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Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:52 AM

Explained in 90 Seconds: Climate Modeling (for your warming-denying pals who say it's cold outside)

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Reply Explained in 90 Seconds: Climate Modeling (for your warming-denying pals who say it's cold outside) (Original post)
swag Jan 2013 OP
MynameisBlarney Jan 2013 #1
rickford66 Jan 2013 #2
Buzz Clik Jan 2013 #4
rickford66 Jan 2013 #5
Plucketeer Jan 2013 #3
JDPriestly Jan 2013 #6
padruig Jan 2013 #7

Response to swag (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:56 AM

1. Too many big words.

We'll have to dumb it down so they can understand it, lol.

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Response to swag (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 12:40 PM

2. sorry

This won't educate or convince any of my denier friends.

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Response to rickford66 (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 02:04 PM

4. Of course not. Nothing will.

Despite claims of "junk science", they don't give a damn about the science.

Debating deniers on a scientific level is a complete waste of time other than giving me the opportunity to deeply educate myself on the subject.

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Response to Buzz Clik (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:18 PM

5. what I meant

This video is so confusing. I do software simulation for a living and model real situations. This doesn't relate anything of value.

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Response to swag (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 01:47 PM

3. I am a believer

In science AND global warming. This video makes my head hurt. While I'm willing to bet that the folks featured probably know more about the subject than I do, they sure do a poor job of conveying any of it to me. And I don't think I'm all that dumb.

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Response to swag (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 05:26 PM

6. The speakers need to slow down.

They are probably very brilliant and think really fast. But we who are trying to understand them have to translate sounds into words and then words into sentences and meaning. That takes us longer.

To complicate the matter, most of us are unfamiliar with the concepts they are discussing and maybe even some of the vocabulary they are using.

Slowing down the speech would help a lot.

I don't mean to insult anyone. I knew a baby who, at 10 months was already talking so fast she had to be told to slow down. She was very brilliant. Turned into -- you guessed it -- a mathematician.

But, please have mercy on the rest of us who just plain aren't as smart as you are. No offense meant, but we aren't.

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Response to swag (Original post)

Sat Jan 26, 2013, 09:24 PM

7. I don't think slowing it down would help.


That was certainly the worst description of climate modeling that I have ever seen.

It didn't answer the question and worse, for the lay viewer, it would have confused more than resolved the question. Part of the confusion may be coming from an attempt to reduce the answer to 90 seconds; a very bad idea for a subject that some such as James Hansen (Director, NASA Goddard) has spend four or more decades working on.

The first mistake was lumping all models together, there are roughly about a dozen distinct model types. I did not hear mention of energy balance models (EBM), ensemble models, mechanistic models, they did try to touch on statistical models.

When people ask me about climate models I start with trying to find out 'who' and 'why' is asking ...

If its just someone off the street I have to assume they know very little and will have to take baby steps starting with separating what is 'weather' as opposed to 'climate'. Then progress to mechanisms and forcing factors. If you follow some of the lay popular science you may have heard of the Arctic Oscillation, the El Nino Southern Oscillation, the carbon cycle and some basic properties of our planetary atmosphere.

If its a student who is interested in maybe climate studies as a career choice, I suggest they start thinking about this in their fourth year, but I emphasis math, math, math and statistics (lots of statistics).

If its someone who has a predetermined set of conclusions (you call them climate deniers (we have more colorful expressions)) I start with the difference between 'belief' verses 'facts and data'. I run into these folks a lot when they hear I'm a chemist, then they find out I'm working on glacier models and the conversations can get very interesting.

The closest thing we have to an easy reader version of climate modelling has to be this, "A Climate Modelling Primer", Mcguffie K., Henderson-Sellers A., 2005, Wiley. Is a good starter book on modelling. The math is pretty straight and you'll get a good bit of information and not have your head hurt afterwards.

If you have a handle on your basic physics, a splash of physical chemistry, touched with some math and stats, I suggest the next book to read would be ...

"Principles of Planetary Climate" by Pierrehumbert, 2012, Cambridge

If your serious (and I do mean serious) one of your next texts will have to be

"Statistical Methods in the Atmospheric Sciences", Wilks, Daniel S., 2011, Academic Press

But lets assume you'd simply like to have an answer to your crazy uncle (who watches too much FOX News) during the holidays.

I'd start with this ...

First, ask them when they themselves became aware of climate science for the first time. Then ask them when they thought that scientists started asking questions about our planetary climate. Last question for your crazy uncle, have they every heard of the hypothesis that if you double the atmospheric CO2, the Earths temperature will rise between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius.

I'd bet that their answers will fall somewhere in the 1980's ... probably not earlier.

Then you can explain that the first academic paper ever written where questions were asked about climate change was published in 1861 by John Tyndall. Then you can let them know that the first model ever created was published in 1896 by Svant Arrhenius. It would be Arrhenius who gave us the 2 to 4 degree Celsius range if you double the atmospheric CO2 that you keep hearing cited.

If your crazy uncle then proclaims that the science isn't 'settled', you can agree but you want to point out that science is never 'settled', the repeatability of experiment is one of the cornerstones of our methods.

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