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Mathematical modelling illusions

By Jay Lehr and Tom Harris - posted Friday, 11 January 2019


Although governments have funded more than one hundred efforts to model the climate for the better part of three decades, with the exception of one Russian model which was fully 'tuned' and accidentally matched observational data, none have accurately predicted the known past.

In his February 2, 2016 testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology, Dr. John Christy of The University of Alabama in Huntsville compared the results of atmospheric temperatures as depicted by the average of 102 climate models with observations from satellites and balloon measurements. He concluded, "These models failed at the simple test of telling us 'what' has already happened, and thus would not be in a position to give us a confident answer to 'what' may happen in the future and 'why.'" As such, they would be of highly questionable value in determining policy that should depend on a very confident understanding of how the climate system works."

Although one of the most active areas for mathematical modeling is the economy and the stock market, no one has ever succeeded in getting it right. Consequently, until recently, we were never foolish enough to make economic decisions based on predictions derived from equations that we think describe how nature works.

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Yet today's modelers tell us they can model the climate, which involves far more variables than the economy and stock market, decades or even a century into the future. They then expect governments to make multi-billion-dollar policy decisions based on the outputs of their models. Incredibly, the United Nations and governments around the world are complying. We are crazy to let them get away with it.

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About the Authors

Science Director at The Heartland Institute.

Tom Harris is an Ottawa-based mechanical engineer and Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition.

Other articles by these Authors

All articles by Jay Lehr
All articles by Tom Harris

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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