Why models fail when developed with political as well as pure scientific motives

The corona virus has given us all an education on why models fail. Everybody in any form of management have to make forecasts, plan for the future as they stare an uncertain future in the face. It is time to remember the old saying in the Army: “No plan ever survived contact with the enemy”. And so it is, the corona virus is the unseen enemy that will affect our future, and our plans will have to change on an almost daily basis as it initially worked by doubling every 3 days. No disease since smallpox or measles in the American Indian population has been that infectious. So it was time to panic when it broke out in the Wuhan city in China. The city was sealed off except for international flying which was allowed to continue. The SO2 over the city was strong from all the cremation ovens going full blast. Over 40000 cremations was paid for by the Chinese government if the descendant agreed to ask no further questions, so they were never counted. How many more cremations? Who knows, but the size of the SO2 clouds, which by the way was only over Wuhan and Chongqing indicates it could have been ten times as many. But back to the models. These rumors prompted Trump to close all air travel to all non U.S citizens that had recently been in China. The official line was that there was no human to human transmission. As the death toll mounted in Italy with a 10+ percent death rate among the infected, the models indicated that U.S would have 2.2 million deaths. The models have since been adjusted more than once a week, but has now stabilized at 60000 deaths or fewer. While this is good news, why did the models fail us so badly?

The answer is obvious. Models are only as good as the input data and the assumptive relationships. In this case the big unknown was the denominator, how many will have it and yet show no symptoms? They may even be carriers.

We now have some of the answers. The death rate will be between 0.2 and 0.3% and will affect the normal risk categories, the old, diabetes, asthma, smoking, marijuana use, other drugs, overweight, and a compromised or overactive immune system. Properly handled, early diagnosis, and protecting the most at risk will reduce the death rate even lower.

It is time to get back to work.

The other models hat has failed us badly are the climate models, but the time scale is decades, not days. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has given out projections five times, beginning in 1990 on what happens to global temperatures if the amount of the greenhouse gas CO2 released in the air is increased, held steady or decreased. The result is always alarming with predictions a high as a temperature increase of up to 8,5C globally by the year 2100. Every new assessment show a decreasing number with the IPCC5 prediction being that temperature increase will be 2.2 C or thereabout if all reductions proposed will be made. IPCC6 will show a larger increase, mostly because of the rapid increase of CO2 emissions by China, India and other developing countries (Yes China is considered a developing country by U.N.)

There is one major problem with all these models. The trends shown by the models do not match with reality. The increased CO2 already occurred since industrialization would show a substantial hot spot in the tropical troposphere. There is no such hot spot. What do IPCC do with that troublesome fact? They ignore it, because it is mostly politically, not scientifically driven. Yes the scientists are sincere and contribute their parts, but the conclusions are politically driven. Is climate change a hoax? Not at all, it is changing, and long term we will have another ice age, but until then the increasing CO2 will stop the oncoming ice age, and even increase it  by as much as 7C in the arctic and antarctic, but only in the winter. In the summer there is no increase in temperature!

Why is that? To get the answer we must study molecular absorption spectroscopy and explain a couple of facts for the 97% of all scientists who have not studied molecular spectroscopy. IPCC and most scientists claim that the greenhouse effect is dependent on the gases that are in the atmosphere, and their combined effect is additive according to a logarithmic formula. This is true up to a certain point, but it is not possible to absorb more than 100% of all the energy available in a certain frequency band! For example: If water vapor absorbs 50% of all incoming energy in a certain band, and CO2 absorbs another 90% of the energy in the same band, the result is that 95% is absorbed, (90% + 50% * (100% – 90%)),  not 140%, (90% + 50%).

Even in Barrow, Alaska water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. Only at the South Pole (And North Pole) does CO2 dominate (in the long winter).

All Climate models take this into account, and that is why they all predict that the major temperature increase will occur in the polar regions with melting icecaps and other dire consequences. But they also predict a uniform temperature rise from the increased forcing from CO2 and the additional water vapor resulting from the increased temperature.

This is wrong on two accounts. First, CO2 and H2O gas are nor orthogonal, that means they both absorb in the same frequency bands. There is three bands where CO2 absorb much more than H2O in the far infrared band, but other than that H2O is the main absorbent. If H2O is 80 times as common as CO2 as it is around the equator, water vapor is still the dominant absorbent.

And one more thing. Water vapor is a condensing gas, and it matters greatly whether it is in the atmosphere as a gas or in the form of a cloud. Clouds warm by night and cool by day and the cooling by day is much more than the warming by night, so it also matters greatly when clouds appear. People living in rural America know this instinctively even if they have not done the calculations. They look up and discern the sky and thank God for the clouds when they appear in the summer. In the winter that may mean even more snow. Clouds are the major temperature regulators of the earth. On the other hand people living in urban heat islands go from their air conditioned offices to their parked cars heated up in the sun so much that they get blisters when they touch the steering wheel. They are experiencing the worst of climate change, don’t look up and don’t thank God for the blisters.

We have immense environmental problems. CO2 is not one of them. There is a great need for a green new deal, but that involves cleaning up the earth, not destroying it even further. All of this takes a lot of energy. There is only one solution to this dilemma, renewables alone will not even begin to solve it, only Liquid Fluoride Thorium nuclear reactors, and in the future fusion power will have a chance to carry us through the next ice age, which will come when we have used up all available fossil fuels. We must save the bulk of it for our great grand-kids.

 

 

Published by

lenbilen

Retired engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, computer chip manufacturing and finally adjunct faculty at Pennsylvania State University, taught just one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

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