Tuesday, June 14, 2016

                                 WORLD  OF  CLIMATECRAFT ?

Climate modelling is metaphysical enough without Dominionist and evangelical critics doing violence to reality by calling it a religion.


A  recent article  points instead to the  structural resemblance between 'Stay@home'  climate  computer  networking efforts,  and the cultural phenomenon of MORG's, Multi-player  Online  Role-playing  Games.

Scientific American  reports  climate activist  and  Planetary Society president  Bill  Nye, The  Science Guy  has  diverted  thousands  of home computers  linked in the  society's  search  for Extraterrestrial Intelligence into the virtual world of climate model intercomparison.

Citing Myles Allen of Oxford and U.K. Met Office head Peter Stott, SciAm says of the antrthropogenic weather attribution initiative  :
"The only thing needed to run it is people with a modicum of nerdiness who compete with each other to analyze the most signals and track their contributions on leaderboards... 
Kevin Trenberth, an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research...says, and some scientists agree, that attribution studies that use climate models do not work well for weather events that are local and dynamic—...
"The issue always is, how good is the model, how realistic is the model compared with the real world?" he said. "With some of the work that is being done in the U.S., especially with regard to NOAA, a lot of the stuff which is being done is too heavily oriented toward the model, and the model isn’t good enough. As a result, the statements are not reliable for the real world."
Attribution scientists are aware of the limitations, of course. They choose their models carefully, layer different approaches and stress the limits of their knowledge. They often emphasize caveats with statements like, "It is a single model, or a single methodology." But sometimes, they don’t. 
The general public probably does not understand the nuance, acknowledged Stephanie Herring, an attribution scientist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Back when supercomputers where rare and  expensive and networking idle PC's made excellent sense, my late physics mentor Phil Morrison was happy to let SETI  run on his own home computer. But in the decades since, Moore's Law has driven the cost of number crunching down by a factor of a million. Bill Nye  might ask himself if PC disaster fishing is intellectually serious, or an exercise in performance art.