On Nature: Climate Models Do Work

David Voigts.

Climate change is complicated science, and climate models bear that out. Relationships are not a smooth line and there is much variability in the projections. This variability is often seized on by climate deniers instead of looking at the overall picture. When you do, it is clear that carbon dioxide pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is warming the Earth. Yes, there have sometimes been slight decreases in temperature, like from 1944 to 1976, but the overall trend is for a warming world. Sometimes the temperature anomalies can be explained. For example, according to an article in “Science News,” it was determined that the 1944-1976 temperature dip was caused by sulfate pollution that can scatter sunlight. When industry started lowering sulfur emissions in the 1970s, the cooling abruptly ended.

It is encouraging that climate models are getting better with better data and the advent of supercomputers, although no model can predict any specific future event. However, if there is any chance that the prediction that soybean yields may decline by 86-92% by 2050 is correct, every farmer should be concerned.

It is time that we acknowledge that climate models are accurately predicting a future with unprecedented temperatures and consequences.

David Voigts is a retired ecologist and the current Conservation Chair for the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society. He is a Tama County native, graduating from Dinsdale High School, and lives in rural Jesup on his wife’s family farm.