Whoops! Those Darned Climate Models Just Don’t Work

What will the world look like in a century? Imagine asking that question in 1900. And in 1800. The world would have changed in so many dramatic ways, that any economic and environmental predictions would have been worthless.

That’s the problem that we face with the climate doomsayers. They can spin out scenarios day after day, but there is little reason to believe the underlying economic and other assumptions.

So far the computer models have proved inadequate to the task. More research has come forth demonstrating that the models predict more warming than we have so far seen. If they can’t get the last three decades right, why does anyone believe that they will get multiple decades, or longer, in the future right?

Explains Drew Thornley of the Heartland Institute:

Computer models that form the basis for future global warming predictions have projected significantly more warming in recent years than has actually occurred, concludes a comprehensive new scientific study.

“A Comparison of Tropical Temperature Trends with Model Predictions,” published in the December 2007 International Journal of Climatology, is the latest study to cast doubt on the efficacy of climate modeling. Climate scientists David H. Douglass, John Christy, and S. Fred Singer analyzed 22 climate models and found their predictions at odds with actual warming over the past 30 years.

No Human Fingerprint

Most of the models predicted significant middle- and upper-troposphere warming, yet actual warming was minimal.

Douglass and his colleagues write, “Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modelled trend is 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modelled and observed trends have opposite signs.”

Christy, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) contributor, noted in a December 6 press statement, “Satellite data and independent balloon data agree that atmospheric warming trends do not exceed those of the surface. Greenhouse models, on the other hand, demand that atmospheric trend values be 2-3 times greater. Satellite observations suggest that greenhouse models ignore negative feedbacks, produced by clouds and by water vapor, that diminish the warming effects of carbon dioxide.”

Models Don’t Reflect Causes

Many top climate scientists point out climate models are incapable of handling confounding factors such as cloud cover and water vapor (the dominant greenhouse gas), thus distorting climate predictions.

Additionally, they note, the models do not reflect the actual causes of warming. Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT, says the models used by the IPCC and other alarmists assign too much warming resulting from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, rendering the models’ predictions inaccurate.

Singer writes, “Dire predictions of future warming are based almost entirely on computer climate models, yet these models do not accurately understand the role of water vapor. Plus, computer models cannot account for the observed cooling of much of the past century (1940-75), nor for the observed patterns of warming. For example, the Antarctic is cooling while models predict warming. And where the models call for the middle atmosphere to warm faster than the surface, the observations show the exact opposite.”

The issue of climate change warrants continuing research. But there is no compelling reason for panic, jumping off an economic cliff to forestall a future unlikely to ever occur.