Nullifying the climate null hypothesis
Article first published online: 3 NOV 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Volume 2, Issue 6, pages 919–924, November/December 2011
How to Cite
Curry, J. (2011), Nullifying the climate null hypothesis. WIREs Clim Change, 2: 919–924. doi: 10.1002/wcc.141
- Issue published online: 9 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 3 NOV 2011
This essay addresses Trenberth's statement that ‘Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, and is “very likely” due to human activities to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence.’ We examine how the concept of a null hypothesis is being used implicitly and explicitly in the scientific and policy debate on climate change, in the context of scientific hypothesis testing, as a framework for ‘burden of proof’ arguments and policy deliberations, and metaphorically in the context of a polemic. It is argued that the statement of a null hypothesis is not particularly useful in the broader context of the scientific inferences surrounding the topic of the attribution of climate change and also policy decisions. WIREs Clim Change 2011, 2:919–924. doi: 10.1002/wcc.141
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