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Climate Models Botch Another Prediction

Today's news tells of another mistake of exaggerated climate science prediction.

I'm not getting in the foxhole with the warriors on either side of the raging climate war. But I think there's something more alarming going on than the spike in CO2 level charts.

Our global system of air currents, ocean currents, cloud patterns, resonant temperature cycles, energy storage and release mechanisms, and further processes is mind-bogglingly complex.

Presently, the best climate models fall many orders of magnitude short of the power and intricacy needed to effectively predict the long-term climate patterns that emerge from the interactions of all these planetary systems. And that's not a failure of science; it's just the reality of how tough the problem is.

Predictions are made by building models using the smartest simplifications we have thought of and running them on the most powerful computers ever built. Basically, it's the best we can do right now.

But there is a major failure of science going on.

The failure is the lack of transparency and honesty about how feeble these models are and how much we should stake on their all-too-fallible forecasts. Thus the same problem continues: climate science has once again botched a prediction that its models were underequipped to make.

It seems that there can be no moderate and honest discussion of this issue. Skeptics are singled out in creepy enemies lists. Actually, we're now supposed to call them deniers, as though they were disputing the existence of HIV or the holocaust. Numerous scientists, as well as senators, anti-vaccination Kennedys, and clickbait purveyors have even called for the imprisonment and legal prosecution of those who disagree with them.

Climate science acts like it is fighting a holy war. There are only those who are just and those who must be silenced and stopped at all costs. Anyone who mounts reasonable logical, empirical, or skeptical challenges to the orthodoxy must be ruined, not by counterfactual evidence, but by vicious attack.

Weekly, we're bombarded with doom-and-gloom future scenarios spit out of these models. The public is supposed to quiver in fear and to disregard and forget the many times that these predictions have failed.

Models told us that the years of 1998-2013 were supposed to show ever-increasing runaway warming. And yet, these years actually exhibited the famous "global warming hiatus." An article published in Nature says that zero models predicted this.

Numerous modelers have told us that the Arctic polar ice would be completely gone by now. It's still there. Many models now seem to skew in the opposite direction, predicting more ice than we see today.

Modeler Kerry Emanuel's widely reported initial correlation of global warming with dramatically worse hurricane seasons has been strongly rebutted by multiple groups, leading him to reconsider.

The scientific failure here isn't that models are inaccurate -- it's that the models are presented as undebatable apocalyptic predictors, harbingers of certain future catastrophe. Omens that compel us to rethink our lives. If we take issue with that, we're heretics.

Given how fallible climate models are, why shouldn't we be skeptical of the scary headlines? How good can your science be if you try to prove your point by ruining your detractors rather than through empirical success?

Climate scientists may win their war in a friendly press and with political parties aligned with their agendas. But they make enemies of those people who make logical and empirical evaluations of their results, those who don't give in to pressure and political and professional expediency.

The crusader mentality of climate researchers leads them away from the factual debate and empirical accounting of sound science. We really deserve more from our publicly funded scientific establishments.

(AP photo)

Tom Hartsfield is a scientist and writer. He holds a PhD in physics from the University of Texas.

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