Reply to post: Re: "The Dismal Science"

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Re: "The Dismal Science"

'Climate science' is a bit of fuzzy term there. Which part do you have a problem with precisely?

Here's a few random points for you anyway...

- measurements of such things as tree rings and ice cores give a reasonable proxy for historical temperature measurement (although this is, of course, local to the tree / glacier in question). This has a scientific aspect - it can be shown that trees grow faster in warm conditions, and ice deposits get thicker faster if there is more snowfall.

- Current measurement of things such as ice coverage and thickness using satellites has a solid basis. Science makes those satellites work, and provides meaningful numbers for things like margin of error in those measurements.

- The infrared absorption spectrum of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) is based on solid scientific theory, and is observable and reproducible. The fact that it acts as a greenhouse gas is experimentally validated (for instance a container full of CO2 can be observed to heat up under sunlight more quickly than one full of, for instance, nitrogen).

- Climate models are not scientific theories (and do not claim to be). They also do not claim to make precise predictions (journalists, politicians, and industrial lobbyists may make this misleading claim). Any model is, by definition, a simplification (the only truly accurate model for the whole of the Earth's climate would be an entire duplicate of the Sun - Earth system, which would be impossible to model in its entirety in a computer, due to the limitations imposed by information theory). The point is to try to glean some understanding of the underlying physical processes, not to make specific predictions, or match past observations.

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