Monday, February 26, 2007

Blizzard denial

Can I be forgiven for wondering how the science of global warming can be settled in its prediction of relatively small (but presumably catastrophic) temperature changes over the next one hundred years, when it can't tell us whether or not we are really going to have the mother of all blizzards in the next ninety minutes or so?


PaulNoonan said...

Sure, but it's easily explained.

The difference between predicting climate change vs. predicting the weather is like predicting the number of car crashes that will occurr in Milwaukee this year vs. predicting a specific car crash.

You will be much more accurate on your broader, long term prediction because all of the variance that can affect a specific prediction will be cancelled out by other variables over a larger sample size.

And by the way, weathermen are shockingly accurate if you actually take them at their word. It does rain on 40% of the days on which they predict a 40% chance of rain.* Weather is a high variance phenomenon, and nailing it down to probability is actually pretty impressive.

*James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds

Rick Esenberg said...

It could be, but I think its not. Everytime I read about this, I see people saying there are no good models for doing precisely what you say can be done and the (summary of the) supposed definitive UN report doesn't contradict that.

PaulNoonan said...

I would argue that the warming is certain (that is a relatively simple climate model) but that the projected consequences are anything but.

Children with out voices said...

I don't have the scientific terminolgy but this I know, If we gathered all the money spent on wars, drugs,alcohol,etc and we used it to internationally advance our space programs to a higher plateau,maybe the human race would have a better chance of surviving, as it has been quoted "man's worst enemy is man". Responsibility doesn't land competely in the hands of the consumer, big business has raped the world of a safer cleaner world and everyone knows it. When manufacturers stop producing plastic then the landfills won't overflow with toxic waste. Produce alternative fuel that is readily available for the consumer,and lookout oil production. We rob from the soil, exploit the people and the air we breathe. Can we lead responsible lives and make more responsible choices.. well lol, I remember when marshmallows were actually made from the marshmallow plant...
scare tactics to the average person changes very little. What needs to be altered for a safer enviroment starts at the top. Who among us is willing to give up higher stock options, for a safer world.
OH by thhe way.. what I wouldn't do for a little global warming and soon. Its been awfully cold the last few weeks... becareful what you wish for..

PaulNoonan said...

Sorry Children, none of that checks out.

Because of humans and corporations the earth is 1,000,000 times better than it otherwise wood be. Also, nature spends most of its time trying to kill you.

We make the world good. Nature should not be romanticized.