The Real Science Behind Changing Climate

Almost every day claims are made by political pundits and so-called experts that mankind is the prime cause behind changes in our climate.  The problem with such claims is that they have no basis in science, especially within the new sciences of chaos theory and complexity science. To treat climate change as almost entirely anthropogenic is bad science. And chaos theory and complexity have already debunked this myth long ago.

Chaos theory arose from climate and weather prediction models, along with the non-repeatable and chaotic behavior found in the three-body problem. And what chaologists have concluded is that highly complex systems are highly unpredictable. This means that it is unlikely that human activity is the prime driver of climate change because there are far too many overlapping and erratic factors. Mankind is simply one of an almost infinite number [amazon asin=1935942069&template=*lrc ad (left)]of possible causes of changing climate.

Chaos theory emerged from efforts to predict both climate and weather through computer modeling. The father of chaos theory, Edward Lorenz, soon became disappointed by what he discovered when he accidently left out a few seemingly insignificant digits in his computer calculations. He was astonished to find that his climate predictions had radically changed over very tiny adjustments.

Lorenz eventually saw climate as “a complex, non-linear, chaotic object” that defies long-term prediction. In 1963 Lorenz wrote “Prediction of the sufficiently distant future is impossible by any method, unless the present conditions are known exactly.”  British physicist Stephen Hawking echoed the same conclusion in his book “A Brief History of Time. He wrote: “One certainly cannot predict future events exactly if one cannot even measure the present state of the universe precisely.” And herein lies a great scientific problem. We don’t have the means to precisely measure the physical world and probably never will.[amazon asin=B00HXO9XGS&template=*lrc ad (right)]

The problem of complexity is at the heart of mankind’s inability to predict future events with any accuracy. Complexity science has demonstrated that the more factors found within a complex system, the more chances of unpredictable behavior. And without predictability, any meaningful control is nearly impossible.  Obviously, this means that you cannot control what you cannot predict. The ability ever to predict long-term events is a pipedream. Mankind has little to do with changing climate; complexity does.

Consider the vast numbers of climatic determinants other than mankind: ocean currents, cosmic rays, magnetic fields, sun spot activity, solar radiation, axial tilt, earth’s wobble, vegetation coverage, solar winds, humidity, cloud cover, water vapors, ocean memory, hothouse emissions, aerosol particles, dust storms, evaporation, convection, volcanoes, and unknown unknowns to name just a few. There are so many interlocking and overlapping [amazon asin=1621571610&template=*lrc ad (left)]systems and subsystems that a computer model would be hard-pressed to pinpoint any one overwhelming factor for global increases or decreases in temperature.

For instance, meteorologists had predicted a very active year for the 2013 hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean. But they were way off base.  There were only two minor category 1 hurricanes.  Computer models often fail to make accurate predictions in chaotic systems crammed with mind-numbing complexity. And that is because of the butterfly effect and its “sensitive dependency on initial conditions,” where tiny and almost invisible changes can result in big impacts that nobody saw coming.

Here is another fact to consider. According to Frank Keppler, an environmental engineer at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, his research team discovered that living vegetation releases[amazon asin=0742551245&template=*lrc ad (right)] methane into the atmosphere. So, the effort to plant trees to soak up C02 might actually cause far more potent greenhouse gases to be released.

Of course, mankind’s industrialization of the world must have some effect on climate. But according to complexity science, where so many variables are in a constant state of flux, the probability that one factor has primary responsibility for a particular reaction is remote. Mankind has little effect on weather or climate since there are simply too many factors and unknowns caught in a perpetual and evolving chaotic state that borders on infinity.

Sure, the climate of the earth has warmed—we are in an interglacial warming period—

but nothing out of the ordinary. The prominent physicist Freeman Dyson came to the same conclusion, saying that the rate of earth’s warming is normal. He, like many chaologists, understands that when it comes to climatology there is too much uncertainty to permit any accurate prediction.

But for some who are engaged in the old ploy of myth-making and political shenanigans, anthropogenic climate change has become their means to a political end. That may suite their fancy, but it has nothing to do with the real science behind climatology.