (or the individual trajectory) is the noise. If you are trying to find the common signal that is a signature of a particular forcing then averaging over a number of simulations with different weather works rather well […]

In other words, since each and every atmospheric event can be obviously described as “weather”, there is no single observation that can falsify the climate models.

Their work doesn’t have to deal with any single observation, no short-term sets of observations…do they realize what they are saying???

Real climate is in their own words almost perfectly insulated from the real world. Nothing that can ever happen will be able to disprove the work of the climate modellers, apart from multi-decadal averages that are so poorly defined, they can easily be used to demonstrate anything.

Is this “science”? Looks more like long-term guaranteed employment to me… No wonder Anthropogenic Climate Change has important detractors in the metereological community.

In further irony, the above pairs up perfectly well with RC’s “comments policy” that can be summarized more or less into “we will censor everything we do not like“.

RealClimate: the insulated web site, where insulated researchers post insulated content. Now I understand why poor Gavin Schmidt had such a hard time dealing with an open debate