Eduardo Zorita: Don’t Fall In Love With Your Models And Lose Sight Of Observations!

Here I don’t mean models like Claudia Schiffer.Hans von Storch’s blog Klimazwiebel here brings up an interview by the University of Hamburg with climate scientist Eduardo Zorita, whose insights I always appreciate. The interview is well worth reading.

The following are two parts that stand out for me (emphasis added):

Klimazwiebel: What would be your advice for young researchers who want to work on climate simulations?
Zorita:
…there are two dangers that a student should avoid. One is to get stuck in a daily routine of programming and launching simulations, and slowly forgetting that simulations are performed to answer some previous question. [… }The second danger is to fall in love with your model and lose sight of the real observations out there. Models are in this sense dangerous and climate models even more so.

Klimazwiebel: What would you do with an additional million Euros for your research?
Zorita: …I would set up a project to understand the behavior of tropical clouds in the Late Maunder Minimum, at the height of the Little Ice Age 300 years ago, from proxy records and model simulations. This could give us hints about cloud cover changes in climates a bit different from the present and thus help us say something about the future climate change.

9 responses to “Eduardo Zorita: Don’t Fall In Love With Your Models And Lose Sight Of Observations!”

  1. DirkH

    You snipped this sentence:
    “What would you do with an additional million Euros for your research?”
    “A million euros is nowadays not much. …”

    Quite the humble guys these climate scientist. I could develop a useful product for a million; but they churn the money away by the train load. What a waste. I’m not impressed by this guy even though he seems to be slightly less harmful than Hansen or Trenberth.

  2. Coldish

    My impression is that Zorita, von Storch and their associates are more honest – and thus better scientists – than the hardliners such as the RC team (whom I think of as the climate Taliban), Trenberth, Phil Jones etc. At least they are worth reading/listening to.

  3. Ed Caryl

    Don’t be so hard on Kevin Trenberth. He might be coming around.
    http://www.co2science.org/articles/V14/N30/EDIT.php

    1. DirkH

      Don’t forget his climategate emails. He’s one of the hard core. He’s also the one who tried to play post-normal tricks by trying to redefine what the Null hypothesis is. I wouldn’t give him work in a junkyard.

  4. Ed Caryl

    Dirk, I’ll give him room to turn if he wants to. If he is starting to question the models, that is a good sign. I think Spencer’s recent work shook him a little. All we need is one of those hard core to start asking the right questions. I hold no hope for Mann or Hansen. Those guys won’t give up until the Hudson Glacier crushes NASA-GISS.

  5. Verity Jones

    Good one Pierre. You’ve given me an idea for a blog post myself… I’ll post a link later.

  6. Verity Jones
    1. DirkH

      Nice 😀