Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Climate-change Computer Models Fail Again — and Again, and Again

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GIGO, for garbage-in, garbage-out is a basic principle of computing and/or decision-making which holds that the validity or integrity of the input will determine the validity or integrity of the output. Which is why first-year computer students are taught to check and recheck their input data and assumptions. It is not unreasonable, therefor to expect the same of seasoned scientists with multiple letters after their names, utilizing some of the most sophisticated and expensive computers and operating out of prestigious universities and laboratories. Especially when taxpayers are underwriting their work and the studies produced by their computer models are the basis for far-reaching public policies that will dramatically impact those taxpayers, as well as all of society.

However, when it comes to the theory of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, or AGW, the GIGO principle appears to be the norm. The so-called mainstream media (MSM) never seem to tire of headlining scary scenarios of climate catastrophe brought on by AGW, based on the latest projections generated by computer modeling of atmospheric temperatures, ocean temperatures, sea levels, glaciers, rain fall, extreme storms, etc. The same media organs, however, rarely report on the many scientific studies that regularly debunk the schlocky — and often outright fraudulent — computer models.

The Hockey Schtick blogspot reported on December 10 that a new paper published in the Journal of Climate finds there has been "little to no improvement" in simulating clouds by state-of-the-art climate models. The authors note the "poor performance of current global climate models in simulating realistic [clouds]," and that the models show "quite large biases ... as well as a remarkable degree of variation" with the differences between models remaining "large." 

This is no small matter, as leading climate scientists have for years been pointing out that failure to account for cloud mediation in the complex interplay of climatic factors is a major flaw in climate models. (See here and here.)

As Dr. Roy Spencer points out in his new book, The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World's Top Climate Scientists,

The most obvious way for warming to be caused naturally is for small, natural fluctuations in the circulation patterns of the atmosphere and ocean to result in a 1% or 2% decrease in global cloud cover. Clouds are the Earth’s sunshade, and if cloud cover changes for any reason, you have global warming — or global cooling. 

Dr. Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, is himself one of the world’s top climate scientists. A former senior scientist for Climate Studies at NASA, he is co-developer of the original satellite method for precise monitoring of global temperatures from Earth-orbiting satellites. He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming and authored the 2008 New York Times bestseller Climate Confusion.

Hockey Schtick points out that the latest Journal of Climate paper “is one of many that demonstrate current climate models do not even approach the level of accuracy [within one to two percent] or 'consensus' required to properly model global cloud cover, and therefore cannot be used as 'proof' of anthropogenic global warming, nor relied upon for future projections.”

GWGIGWGO: Global-warming Garbage In, Global-warming Garbage Out

Hockey Schtick on December 10 also reported: 

A paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters examines surface air temperature trends in the Eurasian Arctic region and finds "only 17 out of the 109 considered stations have trends which cannot be explained as arising from intrinsic [natural] climate fluctuations" and that "Out of those 17, only one station exhibits a warming trend which is significant against all three null models [models of natural climate change without human forcing]." Climate alarmists claim that the Arctic is "the canary in the coal mine" and should show the strongest evidence of a human fingerprint on climate change, yet these observations in the Arctic show that only 1 out of 109 weather stations showed a warming trend that was not explained by the natural variations in the 3 null climate models. 

Additional studies demonstrating the failures and false predictions of climate computer models can be found on the Hockey Schtick blogspot here.

Meanwhile, in a December 7 post on his WattsUpWithThat (WUWT) climate blog, Anthony Watts reported on a new study that shows climate models still struggle with medium-term climate forecasts. He asked: “How cold will a winter be in two years?" And "How well are the most important climate models able to predict the weather conditions for the coming year or even the next decade?” Very fair and important questions, obviously, if we are depending on these models to project global temperatures several decades into the future and guide global policies that will impact all humanity. He noted that German scientists Dr. Dörthe Handorf and Prof. Dr. Klaus Dethloff from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association (AWI) have evaluated 23 climate models and published their results in the current issue of the international scientific journal Tellus A.

Watts summarized their conclusions: 

There is still a long way to go before reliable regional predictions can be made on seasonal to decadal time scales. None of the models evaluated is able today to forecast the weather-determining patterns of high and low pressure areas such that the probability of a cold winter or a dry summer can be reliably predicted.

None of the models was able to reliably reproduce how strong or weak the Icelandic Low, Azores High, and other meteorological centres of action were at a particular time over the last 50 years. 

As many skeptical scientists have pointed out, for all the sophistication of computer models, they cannot account for many of the complex inputs that impact our climate. Dr. Handorf, one of the report’s co-authors, acknowledges this limitation, noting that “it will not be enough to increase the pure computer power.”

“We must continue to work on understanding the basic processes and interactions in this complicated system called ‘atmosphere,’” said Dr. Handorf. “Even a high power computer reaches its limits if the mathematical equations of a climate model do not describe the real processes accurately enough.”

Rising Tide of Facts Debunks Computer-generated Sea-rise 

Jo Nova, Australia’s climate-science dynamo, recently demolished the outlandish projections by climate alarmists that the city of Perth is in danger of being swamped by rising sea levels due to AGW. The actual data from the tide gauges, which was relatively simple to obtain, directly contradicts the alarmists computer models.

And that seems to be the story for the sea-level climate bugaboo worldwide, according to a study by Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, one of the world’s top experts on sea levels. In a report issued December 7 with the unequivocal title, “Sea level is not rising,” published by the Science & Public Policy Institute (SPPI), Dr. Mörner states, “We are facing a very grave, unethical ‘sea-level-gate.’”

Professor Mörner makes some stunning charges, including:

• At most, global average sea level is rising at a rate equivalent to 2-3 inches per century. It is probably not rising at all.

• Sea level is measured by both tide gauges and, since 1992, satellite altimetry. One of the keepers of the satellite record told Professor Mörner that the record had been interfered with to show sea level rising, because the raw data from the satellites showed no increase in global sea level at all.

• The raw data from the TOPEX/POSEIDON sea-level satellites, which operated from 1993-2000, shows a slight uptrend in sea level. However, after exclusion of the distorting effects of the Great El Niño Southern Oscillation of 1997/1998, a naturally-occurring event, the sea-level trend is zero.

• The GRACE gravitational-anomaly satellites are able to measure ocean mass, from which sea-level change can be directly calculated. The GRACE data show that sea level fell slightly from 2002-2007.

• These two distinct satellite systems, using very different measurement methods, produced raw data reaching identical conclusions: sea level is barely rising, if at all.

• Sea level is not rising at all in the Maldives, the Laccadives, Tuvalu, India, Bangladesh, French Guyana, Venice, Cuxhaven, Korsør, Saint Paul Island, Qatar, etc.

• In the Maldives, a group of Australian environmental scientists uprooted a 50-year-old tree by the shoreline, aiming to conceal the fact that its location indicated that sea level had not been rising. This is a further indication of political tampering with scientific evidence about sea level.

• Modelling is not a suitable method of determining global sea-level changes, since a proper evaluation depends upon detailed research in multiple locations with widely-differing characteristics. The true facts are to be found in nature itself.

• Since sea level is not rising, the chief ground of concern at the potential effects of anthropogenic “global warming” — that millions of shore-dwellers the world over may be displaced as the oceans expand — is baseless. 

The results of Dr. Mörner’s research are especially relevant to assessing the claims of climate modelers that the survival of island nations such as Maldives and Tuvalu, and low-lying coastal areas in developing nations, such as India and Bangladesh, is being threatened by rising sea levels due to AGW from emissions of the “rich countries.” The phony climate models projecting catastrophic sea-level rises are then used at UN climate summits, such as at Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban, Rio, and the recently concluded Doha summit, to call for carbon taxes and “loss and damages” payments to the “threatened” nations, in the interest of “climate justice.”

As Prof. Mörner charges, “sea-level gate” is indeed a grave scandal, showing widespread unethical practices and serious perversion of science. However, “sea-level gate” is just one of a multitude of scandals, collectively known as Climategate, (See herehere, and here), nearly all of which employ computer modeling chicanery to craft wild scenarios (which invariably are contradicted by real-world observations and verifiable historical data) to promote an agenda of empowering governments at local, national, and international levels to deal with the fabricated “crises.”

In a July 10, 2012 op-ed column for the Australian journal Quadrant, Professor Cliff Ollier of the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Western Australia took aim at the dangerous practice of allowing unvetted and unreviewed computer models to determine policies in the name of “science.”

“Many think political decisions concerning climate are based on scientific predictions,” noted Prof. Ollier. But, he continued, “This is not the case: what the politicians get are projections based on models. What is the difference, and why is it never made clear?”

He explains: 

Models depend on what you put in (data), the program, and conclusions drawn from the output.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses adjusted data for the input, mostly from the discredited UK East Anglia Climate Research Unit, and their computer models and codes remain secret — not a scientific procedure. 

They do not give predictions of the future, but only computer projections. Furthermore they do not take responsibility for the alarm they generate. 

FACT: No Warming For 16 Years — Computer Models Failed

Finally, Prof. Ollier, like many other scientists, points out that the real test of climate computer models is now in the public record: Despite the non-stop hyperventilation by the MSM talking heads about global warming, the fact is there has been no observable, measurable upward trend in global temperatures for the past 16 years. 

This was acknowledged in October of this year by the U.K.’s Met Office, which has been one of the major promoters of global-warming alarmism. Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, and one of the leading alarmists at the center of the Climategate e-mail scandal, stated that a period of 15 years without measurable warming would be required to invalidate the projections of the computer models. In 2009, when it was already becoming apparent that the Al Gore narrative based on the computer fables was in trouble, Jones sent an e-mail to one of his alarmist colleagues who was getting nervous: “Bottom  line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.”

Done: the drastic global temperature rises predicted by all the modelers of doom has not occurred for nearly 16 years — according to all the real measurements. The climate modelers have feet of clay. Professor Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science at Georgia Tech, says the lack of warming over the past 16 years makes it clear that the computer models used to predict future warming are “deeply flawed.”

“Climate models are very complex, but they are imperfect and incomplete,” she notes. “Natural variability has been shown over the past two decades to have a magnitude that dominates the greenhouse warming effect.” 

“It is becoming increasingly apparent,” says Prof. Curry, “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.”

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