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Denialism Invades the BBC, the British Antarctic Survey and the Scott Polar Research Institute

I have been insulted as a “denialist” if not “baby-eater” for far…warmer words than what has appeared last night on the BBC Science & Environment pages (as usual, one has to see things through the rather silly title of the piece).

Extract from “Polar bears can be saved by emissions cuts, study says”
by Neil Bowdler (BBC, 15 Dec 2010):

Dr Ted Maksym, of the British Antarctic Survey (Bas), said he agreed there was little evidence of “tipping points” in the Arctic.

“All the literature that has looked for a tipping point for sea ice has essentially found none. This has been drowned out a bit by the noise surrounding the 2007 minimum [for summer ice loss] and a possible ‘death spiral’ for Arctic sea ice.”

“The suggestion that if global temperature rise is kept below 1.25 degrees that polar bears will survive is encouraging; but given current trends this is not likely to be achieved. So we are by no means out of the woods.”

Professor Julian Dowdeswell of the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, said such research was important, but that reality could turn out to be different – something the authors of the paper have recognised.

“To have a good physical understanding of the natural world, it’s important that we do run predictive models,” he said.

“But it’s equally important to remember that they are only models and not reality. Usually there is an envelope of possible futures, rather than one future.”

0 replies on “Denialism Invades the BBC, the British Antarctic Survey and the Scott Polar Research Institute”

Why does a specialist from the Antarctic comment on Polar bears? There are none in the southern hemisphere.

Model results are based on modeler inputs. If you desire a certain result you start from a certain point. Models have been programmed with the desired physics and if they do not give the desired results they are redone until what the programmers consider a valid result comes out.
If a mosel can not replicate reality in the past how can 22 model runs provide any possible future outcome. The average of 22 bad model runs can be consistent with any possible future which makes the exercise worthless.

An Envelope of POSSIBLE futures rather than one possible future!
If memory serves, I believe the “Deniers” Have been saying that as well as that models are not reality for years.
Maybe they want to come over to the side of the Realists by making those statements.
The first thing they need to do is refrain from making their Chicken Little Proclamations about the sky falling unless we do something that will accomplish nothing!

“An Envelope of POSSIBLE futures rather than one possible future!
If memory serves, I believe the “Deniers” Have been saying that as well as that models are not reality for years.”

Models only ever give possibles futures, that’s what models are for. When most model runs point in a particular direction then that is the most likely outcome given the present data and knowledge – simples.

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