Quote of the Week – an interesting admission at RealClimate

qotw_cropped

Models: some are good, some are not so good, some are useless.

To conclude, climate models can and have been verified against observations in a property that is most important for many users: the regional trends. This verification shows that many large-scale features of climate change are being simulated correctly, but smaller-scale observed trends are in the tails of the ensemble more often than predicted by chance fluctuations. The CMIP5 multi-model ensemble can therefore not be used as a probability forecast for future climate. We have to present the useful climate information in climate model ensembles in other ways until these problems have been resolved.

From http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/04/verification-of-regional-model-trends/

h/t to Steve Mosher

See also: http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/cms-filesystem-action/user_files/tk/knutson_et_al_regional_trends_jan2013.pdf

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65 thoughts on “Quote of the Week – an interesting admission at RealClimate

  1. GC models were known GIGO even before major discoveries in climatology of the past 16 years such as the PDO, AMO & fact that TSI may not change much but its spectral composition does, significantly so, none of which new information do they take into account. Besides which, critical assumptions upon which they were & (disgracefully) still are based, like water vapor feedback, have been shown false.

  2. Even if the model outputs matched the observations, this would still not tell us that the models were correct, since in a complex algorithm an error in one parameter can be balanced by an offsetting error in another.

    If the model outputs do not match the observations, on the other hand, we can confirm that they are incorrect.

    And since they know those models to be incorrect, why are they still trying to use them to ‘present the useful climate information’ when the models do not contain any actual useful information?

  3. If the models can’t be used to forecast future climate, how are they still “useful” — as propaganda tools? Maybe these modern-day oracles should go back to reading animal entrails. It could be done a lot cheaper, and the accuracy would be just as good.

  4. They continue to live in an imaginary model kingdom, even their initial sentence is total fantasy.

    To conclude, climate models can and have been verified against observations in a property that is most important for many users: the regional trends.

    Mmm … I haven’t seen any evidence for this at all. Quite the reverse, climate models are well known for being poor at hindcasting regional temperature trends, and as Koutsoyiannis showed, they are totally useless for hindcasting regional precipitation trends.

    They are all generally passable at hindcasting the global average surface air temperature trends … but then since they are all generally trained to reproduce historical global average surface air trends, this is meaningless.

    So while their admission is welcome and surprising, they still have a long ways to go.

    w.

  5. “We have to present the useful climate information in climate model ensembles in other ways”

    Sounds like they are trying to hide the decline.

  6. Smacks of classic misdirection. Admit failure, but confine it to a minimalist concept.

    Easy solution RealClimate; crowd source the model and make the model open code!

    Far more complex systems have been successfully improved by open code. This particular statement though is a bit of misdirection itself; there has not been any project as complex as a full atmospheric/solar/hydro/oceanographic model would truly require. So don’t expect miracles; especially miracles like predicting climate years into the future.

  7. milodonharlani says:
    April 15, 2013 at 9:58 am
    GC models were known GIGO even before major discoveries in climatology of the past 16 years such as the PDO, AMO & fact that TSI may not change much but its spectral composition does
    There is no evidence for long-term changes in spectral composition. There may be such change within each solar cycle, although this is not firmly established yet and some models do incorporate that [and find only minimal impact - less than a tenth of a degree or so], e.g. http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/news/2011ScienceMeeting/docs/presentations/6b_Cahalan_Sedona_9-15-2011.pdf

  8. “smaller-scale observed trends are in the tails of the ensemble more often than predicted by chance fluctuations”
    Assigning undue credibility to such models flawed in this respect would lead directly to forecasts of increasing frequency of occurrence of extremes of weather.
    The alarmists may not realize it, but this admission is fatal to their most recent claims – that anthropogenic climate change will lead to more extreme weather.
    The ‘decline’ to hide now is in their credibility.

  9. It is not necessarily good news that regional climate variation is hard to predict. I would even venture that it might not be news at all.

  10. Darn, I was hoping all the modeling/simulations/projections or what ever we want to call the output of the “CMIP5 multi-model ensemble” would be of some benefit/value for my near term (2-5 years) decision making. Basically what climate change should plan for in my area. My test vineyard indicates that if the temperature increases just a tad in the future I should plant more Chardonnay. If the 14 year average temperature (and the monthly SD) stays about the same as it has been for the last fourteen years then I should stick with Zinfandel or Syrah. Oh well, maybe the next effort will be able to provide some data I can actually use.

  11. The CMIP5 multi-model ensemble can therefore not be used as a probability forecast for future climate. We have to present the useful climate information in climate model ensembles in other ways until these problems have been resolved.

    That is a good step forward.

    To conclude, climate models can and have been verified against observations in a property that is most important for many users: the regional trends.

    That isn’t.

  12. Realclimate point out shortcomings wiith models – again – and explain what there is confidence about regarding then and what there isn’t. The post is fairly informative for laypeople. This is spun into an ‘admission’ at WUWT and commenters fire potshots from the trenches into the foggy air.

    Pope retains denomination.

  13. Tony, your credibility remains unchanged! Keep up the good work!

    Has Pielke, Sr., been able to rescue your “game-changing paper” yet?

    Time’s a wasting. Since he’s given up posting to his own blog, that must leave him a lot of time to help you out.

    So what’s taking so long? …both he and you have been remarkably silent for a pretty long time, about your “game-changing paper.”

    I know…it’s just getting longer and longer and better and better. Forget about the basic, elementary, fundamental, fatal flaw.

    Keep up the good work!

  14. Computer models of climate can’t be tested against an erratic global system with time scales that vary on the millenial, century and decadal. If aerodynamic engineers use computer models to their advantage then good for them.
    The climate of east North America has been mixed deciduous forest since the end of the last glaciation. Tropical climates have not changed significantly on any biological time scale. The Antarctic climate has not changed since humans found it, but likely it’s been an ice cap for millions of years.
    The northern boreal forests and tundra may or may not be slowly recovering (warming) from the little ice age. Sea levels have not changed significantly since the Minoans docked their fishing boats.
    Carbon dioxide does not accumulate in the atmosphere. The biological carbon sources and sinks exchange CO2 through the atmosphere at a rate about 33 to 40 times the fossil fuel combustion rates. Oceans hold thousands of times more thermal energy than the air above it. The IPCC is a political entity. “Scientific” organizations exist soley to promote themselves.
    Even today, there exists no methodically placed global network of surface weather stations maintained with scientific standards.
    There are many more reasons why the AGW issue will be judged by history as a human disgrace.

  15. Shelama says: April 15, 2013 at 10:34 am [snip]
    Shelama is trolling – Mods, where are you? :)

    Meanwhile, any little admission of this kind over at RC is welcome, but why do I suspect their motives?

  16. To conclude, Ptolemy’s System of Epicycles can and have been verified against observations in a property that is most important for many users: the orbits of the Moon, the Sun, Mercury and Venus. This verification shows that many large-scale features of Planetary Orbits are being simulated correctly, but smaller-scale observed trends are in the tails of the ensemble more often than predicted by chance fluctuations. The System of Epicycles can therefore not be used as a probability forecast for the orbits of Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn. (Mars might prove to be just swamp gas.) We have to present the useful orbital information in the System of Epicycles in other ways until these problems have been resolved.

  17. “many large-scale features of climate change are being simulated correctly”

    Yes. The models are correctly simulating that the world has a climate. And to their credit, none of the models predicted that we would be invaded by zombies from Outer Space. The models have been proved completely correct in that regard, so far.

    So congratulations to all the modellers.

  18. “. . . the useful climate information in climate model ensembles . . .

    Well, that should be a short statement.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    kakatoa says:
    April 15, 2013 at 10:23 am

    “ . . . in the future I should plant more . . .

    May I suggest Concord – it is very cold hardy.

  19. @James Evans says:
    April 15, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Laugh!

    You have penetrated the collective mind of the “Climate Scientist” and seen its simple pleasures. Play-time!

  20. The above quotation sound to me nothing more than trying to draw attention away from demonstrable failure. With the intention of reformating to make the same claims.

  21. kakatoa says:

    April 15, 2013 at 10:23 am

    If you happen to need taste testers for the Zinfandel let me know. No special qualifications only lots of tasting of product.

  22. James Evans says:
    April 15, 2013 at 11:25 am

    How well do they do on seasons? Or is that just weather?

  23. Maybe the realclimate authors just got their annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, that’s they only way they will ever come close to some “good models”.

  24. “climate model ensembles”

    Are a bit like my gambling ensemble model: I just put money on every square and I’m never wrong! Which is as successful as Lewansky’s “chat up ensemble model” …he just goes through the list of chat up lines until he finds one that will get him into bed with the model.

    There’s a joke … how do you know when climate researcher’s band is playing? You hear their ensemble playing every note in the book … in the hope that one fits the tune.

  25. Friends:

    Climate model ensembles are nonsense.

    Average wrong is wrong.
    If one of the models were right then one would not know which.
    But if its outputs are averaged in an ensemble then all the others would be wrong.
    Average wrong is wrong, and there is no way to determine how wrong.

    Richard

  26. lsvalgaard says:
    April 15, 2013 at 10:16 am
    “There is no evidence for long-term changes in spectral composition. There may be such change within each solar cycle, although this is not firmly established yet and some models do incorporate that [and find only minimal impact - less than a tenth of a degree or so],”

    Such a model would still suffer from the known shortcomings of all GCM’s so what it does find for the variation in the solar spectrum is as realistic as the rest of its results – not much. At least that must be the default assumption as long as all the state’s climatologists and all the state’s supercomputers do not show ANY predictive skill.

  27. Biggest admission at RealClimate is in a post about the tar sands. They evaluate the impact of using shale with a climate model that has been tuned to yield a 3C response.

  28. Along with your “quote of the week”, you could also have several “Quotes of the Weak”, and even just plain ole “Weak Quotes”

  29. DirkH says:
    April 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm
    “There is no evidence for long-term changes in spectral composition. There may be such change within each solar cycle, although this is not firmly established yet and some models do incorporate that [and find only minimal impact - less than a tenth of a degree or so],”
    Such a model would still suffer from the known shortcomings of all GCM’s so what it does find for the variation in the solar spectrum is as realistic as the rest of its results – not much.

    The model is not the issue. The point is that there is no evidence for any long-term changes in spectral composition.

  30. Bob Tisdale says:
    April 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm
    ———————————-
    Thank you for the link Bob, very useful. It says it more clearly:
    “However, when the global mean climate response is factored out, the ensemble is overconfident: the observed trend is outside the range of modelled trends in many more regions than would be expected by the model estimate of natural variability and model spread. Precipitation trends are overconfident for all trend definitions. This implies that for near-term local climate forecasts the CMIP5 ensemble cannot simply be used as a reliable probabilistic forecast.”

  31. They couldn’t quite bring themselves to say “the sun”.

    But this is funny:-

    Finally, the model response to the changes in greenhouse gases, aerosols and other forcings may be incorrect.

    About time.

  32. barry says:
    April 15, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Realclimate point out shortcomings wiith models – again – and explain what there is confidence about regarding then and what there isn’t. The post is fairly informative for laypeople. This is spun into an ‘admission’ at WUWT and commenters fire potshots from the trenches into the foggy air.

    Pope retains denomination.

    How very trenchant Barry.

    Enough monkeys at enough typewriters will produce all the works of Shakespeare. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem_in_popular_culture

    A stopped clock is right twice a day. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/a_stopped_clock_is_right_twice_a_day

    Given enough different climate models, one of them will eventually produce a plausible result.

    Given enough commenters firing potshots from the trenches into the foggy air, some comments will eventually be trenchant.

    Given enough time and posts, Barry will be absolutely correct.

    LOL. The problem is, being able to recognize the above remarkable occurrences when they happen.

    1960 onwards — Comedian Bob Newhart had a stand-up routine in which a lab technician monitoring an “infinitely many monkeys” experiment discovered that one of the monkeys has typed something of interest. A typical punchline would be: “Hey, Harry! This one looks a little famous: ‘To be or not to be — that is thegrrdnm zsplkt.'” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem_in_popular_culture

  33. Methinks GCMs are having a Humpty Dumpty moment.
    There’s a Josh cartoon here somewhere.

    Kurt in Switzerland

  34. lsvalgaard says:
    April 15, 2013 at 10:16 am

    milodonharlani says:
    April 15, 2013 at 9:58 am
    GC models were known GIGO even before major discoveries in climatology of the past 16 years such as the PDO, AMO & fact that TSI may not change much but its spectral composition does
    There is no evidence for long-term changes in spectral composition. There may be such change within each solar cycle, although this is not firmly established yet and some models do incorporate that [and find only minimal impact - less than a tenth of a degree or so], e.g. http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/news/2011ScienceMeeting/docs/presentations/6b_Cahalan_Sedona_9-15-2011.pdf
    ————————————————————————-

    Thanks for 2011 link. I’d feel better about its conclusions were the models not run by NASA GISS.

  35. Gavin Schmidt himself used one of his GIGO climate models to predict milder NH winters as a result of the greenhouse effect. Back in 2004 Gavin and Michael Mann stated that:

    “Modellers have an inbuilt bias towards forced climate change because the causes and effect are clear.”

    These scientist should leave their computer games at home and carry out some measurements and do some actual hard work instead of playing. Play time is over.

    References

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/20905

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/shared/articles/Schmidtetal-QSR04.pdf

  36. When the MSM heralds this as important news that should significantly change government policy, I’ll rejoice. Until then, it’s “meh”.

  37. James Ard says: “Credit to Mosher for the hat tip. That couldn’t have been easy for him.”

    Mosh is dedicated to truth and the correction of falseness as he sees it.

    “…climate models can and have been verified against observations in a property that is most important for many users: the regional trends.

    I have a three-sided coin that will correctly predict regional trends 33% of the time.

  38. Willis Eschenbach says: April 15, 2013 at 10:05 am
    ———————
    Indeed, here’s another snippet of great scientific insight:
    ” [ ... ] climate models can and have been verified against observations in a property that is most important for many users: the regional trends. This verification shows that many large-scale features of climate change are being simulated correctly, but smaller-scale observed trends are in the tails of the ensemble more often than predicted by chance fluctuations. [ ... ] ”

    Funny that their models are not capable of forecasting awesome effect of ‘El Nino’ and ‘La Nina’ events … are these what they term “smaller scale observed trends” ? They’ve also failed at forecasting the lack of increase in temperature relative to CO2 gains … yeah, the cornerstone of their entire CAGW premise must equally be one of the unfortunate “smaller scale observed trends”.

    Their models are so weak that they couldn’t pull the skin off a custard, so to speak.

  39. milodonharlani says: “GC models were known GIGO even before major discoveries in climatology of the past 16 years such as the PDO, AMO & fact that TSI may not change much but its spectral composition does”

    lsvalgaard says: “There is no evidence for long-term changes in spectral composition. There may be such change within each solar cycle, although this is not firmly established yet”

    From: Solar forcing of winter climate variability in the Northern Hemisphere
    Sarah Ineson, Adam A. Scaife, Jeff R. Knight, James C. Manners, Nick J. Dunstone, Lesley J. Gray & Joanna D. Haigh:

    “An influence of solar irradiance variations on Earth’s surface climate has been repeatedly suggested, based on correlations between solar variability and meteorological variables [1]. Specifically, weaker westerly winds have been observed in winters with a less active sun, for example at the minimum phase of the 11-year sunspot cycle [2, 3, 4]. With some possible exceptions [5, 6], it has proved difficult for climate models to consistently reproduce this signal [7, 8]. Spectral Irradiance Monitor satellite measurements indicate that variations in solar ultraviolet irradiance may be larger than previously thought [9]….

    “…If the updated measurements of solar ultraviolet irradiance are correct, low solar activity, as observed during recent years, drives cold winters in northern Europe and the United States, and mild winters over southern Europe and Canada, with little direct change in globally averaged temperature….”

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n11/full/ngeo1282.html

    IF UV affects weather (through raising the black body temperature of the sky, decreasing atmospheric ozone, altered winds, or whatever mechanism), it is not necessary for there to be long term changes in spectral composition in order to contribute to the 20-odd year apparent warming trend. It’s only necessary for peak UV to fall within that time frame more than it usually does.

    But based on the uncertainty cited in the paper above, we probably simply don’t know if there is or isn’t a long term change. The reason there is “no evidence for long-term changes in spectral composition” may be just that we haven’t been looking long enough.

    “Between 2004 and 2007, the Solar Irradiance Monitor (blue line) measured a decrease in ultraviolet radiation (less than 400 nanometers) that was a factor of four to six larger than expected.

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/solarcycle-sorce.html

    “We may have a lot more to learn about how solar variability works, and how the sun might influence our climate,” Robert Cahalan, NASA, ibid.

  40. They know full well they are incorrect but they are under peer pressure, political pressure, financial pressure to conform.. Your only other choice is unemployment as the deniers are not exactly hiring right now..

    Think of how many people or businesses have a stake in the green revolution.. They have been promised tax funded profit outside the normal capitalist system.. All they have to do is support the green agenda of doom and watch their bank accounts grow..

    Ten cents on the dollar is not a return.. its a disaster.

  41. jorgekafkazar says:
    April 15, 2013 at 5:13 pm
    But based on the uncertainty cited in the paper above, we probably simply don’t know if there is or isn’t a long term change. The reason there is “no evidence for long-term changes in spectral composition” may be just that we haven’t been looking long enough.
    That is what it means: no evidence. The original poster stated as if such changes were already a fact. Futhermore the Harder et al. suggestions are not established yet. Many think they are spurious, due to uncertain calibration.
    There is some evidence for no changes on century time scales: http://www.leif.org/research/GC31B-0351-F2007.pdf

  42. Rbravery says:
    April 15, 2013 at 12:41 pm
    ‘The actual quote from George Box was “essentially all models are wrong, some are useful”’

    I started managing models back in the Seventies and I have always endorsed this view. But Alarmists insist that models can substitute for scientific theory and flatly contradict Box. Some models are useful if used wisely but they have no place in science except as analytic tools.

  43. “The CMIP5 multi-model ensemble can therefore not be used as a probability forecast for future climate. We have to present the useful climate information in climate model ensembles in other ways until these problems have been resolved.(RealClimate).

    Skeptic bloggers (and the Climategate whistleblower) give yourselves a pat on the back. The constant reality checks are having a strong positive effect (feedback, should I say?). This is huge from RealClimate, the blog that has given so much encouragement to the MSM, non-scientific supporters, academia – scientific and non scientific.

    Eric Steig’s stepback: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/15/recent-climate-glacier-changes-in-antarctica-at-the-upper-bound-of-normal/

    Withdrawals of papers that would have otherwise been published with fanfare: Lewandowski’s fraudulent psychiatric poppycock; Gergis et al’s paper retraction:

    http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/paper-claiming-hottest-60-year-span-in-1000-years-put-on-hold-after-being-published-online/

    A lot of rebranding is going on among AGW climate scientists who held sway for years under the cloak of dank intellectual darkness. Amazing the developments possible when the light and fresh air are let in. Interesting, that there will be the few, no matter what transpires, who will not come in from the cold so to speak. Now here’s real a subject for study by the discipline that Lewandowski so badly represents.

  44. Translation, Hansen is quitting, the new boss will never allow this nonsense to continue,I am so screwed. G.

  45. lsvalgaard,

    The model is not the issue. The point is that there is no evidence for any long-term changes in spectral composition.

    Keep ‘em honest Leif. We can’t fight bad science with pseudo-science.

    It is not necessary to posit another theory to falsify a failed one.

  46. Meanwhile, any little admission of this kind over at RC is welcome, but why do I suspect their motives?

    Perhaps because the cloak and dagger stuff is far more entertaining than anything so boring as actually understanding the issue?

    Realclimate and IPCC have long said that climate models are not reliable when it comes to local (sub-regional) scales. The post at realclimate cited here is discussing whether or not this has improved with the latest CMIP5 models.

    This is not an “admission” of anything, this is an update on a well-known issue with climate models, with the message that the issue has not been overcome yet.

    You have to be ignorant of climate modelling to spin it any other way. Below are cited realclimate articles over the past few years, as well as the IPCC, pointing out the issue that some people upthread appear to believe is a new disclosure.

    —————————————————————————————————————————

    TAR 2001 – “The limitations of AOGCM regional information are, however, well known. By definition, coupled AOGCMs cannot provide direct information at scales smaller than their resolution (order of several hundred kilometres), neither can AOGCMs capture the detailed effects of forcings acting at sub-grid scales (unless parametrized).”

    Realclimate 2005 – “It’s important to note what these models are not good for. They aren’t any good for your local weather, or the temperature of the water at the nearest beach or for the wind in downtown Manhattan, because these are small scale features, affected by very local conditions. However, if you go up to the regional scale and beyond (i.e. Western Europe as a whole, the continental US) you start to expect better correlations.”

    Realclimate 2007 – “Yet, whereas the global climate models (GCMs) tend to describe the global climate statistics reasonably well, they do not provide a representative description of the local climate.”

    Realclimate 2010 – “In fact, global atmospheric and climate models are better at describing the large picture than more regional and local characteristics. There is a limit to what they are able to describe in terms of local regional details..”

    Realclimate 2011 – “We have already discussed why climate models are not well suited for providing detailed information about local climate on RC (here and here). It is important to keep in mind that models are only approximate representation of the real world, and that they are only meant to capture the essence of our climate – i.e. the larger picture. There will always be a limit to the degree of detail for which the models fail to produce reliable and useful information, and the interesting question is where this limit is.”

    ————————————————————————————————————————–

    That’s a small sample, representative of something widely known and often talked about at SkS, realclimate, by IPCC and any of the catastrophising alarmistic denizens we love to hate. Nothing new has been disclosed here, there has been no “admission.” Only an update. If you want to propagandise the realclimate post, try this:

    “Climate models still not good enough at sub-regional scales. They can’t predict the most important aspect – what will happen where you live!”

    That won’t help the genuinely curious learn anything, of course, but it makes for a sound byte that has the benefit of being true.

  47. My wife, a second grade school teacher asks:
    Are they saying that on a 100-500 year time scale the models are good?
    Or will the predicted warming be validated when the sun expands and engulfs the earth?
    I just want to make sure that I teach it correctly.

  48. @Barry:
    Ahhh, but therein lies the fallacy of the climate models.
    It is claimed that they are based on well understood physics.

    The fact the individual parts fail indicates they don’t really understand what is going on. However, the assumptions used in various parameters are sufficiently tweaked that the overall result matches what they are looking for. This is why the climate models work great, until they don’t.

    All models are wrong. Some are useful.

    Why do you think the aerospace companies spend so much money on scaled prototypes to verify the models [of physics that is understood far better than climate] used to predict flight behaviour?

  49. barry says:
    April 16, 2013 at 3:06 am

    I’m certain that Barry will jump at the opportunity to demonstrate how the models accurately forecast the 5 consecutive bitter winters in Europe/Asia to support his point.

  50. And while you’re at it Barry, please educate us as to how the models are good enough at forecasting supra-regional scales, yet “Climate models still not good enough at sub-regional scales”.

  51. Barry,

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch11s11-references.html

    Could you pass the memo on to IPCC? It is nice to know that I can throw these regional assessment papers away now. I can link a few hundred more regional projections/scenario papers, including from realclimate, but I don’t wanna spam the truth.

    Boo, K.-O., W.-T. Kwon, and H.-J. Baek, 2006: Change of extreme events of temperature and precipitation over Korea using regional projection of future climate change. Geophys. Res. Lett., 33(1), L01701, doi:10.1029/2005GL023378.

    Tebaldi, C., L.O. Mearns, D. Nychka, and R. Smith, 2004a: Regional probabilities of precipitation change: A Bayesian analysis of multi-model simulations. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L24213, doi:10.1029/2004GL021276.

    Tebaldi, C., R. Smith, D. Nychka, and L.O. Mearns, 2004b: Quantifying uncertainty in projections of regional climate change: A Bayesian Approach. J. Clim., 18(10), 1524–1540.

    Unnikrishnan, A.S., et al., 2006: Sea level changes along the Indian coast: Observations and projections. Curr. Sci. India, 90, 362–368.

    Whetton, P.H., and R. Suppiah, 2003: Climate change projections and drought. In: Science for Drought. Proceedings of the National Drought Forum, Carlton Crest Hotel, Brisbane [Stone, R., and I. Partridge (eds.)]. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Qld., pp. 130–136.

    Whetton, P.H., A.B. Mullan, and A.B. Pittock, 1996: Climate-change scenarios for Australia and New Zealand. In: Greenhouse: Coping with Climate Change [Bouma, W.J., G.I. Pearman, and M.R. Manning (eds.)]. CSIRO, Collingwood, Vic., pp. 145–168.

    Whetton, P.H., et al., 2001: Developing scenarios of climate change for Southeastern Australia: An example using regional climate model output. Clim. Res., 16(3), 181–201.

    Whetton, P. H., et al. 2002. Climate change in Victoria : high resolution regional assessment of climate change impacts. Undertaken for the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment. Dept. of Natural Resources and Environment, East Melbourne, VIC, 44 pp., http://www.greenhouse.vic.gov.au/climatechange.pdf

    Whetton, P.H., et al., 2005: Australian Climate Change Projections for Impact Assessment and Policy Application: A Review. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper 001, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, Vic., 34 pp.

    Widmann, M., C.S. Bretherton, and E.P. Salathé Jr., 2003: Statistical precipitation downscaling over the Northwestern United States using numerically simulated precipitation as a predictor. J. Clim., 16, 799–816.

    Wilby, R.L., C.W. Dawson, and E.M. Barrow, 2002: SDSM – A decision support tool for the assessment of regional climate change impacts. Environ. Model. Software, 17, 147–159.

  52. Climate “Models: some are good, some are not so good, some are useless — and they swap places at random.

  53. Various:

    The fact the individual parts fail indicates they don’t really understand what is going on.

    Newton’s model of the universe fails at various levels (Relativity and quantum physics fill some of the gaps), but we can still use it to land a rocket on the moon. The point is not perfection but utility. You make this point in your post.

    However, the assumptions used in various parameters are sufficiently tweaked that the overall result matches what they are looking for.

    Any parametrization is done to simulate average conditions. Nobody claimed the physics was perfectly understood. No one makes this claim for any complex modelling.

    I’m certain that Barry will jump at the opportunity to demonstrate how the models accurately forecast the 5 consecutive bitter winters in Europe/Asia to support his point.

    Why would I do that, when it is antithetical to the conclusions of the realclimate article and the various studies it is based on?

    And while you’re at it Barry, please educate us as to how the models are good enough at forecasting supra-regional scales, yet “Climate models still not good enough at sub-regional scales”.

    I’m not qualified to do that. I’d be reaching far beyond my ken. But anyone here could read about it if they so chose.

    Could you pass the memo on to IPCC? It is nice to know that I can throw these regional assessment papers away now. I can link a few hundred more regional projections/scenario papers, including from realclimate

    Regional models are different from GCMs. I expect much of the work you are citing is about the development of regional models. I doubt many of them would be claiming precision. I doubt you’ve read any of these papers you’re going to throw away.

    Despite the lack of perfection, people keep plugging away at modelling various scales of the Earth’s climate system. Others snipe about it, hoover up a few links to deposit in a forum, and don’t care about the subject further than is necessary to rubbish it.

    I am not interested in or even capable of giving an in-depth explanation of the hows and whys of climate models. I just know enough to be able to say that many of the comments above are ignorant (or worse).

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    Seems to me that people here believe the skill of climate models is continually oversold. Now that realclimate have posted an article pointing out where climate models fail, this requires some mental acrobatics to make the narrative work. Thus Sam the First “suspects their motives,” for example. And the article above is headlined that realclimate have ‘admitted’ something.

    Rather than take the article at face value, a spin is invented. It fits the narrative here, but is divorced from reality. There is no “admission,” this is not a new development. The basic point is “no major improvement yet.”

    That’s my point. Anyone wants to learn more about climate models can find plenty of information on the net.

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