More Work Needed for “Settled” Climate Science Research – Does It Help?

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Halloween last year, Naomi Oreskes destabilizes climate community when recommending WG1 scientists’ work to be doneand they will move on to other areas. The climate scientists have now published a response in Scientific American detailing the major gaps in their understanding and explaining in detail why they still need the money.

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Sabine Hossenfelder is a physicist and research fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Study in Germany. She is the author of the book Lost in Math: How beauty leads Physics astrayand the creator of the YouTube channel Science without Gobbledygook. Credit: Nick Higgins

Tim Palmer is a Research Professor of the Royal Society for Climate Physics at the University of Oxford.

In one recent column in American Science, Naomi Oreskes argues that we now understand enough about the physics of climate change. She writes that scientists from Working Group 1 (WG1) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – who are tasked with assessing the physical scientific basis of climate change – should “declare their work done”. Instead, we should now address the problem by focusing on adaptation and mitigation, according to Oreskes.

It is true that the scientific basis of long-term global trends has been addressed. We know that sea levels are rising, average temperatures are rising, and glaciers are dying. We know that running business as usual puts us and future generations at risk of suffering. But we don’t fully understand the impacts of climate change in the region, and the uncertain long-term projections currently span a range that can range from a serious but potentially fatal inconvenience. control to an existential threat.

Indeed, Oreskes previously criticized the WG1 reports: a February 2013 article she co-authored Changing the global environment argues that the IPCC reports have constantly underrated “At least some of the key attributes of global warming are due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.” But why is that? That’s because the work of climate scientists hasn’t been done.

A major reason for the underestimation that Oreskes and her colleagues believe are current-generation climate models. rudimentary representation of the complex dynamical system that is our climate. Eg, Current global climate models are not representative of cloud systems using the laws of physics because the grid spacing is too coarse (one hundred kilometers or more). Thus, in the models, clouds are represented by highly simplified empirical formulas that describe the actual properties of clouds in a relatively crude manner.

The consequence of our inability to accurately model essential climate processes is that we cannot accurately simulate extreme weather and climate events. The dire weather events of 2021 — the near 50°C heat in British Columbia and the devastating flooding in the Eifel region in Germany, China’s Henan province and New York City — are completely out of scope. Current generation climate models can simulate.

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It’s fascinating that they mention clouds, because in 2019 when our Dr. Pat Frank pointed to gaps in our understanding of clouds as a major reason climate models have no predictive skills, he provoked a strong reaction from the climate community.

However, as soon as someone like Oreskes suggested their work was done, suddenly the science of modeling clouds actually seemed very unsettled.

Note Dr. Roy Spencer also criticized Pat .’s work. But Dr. Spencer wrote an article in 2007 donate The Iris Theory by Dr. Richard Lindzen, the theory that surface warming causes net negative feedback changes in haze opposes surface warming. Pat Frank’s reaction to Dr. Spencer’s criticism was available here.

Whatever your views on the views of Dr. Spencer and Dr. Frank, and anyone else involved in the climate modeling cloud debate, everyone seems to more or less agree that the cloud is a problem. subject. Understanding clouds seems to be quite basic to be able to make detailed models of global climate. Modeling clouds in current generation climate models is deeply flawed.

So I think we can safely conclude that Naomi Oreskes was wrong about the science being addressed.

The following is a lecture by Dr. Pat Frank explaining his interest in climate models and clouds.


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