Question: How Can We Fix Climate if we Don’t Understand Climate?

September 27, 2019

Quora is a question/answer site that is at it’s best answering whether the Hulk could beat Iron Man, but seems to be a vector for a lot of climate denial nonsense as well.
In this case, an expert answer from Michael Tobis to a bogus question – a variant on the “because we don’t know everything, we know nothing” crock.

Why do some people seem so intent on fixing climate change even though we don’t really have any idea what is going on with the climate?

Michael Tobis, Climate blogger at PhD atmospheric and oceanic sciences University of Wisconsin – Madison

We understand the climate system quite well. It is not magic. It is physics and chemistry, and for the most part classical physics and chemistry. It’s a complex system so the details are tricky to get right, but the big picture is well understood.

Climate models get a bad rap, but they actually prove that we do understand the system. These are not just statistical tricks.

We put the physical equations as we understand them into the a calculation. Think of it as an enormous spreadsheet, with cells for every location in latitude, longitude, and height. (Each cell represents a sort of “box” of air. The smaller we make each box, the more boxes, so the more accurate and the more expensive the calculation.) We put in realistic initial conditions, and watch the system progress. In a major triumph of modern science, a realistic picture of climate emerges. There is a very wet belt at the equator. There are trade winds in the tropics. There are large surface fronts with storm systems at their kinks in the middle latitudes. There are hurricanes in the hotter oceans. And so on, matching the real world very well. This is an amazing achievement, because none of those features are in the code – they emerge just like they emerge in the real world from the physics of the real world.

To say that we don’t “have any idea” about a system that we can model in this way from first principles is therefore demonstrably wrong.

So your question is based on a false premise and can’t be answered.


One Response to “Question: How Can We Fix Climate if we Don’t Understand Climate?”

  1. Abel Adamski Says:

    See them whore fake scientists can’t answer a simple question

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