Now that I’ve explained what I’m trying to do, maybe I should start to explain where I’m coming from.
I come at this from a branch of what I call Messy Classical Physics. MCP deals with ordinary non-exotic physics, but in really complicated situations where pencil and paper math is quickly overwhelmed. The branch of MCP that most interests me deals with rotating, stratified, radiatively forced, mixed state, convective… (etc.) fluids. In a lumpy container.
I like approaching climatology as a problem in physics. While it’s big and messy there’s nothing weird or counterintuitive. It’s got a lot of pieces, but it starts in the realm of things that are intuitively accessible; meters, seconds, ordinary everyday temperatures and pressures. So it’s one of the easiest of all messy physics problems, much easier than biophysics, very much easier than particle physics or cosmology, infinitely easier than a complete model of psychology or economics, if such a thing is even possible.
There turns out to be beautiful and elaborate math which models the system pretty well, but it’s only approximate. It’s too messy for getting very far with pencil and paper, but see, we have these computers. What fun! Let’s try to put all the important bits into a computer and see what happens.
“Wow, that looks sort of right! Did you get a Hadley cell? A Walker circulation? A Gulf Stream? An El Nino? Cool!”
“Wonder what would happen if you twist this knob here? I’ll bet it would do… ““Naw, it wouldn’t, what would happen is…”“Bet you a beer…”“You’re on…”
“Um, uh, that’s a pretty big deal, it looks like”, we say. “Maybe four watts per square meter, bigger than the forcing that kicks off ice ages, for sure.”“Four watts per square meter?” you reply. “Are you sure? Are you sure you’re sure? Ha! So you’re not 100% sure you’re sure, are you?”
- a) more worried or
- b) less worried about the knob twiddling?
OK, following on that, suppose NOBODY understood how it worked. Suppose you couldn’t even find anyone who looked like a genuine climate nerd. Would you be
- a) more worried or
- b) less worried
So those of you who make a naughty schoolboy game of mocking and angering the climate nerds really ought to reconsider. You want happy and comfortable climate nerds.You want hardworking and productive climate nerds. Dissing us is a very bad habit. You want this thing figured out for real. And if at times you suspect that we aren’t very good at it, that’s when you really should start worrying.
Why is it that so many people get this exactly backwards? The press gets it wrong, the “climate auditors” get it wrong, and the public is misled.