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Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 26, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Climate change: Modify models when new data come along

Former University of Washington scientists found that “An average coastal temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius since 1900 along the West Coast” was not mostly caused by human activity [“Study says natural factors, not humans, behind West Coast warming,” Local News, Sept. 22]. Researcher Jim Johnstone concluded, “The winds have changed in a manner that explains virtually all of the coastal ocean warming.” He then offers the forecast “I don’t know whether it will warm or cool or stay flat.”

But University of Idaho climatologist John Abatzoglou says “That sort of flies in the face of many, many years of research and modeling.”

Real scientists modify their models and hypotheses when real world data do not fit them. Those who discard the data to protect their models are not practicing science.

Abatzoglou adds, “As you go back further and further in time you start to increase the amount of error inherent in the data.” That may be so. In that case, how can we be so sure there has actually been 1 degree of warming during the last century?

Steven Adler, Seattle

Comments | More in Climate change | Topics: climate change, global warming, Steven Adler

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