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Science can't predict weather 4 days in advance; correctly.

And it estimates the age of fossils. Don't know which one is more accurate.
There are a LOT of clocks out there that we can correlate and cross reference.

Visit any limestone cave. Stalactites grow at a rate of about 1mm per 10 years. So a 10 meter stalactite has been growing about 100,000 years. And close examination of cross sections shows the year by year layering (where rainfall is seasonal). These stalactites can be found all over the world. The ages are corroborated by radiometric carbon dating.

Tree rings are clocks. The oldest living tree goes back about 4800 years. But wood from dead trees can contain records of volcanic events, thus extending the record back much farther.
[quote] Originally developed for climate science, the method is now an invaluable tool for archaeologists, who can track up to 13,000 years of history using tree ring chronologies for over 4,000 sites on six continents.[/quote]The ages are corroborated by radiometric carbon dating (establishing age by measuring ratios of radioactive vs stable isotopes).

Seasonal snowfall on glaciers accumulates to form countable layers. Greenland ice sheet layers can be counted back about 110,000 years. The ages are corroborated by radiometric dating. Other glaciers go back as far as 700,000 years, but on those the older data is mostly radiometric dating.

Salt flows from rocks into lakes and the ocean. If no salt left the ocean, that would give an age of 50 million to 70 million years. However, various geologic processes cause salt to leave the ocean at about the rate it's entering, so 50 million to 70 million years becomes a minimum estimate of the age of the earth.

Layering of sedimentary rocks - such as in the Grand Canyon - forms a series of clocks. These layers correspond to different stages in the evolution of life on the planet. The layers can be dated by positional order (bottom layer formed first), sedimentation rate, age of fossils found in the layer, and of course, radiometric dating. There are five main isotope pairs used for dating sedimentary rocks as well as the 'fissile track' method; you can read about it all here:

Then there's all the fossils of extinct animals found in the rock layers. They're not exactly a clock, but they are an indicator of the vast amounts of time over which evolution occurs.

Of course outer space offers many clocks. Accumulation of craters on airless bodies like the Moon forms a clock. Shells of glowing gas left over from novas and supernovas form clocks (the Lambda Orionis Ring is about 1 million years old). The redshift of light from galaxies billions of light years away form clocks. The Hubble expansion of the universe forms a clock. The frequency shift of big bang radiation to form the cosmic microwave background is a clock.

No one clock is perfect, but they all corroborate each other pretty well.
ArishMell · 70-79, M
@ElwoodBlues Excellent explanation but speleothem growth is not quite as universal as that. The stalactite growth rate you give is very much an average and can differ across a country, let alone internationally. So they can be dated individually but are not reliable guides to how another cave is behaving.

What are [i]also[/i] being studied extensively now in caves are sediment deposits left by streams that have long since dried or found alternative routes, because these deposits are also yielding a lot of evidence of past climates.
Johnconnor · 31-35, M
@ElwoodBlues Yes, I am families with standard deviation of mean principle both in theory and practice and No, it is not the correct explanation of my question.
@Johnconnor If you look at the cross sections of the stalactites you see lines marking seasonal growth. For any given cave you could slice a few speleothems into thin secctions and calibrate growth rates for that particular cave. My post gives just a few generalities on several forms of visible clocks. My point is not the particular details of each clock; my point is that there are many independent clocks corroborating each other. And my larger point is that some forms of measurement can be combined to make very precise predictions; thus the OP's claim about weather prediction doesn't invalidate most of the predictions made by science.
deadgerbil · 22-25, F
The variables at play in weather predictions are so much more complicated than measuring the age of something. You can not honestly compare the two
Northwest · M
Have you ever heard of the Butterfly Effect, or a butterfly flapping its wings, can cause a tornado years later?

Weather prediction is one of the most complex areas of computer modeling. We've come a long way, but yes, better than 90% accuracy, can only be done 4 days in advance. With quantum computing, it's expected that this will be extend to 10 days.

As to aging fossils, there are multiple accurate methods, depending on how old the fossils, and the kind of terrain they're buried in.
Northwest · M
@Johnconnor [quote]If it were the rock of different smaller planets, smaller than pluto to be called as planet coming together through a blast and high temperature caused them to combine, where would this 4.5 Billion year Mark go?[/quote]

I'm sure you think this makes sense. It doesn't. The age of the sun is an estimate, based on the assumption that the entire solar system, formed as a single system.

Taking samples from the earth, the moon and meteorites, provide an answer that's between 4.5 Billion and 5 billion years.
Johnconnor · 31-35, M

[quote]Taking samples from the earth, the moon and meteorites, provide an answer that's between 4.5 Billion and 5 billion years[/quote]

Like the samples of air, cloud, humidity, barometric pressure taken today to forecast about tomorrow?
Northwest · M
@Johnconnor [quote]Like the samples of air, cloud, humidity, barometric pressure taken today to forecast about tomorrow?

let me know when you start making sense.
ArishMell · 70-79, M
Both are estimates but the percentage tolerances normal in the natural-sciences calculations give wider error-bands the larger the value calculated.

Meteorologists can't give precise forecasts more than a few days ahead, because they are forecasting gigantic, very dynamic systems covering huge regions. They can't be expected to give to-the-hour all-correct estimates for very small areas whose local weather is affected by what are really very minor perturbations in the overall system's air-flow, pressure, humidity and temperature; further modified by ground conditions like low ranges of hills.

My county can have forecasts of frost, possibly snow, but a ridge rising to about 200m altitude on one side and the sea on the other, means my little patch of it is usually slightly warmer than that inland, over the ridge. The hills will also affect local rainfall but in different ways I don't know.

A typical Atlantic weather system is nearly 1000 miles in diameter, with fronts that are radial features, so will cover much of the British Isles in one go. For the UK, the most accurate forecasts are probably the Shipping Forecasts because these are for sea areas, over which the weather is a lot steadier over huge areas than over land with all its hills etc.

So both meterorology and palaeontology are as accurate as can be sensibly calculated, but sensible calculations always have sensible tolerances and Nature does not work to strict numbers!
Notanymore · 36-40, M
And out come the keyboard scientist that will "prove" you wrong with shit someone else said and they don't really understand.
@ElRengo Yeah, sorry, I misdirected my comment and have corrected.
ElRengo · 61-69, M
Thank you and best wishes.
By the way not believing blindly is also in the root of the scientific attitude.
ElRengo · 61-69, M
We are sometimes saying almost the same from each one´s perspective.
ElRengo · 61-69, M
"Don't know which one is more accurate."

No, you don´t.
ElRengo · 61-69, M
I certainly ignore much more than what I know.
But even so I have enough reasons to think that regarding the natural world Science is a better bet than the sum of all "common sense wisedom"
Johnconnor · 31-35, M
@ElRengo Each to his own. I can't agree but I can't disagree too.
ElRengo · 61-69, M
@Johnconnor Good enough
There is a difference. Weather keeps happening every minute. Fossils are pretty much closed permanently.
ElRengo · 61-69, M
@Mamapolo2016 Yes, even if not simple is a bit easier to "predict" the past than the future.
@ElRengo In my case, I'm as likely to accurately predict the future as I am to correctly remember the past.
ElRengo · 61-69, M
mksworld · 46-50, C
Weather is a highly complex thing - affected by lots more than the fabled 'global warming' etc. attributed to humans. That's just a minute part.
gol979 · 41-45, M
Can model weather patterns 1000s of years ago too 😉

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