Lite om de verkliga problemen som klimatforskningen dras med

Jag hade ju svurit att inte blogga så mycket om klimatförändringen, men här kommer ett litet löftesbrott. Nature publicerade en artikel som handlar om de verkliga luckorna i klimatforskningen som en motreaktion mot den korkade hysteri som blåstes upp först av Climategate, sen av att det snöade över nordeuropa och USA (För alla vet vi ju att snö i Sverige är bevis för att det inte sker en GLOBAL uppvärmning. Sverige är ju världen!) Artikeln ligger bakom Natures betalsystem men en geolog på nätet har vänligen sammanfattat de viktigaste punkterna.

In the midst of all this, Nature printed a nice feature looking at the real big gaps in climate science (Schiermeier 2010), but it is behind a paywall, which is a shame because it’s a good piece. So, I thought I’d provide a very quick summary here.

Regional climate prediction

We still don’t have sufficient computing power to run models at high enough resolution to make projections on the scale that would be useful to policy makers. This is clearly required to make big infrastructure decisions.


Projections of precipitation patterns are really hard to make as they depend on temperature changes, circulation changes, radiative balance changes and pollution (and, therefore, cloud condensation nuclei) changes. Yet precipitation changes will probably have the biggest impact on society.


The effect of aerosols (i.e. small solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in the atmosphere) is a big unknown. Different types do different things and its not really certain whether they have a generally cooling effect – by reflecting away solar radiation – or a warming effect – by promoting more cloud growth and trapping more terrestrial heat. That said, any cooling effect would be very unlikely to reverse the waring impact of greenhouse gases.

The tree-ring controversy

This relates mostly to the “hockey stick” graph and the reliability of the palaeoclimate data we use to put our current climate into perspective. It’s important that we learn from past climate changes as we only have one atmosphere and can’t do experiments with it. But it is not easy to get palaeoclimate data (tree rings, ice cores, sediment cores) or to interpret them properly.

So what is the “consensus”?

In a certain sense, when people talk about the “scientific consensus about climate change” they really mean little more than our understanding of the greenhouse effect, our impact on it and that things are very likely to get messy in the future. All the details are still very much under investigation.

Reference: Schiermeier, Q. (2010). The real holes in climate science Nature, 463 (7279), 284-287 DOI: 10.1038/463284a

Det här inlägget postades i Andra vetenskaper, Geologi, Konspirationer & pseudovetenskap, Miljöfrågor. Bokmärk permalänken.

2 kommentarer till Lite om de verkliga problemen som klimatforskningen dras med

  1. mjn skriver:

    Det här tog också upp i Natures podcast den 21 januari.

  2. Daniel skriver:

    mjn: Tackar för tipset.

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