Sunday, April 8, 2007

Another Global Warming Denier

Is Richard S. Lindzen, a professor of Meteorology at MIT just another crackpot that should be ignored?
Story

"Picking holes in the IPCC is crucial. The notion that if you’re ignorant of something and somebody comes up with a wrong answer, and you have to accept that because you don’t have another wrong answer to offer is like faith healing, it’s like quackery in medicine"
Prof. Richard S. Lindzen

4 comments:

Za said...

HAHAHA. I'm sorry, but whoever wrote that article doesn't know anything about meteorology.

Take these bits:
The current alarm rests on the false assumption not only that we live in a perfect world, temperaturewise, but also that our warming forecasts for the year 2040 are somehow more reliable than the weatherman's forecast for next week.
And
Many of the most alarming studies rely on long-range predictions using inherently untrustworthy climate models, similar to those that cannot accurately forecast the weather a week from now.

We CAN more accurately forecast 2040 than we can the next week. Wanna know why? Because forecasting for a year works on averages, forecasting for a day requires much more complex data. And of course such models can't predict the weather from a week from now - they use different kinds of data, and the global models aren't there to predict localised weather patterns.

Or this sentence:
A warmer climate could prove to be more beneficial than the one we have now.
Yes, it could be. It could also kill us all. Or it could cause us all to become mutants. It "could" do a lot of things. However history shows large periods of extinctions coinciding with these events.

Or:
There is no evidence, for instance, that extreme weather events are increasing in any systematic way, according to scientists at the U.S. National Hurricane Center, the World Meteorological Organization and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which released the second part of this year's report earlier this month). Indeed, meteorological theory holds that, outside the tropics, weather in a warming world should be less variable, which might be a good thing.
The IPCC's report did state both those things. But the IPCC's report also states that the "safe" weather bands are not that large compared to the "tropical" band which would cause mass animal extinctions, and increased human deaths due to heatwaves. It also says that we're gonna get environmental refugees.
So that's not much comfort, sorry.

Or:
Sea levels, for example, have been increasing since the end of the last ice age.
That's got to be one of the most meaningless statements I've ever heard. It's like saying the sun's been getting bigger ever since it formed. Of course sea levels have been rising since then - the ice caps have been melting since then, it's just sped up recently to a point where the IPCC says we're gonna be expecting refugees from island nations in the next 50 years. Way to reference a report then ignore it!

And:
Overall, the risk of sea-level rise from global warming is less at almost any given location than that from other causes, such as tectonic motions of the earth's surface.
Funny - that could have something to do with most land being away from the sea. Yes, I'd imagine that rising sea levels wouldn't affect most land areas. Coastlines (which is what that "almost" is there to cover) are the places to worry about; but compared to the amount of "in land" that exists, they're a "minority" (if you will) of locations. Funnily enough though most human settlements tend to be somewhere near water, and a lot are on coastlines.

And I really can't be arsed going on, because the rest is about as much bollocks as the stuff I've just pointed out. The article contains a lot of retardism, I'm sorry.

It's not often I'll say that, but anyone who says "this model can't predict tomorrow's weather" when it's not designed to either knows nothing about what they're talking about, or has studied extensively then had a lobotomy. And given that he can write still, I'm opting for the former. It really does look like he hasn't done much reading to keep himself up to date.

Indian Chris said...

Doesn't know anything about meteorology? Let me look. Oh yeah, he's a professor of Meteorology at MIT. And what are YOUR qualifications again?

Za said...

Being a Professor of Meteorology doesn't necessarily mean he's up to date.

Doctors continuously have to keep up with the latest information about medical treatments and new information about human biology or else they very quickly fall behind modern methods. Same applies to meteorology.

Anybody - Professor of Meteorology or not - who complains that a model of global climate changes can't predict tomorrow's weather doesn't understand how either one of the two; local weather models and global weather models, work.

A local weather model needs to be able to predict pressure zone movements, local temperature and cloud formations over a period of days. They actually have to cut up the entire surface of the planet into little blocks so that way the data doesn't become too overwhelming. Originally such models had a three day prediction horizon - they couldn't predict beyond three days because (and this is where chaos theory originated) a change the size of the force of a butterfly's wings flapping in the first day's data was enough to make the difference between hurricanes and sunny skies on the fourth day's prediction. Since then they seem to have managed to extend it to a seven day prediction horizon (give or take).
Note also that these models work on known constants as well - things like known warm oceans currents and so on.

Global climate models dispense with most of this complexity because they only predict average seasonal temperatures across whole bands of the earth's surface. They also predict changes in those things that the local models see as constants - like the example of warm ocean currents.

The difference in the data they use, the information they're meant to generate and even the mathematics itself is so stark that only someone who didn't know anything at all about at least one could make such an argument without feeling like a total idiot.

And if you actually looked up any information on this guy, he specialises in monsoon meteorology - his research is primarily in tropical weather patterns, with a bit of research recently about glaciation and CO2 levels. His focuses are primarily not in the areas he talks about in the article. The closest he ever gets in it is when he talks about CO2, and even then, he's talking about something only obliquely related to his studies.

Za said...

I'd also like to raise the point that not only is he not talking about his area of research, he is quite blatantly only quoting the bits of the sources he references which support his argument and avoids referencing the bits in those same documents which blatantly contradict his argument.

I pointed this out in my first comment, with the IPCC report.