Updated Aug 3, 2015
Predicting the exact path of future climate is almost impossible.
Yet it’s made even harder by a geologically sudden, major, ongoing energy dump onto an already complex and highly varied global system of energy and its expression. Aka “climate change.”
Climate change “skepticism” is the belief that this will nevertheless not relevantly impact or change our climate. There are no real theories, and none that have been successfully vetted, as to why it would not. And there is no real evidence to suport it.
Yet a key, if not the key basis, of climate change “skepticism” is the idea that models are not perfect, or that they “fail to predict” what’s happened.
In fact models are far more accurate than not – and even more than previously thought. (And for whatever it’s worth, their accuracy, in comparison to “skeptic” forecasts is off the charts.) But for the reasons stated above they can’t predict exactly what climate will be, along an exact time path.
Nor is not being able to predict future climate globally and regionally – as if it was otherwise almost as easy or accurate as a one day local weather forecast – at all connected with the underlying fact that while there is a range of long term shifting from this massive long term atmospheric alteration serving as the basis for climate change, the basic phenemenon is very real.
That is, the word risk means risk, and probabilities; often imprecise. The concept of change often means a range of changes.
Yet somewhat uniquely on climate change – perhaps because of the deep passions, presumptions, fears, habits, and attendant political ramifications and worries connected to the issue – these two concepts are removed from the normal equation of strategic assessment, in order to arrive at a conclusion that, since models have not (nor can not) precisely predict exactly what’s going to happen and when in terms of such an open ended non controlled fully global experiment of ongoing anthropogenic impact upon an otherwise already existent and itself undulating system, it is somehow not significant or real.
In short, making a phenomenon a range, with uncertainty as to its precise path, does not make something not real, or somehow not significant. Yet on climate change, through a lot of semantics projected as science, on this issue it is being made to do just that.
Thus the main basis of skepticism misses what the issue really is. The basis isn’t models.
While on the other hand, models do help further validate and solidify our understanding of the issue, because they have not only been remarkably far from simply meaningless random predictions, overall they have been reasonably accurate in terms of projecting relevant ranges.
Which is what they are meant to do: Help hone our understanding, and our ability to make projections of changes and relative time frames, as best as we can.
For the climate change “skeptic” who wants to stay a skeptic, this will not matter. But it is an important part of the issue to be covered, because the confusion over models has played an extremely large role in overall perception on climate change. And thus this fact that we can’t predict exactly what will happen, erroneously serves as a main basis for refuting the fact that atmospheric alteration is both significantly affecting climate, and more importantly creating a large risk range of potential affects.
It is a big part of the story of climate change that has not received fair or balanced coverage. And covering the relevant arguments and facts herein would help further better understanding on, and assessment of, the issue.