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A new crisis for climate science?

Steven Hayward, Power Line

Last week Science published a remarkable article — remarkable for implicitly ratifying what climate “skeptics” have been saying about climate models for at least a decade, namely, that they are running “too hot.”

We are just weeks away from the two major climatista jamborees of 2021. The first is the UN COP 26 meeting in Glasgow next month, which the usual people (John Kerry, etc) are calling “the last chance to save the planet,” because all of the previous 25 “last chance” meetings were a false alarm. (You think I exaggerate? Check out the New York Times from June 30: “Democrats Have a Year to Save the Planet.”)

The second is the release of the next comprehensive report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which typically issues a new 5,000-page report every five to seven years that collects and summarizes the latest state of “the science” of climate change. Suffice it to say that not much has changed since the first IPCC report almost 30 years ago. There might be some small, subtle changes in the next report, however.

The latest report was supposed to be done a year ago, but was delayed by you-know-what. But it is also possible that there are enough climate scientists involved in the process who are expressing concern that the climate models the political class is using to generate panic aren’t really working right, and want to dial it back a bit. If this turns out to be the case, these subtle changes in emphasis will likely be buried deep in the full IPCC report, and the 25-page “summary for policy makers” that the IPCC produces for media consumption will still say the end of the world is nigh if we don’t hand over our car keys.

One clue to this inside-baseball drama comes from an unlikely place—Science magazine, which is about as dead center in the scientific establishment as you can get. Last week Science published a remarkable article—remarkable for implicitly ratifying what climate “skeptics” have been saying about climate models for at least a decade, namely, that they are running “too hot.”

The article is entitled, “U.N. climate panel confronts implausibly hot forecasts of future warming,” and it is a real jaw-dropper:

[A]s climate scientists face this alarming reality [of a warming world]the climate models that help them project the future have grown a little too alarmist. Many of the world’s leading models are now projecting warming rates that most scientists, including the modelmakers themselves, believe are implausibly fast. In advance of the U.N. report, scientists have scrambled to understand what went wrong and how to turn the models, which in other respects are more powerful and trustworthy than their predecessors, into useful guidance for policymakers. “It’s become clear over the last year or so that we can’t avoid this,” says Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The story goes on to explain that many of the worst-case warming model predictions—of more than 5 degrees C—are surely wrong, and it appears the next IPCC report may narrow the range of possible warming in the year 2100 to 2.6 to 3.9 degrees C, with this upper bound down from about 4.5 degrees C that has appeared in previous IPCC assessments. You can be assured that the new IPCC report will emphasize that nothing has essentially changed—that even 3.9 degrees will be the end of the everything. But parts of the Science story, even though cautiously written so as not to underline The Narrative, is really devastating for the “certainty” of climate prediction that we’re endlessly told to trust.

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