A New Peer Reviewed Study Casts Doubt On The Accuracy Of Climate Change Models…And The Mainstream News Media Doesn’t Think That’s Something The Public Should Know [Corrected]

Climate change models

The day before Thanksgiving, the journal “Science Advances” published a new study of Arctic water temperature that indicates that the warming began decades earlier than was previously thought. The study found that “the expansion of warm Atlantic Ocean water flowing into the Arctic, something called “Atlantification, has caused Arctic water temperature in the region studied to increase by around 2 degrees Celsius since 1900.

So what, you ask? Well, apart from the fact that the findings suggest that the climate change models considered “scientific consensus” and ” settled science” are not so settled after all. [Notice of correction: The earlier version of that sentence carelessly implied that the new study disproved the predominant science. That was not my intent. Thanks to Luke G. for calling me on this.] meaning that if you were skeptical Robert Kennedy, Jr. thinks you should be prosecuted, the new data calls into question many if not all of the climate change models. Francesco Muschitiello, one of the paper’s authors, explained, “This is something that’s a bit unsettling for many reasons, especially because the climate models that we use to cast projections of future climate change do not really simulate these type of changes.”

“A bit unsettling.” That’s embarrassed scientist-ese for “Holy crap! Joe Biden is closing pipe-lines based on theories we’ve been selling that might be completely wrong!” You see, if the study is accurate, it is not so clear what role human activity played in the early Arctic warming, if any. Ergo, the effects of climate change on “Atlantification” is also in doubt.

I’ve been checking. I can find only a handful of news sources that have covered this. KMOV TV in St. Louis, a CBS affiliate; Fox Carolina, the British “Independent,” the tech and science sites Phys.org and Digital Journal, and mirabile dictu, CNN, whose rating’s have crashed so drastically that maybe, just maybe, it has decided to try to practice journalism again, especially since its new owner is hinting of “changes.”

The New York Times? Nada. The Washington Post? Crickets. NPR? Hahahahahaha! ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, even Fox News? Nope. And the story is now four days old.

Oh, about that graphic above, which is from the scholarly paper? I have no idea how to read it (or even which side should be the top), but neither do the journalists and politicians who are telling us that the Biden Administration is right to want to spend billions of dollars, wreck industries, eliminate jobs and make Americans and America poorer, based on complex, still uncertain phenomenon that they don’t understand.

8 thoughts on “A New Peer Reviewed Study Casts Doubt On The Accuracy Of Climate Change Models…And The Mainstream News Media Doesn’t Think That’s Something The Public Should Know [Corrected]

  1. Politicians and journalists don’t need to understand it. It’s only sufficient that the population doesn’t so that we can continue to be terrified into rejecting democracy and remaking our economy into a subsistence society with our betters to tell us what we need in order to survive. It’s the same rationale used for pandemic restrictions.

    You’ll have heard of the new super-dangerous Omicron variant, right? There’s always a new emergency.

  2. I think CNN ran this and couched it as “Oh my God! The Arctic ocean is even warmer than we thought it was and ‘Atlantification’ (neat term, eh?) is even worse than we thought it was (even though we didn’t know it was a thing until earlier today) and Iceland will be the new South Beach later this year! The situation is even more dire than we thought! Run away!”

  3. To their credit, CNN did run this…on Thanksgiving Day…essentially a two day news dump window.

    “The study notes that changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) — a system of currents that moderates temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere — COULD have played a role in the Arctic warming. Notably, the AMOC weakened after a period of cooling ended in the mid-1800s in the North Atlantic region, which researchers suggest could have led to rapid Atlantification along the east Fram Strait.” (bold/caps/italics mine)

    Another item that flew under the radar:

    Early Winter Freeze TRAPS SHIPS In Arctic Ice


  4. The last two sentences from the Discussion section:

    “These findings highlight a potentially important model-data discrepancy that begs for improved historical and preindustrial simulations with better constraints on the freshwater budget of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans. Resolving these modeling issues will be crucial to improve the accuracy of projected Atlantification in response to future Arctic warming.”

    Translation: don’t worry, the models will be tweaked and the “emergency” will continue unimpeded.

  5. You’ve likely got it sideways. Rule of thumb is that the axis showing time *almost* always is the horizontal (X) axis, with time going forward from left to right. Dependent variables should go on the vertical (Y) axis, generally with higher values upward. This graph is showing how sea ice, temperatures, and bacterial populations are responding to time, rather than how time is responding to them (caveat, those are all standard truths that can be changed if it helps visualize or for space requirements in the publication).

    As a scientist I’d note that no, a single study (even a strong peer-reviewed one) never “disproves” a body of scientific consensus. Assuming it’s compelling, the most it does is raise a bright red flag that hordes of other labs will descend on to pick apart in every direction- either establishing exactly what hole in the consensus the new study found, or establishing exactly why and how the new study is faulty and doesn’t actually disprove anything. Be cautious in assuming one study is “proof,” since that can lead to the assumption of bias or deceit if the new study is later shown to be less correct than it first appeared.

    The more you know!

    • I figured I had it sideways, but this way fit better.
      I was unclear when I wrote “the findings disprove what was considered “scientific consensus” and ” settled science.” What I meant was that it disproved that the currently accepted models were “settled science” or a “consensus,” which are words used to ridicule skeptics. The title reflected my assessment: it casts doubt on the models. I may fix the offending sentence. It is misleading, and not what I meant.

      • Part of the disconnect is something I assume you can sympathize with as a lawyer- words used as scientific terms of art don’t always mean what they’d mean in casual conversation. “Consensus” is a pretty fair term for much of climate science, in the sense that it is supported by the overall body of current research and there’s not currently a good alternate model. A non-scientist may interpret “consensus” as that thing you reach in a meeting where we all have 100% agreed and know exactly how to proceed, which is a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means.

        We also see this when people say “it’s just a theory!” not realizing that in science, a “theory” isn’t an idea or supposition but rather an incredibly well-supported and firmly established set of findings. Don’t even get me started on “significant.”

        So were I to quibble, one finding CAN cast doubt on the current models but isn’t enough to claim that there isn’t still a current consensus. A strong finding that goes against consensus is the seed of an idea that, with further support, can either break the consensus by proving to be a viable alternate model, or can fizzle out with further probing.

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