Written by on October 19, 2022

The twitter post claiming that climate models are inaccurate is not true.

“I don’t agree with Mastriano. Climate change is not scientific at all. Climate change has been occurring since the dawn of time on Earth and has been in flux forever. Climate models are not scientific, and not one has been accurate in over 5 decades. We cannot control nature!” the claim states on twitter.

Climate models are sets of mathematical equations based on the laws of physics, chemistry and biology that are used to understand earth’s changing climate. Since climate can’t be studied in a laboratory, these models are run on computers to make projections of how the climate is changing.

According to the National Academies, scientists have been studying climate change for more than 50 years. Climate models have gotten better and better over time. One way of testing the performance of the models, take a look at older models. A study of 17 climate models going back to the early 1970s found that most of the models did a good job of predicting temperatures in the decades ahead. Scientists also use models to predict short-term conditions such as weather, the behavior of the jet stream and events such as El Nino, and these predictions have gotten much more accurate over time.

No model is 100% correct, as some degree of approximation is always needed when making projections. Still, models represent what is likely to happen based on our most advanced knowledge and certain assumptions about Earth processes that cannot be directly represented with data.

In general, scientists have a good understanding of how the basic laws of physics, chemistry, and biology govern the atmosphere, ocean, land, ice, and other parts of Earth’s climate system. Based on this information, scientists have high confidence that climate models accurately reflect how the buildup of greenhouse gasses is causing the climate to change, especially at the global level.

According to the Columbia Climate School, since the world can’t afford to wait decades to measure the accuracy of climate model predictions, scientists test a model’s accuracy using past events. If the model accurately predicts past events that we know happened, then it should be pretty good at predicting the future, too. And the more we learn about past and present conditions, the more accurate these models become.

Understanding past, present and future climate helps us to understand how Earth’s systems naturally function. This information, combined with climate models, allows us to determine how both natural and manmade influences have and will impact changes in our climate. These predictions and results can also suggest how to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, and they help decision-makers to prioritize environmental issues based on scientific evidence.

Source: Columbia Climate School,

Skeptical science indicates that where models have been running for sufficient time, they have also been proved to make accurate predictions. For example, the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo allowed modelers to test the accuracy of models by feeding in the data about the eruption. The models successfully predicted the climatic response after the eruption. Models also correctly predicted other effects subsequently confirmed by observation, including greater warming in the Arctic and over land, greater warming at night, and stratospheric cooling.

The climate models, far from being melodramatic, may be conservative in the predictions they produce.

Source: The Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009

We looked into this claim stating that climate models are inaccurate and found it to be false. This information misleads the public as far as climate study and prediction is concerned.

This fact-check was produced by Sky 106.1 FM with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

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