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2013 heatwave “virtually impossible” without logical errors and broken climate models

The Climate Council calculate the “odds” that one warm year could be as hot as it was. But those “odds” depend on a logical fallacy, major, inexplicable adjustments and models we know are broken. There are invisible assumptions underlying that claim which are documentably untrue. The “odds”  might as well be lotto results.

The fallacy is argument from ignorance, a failure of logic and reasoning like saying “X is true, because we can’t think of anything else“.

To estimate meaningful odds, scientists would have to understand the major driving factors of our climate, well enough to be able to assign probabilities to outcomes. But their models are hopelessly broken, they can’t predict a decadal average on a global or continental scale. They can’t hindcast the past “bumps” without using major adjustments to make the raw observations fit the models. They don’t know why the medieval warm period was warm, they don’t know why the Little Ice Age was cool. They don’t know why the world started warming 200 years before we poured out industrial levels of CO2. They don’t know if the mystery factors driving our climate for the last 4.5 billion years are still operating. If we can’t predict the past climate without CO2, we can’t tell whether CO2 is controlling our current climate or something else is.

We know the models are missing at least one, and probably many, factors. The only odds we know for sure is that Climate Council Pronouncements are 100% likely to promote alarm.

The ABC, not having much idea what the scientific method is, dutifully parrots it all. (What are the odds of that?  “100%”.)

Questions a real science journalist could ask the Climate Council:

  1. Your figures rely on having successful climate models, and Hans Von Storch showed 18 months ago that 98% of models are wrong (and it would be higher now). Doesn’t this mean you can’t possibly calculate meaningful odds? (How can models that miss factors predict “odds” that depend on those factors?)
  2. The models are obviously missing at least one major climate driver since they have overestimated the warming of the last 15 years, even though CO2 emissions have been rising faster than expected. They can’t hindcast any of the turning points of the holocene era. How do you know that (or those) mystery factors  are not driving the current warming?
  3. This press release rests on the logical fallacy of  “argument from ignorance”. Shouldn’t a scientific council use impeccable logic? What is science without it?
  4. Shouldn’t a scientific group use empirical data rather than simulations, which are not “evidence” in the scientific sense? Evidence used to mean “what I recorded with this instrument”, not “what I saw on my computer screen”.
  5. The BOM temperature record has not been independently replicated or audited and contains adjustments of up to 2C which are biased towards increasing the warming trend. Normally adjustments would be neutral on trends (and the BOM implies they are). This artificial bias would falsely increase the odds you have calculated, wouldn’t it?

“2013 record heatwave ‘virtually impossible’ without climate change, Climate Council of Australia report says

ABC news

“A new report by the Climate Council of Australia says it would have been “virtually impossible” for 2013 to be the hottest year in the country’s record without man-made emissions in the atmosphere.

The independently-funded group used new modelling to look at the odds of extreme heat events occurring, with and without man-made emissions.

A computer simulation of the atmosphere showed that climate change tripled the odds that the heatwaves of 2012/2013 would occur as frequently as they did and doubled the odds that they would be as intense as they were.

More than 123 temperature records were broken over that summer.

Professor Will Steffen said the record temperatures of 2013 were caused by man-made emissions.

“What were the odds of that happening without the human carbon pollution, and what were the odds with human carbon pollution? The answer is quite striking,” he said.

“The answer is that year, 2013, being the hottest year in Australia ever, was virtually impossible without human emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

“That’s conclusive evidence in my view that human driven emission of greenhouse gases were the primary cause of 2013 being the hottest year on record.

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