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Climate Forecasting

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Kesten Green
added 5 research items
Dangerous manmade global warming—sometimes referred to euphemistically as “climate change”—is in practice an assortment of forecasts. The principal of these is a conditional forecast that temperatures will increase substantially over coming decades if human emissions of the odorless and life-promoting gas carbon dioxide are not dramatically curtailed. Other forecasts are that dramatic weather and diseases will increase, sea levels will rise, and food production will suffer as a consequence of increased temperatures. Still further forecasts are that proposed policies will be effective in reducing human emissions of CO2 and that the cost of that reduction will be much less than the benefit of having done so. These are heroic forecasts. They are also important because they imply a very costly course of action is needed. Should we believe them?
BEFORE THE ENVIRONMENT COURT IN THE MATTER OF the Resource Management Act 1991 AND IN THE MATTER OF an Appeal under section 120 of the Act BETWEEN ROCH PATRICK SULLIVAN Appellant AND CENTRAL OTAGO DISTRICT COUNCIL First Respondent AND OTAGO REGIONAL COUNCIL Second Respondent AND MERIDIAN ENERGY LIMITED Applicant
Kesten Green
added a research item
The precautionary principle is a political principle, not a scientific one. The principle is used to urge the cessation or avoidance of a human activity in situations of uncertainty, just in case that activity might cause harm to human health or the natural environment. In practice, the precautionary principle is invoked when an interest group identifies an issue that can help it to achieve its objectives. If the interest group is successful in its efforts to raise fears about the issue, the application of the scientific method is rejected and a new orthodoxy is imposed.
Kesten Green
added 2 research items
The Global Warming Challenge, aka The Climate Bet (theclimatebet.com), is a record of an experiment to test the relative accuracy of Al Gore's 2007 dangerous man made global warming "tipping point" alarming projection relative to the no-change (no-trend) forecasts of Green, Armstrong, and Soon (2009) proposed by Scott Armstrong in his challenge to Al Gore to take a bet on his claim that temperatures would become dangerously warmer over the next decade. Gore refused the bet and refused to provide specific forecasts, so we used the IPCC's then "business as usual" +3C-per-century relatively mild projection to stand for Mr Gore's tipping point. In the event, the actual temperatures were closer to the no-change than they were to the warming projection. We then extended The Challenge experiment for another decade (till end-2027) in order to further test the alternative hypotheses on which forecasting model will provide the most accurate forecasts of temperatures over the 21st century. This document will be updated periodically (mostly monthly) as new data comes in, and is directly accessible via theclimatebet.com.
Statement Our research findings challenge the basic assumptions of the State Department's Fifth U.S. Climate Action Report (CAR 2010). The alarming forecasts of dangerous manmade global warming are not the product of proper scientific evidence-based forecasting methods. Furthermore, there have been no validation studies to support a belief that the forecasting procedures used were nevertheless appropriate for the situation. As a consequence, alarming forecasts of global warming are merely the opinions of some scientists and, for a situation as complicated and poorly understood as global climate, such opinions are unlikely to be as accurate as forecasts that global temperatures will remain much the same as they have been over recent years. Using proper forecasting procedures we predict that the global warming alarm will prove false and that government actions in response to the alarm will be shown to have been harmful.
Kesten Green
added a research item
The Golden Rule of Forecasting Checklist was used to evaluate IPCC “business as usual” global warming scenario and the Green, Armstrong & Soon no-change model forecasts. Consensus ratings by Armstrong and Green indicated that of 20 relevant Golden Rule Checklist guidelines: • the IPCC scenarios followed none • the no-change model followed 95%
Kesten Green
added 16 research items
Who would win the Climate Bet between Al Gore and Scott Armstrong? Al Gore promotes the view that the world faces great danger from manmade global warming. Scott Armstrong holds that scientific forecasting provides no basis for such a fear, and that global temperatures are likely to change little, in either direction, over policy-relevant horizons. We propose the use of prediction markets to examine public opinion for solving complex controversial problems. Initially, we launched a play-money prediction market at hubdub.com. Early results showed that the market predicts that Scott Armstrong would win the bet. This market prediction conforms to winning probabilities derived from an analysis of historical data. Such information can be valuable as it can aid the democratic process. It provides information on the public's perception of global warming that is different from information revealed by traditional surveys and media commentary.
Policymakers need to know whether prediction is possible and, if so, whether any proposed forecasting method will provide forecasts that are substantially more accurate than those from the relevant benchmark method. An inspection of global temperature data suggests that temperature is subject to irregular variations on all relevant time scales, and that variations during the late 1900s were not unusual. In such a situation, a "no change" extrapolation is an appropriate benchmark forecasting method. We used the UK Met Office Hadley Centre's annual average thermometer data from 1850 through 2007 to examine the performance of the benchmark method. The accuracy of forecasts from the benchmark is such that even perfect forecasts would be unlikely to help policymakers. For example, mean absolute errors for the 20- and 50-year horizons were 0.18 � oC and 0.24 � oC respectively. We nevertheless demonstrate the use of benchmarking with the example of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 1992 linear projection of long-term warming at a rate of 0.03 � oC per year. The small sample of errors from ex ante projections at 0.03 � oC per year for 1992 through 2008 was practically indistinguishable from the benchmark errors. Validation for long-term forecasting, however, requires a much longer horizon. Again using the IPCC warming rate for our demonstration, we projected the rate successively over a period analogous to that envisaged in their scenario of exponential CO2 growth--the years 1851 to 1975. The errors from the projections were more than seven times greater than the errors from the benchmark method. Relative errors were larger for longer forecast horizons. Our validation exercise illustrates the importance of determining whether it is possible to obtain forecasts that are more useful than those from a simple benchmark before making expensive policy decisions.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group One, a panel of experts established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, issued its Fourth Assessment Report. The Report included predictions of dramatic increases in average world temperatures over the next 92 years and serious harm resulting from the predicted temperature increases. Using forecasting principles as our guide we asked: Are these forecasts a good basis for developing public policy? Our answer is “no”. To provide forecasts of climate change that are useful for policy-making, one would need to forecast (1) global temperature, (2) the effects of any temperature changes, and (3) the effects of feasible alternative policies. Proper forecasts of all three are necessary for rational policy making. The IPCC WG1 Report was regarded as providing the most credible long-term forecasts of global average temperatures by 31 of the 51 scientists and others involved in forecasting climate change who responded to our survey. We found no references in the 1056-page Report to the primary sources of information on forecasting methods despite the fact these are conveniently available in books, articles, and websites. We audited the forecasting processes described in Chapter 8 of the IPCC's WG1 Report to assess the extent to which they complied with forecasting principles. We found enough information to make judgments on 89 out of a total of 140 forecasting principles. The forecasting procedures that were described violated 72 principles. Many of the violations were, by themselves, critical. The forecasts in the Report were not the outcome of scientific procedures. In effect, they were the opinions of scientists transformed by mathematics and obscured by complex writing. Research on forecasting has shown that experts' predictions are not useful in situations involving uncertainly and complexity. We have been unable to identify any scientific forecasts of global warming. Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying that it will get colder.