Recently I was recently interviewed by a Bay Area newspaper regarding the computer models that are used to predict climate change.
I was reported as saying, “CO2 is truly the least potent greenhouse gas” and “water vapor is in fact the primary greenhouse gas. Yet…none of the climate models used to predict warming trends take that into account.”
The article continued:
David Easterling from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration countered saying “It appears Mr. Sussman is as uninformed as I suspect most TV weathercasters are,” he said. “Of course (the models) consider water vapor.”
Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University climatologist, described as “laughable” the percentages used by Sussman.
“He is misfiring on all cylinders,” Schneider said.
Here’s what I actually wrote in Climategate:
Methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 when it comes to the greenhouse effect, and nitrous oxide is 310 times more capable of retaining the sun’s heat than CO2. Carbon dioxide is actually a puny player in the greenhouse game.
…the General Circulation Models…are the best tools for prognostication available, but they are attempting the impossible: predicting the actions within a massive “open system.”
In attempting to take on an open system, the GCMs operate on severely limited observed data. As discussed in the previous chapter, the current temperature record of the earth is extremely sparse, unless one relies totally on satellite data, which is quite thorough—but surprisingly, the GCMs do not. Artificially warm readings due to the Urban Heat Island effect are manually manipulated by scientists trying to present the models with “the real” temperature. Weather data from a limited set of ships at sea and buoys bobbing on the waves are also inputted into the GCMs—hardly a fair representation of how the oceans are involved in atmospheric interactions.
Moreover, favored the models are shockingly incapable of factoring the effects of water vapor—the granddaddy of greenhouse gases. An even bigger hole in the GCM donut is the sun. Fluctuations in solar radiation are completely left out of the equations. Nevertheless, the mind-numbingly incomplete data stuffed into the models is extrapolated to provide predictions about what is going to happen a day from now, a week from now, and in the case of global warming, decades, centuries and millennia from now.
I stand by my statements in the book. They are rock-solid.
Moral of the story? Never trust a reporter, unless they’re willing to report the whole truth. In the meantime, always remember: there is no such thing as bad publicity unless you’ve committed a crime.
Oh, and by the way, for a real eye-opener into the mind of Stephen Schneider, read Chapter One of my book.
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