Friday, August 24, 2007

It's the Feedback, Stupid

Joseph Romm provides Part 3 of his series on why the climate models are likely underestimating future global warming, a point we’ve been nauseating ourselves with. The major point is that the models accept certain things happening, such as permafrost melt, but then don’t feed the carbon release (which is meganormous) back into the models. The result is underestimating the buildup and thus the warming. Of course, the deniers and obstructionists who attack the models only focus on points (uniformly subsequently debunked) that seem to cause overestimation, hypocritically silent on points like Romm’s. There still could be negative feedback that would dampen the buildup and warming that we haven’t figured, but, since that’s been a fertile area of effort by the deniers and obstructionists, it’s hard to believe most or all of the possible complaints haven’t been dug out, and debunked. Which leaves Romm’s alternative even stronger. The models are too conservative, not extremist, and we should prepare for the worst (which Romm outlines here) and the pleasant surprise that would come from being wrong rather than keep dicking around as we are and get a surprise we don’t want. Even if only idiots will claim it’s a surprise.

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