Does the IPCC really believe anyone can predict the future?

In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

So states the IPCC’s Working Group I: The Scientific Basis, Third Assessment Report (TAR), Chapter 14 (final para.,, p774.

It is also about the only unequivocally true statement made by the IPCC in the Third Millennium.

At least in 2001 they were honest enough to admit we can not now and likely never will be able to predict the future state of a coupled non-linear chaotic system (they mean the climate).

Since then of course we have been bombarded with all manner of PlayStation® climatological “predictions”, each of them more absurd than the ones preceding.

Integral to these “predictions” are guesstimations of the likely effect of doubling the atmospheric trace gas CO2 from pre-industrial era levels.

The IPCC uses a forcing-response concept in an effort to evaluate possible warming from enhanced greenhouse effect

This creates something of an immediate problem for an organization whose remit is to examine and obviate “dangerous climate interference”.


Because the bête noire of the environmental movement is atmospheric carbon dioxide (since little human activity can proceed without its production) but doubling or even quadrupling CO2 is known to exert but a small effect.

Enter the marvelous magical multipliers. That of course is our term for them, the IPCC calls them “positive feedbacks” (oddly, virtually all feedbacks are presumed strongly positive).

By means of these marvelous magical multipliers, the IPCC has determined that some Watts are more equal than others, that climate models contain more impressive force multipliers than can be unleashed by the Pentagon, that a trivial increase in an essential trace gas poses an unacceptable threat to humanity and life on Earth and that everyone else’s Olympic athletes likely cheat (I may have made that last one up).

To address most of these issues (except the Olympic thing) has been peering under the hood and kicking the tires on the climate change bandwagon.

Our opening salvo in what may well become a war of words can be found here. That’s 20-odd pages of examination of “climate sensitivity”, some math and a dash of Greek. It is the long form of finding that climate models are hypersensitive.

For those who insist on having the bottom line up front, in its most succinct form, it’s “The IPCC is full of crap.

We hope, however, that you will take the time to discover why we say that is the case.

Take the time to read and understand “Where did they get a crazy idea like that?” and you too will be armed with the math and formulae to review claims of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming and call “Bullshit!

Bonus file: for those who like to play with numbers in spreadsheets here’s the Earth temperature calculations, with explanatory comments. It’s been exported to MS Excel format so as not to upset WordPress, which apparently does not allow OpenOffice.ods files but you can open it in Calc without having to get the MS file viewer utility.

9 responses to “Does the IPCC really believe anyone can predict the future?

  1. The amount of money wasted on this fools errand is astounding. It is a simple fact no amount of computer power of tweaking of the program will ever allow us to forecast, predict or project what going to happen in the future as to what going to happen with climate. It is a fact a chaotic system cannot be forecast any further out with any accuracy beyond a few days. Why anyone should pay attention to these expense toys is beyond me. Beyond that why is the tax payer being bilked for the tab on this idiocy

  2. The reason some people pay attention to those expensive toys, is that they can make lots, and lots of money from them, paid by the tax payer.

  3. These folks tell us they can control the climate. If they can control the climate, predicting the future should be a snap. Too bad more of them didn’t stay in the rainmaker business, we could use some drought relief.

  4. and then they turn right around and boldly state we have to destroy our economies and our freedoms because they have absolutely predicted the future… which they just stated that they cannot do. Sheesh! In the meantime the sheeple and other morons run around wetting their panties, pulling out their hair, and crying, “end of the world!! end of the world,” while trying to force me to trade my F150 for a (not so) Smart Car to save the ever so healthy Polar Bears.

    [“Okay Alice, where the heck did you hide that Looking Glass, damn it!!?!! I want to go home.”]

  5. What do you mean WordPress does not allow .ods files?! It’s an obvious conspiracy from the warmers who love Microsoft!! :)
    On a more serious note, if you can’t predict the future, you can’t scare the pants off people and talk them into letting scientists (benevolent ones, of course) return the planet to the stone age. Thus, science learned to claim it can predict the future.

  6. mitigatedsceptic

    “….coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” Indeed! But that does not deter model builders from collecting all kinds of data about past climatic conditions, packing them into massive computers and running all possible permutations and combinations of factors until something like a match with past conditions is met. Then they open the black box and pull out the magic set of correlations that gave rise to that match. Eureka! This will tell us what the future will bring! What nonsense is this? Coupled non-linear systems are NOT state-determined. Indeed they are chaotic. That means that similar situations can emerge from a variety of different prior conditions, that the future MUST be UNLIKE the past and that the whole notion of matching is fatally flawed. All this was well known in the 18th century but bedazzled by the calculating power of their new toys “climatologists” are creating a new religion which denies the belief that “long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible” and demands that we all make sacrifices to “save the planet for future generations”.
    More profoundly – even linear and well-behaved systems are unpredictable, even in the SHORT term – what hard evidence, what impressions on the senses, could there ever be to demonstrate that the Sun will rise tomorrow? Not just model-building but inductive inference itself is a fragile instrument. `How often do we have to say it “correlation is NOT causation”?
    It is high time this new church was reformed!

    • Too true. A corollary to this the lame attempts to predict the stock market and other markets. There are so many external factors that affect pricing that prediction is impossible. The best you can do is look at the current trend, but predicting when and if it’ll turn is a fools errand.

  7. Context!

    “Fortunately, many groups have performed ensemble integrations, that is, multiple integrations with a single model using identical radiative forcing scenarios but different initial conditions. Ensemble integrations yield estimates of the variability of the response for a given model. They are also useful in determining to what extent the initial conditions affect the magnitude and pattern of the response. Furthermore, many groups have now performed model integrations using similar radiative forcings. This allows ensembles of model results to be constructed (see Chapter 9, Section 9.3; see also the end of Chapter 7, Section 7.1.3 for an interesting question about ensemble formation).

    In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. This reduces climate change to the discernment of significant differences in the statistics of such ensembles. The generation of such model ensembles will require the dedication of greatly increased computer resources and the application of new methods of model diagnosis. Addressing adequately the statistical nature of climate is computationally intensive, but such statistical information is essential.”

    • mitigatedsceptic

      Mike X Exactly what makes you claim that ‘such statistical information is essential’?
      You agree with me that ‘we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible’. If that is the case, what purpose is served by further expenditure of tax payers’ and corporate resources on what you seem to admit is a futile errand?
      Has climatology now reached the position that makes calculating the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin seem a rational and more tractable enterprise than forecasting the future of the world’s climate?
      I can see no purpose whatever in devoting any resources to what is clearly a failed enterprise. Normal science must inform the world’s politicians that the alarm caused by the CAGW myth was unfounded and that, like other chaotic systems, the past is no guide to the future. Politicians must now undo all the damage they have caused in the name of climate change alarmism.

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