Feds Will Spend $18M to Develop ‘Reliable’ Climate Change Predictions

By Barbara Hollingsworth | October 18, 2013 | 3:52pm EDT


(National Science Foundation)

(CNSNews.com) –The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have plans to spend up to $18 million over the next five years to develop “reliable” climate change predictions for the next few decades.

The “funding opportunity enables interagency cooperation on one of the most pressing problems of the millennium: climate change and how it is likely to affect our world,” according to NSF’s official request for bids. (See NSF Decadal & Regional Climate Prediction.pdf)

“This solicitation is intended to support development of reliable regional and decadal climate predictions that take into account the influences of living systems and are essential for projecting how living systems might adapt to climate change and its consequences for their physical environment,” the program solicitation explains.

Current methods of predicting future climate change have proved to be wildly inaccurate. For example, none of the 73 computer models used by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted that there would be no statistically significant global warming for the past 17 years as determined by actual temperature records stored in five different databases worldwide.

Polar bears (AP photo)

And despite claims that climate change caused by global warming is causing "extreme weather," a new study by the SI Organization, Inc., a systems engineering firm, ranks 2013 as “one of the least extreme U.S. weather years ever,” noting that “there has been no major hurricane in either the Atlantic or eastern Pacific, which only occurred one other year in recorded history – 1968.”

“Whether you’re talking about tornadoes, wildfires, extreme heat or hurricanes, the good news is that weather-related disasters in the US are all way down this year compared to recent years and, in some cases, down to historically low levels,” SI points out.

But when CNSNews.com asked Eric C. Itsweire, program director at NSF’s Directorate for Geosciences, how the lack of global warming over the past 17 years impacts the project's primary assumption that climate change is "one of the most pressing problems of the millennium," he replied that "there is more than one aspect in assessing whether there is climate change, so there is not a simple answer to your question. That’s more a policy question."

“There’s no political agenda on our end," Itsweire added. "We’re just a research agency trying to get the best ideas to understand the complicated system we live in.”

However, merely increasing scientific knowledge about the Earth’s complex climate system is not the only goal of the $18 million federally funded study, according to NSF’s own request for bids, which are due December 23. The results will be used to “effectively translate climate predictions and associated uncertainties into the scientific basis for policy and management decisions related to human interventions and adaptation to the projected impacts of climate change.”

NSF, which has a $6.8 billion budget, is an independent, federally funded agency dedicated to the promotion of scientific progress.

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