Climate models: Understanding the uncertainty

For years climate change and global warming have been inescapable buzz words.  The constant doom and gloom can be overwhelming, and it is no surprise people feel a little hopeless.

Climate change doom and gloom

But, climate models can give us insight into climate change and help us prepare for the future, as explored in this video:

Climate models seem like a dull, technical topic, yet they are so, so important for so many areas, from food production, to public health, to the existence of different species.

Yet, when decisions are made today, for twenty years into the future, are climate models EVER consulted?  Although climate models can’t tell us with certainty what will happen, they give us a range of possibilities, many of which have serious implications.  Yet, as a whole the information gets ignored.  The longer action is left, the more expensive and difficult it gets.  So it needs to start NOW.  We need to start NOW.

The thing is so few people “get” climate models, or really even think about them at all.  We need to change that.

So:

  • Start reading
  • Be interested
  • Get the conversation started

Let’s make it the norm to talk about climate models. Here’s a few easy ways you can do that:

When watching the weather forecast: Explain to grandma how weather models work, and how climate models are based on the same principle.

When you’re planning your weekend ski trip: Discuss with your mate how a predicted a 3 oC temperature increase could mean that the number of snow days on Mt Buller halve (Bhend, Bathols & Hennessy, 2012).

When your mum says, “It’s freezing today, I don’t believe this global warming nonsense!” Explain the uncertainty behind climate models, and how they represent the overall climate, not just an individual day.

Basically, get educated and get talking.

References

Bhend, J, Bathols, J & Hennessy K 2012, Climate change impacts on snow in Victoria, report, Bureau of Meteorology, viewed 28 August 2015, http://www.climatechange.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/280463/cawcr_report_on_climate_change_and_Victorian_snow_final-dec12_web.pdf

Frame Pool 2008, Stock Video # 396-375-211, An animal cemetery of walrus bones, online image, viewed 28 August 2015,http://footage.framepool.com/…/396375211-animal-cemetery-ma…
The Telegraph 2015, Flood Philippines 2647456k, A flooded city street in the Philippines, online image, viewed 28 August 2015,http://i.telegraph.co.uk/…/…/flood-philippines-_2647456k.jpg
Tornado Facts 2002, Lightning and tornado storm, A lightning strike next to a tornado, online image, viewed 28 August 2015,
http://tornado-facts.com/…/07/lighting-and-tornado-storm.jpg
Westmount Wire 2015, Melting ice polar bear on, A polar bear standing on a piece of floating ice, online image, viewed 28 August 2015,
https://westmountwire2014.wordpress.com/…/global-warming-i…/
Blake, M 2014, Namib desert, The dry landscape of the Namib desert in Africa, online image, viewed 28 August 2015,
http://www.beautifulworld.com/…/nami…/small/namib-desert.jpg
Bush Fire Front 2015, Vic23, Fire engulfing a farm in Victoria Australia, online image, viewed 28 August 2015,
http://bushfirefront.com.au/1a/pic/2010/03/vic23.jpg
NASA 2001, Blue marble, A composite image of the earth as seen from space, online image, viewed August 28 2015,
http://solarviews.com/raw/earth/bluemarblewest.jpg
Prydain Wiki 2014, Llawgadarn mountains, A scenic image of a lake surrounded by mountains, online image, viewed August 28 2015,http://prydain.wikia.com/wiki/Llawgadarn_Mountains

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