Climate Predictions? Climate Predictions????

My comment posted to Nature News’ “Australian bushfires rage“:

People that could know better should also really refrain from using words such as “prediction”. I cannot believe we still have to discuss this, but here we are…there is no such a thing as a “climate prediction”. The IPCC is not in the “prediction” business, and it has never been.

What climate models do is run “scenarios”, “what-ifs”, computations in which some parameters get changed, and everything else remains equal. That is a normal way of conducting risk analysis, but only if everybody keeps in mind that OF COURSE in the real world everything changes, and nothing remains equal.

Climate models are therefore tools to probe risks and sensitivities, not crystal balls. As a matter of fact, they can’t, won’t and never will tell us anything precise about future weather, weeks, months, years or centuries in the future: just as no donkey will ever win the Kentucky Derby.

That doesn’t mean climate models (or donkeys) are useless: rather, they should be used for what they are worth using.

So much has to be agreed by all, otherwise what are we discussing about, I do not know. And I invite Quirin Schiermeier to correct the article accordingly. Then and only then we can talk in a sensible fashion.