4.3.14

DIVISION OF LABOR STILL MATTERS.

In a recent post, I suggested that climate simulation models were only as good as the boundary conditions and the equations of motion.  I didn't know the half of it.
[C]limate scientists tend to show averages of many simulations, which smooths out any temporary changes in trend. Here is a figure that shows some individual simulations and how each one can have slowdowns at different times:

Figure 1a from Hawkins, et. al. (2014) Nature Climate Change
retrieved from Edwards, "Pause for Thought".

The gray band is the average of a number of temperature forecasts, a few of which are plotted.  The colored lines are observations.
We believe the complexity of the science and the public interest in the pause are not ‘difficulties’ to be avoided or glossed over but instead provide a fantastic opportunity to dig into the details of the science.
Wherein simulation scientists and policy advocates each have roles to play, and each role is different.
At the heart of this miscommunication lies a desire by scientists to simplify a complicated phenomenon. But whether this is done out of a desire to make a better case for policymakers to push through green schemes, or just to spread knowledge to the layman, the dumbing down of climate science has come at the expense of the facts.

Greens, in their quest to paint the darkest possible picture of our future, have been all too keen to seize on such oversimplifications, but in doing so they have given fodder to their dreaded enemies, the climate deniers. The greenhouse effect is fairly easy to understand, but the fiddly bits are decidedly less so. Ignoring them in favor of a cleaner narrative does the green movement more harm than good.
I'm extracting what appear to be the salient parts of both essays; both, and their comment sections, will reward careful study.

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