Scientists have been responding to claims that if they were unable to predict the bad weather how can they predict climate change over the next century?
Scientists have been responding to claims that if they were unable, a few weeks ago, to accurately predict the severe weather that has hit Britain over the past few days, how are they able to accurately predict climate change over the course of the next century?
Speaking on last night’s Newsnight, Dr Patrick McSharry, research scientist at the Smith School at Oxford University, explained that there is a “big difference” between short-term weather forecasts and long range climate forecasting.
“If you look at the actual scientific details of what’s been attempted to be calculated there is a huge difference. Before someone generates a forecast they have to validate the model, they have to make sure it adds up to being able to predict the historical events that have gone beforehand and if it’s able to do that then you have some confidence that it will actually work into the future.”
Keith Groves, Director of Operations at the Met Office, added that global warming can only have come from carbon dioxide:
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“We do validate our climate models. To actually reproduce the change in temperature that we’ve seen in the last 100 years, the only way you can do that is by adding carbon dioxide into the model, so we have real confidence in the skill of our climate model to replicate the global climate as we move forward.
“That’s completely different to trying to forecast the variability on one month or two month or a season ahead. It’s a completely different application of the science.“