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Accuracy of models http://www.envirolink.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14851 
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Author:  Wayne Stollings [ Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:32 am ] 
Post subject:  Accuracy of models 
Recently, I had a discussion with an "environmental professional" concerning climate change in a professional forum. I was fairly shocked when the statement was made concerning climate models as only being speculation since everyone in that forum uses models in one form or another. With that type of statement by a "professional" I thought I might clarify things for the nonprofessionals. Models are speculation in the fact they are calculations and not direct measurements. Models are still very much valid even though they are calculations. The example I gave to support this was the calculations based on Newton's gravity and Einstein's gravity can both be used in many rough models even though we know there is a flaw in Newton's model. The flaw still allows the model to provide acceptable rough results. That example may be a little difficult for some so I have another example I was going to use here. If you are going to model the characteristics of a particular circle using the value of pi you can do it in many ways with each one being more accurate than the last. If you use "3" in the model you will get an answer more accurate than if you used any other integer. If you use "3.1" in the model you will get a more accurate answer than the first model. It you use "3.14" in the model it will be even more accurate than the last. You will quickly be able to model the characteristics just as accurately as you could measure them with average tools. The difference then becomes the accuracy and the resolution of measurement tools compared to the math in the model. This is because with math you can model much more precisely than you can measure, thus creating the need to restrict the model to significant digits and another discussion point on the difference between accurate and precise. 
Author:  Fosgate [ Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:13 pm ] 
Post subject:  Re: Accuracy of models 
Yes...yes. I take it you went over his head? 
Author:  Wayne Stollings [ Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:30 pm ] 
Post subject:  Re: Accuracy of models 
Fosgate wrote: Yes...yes. I take it you went over his head? Surprisingly, yes, it went over her head. She could only call climate models "speculations" and did not seem to understand how that impacted the models she too used and would have to defend. 
Author:  Fosgate [ Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:08 pm ] 
Post subject:  Re: Accuracy of models 
Wayne Stollings wrote: Fosgate wrote: Yes...yes. I take it you went over his head? Surprisingly, yes, it went over her head. Ahh...her head. Now I understand. 
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