Stable climate speaking, Dr. Chu

Motl brings up an interesting point in Steven Chu: climate modelers should fabricate lots of tipping points.

The commonly used climate models exaggerate the future temperature increases approximately by one order of magnitude but they still don’t predict any spectacular “positive feedback loops” and “cascading events” because there won’t be any. After all, the climate is mostly governed by negative feedbacks and virtually all processes are self-regulating.

The point in the posting is about the head of a governmental science agency advocating a certain type of research. That, of course, is the politicization of science which was a big big deal in the last administration.

There is another issue to think about as well. The climate is a rather stable system. This can be seen in that the effort to measure impacts of climate change have difficulty finding any signal. The seasons in New England are pretty much as they were when the country was founded. The sea level hasn’t changed to any significant degree. There is no pattern or time trend in record temperatures, major storms, of other climate related phenomena. Stable systems like this require negative feedback, that is, mechanisms that inhibit change rather than promote it. You have to go to geological history over eons to find significant climate changes such as the ice ages represent, for example.

But what Chu is asking research to find and what the climate alarmists believe strongly to be true is that the climate has positive feedbacks. These are mechanisms that make a system unstable. In an public address system, positive feedback will make the sound system squeal as it goes out of control. Engineers have developed negative feedback mechanisms to over-ride this positive feedback and technicians place components to fight it in order to save the ears of the audience. With climate, there has been no need for engineers and technicians to control feedback. That means that the mechanisms already in existence are doing the job of providing control.

But natural controls on climate change do not fit with the political ideology of the current administration nor of climate alarmists. The desire to fit nature into their ideologies is so strong they seek to make it so anyway. That results in science being driven to find it, no matter what, including no matter intellectual integrity. That effort, too, has negative feedbacks because reality does tend to have the matter of persistence behind it and will last longer than fantasies.

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