Monday, October 2, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Climate Change Predictions: What Went Wrong?

In this newsletter:

1) Climate Change Predictions: What Went Wrong?
Nigel Hawkes, The Sunday Times, 24 September 2017

2) New Boost For Healthy Climate Scepticism
Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 23 September 2017

3) Ross McKitrick: Despite Denial, Climate Models Are Running Too Hot
Climate Etc, 26 September 2017

4) David Whitehouse: Climate Scientists Shoot The Messenger
GWPF Observatory, 25 September 2017 

5) Global Warming: Who Are The Deniers Now?
Investor’s Business Daily, 22 September 2017

Full details:

1) Climate Change Predictions: What Went Wrong?
Nigel Hawkes, The Sunday Times, 24 September 2017

As egg-on-face moments go, it was a double-yolker. Last week a group of climate scientists published a paper that admitted the estimates of global warming used for years to torture the world’s conscience and justify massive spending on non-carbon energy sources were, er, wrong. The admission was overdue acknowledgment of something that has been obvious for years.

Being wrong is not a criminal offence, especially in science, where in the long run almost everything turns out to be wrong, but the global warmers have adopted such a high-and-mighty tone to anyone who questions them that for sceptics this was pure joy.

The world may still be doomed, but it is not quite as doomed as the climatologists have repeatedly told us.

The admission was overdue acknowledgment of something that has been obvious for years. Despite the climate models predicting rapidly rising temperatures, between 1998 and 2013 temperatures barely rose at all. This was a pause, not a change in the underlying trend, the scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change insisted. Global warming was still going on, even when it wasn’t.

The pause hadn’t been predicted by the computer models, but admitting that wasn’t really an option. Anxiety needed to be ramped up in order to achieve international agreement on cutting carbon emissions. That was achieved — at the cost of browbeating doubters — and the Paris agreement struck in 2016 committed signatories to limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

It couldn’t actually be done, the scientists said. To keep warming below 1.5C, total emissions from 2015 onwards could not amount to more than 70 gigatonnes of carbon — seven years’ worth at current emission rates.

Last week’s paper in Nature Geoscience recalculates that as 200 gigatonnes, or 240 gigatonnes if great efforts are also made to reduce other global-warming gases such as nitrous oxide and methane.

So instead of seven years, we’ve got 20, or maybe 24. The task has gone from impossible to very difficult, said one of the paper’s authors, Joeri Rogelj.

Another author, Myles Allan of Oxford, told The Times: “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.”

Allan’s defence of the models, however, was peculiar. He said that they had been assembled a decade ago, so it wasn’t surprising they had deviated from reality. Yet these are the very same models used to make predictions for 50 or 100 years ahead which have saddled taxpayers with huge costs to pay for alternative energy sources. Anybody who doubted their predictive power was labelled an unscientific dolt, a “climate denier” fit to be listed with the Flat Earthers.

As long as there have been computer models, there have been inaccurate forecasts. In the early 1970s the Club of Rome published The Limits to Growth, an extrapolation of population, pollution and resource depletion that concluded that the world was heading for imminent catastrophe. It sold more than 16m copies. I keep one on my shelves to remind me of the folly of Malthusian predictions.

Today the world is richer, cleaner, and better-fed than it was in 1972, while the Club of Rome is forgotten. It still exists, headquartered in Winterthur, Switzerland, which must be nice.

Full post

2) New Boost For Healthy Climate Scepticism
Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 23 September 2017

Confidence is rising in two key aspects of healthy climate scepticism. First, climate models have run “hot” and been wrong in predicting the speed and extent of warming. Second, the extended slowdown in the rate of warming since the turn of the century was real.

The jury is out on whether the so-called pause has ended but the bigger looming battle is whether machine learning and artificial intelligence will challenge the models on which much of the world’s climate understanding is built.

The British Met Office announced this week that temperature rises did slow for the 15 years to 2014.

More remarkable was a paper published in Nature Geoscience, by a team of international climate scientists, that says climate models have been “running hot”.

As a result, the team led by Richard Millar from the University of Exeter say the climate budget or amount of carbon dioxide that humans can emit before pushing warming past the aspirational 1.5C threshold is three times bigger than previously thought. This translates to a reprieve of at least 20 years — but the task still will be difficult and remains urgent, they say.

A report on the findings, also published in Nature, says the implications of the new research for global policymakers are significant. “Humanity is poised to blow through the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) carbon budget for a 1.5 C rise within a few years, leading many scientists to declare the goal impossible,” the report says. “But the new analysis suggests that it could be met with a modest strengthening of the current Paris pledges up to 2030, followed by sharp cuts in carbon emissions thereafter.”

The findings, together with the pause — which took place against a background of sharply rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere — and the failure of climate models to predict it, leave a question mark over exactly how sensitive the climate is to rising levels of carbon dioxide.

The issue of climate sensitivity remains hotly debated, as is the role of natural cycles, particularly in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Critics of the latest Nature Geoscience paper argue its findings are fundamentally flawed because they centre on a period of slower warming because of the “hiatus” when “natural variability in the climate system temporarily suppressed temperatures”.

The Met Office says the end of the pause is marked by rising temperatures across the past three years. But sceptics argue this uptick in temperatures coincided with El Nino weather conditions and may itself prove temporary.

Alongside debate about the pause, climate sensitivity, ocean cycles and model precision is new research analysing long-term natural cycles and proxy records — sometimes with artificial intelligence computer programs — to take a fresh look at what the past can tell us about the future.

A paper by Geli Wang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, examines natural cycles to try to answer the key question of whether natural events or carbon dioxide are mainly responsible for driving temperatures.

“Causality analysis in climate change is an active and challenging research area that remains highly uncertain,” the paper says.

“The IPCC advocates that human activity is the most important driving force of climate change, while some researchers have argued that natural forces might be the main cause.”

Wang analysed the Central England Temperature record, the world’s longest instrumental temperature record, for clues. “This investigation into the driving forces of climate change reproduces a 3.36-year cycle and a 22.6-year cycle, which may be connected to the El Nino–Southern Oscillation cycle and the Hale sunspot cycle, respectively,” the paper says. “Moreover, these driving forces were modulated in amplitude by signals with millennial timescales.”

Full story

3) Ross McKitrick: Despite Denial, Climate Models Are Running Too Hot
Climate Etc, 26 September 2017

Millar et al. attracted controversy for stating that climate models have shown too much warming in recent decades, even though others (including the IPCC) have said the same thing. Zeke Hausfather disputed this using an adjustment to model outputs developed by Cowtan et al. The combination of the adjustment and the recent El Nino creates a visual impression of coherence. But other measures not affected by the issues raised in Cowtan et al. support the existence of a warm bias in models. Gridcell extreme frequencies in CMIP5 models do not overlap with observations. And satellite-measured temperature trends in the lower troposphere run below the CMIP5 rates in the same way that the HadCRUT4 surface data do, including in the tropics. The model-observational discrepancy is real, and needs to be taken into account especially when using models for policy guidance. […]

A number of authors, including the IPCC, have argued that climate models have systematically overstated the rate of global warming in recent decades. A recent paper by Millar et al. (2017) presented the same finding in a diagram of temperature change versus cumulative carbon emissions since 1870.

The horizontal axis is correlated with time but by using cumulative CO2 instead the authors infer a policy conclusion. The line with circles along it represents the CMIP5 ensemble mean path outlined by climate models. The vertical dashed line represents a carbon level where two thirds of the climate models say that much extra CO2 in the air translates into at least 1.5 oC warming. The black cross shows the estimated historical cumulative total CO2 emissions and the estimated observed warming. Notably it lies below the model line. The models show more warming than observed at lower emissions than have occurred. The vertical distance from the cross to the model line indicates that once the models have caught up with observed emissions they will have projected 0.3 oC more warming than has been seen, and will be very close (only seven years away) to the 1.5 oC level, which they associate with 615 GtC. With historical CO2 emissions adding up to 545 GtC that means we can only emit another 70 GtC, the so-called “carbon budget.”

Extrapolating forward based on the observed warming rate suggests that the 1.5 oC level would not be reached until cumulative emissions are more than 200 GtC above the current level, and possibly much higher. The gist of the article, therefore, is that because observations do not show the rapid warming shown in the models, this means there is more time to meet policy goals.

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4) David Whitehouse: Climate Scientists Shoot The Messenger
GWPF Observatory, 25 September 2017 
Dr David Whitehouse, GWPF Science Editor

Blaming the news media is another low for climate science.  Journalists reported accurately that climate models have been running hot — because that’s what climate scientists actually told the press, and there was nothing wrong with the headlines.

Monday 18th September was to be an especially busy day for some scientists. Many were arriving in Oxford to attend a conference called, “1.5 degrees, Meeting the Challenges of the Paris Climate Agreement,” organised by Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. A paper was coordinated with Nature Geoscience to coincide with the Oxford meeting.

Two of its authors – Prof Myles Allen of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute and Professor Michael Grubb of University College London – attended a press conference at London’s Science Media Centre to tell the media about its implications and conclusions. By all accounts, the press conference went well and the media returned to their desks with the scientists’ comments and quotes while the scientists went to their meeting with a hot paper on the very subject of the conference.

For most who read the paper, or attended the press conference, the conclusion was clear. It was supported by what the scientists had actually told the press.

Although the IPCC’s so-called carbon budget for limiting warming to 1.5C has almost been spent, global temperatures have not risen accordingly in recent years and are unlikely to reach that level by 2022.

Coupled with a slowdown in global warming seen this century – the climate models predicted a world that was too hot – it meant that this was the rare global warming good news story. In short, things were not quite as bad as the IPCC’s carbon budget had previously predicted… [...]

This is clearly an interesting story. The world is in a slightly better position than thought. Climate models aren’t that good and climate scientists are arguing in public about important aspects of their science using phrases like “immature scientifically.” Clearly the picture being painted here is a more revealing one than the “settled science” mantra many would want it to be portrayed. This is healthy, real science being debated, real, fundamental uncertainties being aired.

For those who know the way good news stories go, what happened next was predictable. Ian Johnston, the environment correspondent for the Independent, demonstrated no independent thinking and had to put things right for he was in no doubt about what had happened.

“For a section of the right-wing media,” he wrote, “it was too good to miss, an opportunity to cast doubt on one of their favourite bugbears – climate change.

In a disjointed article he said that Dr Millar told The Independent he had noticed a problem with the media coverage of the research.

“These headlines had a clear spin in what they were trying to put across, but the articles themselves were less bad,” he said.”

“Dr Millar said this budget represented about 20 years of emissions at the current rate, giving humanity more time than some other estimates and, therefore, a greater hope of meeting the Paris Agreement target. But he said a more sensible way of spending this budget would be to start making cuts now with a view to hitting a zero-carbon world in about 40 years.”  

Johnston concluded; “Are climate models always wrong? Yes. Climate models incorporate the laws of physics to try to make sense of what is happening, but they will never be 100 per cent accurate. “All models are wrong,” goes a saying in science, “but that doesn’t mean they are not useful”.

As Dr Millar explained: “By definition, a model is not the real world … it’s called a climate model for a reason. But they can do an incredibly good job at capturing some incredibly complex physics.”

I have read that passage several times, and it still doesn’t really say anything, and even gets the famous quote wrong.

Subsequently, in the Guardian the scientists involved in the news story wrote one of their several clarifications…except it wasn’t really.

Millar and Allen said:

“It was a relatively technical paper, so we prepared as best we could, wrote a non-technical blog post and organised a press briefing with the Science Media Centre. Almost all of the initial coverage on Monday and Tuesday was accurate: both the Times and Telegraph had headlines about ‘wrong’ or ‘faulty’ models, but in the articles beneath them, Ben Webster and Henry Bodkin were careful not to say there was any evidence the models were systematically over-responding to CO2. We took pains at the briefing to stress the discrepancy was likely due to other, more transient, factors. Those who were there evidently understood.”

Well, no. The Times and the Telegraph did report that the climate models were running hot — because that’s what Myles Allen had actually told the press, and there was nothing wrong with the headlines. They went on to criticise articles on Breitbart and the Sun, both written by James Delingpole, and one in the Daily Mail by Labour MP Graham Stringer. Neither of these articles were inaccurate, not least because they simply quoted the scientists in question.  They were written in a more colourful style than the Times, but the fundamentals were the same….

The Nature Geoscience affair has mixed science and politics into a unsatisfactory cocktail. There is nothing wrong in writing papers on climate change that ask questions, that annoy advocates and alarmists. There is something demeaning for science when scientists try to “clarify” a message that they made clear in the first place. There is something antiscientific about suppressing debate.


Full post

5) Global Warming: Who Are The Deniers Now?
Editorial, Investor’s Business Daily, 22 September 2017

Global warming is "settled science," we hear all the time. Those who reject that idea are "deniers." But as new evidence trickles out from peer-reviewed science studies, the legs beneath the climate change hypothesis — that the earth was doing just fine until carbon-dioxide spewing human beings came along — is increasingly wobbly.

A new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience purports to support action by global governments to reduce carbon dioxide output in order to lower potential global warming over the next 100 years or so. But what it really does is undercut virtually every modern argument for taking radical action against warming.

Why? The study admits that the 12 major university and government models that have been used to predict climate warming are faulty.

"We haven't seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models," said Myles Allen, professor of geosystem science at Oxford and one of the authors of the study. "We haven't seen that in the observations."

And, of course, he's quite right. As we've noted here numerous times, the much-feared "global warming" trend seems to have halted somewhere around 1998. We know this is true because satellite temperature readings — the most accurate temperature gauge since it takes in the entire atmosphere, not just parts of it — show there's been virtually no change.

Based on the U.N.'s models, temperatures should have been shooting up sharply starting in about 1995. By this year, model temperatures show we should have had just under a 1.0 degree centigrade rise in temperature, a significant temperature spike in what is, in geological time, an extremely short period. It was those models that were used to sell the world on the idea that we needed a drastic reordering of our global economic priorities immedialy.

The reality: virtually no change in temperature. Put simply, the models are wrong.

And yet, advocates of the global warming dogma continue to ruin the careers of scientific apostates and hurl insults like calling skeptics "deniers" — which likens those who disagree about global warming science to those who "deny" the existence of the Holocaust — while denying painfully obvious facts about "climate change."

As we noted back in May, we noted that the Sunday Telegraph of Britain had reported that temperatures had dropped sharply early this year following the supposed "hottest year on record" in 2016. How could that be? 2016 was an El Niño year, which are always unusually hot.

"In recent months global temperatures have plummeted by more than 0.6 degrees: just as happened 17 years ago after a similarly strong El Niño." Not only that, but despite doom-and-gloom prognostications by global warming's biased, bought-and-paid for "scientist" forecasters, ice in the Arctic and Greenland both grew this year.

Recent revisions of climate data have all been in one direction: Older data have been revised to show cooler temperatures, more recent ones, warmer temperatures. Statistics would suggest that random errors would be not all in one direction.

So it looks suspiciously like scientist-statisticians who are getting big fat checks from governments that have every interest in selling the idea of inevitable and disastrous global warming are, if you will, cooking the books….

Full story

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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