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I don't know much about the topic of climate change to be honest. However, I've been attending a number of talks recently on the topic. As someone who studies mathematical models and uncertainty quantification, one thing that I do know is that weather models are extremely complicated and very sensitive to time. The error in weather model accumulated very fast, which makes long term behaviors fuzzy or uncertain. My knowledge is not related to the study on climate much, so that is about all I know.

I read up a bit on the climate issue and understand that the data suggests that climate change is real. I look at the data (from Nasa website) and agree that it supports that claim. So my question is not about whether climate change is real or not. My question is how some scientists make claims like "in 50 years..." My guess is that they observe the trends in history and use that as the basis for their prediction. I hope this question is clear. If you have an understanding on the topic, please point me to the right source.

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  • $\begingroup$ Keep in mind the changes scientists predicted at the 2003 climate conference didn't actually occur, so there is definitely a large degree of uncertainty here. As a mathematician, I personally don't feel there's enough evidence of climate change. $\endgroup$ – Barry Carter Sep 29 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ @BarryCarter you might want to take a look here newscientist.com/article/dn9912-timeline-climate-change please take a look at the year 2003.(during my lifetime i have never experienced a single year with lower than normal global temparature,i was born in 1965) $\endgroup$ – trond hansen Sep 29 at 16:14
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    $\begingroup$ @BarryCarter one uses tree rings to find the temparature,ice cores to see the composition of the atmosphere,and sediment cores to see how the composition of life have changed(pollen and algae/plankton).it is possible to find how the climate have changed over the last thousands of years by combining the findings from the data sets. $\endgroup$ – trond hansen Sep 29 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ Weather is not climate. While it's difficult, if not impossible, to predict weather more than a few days ahead, climate is the average of weather. If you think in terms of chaos theory, climate is the attractor en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attractor of weather. So it's possible to say, for instance, that warming temperatures will on average cause more & stronger hurricanes, but it's not possible to predict the paths those hurricanes will take more than a few days in advance. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Sep 29 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/20/… , also a good good and short read: climas.arizona.edu/blog/… $\endgroup$ – AtmosphericPrisonEscape Sep 29 at 20:02

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