Emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University Will Happer says that “it’s hard to imagine when, if ever,” climate models will work in the foreseeable future — and there’s a “common sense reason” for this.
“I care deeply about the environment,” says Happer in a new Prager University video, “Can Climate Models Predict Climate Change?” “We live on a beautiful planet. I want to keep it that way. I’ve spent a lot of time working to do just that. In short, I know a lot about the earth’s atmosphere and climate.
“I also know a lot about long-term predictive climate models,” he continues. “And I know they don’t work. They haven’t worked in the past. They don’t work now. And it’s hard to imagine when, if ever, they’ll work in the foreseeable future.”
“There’s a common-sense reason for this,” says Happer. The atmosphere’s complexity, he says, rivals that of the human brain. The sun, oceans, weather, clouds, and human interference play a part in how the atmosphere affects the climate.
“For the purposes of illustration, let’s just focus our attention on water,” he says. “The earth is essentially a water planet. A major aspect of climate involves the complicated interaction between two very turbulent fluids: the atmosphere, which holds large amounts of water (think rain and snow), and the oceans, which cover fully 70% of the earth’s surface. We can’t predict what effect the atmosphere is going to have on future temperatures because we can’t predict cloud formations.”
Our inability to accurately predict how those “two very turbulent fluids” interact, he explains, makes it impossible for us to accurately predict changes in the climate.
Watch the video here.