A paper published today shows that attempts to blame extreme weather on human-caused global warming are “overconfident and probably wrong”. The paper, by statistician and philosopher of science Dr William M Briggs, reveals that mainstream attribution science is beset by flaws of reasoning, modelling and data.
Dr Briggs points out that most attribution claims are based around comparing simulations of the climate today to simulations of the climate as it might have been without human activity. But as he explains, this approach has a fundamental problem:
We simply have little or no idea what the climate would have been without human activity. Moreover, we can’t ever know what it was like.”
And Dr Briggs also points out that even if we did know, it would still not be enough.
In order to attribute individual weather events to humankind, scientists need a perfect model of the climate. They do not have this. Therefore, claims that we are responsible for any particular weather event are at best overconfident, if not plain wrong.”
Attribution studies assume that the weather has been getting worse, yet empirical observations do not support this generic assumption.
Dr Brigg’s paper is entitled The Climate Blame Game: Are we really causing extreme weather?