From The Daily Sceptic
One of the more unforgivable climate scares foisted on the public by green fanatics is the suggestion that the Gulf Stream is about to break down, plunging the northern hemisphere into a new ice age. Last July, both the Guardian and the BBC reported that the Gulf Stream could collapse by 2025, bringing catastrophic climate impacts. All of this fearmongering relies on models, and these have also led the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to forecast it is “very likely” that the entire system of North Atlantic currents will weaken in the near future. Needless to say, these models have an impressively poor track record, and this has been revealed in a recent paper published by the Royal Society. “If these models cannot reproduce past variation, why should we be so confident about their ability to predict the future,” ask the scientific authors.
The Gulf Stream is part of a wider system of currents known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturing Circulation (AMOC). By bringing warmer waters from the south, it is estimated to increase coastal area temperatures in parts of the northern hemisphere by up to 5°C. The collapse of the AMOC was behind the arrival of a new ice age in the 2004 Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow. It has been a firm favourite of climate alarmists ever since. Of course, the political push towards the collectivist Net Zero project is behind much of the copy. Writing his Gulf Stream collapse nonsense last July, Guardian Environment Editor Damian Carrington said the prospect of an AMOC collapse was extremely concerning, “and should spur rapid cuts in carbon emissions”.
The Royal Society authors find that the climate models that are stuck with an assumption that humans can and do control the AMOC have been wrong for decades. Neither past nor current models are successful in representing actual AMOC observational data. They go on to add: “If it is not possible to reconcile climate models and observations of the AMOC in the historical period, then we believe the statement about future confidence about AMOC evolution should be revised. Low confidence in the past should mean lower confidence in the future.”
Many of the scare tactics employed by mainstream media and green activists are given weight by the IPCC’s suggestion that the AMOC will weaken in future as “very likely”. But the authors note the models cannot reproduce past variations, causing them rightly to ask why we should be confident about their ability to predict the future. The challenge for the AMOC community is either to reconcile the differences between climate models and observations or to better understand the reasons for deviation. “We believe that progress needs to be made in understanding why models do not reproduce past AMOC variability and that this is the key to having confidence in the future evolution of this key climate variable,” they state.
Fine words, but in the meantime we are stuck with climate models that are patently unfit for purpose, except, of course, for the vital political work of scaring populations into widespread Net Zero economic and societal compliance.
The use of climate models to promote the collapse of the Gulf Stream is one of the more egregious corruptions of science that is being used to support political aims. A recent report from Clintel found that IPCC models use input data that suggest future global temperatures would rise by up to 4°C in less than 80 years. This despite the organisation stating such a possibility is of “low likelihood”. In the last 25 years, global temperatures have risen barely 0.2°C. Over 40% of IPCC climate impact statements arise from the improbable temperatures ‘pathways’, rising to over 50% in the wider scientific literature. It is likely that this figure is much higher in the mainstream media that has a habit of reporting uncritically on the most obvious clickbait material.
None of this is good for the scientific process. The science writer Roger Pielke Jnr. is worried, noting recently that an overtly partisan approach may be compromising public trust and confidence and making the practice of science much more political. Ignoring a substantial body of empirical data and real world experience indicates that the politicisation of science quickly turns pathological for science and society alike. “The consequences include an overall loss of trust in institutions of science which is replaced with determinations of trust based on identity,” he observed.
The uncharitable might conclude that with Covid and climate, the reputations of media organisations like the Guardian and the BBC are in the scientific dustbin anyway. But the increasingly evident loss of trust in a number of science disciplines is an unfolding tragedy that will have serious societal consequences. Activists along for the well-funded green ride will not care, but genuine scientists should be concerned.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.