Paper: Scientists ‘Obsessed’ With Climate Models That Don’t Work

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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The federal government has spent billions of taxpayer dollars funding the “single minded process” of developing climate models, according to two experts — models that have been over-predicting global warming for at least six decades.

“Billions of research dollars are being spent in this single minded process,” climate scientist Patrick Michaels and policy expert David Wojick wrote in an analysis published on the science blog Watts Up With That.

“In the meantime the central scientific question – the proper attribution of climate change to natural versus human factors – is largely being ignored,” Michaels, a Cato Institute scientist, and Wojick wrote.

Michaels and Wojick were examining just how much of climate science was dedicated to modeling the climate. The two used Google Scholar to find more than 900,000 peer-reviewed journal articles with the words model, modeled or modeling. Of those journal articles, 55 percent had to do with climate science.

From this, Michaels and Wojick argued climate science was too obsessed with climate models — many of which have not correctly predicted global warming over the last six decades.

“Climate science appears to be obsessively focused on modeling,” they wrote. “Modeling can be a useful tool, a way of playing with hypotheses to explore their implications or test them against observations. That is how modeling is used in most sciences.”

“But in climate change science modeling appears to have become an end in itself,” they wrote. “In fact it seems to have become virtually the sole point of the research. The modelers’ oft stated goal is to do climate forecasting, along the lines of weather forecasting, at local and regional scales.”

Michaels and fellow Cato climate scientist Chip Knappenberger found the models had been over-predicting warming for more than 60 years.

Michaels and Wojick argue this is a big problem for climate science. The government has spent billions of dollars over the years on climate models instead of bettering their understanding of how the climate actually works.

“Climate modeling is not climate science. Moreover, the climate science research that is done appears to be largely focused on improving the models,” they wrote. “In doing this it assumes that the models are basically correct, that the basic science is settled. This is far from true.”

“The models basically assume the hypothesis of human-caused climate change,” they wrote. “Natural variability only comes in as a short term influence that is negligible in the long run. But there is abundant evidence that long term natural variability plays a major role climate change. We seem to recall that we have only very recently emerged from the latest Pleistocene glaciation, around 11,000 years ago.”

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