Princeton Physicist Points Out The Obvious: Climate Models ‘Don’t Work’

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

Princeton University physicist William Happer is not a fan of models used to predict future manmade global warming, and stars in a new educational video laying out the reasons he believes climate models are faulty.

“And I know they don’t work. They haven’t worked in the past. They don’t work now. And it’s hard to imagine when, if ever, they’ll work in the foreseeable future,” Happer said in a video produced by PragerU.

In the video, Happer argues that even supercomputers used to predict the weather and forecast future global warming aren’t strong enough to capture the complexity of Earth’s atmosphere, including cloud cover and natural ocean cycles.

“That’s why, over the last 30 years, one climate prediction after another — based on computer models — has been wrong,” Happer said in the video. “They’re wrong because even the most powerful computers can’t solve all the equations needed to accurately describe climate.”

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Scientists have increasingly been grappling with reconciling the difference between global climate model projections and real-world temperatures. Scientists skeptical of catastrophic manmade warming often point out that models overestimate warming from greenhouse gases.

Cato Institute climate scientists Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger found that real-world warming has been on the low end of model predictions for the last six decades, and a more recent study published in the journal Nature Geoscience found a similar trend.

“We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations,” Myles Allen, a geosystem scientist at the University of Oxford, told The Times in 2017.

But other scientists have been critical of claims that models overestimate warming. University of California, Berkeley climate scientist Zeke Hausfather said models only predict about 8 percent more warming than what’s actually happened.

NOW WATCH:

But then again, the strong El Nino warming event that peaked in 2016 did much to bring global average surface temperature “back in line” with climate model predictions.

Satellite temperature readings of the bulk atmosphere also show a mismatch between model predictions and observations. Climate scientist John Christy’s research has shown that models show 2.5 times more warming than has been observed.

“Instead of admitting this, some climate scientists replace the highly complex equations that describe the real-world climate with highly simplified ones—their computer models,” Happer said.

“Discarding the unmanageable details, modelers ‘tune’ their simplified equations with lots of adjustable inputs—numbers that can be changed to produce whatever result the modelers want,” Happer said. “So, if they want to show that the earth’s temperature at the end of the century will be two degrees centigrade higher than it is now, they put in the numbers that produce that result … That’s not science. That’s science fiction.”

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Tags : chip knappenberger energy patrick michaels prageru princeton university the cato institute william happer
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