OPINION: IPCC and Climate predictions


DEAR News Of The Area,

I AM replying to a letter from W Duesbury (‘Scientists Are Not Infallible’, p38, NOTA, 11/6/21).

W Duesbury is a frequent contributor with their views on climate change.

These views I would propose, fall into the category of climate change denial.

I would generally ignore the opinions expressed but, as they write quite often, it is important they are not left unchallenged.

W Duesbury claims that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) temperature predictions from their models are “well in excess of reality observed by meteorological balloons and NASA satellites”.

I did a quick fact check from NASA’s website (https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2943/study-confirms-climate-models-are-getting-future-warming-projections-right/ ) which reveals exactly the opposite.

I quote from NASA, ‘The results of this study of past climate models bolster scientists’ confidence that both they as well as today’s more advanced climate models are skillfully projecting global warming’.

W Duesbury also wilfully misrepresents the scientific method.

Firstly there are no scientific facts, just theories.

A theory is proven to be ‘correct’ if the overwhelming body of evidence supports it.

However, it only takes one, rigorously executed, repeatable experiment, to disprove a theory.

The scientific method is a continuously improving loop of: Observation, research, hypothesis, experimental test, analyse data and report conclusions.

While not expressly shown in the loop above, peer review and independent verification is now also a critical part of the process.

This means that if W Duesbury, or those he quotes, can devise and execute rigorous, independent, repeatable experiments, that conclusively invalidate the IPCC models predictions, then other scientists will be able to reproduce these results and challenge the accepted theories of climate change.

The results of these experiments will be reviewed and either accepted or rejected by other scientists.

This has not happened yet in the 50+ years or so climate scientists have been looking at the global warming question.

The theories have been adjusted and reformed however.

Alfred Wegner’s theory on continental drift was accepted in the 1950s when experimental research produced a body or evidence that supported his hypothesis and enough scientists reviewed the evidence and agreed.

Wegner’s theory has been significantly reformed since then as more information is gained.

The same will happen for climate science, it will continually be reviewed and evolve as new evidence is checked and the theories (and models) adjusted.

Einstein did not accept quantum theory but it is now ‘mainstream’ physics as experiments verified the theory.


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