sue mcnab

Climate change course blog

Climate Change course – week 4

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The IPCC recently published their Fifth Assessment Report (2013)report. Does the recent change in global temperatures reflect the predictions of climate models? Does the recent change in global temperatures reflect the predictions of climate models?

Whilst the press release says that models have predicted the recent change in global temps, the report itself (Chapter 9, box 9.2) mentions that the observed global mean surface temp over the last 15 yrs is below almost all model-simulated trends, whereas during the previous 15 yr period it was above. It discusses the relevance of short time period trends (10-15 yrs) to long term climate change, and the difficulties in predicting them. This issue highlights the danger of the abuse of statistics by selectively choosing which time period to study, which start time to base trends on, what factors to take into account etc. Climate modelling is clearly incredibly complex but vital, & improving all the time. In my humble opinion the case is made – we are causing damage, & for climate change deniers to mis-use or rubbish the hard work being done by climate scientists is disgraceful. We take out insurance to protect against things that we think may possibly happen with very low certainty, we visit the doctor if we think we may possibly have an illness; we are much more sure of the fact that humans are causing climate change so we should stop arguing about this & start acting-fast!

What is your view on geoengineering? Should it be used to prevent our planet warming? Post your views into the discussion.

My gut feeling is that we shouldn’t mess with nature – both in causing climate change or trying to geo-engineer our way out of it. I agree that the latter is a bit like a “get-out-of-jail free card”, to say nothing about the damage some of the schemes could cause. Far better to concentrate our efforts on preventing further damage (reducing/halting emissions, energy efficiency, reducing population growth, sustainable energy production etc). That said, I have no objection to people painting their roofs white, or any other “harmless” ideas like this – I suppose the question is “what is harmless & how do we find out?” . A classic case of How do I get to A from here? Don’t start from here! Apologies for the simplistic answer – better leave it to more learned people to decide…


Author: suemcnab

I've been in IT (developing & supporting my own software) for a long time & now want to get involved in new activities! I am very interested in & concerned about the issue of climate change & want to learn more about it.

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