Climate models have been wrong for six decades

By |2015-12-30T10:45:26+00:00December 30th, 2015|Climate|7 Comments

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Climate models used by scientists to predict how much human activities will warm the planet have been over-predicting global warming for the last six decades, according to a recent working paper by climate scientists.

“Everyone by now is familiar with the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in the rate of Daily Caller  New Foundationglobal warming that has taken place over the past 20 years of so, but few realize is that the observed warming rate has been beneath the model mean expectation for periods extending back to the mid-20th century—60+ years,” Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger, climate scientists at the libertarian Cato Institute, write in a working paper released in December.

Michaels and Knappenberger compared observed global surface temperature warming rates since 1950 to what was predicted by 108 climate models used by government climate scientists to predict how much carbon dioxide emissions will warm the planet.

What they found was the models projected much higher warming rates than actually occurred.

“During all periods from 10 years (2006-2015) to 65 (1951-2015) years in length, the observed temperature trend lies in the lower half of the collection of climate model simulations,” Michaels and Knappenberger write, “and for several periods it lies very close (or even below) the 2.5th percentile of all the model runs.”
Climate models fail to predict warming

models v realityTo further bolster their case that climate models are over-predicting warming rates, Michaels and Knappenberger looked at how climate models fared against satellite and weather balloon data from the mid-troposphere. The result is the same, and climate models predicted way more warming than actually occurred.

RSS satellites v models

“This is a devastating indictment of climate model performance,” Michaels and Knappenberger write. “For periods of time longer than about 20 years, the observed trends from all data sources fall beneath the lower bound which contains 95 percent of all model trends and in the majority of cases, falls beneath even the absolute smallest trend found in any of the 102 climate model runs.”

“The amount of that over-prediction comports well with a growing body of scientific findings and growing understanding that the sensitivity of the earth’s surface temperature to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas levels… lies towards (and yet within) the low end of the mainstream assessed likely range.”

Satellite temperatures, which measure the lowest few miles of the Earth’s atmosphere, show there’s been no significant global warming for the last two decades despite rapidly rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

The so-called “hiatus” in warming has sparked an intense debate among climate scientists over what’s caused warming to disappear. Dozens of theories have been put forward as to why global warming has stalled, but no one has cracked the case.

Michaels and Knappenberger, however, suggest the “hiatus” and the previous decades of overblown temperature predictions point to a huge flaw in climate science: the climate isn’t as sensitive to CO2 as previously thought.

The Cato scientists argue “climate sensitivity” estimates are too high and are causing climate models to over-predict how much warming will happen with increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Climate sensitivity refers to how much warming would occur with a doubling of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

Climate scientists typically put climate sensitivity at 3 degrees Celsius, but a slew of new studies suggest that’s way too high an estimate based on how much warming has been observed in recent decades. One estimate put together by the U.K.-based Global Warming Policy Foundation last year found climate sensitivity may be as low as 1.75 degrees Celsius — almost half what mainstream climate models use.

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  1. fishcop126 December 30, 2015 at 3:54 PM

    And the “climate change” crowd, formerly known as the “global warming” crowd will brand the author and the scientist’s as deniers and shills for big oil, big coal or big whatever that they want to blame!!!!! Sorry lot of Marxists if you ask me!

  2. Dano2 December 30, 2015 at 4:13 PM

    Actually, this op-ed is completely wrong:

    Here’s how the models are doing.

    A different look at latest run.

    An interesting depiction of latest run.

    Here’s how some older models are doing.

    And some older ones.

    And some older ones.

    And some older ones.

    And some older ones all together.

    And what several scientist said in the 1980s that was surprisingly accurate about Arab Spring.

    Here is the the very first climate projection from 1981, constructed from this paper. Pretty dang good, no? Not what the disinfo sites tell you, is it?

    Here is something from the 1970s that is surprisingly accurate as well.

    Here is an early prediction from an early pioneer of climate science, from 1975, 50 years ago. Pretty darn good. (source, and original paper)

    Heck, even Exxon scientists were pretty durn close in the early 1980s!

    This is where we are now.


    For those not chart-driven:

    Global Climate Models have successfully predicted:

    That the troposphere would warm and the stratosphere would cool.

    That nighttime temperatures would increase more than daytime temperatures.

    That winter temperatures would increase more than summer temperatures.

    Polar amplification (greater temperature increase as you move toward the poles).

    That the Arctic would warm faster than the Antarctic.

    The magnitude (0.3 K) and duration (two years) of the cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

    They made a retrodiction for Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures which was inconsistent with the paleo evidence, and better paleo evidence showed the models were right.

    They predicted a trend significantly different and differently signed from UAH satellite temperatures, and then a bug was found in the satellite data.

    The amount of water vapor feedback due to ENSO.

    The response of southern ocean winds to the ozone hole.

    The expansion of the Hadley cells.

    The poleward movement of storm tracks.

    The rising of the tropopause and the effective radiating altitude.

    The clear sky super greenhouse effect from increased water vapor in the tropics.

    The near constancy of relative humidity on global average.

    That coastal upwelling of ocean water would increase.


    o Troposphere warms, stratosphere cools

    Manabe and Wetherald 1967
    Manabe and Stouffer 1980
    Ramaswamy et al. 1996, 2006
    De F. Forster et al. 1999
    Langematz et al. 2003
    Vinnikov and Grody 2003
    Fu et al. 2004

    Thompson and Solomon 2005

    o Nights warm more than days

    Arrhenius 1896
    Dai et al. 1999
    Sherwood et al. 2005

    o Winter warms more than summer

    Arrhenius 1896
    Manabe and Stouffer 1980
    Rind et al. 1989
    Balling et al. 1999
    Volodin and Galin 1999
    Crozier 2003

    o Polar amplification

    Arrhenius 1896
    Manabe and Stouffer 1980
    Polyakov et al. 2001
    Holland and Bitz 2003

    o Arctic warms more than Antarctic

    Arrhenius 1896
    Manabe and Stouffer 1980
    Doran et al. 2002
    Comisa 2003
    Turner et al. 2007

    o Pinatubo effects

    Hansen et al. 1992
    Hansen et al. 1996
    Soden et al. 2002

    o Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures

    Rind and Peteet 1985
    Farreral et al. 1999
    Melanda et al. 2005

    o Temperature trend versus UAH results

    Christy et al. 2003
    Santer et al. 2003
    Mears and Wentz 2005
    Santer et al. 2005
    Sherwood et al. 2005

    o Water vapor feedback from ENSO

    Lau et al. 1996
    Soden 2000
    Dessler and Wong 2009

    o Ozone hole effect on southern ocean winds

    Fyfe et al. 1999
    Kushner et al. 2001
    Sexton 2001
    Thompson and Solomon 2002

    o Hadley Cells expand

    Quan et al. 2002
    Fu et al. 2006
    Hu and Fu 2007

    o Storm tracks move poleward

    Trenberth and Stepaniak 2003
    Yin 2005

    o Tropopause and radiating altitude rise

    Thuburn and Craig 1997
    Kushner et al. 2001
    Santer et al. 2003
    Seidel and Randel 2006

    o Tropical “super greenhouse effect”

    Vonder Haar 1986
    Lubin 1994

    o Constant average relative humidity

    Manabe and Wetherall 1967
    Minschwaner and Dessler 2004
    Soden et al. 2005
    Gettelman and Fu 2008

    ** Full citation list found here (plus much, much more).


    Just say Hokum!



  3. Dale December 30, 2015 at 6:26 PM

    I request that the actual references be provided for verification. This is very important when trying to objectively view the whole picture.

  4. The Professor December 31, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    Dec 13, 2015 Must Watch: Climatologist Breaks the Silence on Global Warming Groupthink

    Dr. Judith Curry is Professor and former Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Following is her verbal remarks as delivered to last week’s US Senate Commerce Committee Hearing on “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate Over the Magnitude of the Human Impact on Earth’s Climate.”

  5. The Professor December 31, 2015 at 1:48 PM

    Dec 8, 2015 Climate Change is Unfaslifiable Woo-Woo Pseudoscience

    Karl Popper famously said, “A theory that explains everything explains nothing.” So what do you make of the theory that catastrophic manmade CO2-driven “climate change” can account for harsher winters and lighter winters, more snow and less snow, droughts and floods, more hurricanes and less hurricanes, more rain and less rain, more malaria and less malaria, saltier seas and less salty seas, Antarctica ice melting and Antarctic ice gaining and dozens of other contradictions? Popper gave a name to “theories” like this: pseudoscience.

  6. yumadlh January 27, 2016 at 12:18 PM

    Temperature change. Think of the energy that could be generated by one degree in a temperature change.

  7. yumadlh January 27, 2016 at 12:25 PM

    These are several outstanding papers which I found that show a better understanding on the Sunspots vs Earth/Moon Barycenter and possible Earth’s Weather patterns.

    “The Sun’s Orbital Motion” , Dr. Paul D. Jose

    Popular Astronomy, Vol. XLIV, No. 10. pg. 542-544. Dec. 1936

    “Sun’s Motion and Sunspots”, Dr. Paul D. Jose

    Asttromical Journal, Vol.70, No. 3, pgs 193-200. Apr 1965.

    ‘Can origin of the 2400-year cycle of solar activity be caused by solar inertial motion?’, Annales Geophysicae 18, 399-405 2000

    Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol 82, No 7 pg 1271-1272, Mch 1, 1977

    Nature, Vol 266, 10 Mch 1977, pg 151-153.

    Nature, Vol 266, 31 Mch 1977, pg 433-435.

    Nature, Vol 253, 13 Feb 1975, pg 511-513.

    Academy of Science of the USSR, Vol. 6, No 3, pg 195-199, July-Sept 1972.

    NASA, NASA CR-2035, April 1972.

    I found this pub to be of great interest.

    NASA, NASA SP-8117, April 1975.

    I hope these will reflect on the present relationship in the Earth’s changes via Sunspots and Planetary motion.

    Douglas Holbert
    Yuma, Arizona USA

Comments are closed.