Models Running Too Hot: Interview With Nic Lewis

  • Date: 07/03/14
  • Andrew Orlowski, The Register

The “certainty” that underpins European and UK climate policy may be wildly misplaced, as the models that the climate science establishment presents to politicians as evidence run far too hot.

That’s according to a report released yesterday by UK think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

And this is very good news, says the report’s author, Nicholas Lewis. Lewis is a relative newcomer to climate science who published his first peer-reviewed paper in 2011. Lewis also submitted written evidence published in the IPCC’s Fifth assessment Report, AR5.

Lewis doesn’t disagree that CO2 contributes to global warming – and most of the additional CO2 is caused by humans. The science today, however, shows around half a degree of surface temperature warming manifesting itself over the next 70 years. This the most important climate discovery in recent years – and you may reasonably think it should have grabbed the headlines.

However, with politicians pleading to be told what to do by scientists, the IPCC process – dominated by bureaucrats and politicians – pulled its punches. It acknowledged the finding but only referred to the lowering obliquely, and didn’t explain why its own estimates had been lowered. It omitted to make a “best guess” at all – unlike in previous blockbusters.

We spoke to Lewis this week to unravel the mystery, and explain his workings after the publication of his review of the AR5′s physics assessment yesterday (PDF). Lewis’s subject is climate sensitivity – the response of the system to increasing amounts of greenhouse gas forcings – and this is the kernel upon which climate science is based. Lewis studied maths and physics at Cambridge and his career included modelling: he’s an expert on the uses and misuses of Bayesian mathematics.

Lewis also told us he’d already found schoolboy maths error in the IPCC’s AR4 published in 2007.

Full interview