Save the world from climate threats, myths and fears

Summary: An eminent European climate scientist discusses climate threats, myths, and fears. All are dangerous.

“It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits …”
— Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics.

Climate nightmares

This is post #430 on the FM website about climate change, a long series giving different perspectives on the threat and the public policy debate about ways to respond. This presentation is by an eminent professor with long experience in both climate science and climate models. It gives one expert’s answers to key questions in the debate about the best public policy response to climate change, and pointing to the key questions that must be answered to make sound policy. Amidst all the noise, this deserves your attention.

Saving the world from climate threats vs.
dispelling climate myths and fears

A presentation at an invited seminar by Dr. Demetris Koutsoyiannis.
Given at WasserCluster Lunz on 20 April 2017.

He is a Professor of Hydrology & Hydrosystems in the School of Civil Engineering
at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).
Posted with his generous permission.



About the seminar’s host: WasserCluster Lunz

WasserCluster Lunz is a nonprofit research center in Austria. It is jointly run by the University of Vienna, the Danube University Krems, and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU Vienna). It is financially supported by the Provincial Government of Lower Austria and the Municipality of Vienna. See their website.

Demetris Koutsoyiannis

About the author: Demetris Koutsoyiannis

Demetris Koutsoyiannis is professor of Hydrology and Analysis of Hydrosystems in the National Technical University of Athens, Dean of the School of Civil Engineering, Head of the Laboratory of Hydrology and Water Resources Development, and former Head of the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering.

He is also Co-Editor of Hydrological Sciences Journal and member of the editorial board of Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (and formerly of Journal of Hydrology and Water Resources Research).

He has been awarded the International Hydrology Prize, the Dooge medal (2014) by the International Association of Hydrological Sciences with the UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organization, and the Henry Darcy Medal (2009) by the European Geosciences Union. His distinctions include the Lorenz Lecture of the American Geophysical Union (2014) and the Union Plenary Lecture of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (2011).

See his page at the NTUA website, with his C.V., publications, and his opinions about key questions in his field.

Some of his work about climate change.

See his participation in the 2014 Climate Dialogue debate about How persistent is the climate and what is its implication for the significance of trends?

Among his papers is one of special note: “On the credibility of climate predictions” by Demetris Koutsoyiannis et al. in Hydrological Sciences Journal, August 2008 — Abstract…

Geographically distributed predictions of future climate, obtained through climate models, are widely used in hydrology and many other disciplines, typically without assessing their reliability. Here we compare the output of various models to temperature and precipitation observations from eight stations with long (over 100 years) records from around the globe. The results show that models perform poorly, even at a climatic (30-year) scale. Thus local model projections cannot be credible, whereas a common argument that models can perform better at larger spatial scales is unsupported.

For a less-technical discussion of this article and its significance, see “Koutsoyiannis et al 2008: On the credibility of climate predictions“ by Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit — “Par Frank observes: ‘In essence, they found that climate models have no predictive value.’” Also, I recommend reading this comment by Koutsoyiannis about the difficulty of getting non-consensus papers published in climate science.

For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information about this vital issue see the keys to understanding climate change, about computer models, about extreme weather, and especially these …

  1. How we broke the climate change debates. Lessons learned for the future.
  2. How climate scientists can re-start the public policy debate about climate change.
  3. A story of the climate change debate. How it ran; why it failed.
  4. Look at the trends in extreme weather & see the state of the world.
  5. News misreporting a big GAO report about climate change.
  6. A climate science milestone: a successful 10-year forecast!

Two interesting books about climate change

To learn more about the state of climate change see The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change by Roger Pielke Jr. (Prof of Environmental Studies at U of CO-Boulder).

Polar bears provide a test of climate forecasts. Their story is well-documented in Dr. Susan Crockford’s powerful 2017 book Polar Bears: Outstanding Survivors of Climate Change. It’s a classic example of telling the rest of the story about “doomed polar bears.” She describes the remarkable resilience of polar bears — top predators in one of Earth’s harshest environments — to climate change.

The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.
Polar Bears: Outstanding Survivors of Climate Change
Available at Amazon.

5 thoughts on “Save the world from climate threats, myths and fears”

  1. My favorite climate myth is the alleged existence of ‘greenhouse gases’.
    If CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs infrared energy from the sun and heats the atmosphere, what would happen to an atmosphere without CO2? The infrared energy would pass through the atmosphere and strike the surface, where it would be absorbed and converted into heat.
    Where would this heat go? It would heat the air that is in contact with the warmed surface.
    Either way, the infrared energy ends up heating the atmosphere. The presence or absence of a gas that absorbs infrared energy does not affect the total amount of energy transferred to the atmosphere. The source of all that infrared energy is the sun. The gas may, at best, provide a secondary path for some of the energy to get absorbed by the atmosphere.
    The entire ‘scientific’ premise of ‘global warming’ is based on the erroneous concept of ‘greenhouse gases’.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “My favorite climate myth is the alleged existence of ‘greenhouse gases’.”

      Wow. Every climate scientist believe in it, but you don’t — so it is a “myth”. Well, ok then.

  2. The author is one of the few brave enough to point out some of the deficiencies of the primary climate models which are driving the environment of calamitous alarm. Thanks for spotlighting his work.

    As for greenhouse gases, I nominate water as Earth’s primary greenhouse gas. If not for water in the atmosphere, daily temperature swings would be wild — consider the moon — and the atmosphere could not hold onto nearly so much of the sun’s heat.

    1. Larry Kummer, Editor


      “As for greenhouse gases, I nominate water as Earth’s primary greenhouse gas.”

      Do you seriously believe climate scientists don’t know that?

      One of the many similarities between critics of climate science on both sides (they’re brothers, despite their diff politics) is their self-confidence. Here we see an example from the “skeptic” side of what I wrote up in 2008 about activists: “High school science facts prove global warming! Skeptical scientists humiliated by this revelation!” The title is sarcasm.

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