July 3, 2009
This interview Climatologist Calvin Schmidt on climate control, found in the latest online issue of Edge has been making the rounds a couple of places, but I noticed that the way climate control is described could just as easily be applied our attempts to build models of reality in our minds…
There is a simple way to produce a perfect model of our climate reality that will predict the weather changes with 100% accuracy. First, start with a universe self that is exactly like ours you; then wait 13 billion years a few decades.
But if you want something useful right now, if you want to construct a means of taking the knowledge that we you have and use using it to predict future climate events, you build computer mental simulations. Your models are messy, complicated, in constant need of fine tuning, exacting and inexact at the same time. You’re using the past to predict the future, extrapolating the very complicated from the very simple, and relying on an ever-changing data stream to inform the outcome.
Climatologist Gavin Schmidt explains:
“How do you ask questions about expectations in the future? Obviously, you have to have things that are based on the physics that we know what you have experienced. You have to have things that are based on processes we can go and measure you understand to be repeatable, that has to be based on our your ability to understand the climate that we have the reality around you right now. Why do you get seasonal cycles keep doing the same shitty things ove and over? Why do you get storms do things fall apart ? What controls the frequency of these events over a winter, over a longer period during a period of low energy and motivation, of depression? What controls the frequency of, say, El Nino events in the tropical Pacific that have impacts on rainfall in California or in Peru or in Indonesia having someone cutting you off in traffic on the way to work on Tuesday, that effects your poker game that weekend? How do you understand all of those these things?”