OFF TOPIC: Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever and the climate doomsayers

Recently physics Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever has been in the news for his opposition to the climate change movement which holds that mankind is in immediate peril due to rapid adverse change in climate resulting from human activities. Giaever is being publicly derided.

I am no expert on climate change and I so I have no scientific opinion to offer.

But I consider myself THE leading expert today on two points Giaever states or implies:

1. An entire expert scientific establishment can be wrong.

2. NASA scientists are slanting data to favor the said movement.

On the first point, the world should understand that – generally speaking – it is entirely possible and it is happening today with increasing frequency. I have uncovered major instances in other scientific areas.

On the second point, the world should understand that it is both entirely possible and highly probable. I have uncovered an enormous amount of dirt in this regard in other scientific areas.

There is a third point Giaever seems to make. On this I claim no great expertise, but considerable hands on experience:

3. With a complex numerical simulation, you can very easily slant the outcome to suit yourself.

This is very true (What numerical modeler does not know this?!). I can tell you many stories from my bag of stories, but let me tell you just one.

Once two colleagues were describing a numerical modeling code. The first thing that struck me is that their cell sizes varied across their domain of calculation. This is because they constructed the cells with handy-dandy mathematical expressions. I pointed out that just where they needed extremely fine calculation is exactly where the cells are very large (and vice versa). They dismissed this point and went ahead and published the paper. It had strong conclusions. The paper was well received as a novelty.

I had forgotten all about that little casual conversation until a few years later when the paper had to be formally retracted. The reason you can guess.

With the climate models, you can play with numerous input numbers, staying within perfectly reasonable limits for each number. But you can still tweak the combination of these numbers to come up with a result that is slanted towards your desired end. You can play with physical parameters such specific heat. You can play with what thermal models you choose for the atmosphere, the ocean, the solid earth; what circulations you choose; solar-terrestrial relations and associated great complexities; scattering cross sections and opacities; and a host of other such things.

Suppose now that a committee of top flight experts makes all these decisions on all the myriad issues and eventually comes up with an official climate prediction. So what have we got? Something the Governments should rely on to make policy decisions? Absolutely not. What we got is one prediction from one committee. There is nothing final about it, nothing sewn up about it. Five international committees of experts working in isolation will present five different results.

With climate prediction models there are so many variables and parameters and model choices, and so much uncertainty of what else may develop that is not in the calculations, that this field is more akin to stock market prediction than, say, weather forecast.

Perhaps you begin to see what Ivar Giaever is on about. He may well be wrong – I cannot say. But is there any reason to publicly ridicule him for trying to voice commonsense issues that are being kept from the public? What is the actual motivation of people who are making him out to be a cuckoo?

Why is it necessary to teach the teeming masses Big Bang and String Theory with phenomenal urgency, but keep the strong subjective aspects of climate “science” under tight wraps?



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