Sunday, 22 November 2009

CRU emails No.3 - regional climate models are crap

Maybe "crap" is too strong a word (and it is my word, not that of the IPCC). But here is an assessment from a J Shulka, a big-wig at the IPCC:

1. While it is true that a vast majority of the public and the policymakers have accepted the reality of human influence on climate change (in fact many of us were arguing for stronger language with a higher level of confidence at the last meetings of the LAs), how confident are we about the projected regional climate changes?

I would like to submit that the current climate models have such large errors in simulating the statistics of regional (climate) that we are not ready to provide policymakers a robust scientific basis for "action" at regional scale. I am not referring to mitigation, I am strictly referring to science based adaptation.

For example, we can not advise the policymakers about re-building the city of New Orleans - or more generally about the habitability of the Gulf-Coast - using climate models which have serious deficiencies in simulating the strength, frequency and tracks of hurricanes.

Remember that next time someone comes out and states that their computer model predicts that Coogee is going to be umpteen feet underwater real soon now.

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