June 23, 2005 | Graham

A climate model worth studying

Those who paid attention to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will know not just that 42 is the answer to the meaning of life the universe and everything, but that the earth is actually a giant super-computer whose purpose is to determine that very answer.
Readers of this blog will know that I’m generally scathing of so-called climate modelling. Not because I don’t believe that there isn’t a real greenhouse effect, but because I don’t believe that the models are capable of really simulating climate change. What’s more I also suspect that there is a large element of “garbage in, garbage out” going on.
But there is one climate model that I think is worth studying – the history of climate as preserved in the earth itself is far more likely to include more of the variables and the inter-relationships than anything man can construct. Of course it won’t be a completely accurate predictor, because circumstances never exactly repeat themselves, but better than anything else available to us.
So, I was interested to receive a press release from The Australian Academy of Sciences advertising a two-day conference on the 27th and 28th June which aims “to highlight ways in which to improve the understanding and prediction of future climate change and variability in the Australasian region,” by examining “Records of climate from past millennia [which] have been extracted from laminated sediments in lakes and oceans, ice cores from glaciers and ice caps, skeletons of tropical coral reefs, tree rings and bore holes in the ground.”
The press release says “These records reveal important information about how Australasia’s climate changed before historical records began 200 years ago.” It also says that “rapid changes have taken place, even within the last two hundred years,” which I assume includes the period before heavy carbon emissions.
Media are invited, so if you can squeeze into that definition, you might like to check out their website for further details at http://www.uow.edu.au/conferences/canberra. Get there before the climate Vogons do.

Posted by Graham at 3:23 pm | Comments Off on A climate model worth studying |
Filed under: Environment

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