Computer Models vs. Climate Reality
Written by William F. Jasper
For more than two decades the world has been subjected to a growing cacophony of doomsayers — politicians, environmental activists, scientists, academics, and media mavens — demanding global action to stop anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, or AGW. The AGW threat, we have been told incessantly, is “apocalyptic” and “existential” in magnitude, endangering all life on planet Earth: melting icecaps, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, floods, droughts, desertification, “extreme weather,” species extinction, etc.
However, contrary to the dire predictions of the alarmists, the Earth has not been heating up. In fact, for more than the past 18 years global mean temperatures have stayed steady, or have slightly cooled, according to the satellite readings. If you are unaware of this fact, or doubt its authenticity, that is not surprising; the powers that be in the worlds of politics and media have gone to incredible lengths to cover up this important truth with continued policies and headlines proclaiming the alleged impending perils from “climate change.” They are hoping to build public support for global punitive taxes and regulations at the United Nations’ Climate Summit in Paris later this year.
It is impossible to exaggerate the potential harm that UN proposals pose to the economic viability of civilization, to national sovereignty, and to individual freedom. The AGW fear mongering has already been used by the UN and governments to transfer hundreds of billions of dollars from taxpayers to “climate researchers” and favored “green” energy sources. Now they are demanding trillions of dollars — and vast new regulatory police powers — for AGW “mitigation,” “adaptation,” “reparation,” and other “transformational” global strategies.
Obviously, it will be very difficult for the AGW proponents to win support for the radical, ruinously costly UN proposals if there is no measurable warming and, therefore, no “crisis” to justify the extreme measures. Hence, it is important to note that it is not merely AGW “skeptics” and “deniers” who are claiming that global warming stopped 18-plus years ago; even leading AGW alarmists — individuals and institutions — have publicly acknowledged this as a fact. Yes, it is true, although it is not widely known. Here are a few examples:
• UK Met Office/Phil Jones: The United Kingdom’s National Weather Service, known as the Met Office, quietly released a report in October 2012 acknowledging that “global warming” had actually stopped more than 15 years earlier, that is, since early 1997. In sharp contrast with its usual heated rhetoric, the Met report noted that there had been no discernible rise in global temperatures since 1997. Zero. None. The Met Office’s Hadley Center and the now-disgraced Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia — the institution at the center of the infamous ClimateGate scandal — have been joint gatekeepers of global temperature data, and prime promoters of AGW hysteria. Dr. Phil Jones, the CRU boss who was exposed and discredited in the ClimateGate scandal, admitted, in an interview with the UK’s Daily Mail, that global temperatures have been on a “plateau,” but attempted to downplay the significance of this very significant fact that contradicts the catastrophic AGW scenarios produced by the computer climate models.
• The New York Times’ Justin Gillis: In his June 10, 2013 article “What to Make of the Climate-Change Plateau,” Justin Gillis, one of the Times’ most rabid AGW alarmists, concedes that the then-15-year “lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace,” but warns that we should not let this “mystery” dampen our AGW concerns.
• National Public Radio (NPR): NPR has been in the forefront of the AGW propaganda choir. In an August 29, 2013 piece entitled “A Cooler Pacific May Be Behind Recent Pause in Global Warming,” NPR looked to the oceans to “help explain why the Earth’s average temperature hasn’t increased during the past 15 years.” This common AGW excuse — “the oceans ate the global warming” — is bereft of any scientific underpinning (the temperature data show the oceans have cooled also) but is popular with the alarmists.
The citations above could be multiplied many times over. When cornered, many of the most publicly recognized AGW proponents will concede that there has been no warming of global temperatures for 18 or more years. Variously described in climatological circles as a “pause,” “hiatus,” or “plateau,” the multi-year lull has provided a fatal falsification to the computer models that have predicted continuous escalating global temperatures. The pause has not ceased over the past couple of years; the hiatus has continued, much to the chagrin of the alarmists.
“So far, no one has been able to provide a compelling answer to why climate change seems to be taking a break,” Dr. Hans Von Storch told Germany’s Der Spiegel in June 2013. “We’re facing a puzzle,” said meteorologist Von Storch, director of the Helmholtz Center in Hamburg and an IPCC lead author. “Recent CO2 emissions have actually risen even more steeply than we feared. As a result, according to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25 degrees Celsius (0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 10 years. That hasn’t happened. In fact, the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) — a value very close to zero. This is a serious scientific problem that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will have to confront when it presents its next Assessment Report.”
Professor Judith Curry, former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology, told UK’s Daily Mail: “Climate models are very complex, but they are imperfect and incomplete. Natural variability [the impact of factors such as long-term temperature cycles in the oceans and the output of the sun] has been shown over the past two decades to have a magnitude that dominates the greenhouse warming effect.”
Dr. Curry, who was formerly known as a “high priestess of global warming” but now cautions against alarmist claims, is one of the most reasonable voices in the climatology establishment. She notes, “It is becoming increasingly apparent that our attribution of warming since 1980 and future projections of climate change needs to consider natural internal variability as a factor of fundamental importance.”
This, of course, is what many renowned scientists and climatologists have been saying for years: The alleged global warming is so minute that, from a historical perspective, it cannot be distinguished from natural variability. But, for her candor, and for contradicting the AGW “party line,” Dr. Curry has also been subjected to the personal attacks and smears that have greeted other courageous and truthful AGW realists.
It is interesting to note, however, that even the CRU’s Phil Jones has also admitted to the defects of the vaunted climate models and the important role of natural variability. “We don’t fully understand how to input things like changes in the oceans, and because we don’t fully understand it you could say that natural variability is now working to suppress the warming,” he told the Daily Mail. “We don’t know what natural variability is doing,” Jones continued.
This is precisely what esteemed scientists such as Richard Lindzen, Timothy Ball, William Happer, Freeman Dyson, John Christy, Roy Spencer, Vincent Gray, Christopher Essex, Fred Singer, and hundreds of others have been saying — and demonstrating — for years.
Allow us to cite one more example out of many that could be brought to bear. On June 6, 2007, the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition published an analysis of seasonal climate predictions made by the New Zealand Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) showing that the Institute did not even achieve 50 percent accuracy. Director Dr. Jim Renwick’s response was telling. “Climate prediction is hard, half of the variability in the climate system is not predictable, so we don’t expect to do terrifically well,” he told the New Zealand Herald. Dr. Renwick, who is an IPCC lead author and a member of the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Climatology Expert Team on Seasonal Forecasting, stated on New Zealand Radio, “The weather is not predictable beyond a week or two.”
This is huge! Phil Jones, a top AGW guru, admits “we don’t know what natural variability is doing,” and Judith Curry says that the climate models are “imperfect and incomplete” and natural causes “dominate” human effects on global temperatures. And IPCC/WMO bigwig Jim Renwick concedes his organization’s climate predictions are wrong more than half the time — and they can’t predict the weather more than two weeks out. Yet, we are supposed to empower national and international politicians and bureaucrats to completely regulate, re-engineer, tax, and regiment human civilization on a planetary scale, based upon the same faulty computer models that have universally, spectacularly failed — over and over again.
Figure 1 (below), known colloquially as the “IPCC Spaghetti Graph,” is taken from the IPCC’s 2013 Working Group 1 Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC WG1 AR5). The multi-colored lines on the graph represent the projections of the dozens of computer-generated climate models, virtually all of which project greatly exaggerated warming of global temperatures owing, supposedly, to increased carbon dioxide from human use of fossil fuels. The trajectories of the projections are, universally, inclined sharply upward — in marked contrast to the dark black line that shows the actual, observed global temperatures, as measured by the average of four satellite, radiosonde, and surface station datasets. Obviously, the IPCC’s computer models are totally at odds with reality, as the experts cited above (and in the related article "Scientists Debunk Climate Models") point out. This enormous discrepancy can be easily grasped by the layman — if he is allowed to see it — which is why it has been suppressed by the same AGW media alarmists who have plastered the infamous “Hockey Stick” graph everywhere...
Read the rest: