The glut of modeling in “climate science”

Awhile back my colleague Dr. Patrick Michaels and I did a quick study of the extent of computer modeling in science, especially in climate science. The result was startling — modeling completely dominates the field.

Here is a summary of our report:

We found two pairs of surprising statistics. To do this we first searched the entire literature of science for the last ten years, using Google Scholar, looking for modeling. There are roughly 900,000 peer reviewed journal articles that use at least one of the words model, modeled or modeling. This shows that there is indeed a widespread use of models in science. No surprise in this.

However, when we filter these results to only include items that also use the term climate change, something strange happens. The number of articles is only reduced to roughly 55% of the total.

In other words it looks like climate change science accounts for fully 55% of the modeling done in all of science. This is a tremendous concentration, because climate change science is just a tiny fraction of the whole of science. In the U.S. Federal research budget climate science is just 4% of the whole and not all climate science is about climate change.

In short it looks like less than 4% of the science, the climate change part, is doing about 55% of the modeling done in the whole of science. Again, this is a tremendous concentration, unlike anything else in science.

We next find that when we search just on the term climate change, there are very few more articles than we found before. In fact the number of climate change articles that include one of the three modeling terms is 97% of those that just include climate change. This is further evidence that modeling completely dominates climate change research.

To summarize, it looks like something like 55% of the modeling done in all of science is done in climate change science, even though it is a tiny fraction of the whole of science. Moreover, within climate change science almost all the research (97%) refers to modeling in some way.

I have now followed up with some additional analysis. What is perhaps most important is that a lot of this speculative modeling is not climate modeling per se. It is impact modeling, where runaway global warming is supposed to cause some sort of damage. This is how computer modeling supports climate change alarmism, by relentlessly predicting speculative catastrophes.

To begin with there are a multitude of physical models. Sampling the journal articles shows that there are many physical models besides climate models. For example, there is a lot of biological impact modeling, from vegetation loses and species extinctions to new diseases. There are thousands of speculative impact articles just on fish and fisheries.

There are also hydrologic models, sea ice models, carbon cycle models, etc. In fact over half of the occurrences of the term “model” are occurrences of the term “model of.” There is a running joke about the huge number of bad things that human caused global warming is projected to lead to and these projections are all made using questionable computer models.

Then there are the economic models which claim to translate all of these speculative physical impacts into huge future costs. This is how the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement justify claiming the developed countries should pay the developing countries huge sums for compensation.

At the top of this high pile of models stand the true monsters. These are the so-called Integrated Assessment Models (IAM) that claim to calculate what is called “the social cost of carbon.”  These IAMs go out an incredible 300 years in an insane claim to tally up the global economic cost of today’s CO2 emissions.

I am not making this up. As though we could know what the world will be like 300 years into the future, when we do not even know that our CO2 emissions have any adverse impact. This absurdity is the true measure of climate change alarmism.

So this is basically what today’s so-called “climate science” amounts to. It is speculative computer models all the way down. Hot climate models that drive adverse impact models that then drive economic cost models. And we spend billions of dollars a year on this junk.

There is arguably no science here at all. There is nothing testable and if these claims are not testable they are not science. They are simply science fiction; stories spun to scare us into letting the global government have its way with us.

The obvious thing to do is to declare a moratorium on federal funding of climate related computer modeling, which is just a waste of taxpayer dollars. Instead let’s refocus the US Global Change Research Program on understanding how the climate system actually works. Either that or shut it down.


About the Author: David Wojick, Ph.D.

David Wojick is a journalist and policy analyst. He holds a doctorate in epistemology, specializing in the field of Mathematical Logic and Conceptual Analysis.