IPCC Annoyance

Reader Dave Andrews offers this in comments:

Here’s an interesting comment from Willem de Lange over on Climate Audit ‘Ice Ages#2′ thread:

“One of the reasons I got annoyed with the IPCC when I was involved, was an almost universal dismissal of the contribution of natural forcing to the observed warming – particularly the role of decadal-scale climate variability such as the PDO. In discussions with one of our Nobel Peace Prize winning meteorologists back in the 1990s, their position was that the greenhouse effect had overwhelmed natural variability and it just would not be possible for the PDO to switch.”

PDO flipped, possibly soon now, AMO. Plus, solar cycle 24 where are you? Climate Modelers, retune restart jumpstart rebuild your engines.

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May 2, 2008 7:49 am

Is it just a coincidence that the PDO Index went negative about the same time as the sun’s geomagnetic averaged planetary index dropped. Curious.
I was poking around in the PDO Index directory and noticed the similarity in the shifts.

Gary Gulrud
May 2, 2008 8:07 am

Why do we keep seeing graphs from the syndicate ending in 2000 or B4?

Evan Jones
May 2, 2008 8:12 am

Hmmmm. Hmmmm. Has it ever occurred to anyone the that the model simulation has it right and the observations are wrong? #B^1
And, considering the state of the wicket (i.e., the surface stations), I am only half-kidding!

May 2, 2008 8:17 am

Speaking of annoyance, your readers may start getting annoyed of my rants on aerosols. One has to ask, in the graph above, what is the assumed level of aerosols in the “natural factor” simulation. Did they increase over time, decrease, or held constant? What happens to the simulation if the assumed level of aerosols are cut in half, or even by two-thirds. Would it not be nice to see the impact of aerosols on these models? However, I suppose that would be too much to ask. Seriously, how hard did the modelers try to explain the recent warm-up with “natural factors”. Did they do one run (like the one above) and said, “Oh well, that didn’t work, must be CO2 / climate sensitivity causing the warming trend.” I noticed the right side of the graph shows a volcano and the sun. Was man-made aerosols considered as well? Or is that not “natural”?

Daryl Ritchison
May 2, 2008 8:25 am

It somewhat reminds me of the old quote “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” Disappointing to see the scientific method thrown out by so many during the past 10-15 years.

May 2, 2008 8:46 am

Well, the one unnatural factor we know about that helps explain some of the warming is bias – in the instrumentation (quality control), in the science (peer-pressure to go along to get along with the current paradigm), in the political sphere (hidden agendas), and in the media (a mixture of the other three motivations. The influences of bias need as much investigation as the physical parameters if we hope to get better predictions of future climate.

May 2, 2008 8:54 am

Obviously, the model and reality are 2 different planets. Good ol’ Terra (reality) and Bizarro World (model).

May 2, 2008 8:55 am

That graph seems to suggest that the model runs only included solar and volcanic forcings. As well as PDO, AMO an ENSO, what about clouds? What about water vapour? What about the lack of dust? Suggesting a divergence from nature with only two factors is wrong.
John M Reynolds

Pierre Gosselin
May 2, 2008 9:11 am

“…it just would not be possible for the PDO to switch.”
What did I say yesterday about arrogant, pig-headed, obstinate scientists who think they know it all?
How sweet it is!

David S
May 2, 2008 9:14 am

Sometimes computer modelers have a tendency to think that if the model doesn’t match reality then reality must be wrong. 🙂

May 2, 2008 9:15 am

IMHO – if we could solve the div / curl / vorticity problems at the edges of jet streams in the meteo models, it would unstick a log jam, and much better GCMs would likely also result.

Pierre Gosselin
May 2, 2008 9:16 am

How about climate modelers “scrap your junk engines”.
In my view they all belong on the scrap heap.

May 2, 2008 9:53 am

It now seems the science is not settled, and additional measurements and modeling are required to provide useful future scenarios of climate trends. Fortunately, the always-prescient NASA is on top of this requirement, with their most recent job posting in the May ’08 issue of Optics and Photonics News (an Optical Society of America/ Institute of Physics trade rag)-
“NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is looking for innovative scientists to fill up to ten new staff scientist positions. These new positions will support our exciting science program that spans the earth sciences. The positions support the design and development of new space observational techniques and instruments, including data analysis algorithms, assimilation of data into numerical methods, the conduct of basic earth sciences research, and application of our findings in support of national needs. We plan to hire only the best scientists, making our choices based on the priority areas of expertise listed below, coupled with the strengths and interests of the candidates.”
Areas of expertise that are of interest include:
-atmospheric aerosols
-atmospheric composition
-atmospheric water cycle
-carbon cycle
-climate modeling and analysis
-polar climate change
-terrestrial water cycle
-weather and short-term climate
Fortunately (in my opinion), there seems to be a renewed interest in gathering data and improving observational capabilities in most of these positions.

May 2, 2008 10:03 am

I am an ecologist specialising in land use issues and at times advising some of the largest UK landowners on conservation issues – however, in my not-so-distant past I had cause to analyse various ocean and atmospheric dispersion models (in relation to toxics) – and served on numerous committees and commissions (at levels varying from UK government agencies up to UN level). I am therefore no stranger to modellers getting things seriously wrong – and my critique of the UN’s ocean modelling and pollution prevention paradigm was published in 1993 in the peer-reviewed literature.
Over the past 3 years I have undertaken my own analysis of the IPCC’s role and the background science of ‘global warming’ (240 pages). It will come as no surprise to this blog that I have concluded the IPCC models are seriously in error – nor will my reasoning as to how this debacle could have come about.
My analysis is available to download at http://www.ethos-uk.com for a small fee or free to those who email peter.taylor@ethos-uk.com requesting free access. A summary is available (free download).
I would be very keen to have feedback on this report – which will be regularly updated.
Peter Taylor

May 2, 2008 10:07 am

This PDO flipping scenario (followed soon by the AMO flipping(?) is simply breathtaking. And I don’t talk in superlatives.
The big question, at least in my mind, is what triggers these events? Is sun spot activity the trigger? How does this flip measure up to others vis-a-vis sun spot activity?
Just thinking….
Jack Koenig, Editor
The Mysterious Climate Project

Larry Sheldon
May 2, 2008 11:33 am

I need to understand what the word “forcing” means. I keep reading it and it looks like a familiar word and I keep blowing right on by it.
But I now have to admit my pride and my error have kept me from understanding that I have no idea what it means in this context.

Larry Sheldon
May 2, 2008 11:44 am

And it occurs to me that I need to do some research on the word “settled”, since that seems not to be what I thought it was.
Settled science: more hurricanes. Or fewer.
Settled science: warmer as carbon dioxide increases. Or colder.
Settled science: more rain. or less.

James Chamberlain
May 2, 2008 12:01 pm

Larry Sheldon, Don’t you understand the AGW alarmist textbook? All of the science IS settled:
More hurricanes AND fewer
Warmer as carbon dioxide increases AND colder
more rain AND less
We all should tune in to Al Gore more often so we can learn the proper montra.

May 2, 2008 12:55 pm

Larry Sheldon @ 11:44:54 — I can only offer a layman’s idea of the meaning of “forcing” in this context. So far as I can tell, they mean something which will change the course of whatever is being measured. I think of it sort of like inertia in the sense that whatever is measured would have tended to keep going in the same direction without some force to change it. Maybe that’s how they came to use the term “forcing” to name the effect of things like CO2 on temperatures. (If I’m way off base on this, someone tell me, please.)

Larry Sheldon
May 2, 2008 1:33 pm

And while we are having what looks like proper spring weather (T-storms, rain, wind) I noticed that York county, not far from here, has got freeze warnings up.
And there are winter weather warnings up for western Nebraska, Kansas, clear down into the Texas Panhandle.
And the squirrels are on the bird platform packing it away like it was November.
Wonder what they know that I don’t.

May 2, 2008 2:13 pm

jmrSudbury, you absolutely nailed it. Not to mention that solar is in this case TSI and maybe a bit of UV-Ozone interaction.

May 2, 2008 3:02 pm

Evan Jones (08:12:10) :
“Hmmmm. Hmmmm. Has it ever occurred to anyone the that the model simulation has it right and the observations are wrong?”
One thing I like about snowfall reports during a cooling climate is that station siting issues have no impact on the storm. Well, outside of intercepting a little snow before it reaches the ground.
Especially when it snows in places where it hasn’t snowed in living memory. Individual reports aren’t too useful, but when reports form in from around the world then it’s harder to sweep under the bush. Here near Concord NH my 128″ covered several the bushes.
The poor raspberries next to the parking area didn’t handle 7′ of snowbower pile very well.

May 2, 2008 3:38 pm

I tracked down a link to the graph from Hadley (below, note ppt) and it’s attributed to Stott et al.
The claim we can accurately model natural climate variation and hence determine how much warming is anthropogenic is farcical.
All the model shows is that climate models cannot model the Earth’s real climate. And that’s it all shows.
And I’d add that extending the series to 2008 would show the observed returning to the modelled level. So not only can’t the model explain the warming, it can’t explain the recent cooling either.
Cargo Cult Science

May 2, 2008 4:04 pm

Note the backpedaling beginning, even in the major “science” journals.
I’m wondering if someone has been tracking all those scientists who have in the last several years promoted the idea it would never cool for any significant period, but there would always be a constant even rise in temperatures? That would be most interesting homework assignment.
The modelers are already out in force claiming their newest Frankensteins are now simulating the current and apparent coming ’10 year’ cooling; “see, we were right all along”. Trenberth is also riding backwards at Olympic speeds explaining (paraphrased) “nobody said it would always warm”.

Jerker Andersson
May 2, 2008 4:14 pm

Ok, so according to IPCC hockey stick, that they refuse to remove there are no natural variations during the last 1000 years or so that has cuased more than a few tenths C of warming/cooling. Now all of a sudden there are natural variations that cause more than 0,5-1C degrees of cooling resulting in no increse of global temperatures. This is based in we have had no increse in 11 years so far and wont see any increse in another 7 years, 18 years in total roughly.
How come the natural variations have become so dominant in the last 10 years while they where not in the last 1000 years? (hockey stick diagram)

Evan Jones
May 2, 2008 4:46 pm

I need to understand what the word “forcing” means.
It means that you believe what you are told about CO2 or you lose your grant.
(Positive reinforcement is when this results in the scorn of your peers, which leads to rejection of tenure, which leads to loss of employment.)

May 2, 2008 5:01 pm

[…] IPCC Annoyance [image] Reader Dave Andrews offers this in comments: Here’s an interesting comment from Willem de Lange over on […] […]

Alan D. McIntire
May 2, 2008 5:35 pm

With a negative PDO, we can expect more and stronger La Ninas.
One effect of La Ninas is stronger trad winds and increased hurricanes. I predict a significantly larger than normal number of hurricanes this year because of the abnormally cool La Nina

Roy Tucker
May 2, 2008 6:03 pm

This is very unsettling. Enormous sums of money worldwide have been
diverted to investigate and mitigate alleged anthropogenic global warming.
Food crops have been diverted to the production of motor fuels and, as a
result, food prices have soared and some of the poorest people in the world
may starve or suffer malnourishment. If indeed these decisions were based
upon fraudulent data, then I would say those who were responsible should
face criminal and/or civil legal action. Perhaps it’s time for the FBI to
begin seizing records and Congress to begin an investigation.

May 2, 2008 6:07 pm

In my limited understanding of these things, the graph would actually appear to be undermining the AGW side of the argument.
As I understand what they are saying is that they have included all “natural factors” along with their idea of what CO2 does, and yet the actual results don’t tie in with the predicted results from the models.
However, when looking at the 2 graphs together as shown, it seems to highlight how wrong the models actually are, and looks to me that it is more luck than anything else where the models and observations appear to match.
For example, 1850-1895, with exception of aspike in observed results around 1875, appear to show relatively constant observed results, and yet the models expected constantly warm temperatures there, followed by a drop that never occured. Similarly, the increase in observations near the end don’t correspond with the modelling.
My thoughts on this is that they are showing how little they actually understand about the underlying causes of natural climate change, and as a result how they are not able to produce a model that is remotely accurate.

Jet Stream
May 2, 2008 6:36 pm

Volcanic aerosols: surprise Invite to the PDO/AMO switch ?
Hundreds of evacuations after Chilian volcano erupts

old construction worker
May 2, 2008 8:00 pm

Larry sheldon “forcing” see

May 2, 2008 8:05 pm

The final nail in the coffin of AGW is the PDO flip. The question though is whether the AGW faithful in Congress will ignore it and destroy our economy anyway.

Brian D
May 2, 2008 8:05 pm

Looks like the Chaiten volcano in Chile has awoke from it’s 9000yr slumber and has sent plumes of gas and ash 20km(65,600ft) into the atmosphere. Apparently this is an explosive type volcano.
The plume is drifting SSE with the prevailing winds.
Volcano is located in S. Chile, 10 km(about 6miles) NE of Chaiten. 42.833 S, 72.646 W
I wonder if the S. Hemishpere is going to cool off even more because of this.
I guess all that’s needed is large volcanic eruptions, and LIA, here we come.

May 2, 2008 8:07 pm

it is SETTLED SCIENCE that the Anthropogenically enhanced CO2 FORCINGS will cause more hurricanes, warmer climate, and rain (flooding and sea level rise!!)
Hope that helps. 8>)

May 2, 2008 8:18 pm

I will be as pleased as Larry Sheldon to have an explanation of forcing in this context.

May 3, 2008 7:45 am

One thing a prolonged period of cooler climate will do is give governments, policy makers and individuals the chance to see whether a cooler world is a better world.

Pierre Gosselin
May 3, 2008 9:43 am

Don’t want to rain on everyone’s parade, but this thing looks puny and thus will amount to nothing.
REPLY: What looks puny? The IPCC or the objection to paying attention to the natural forcing?

Pierre Gosselin
May 4, 2008 3:09 am

Sorry for the confusion.
It’s my reaction to Jet Stream’s post about the Chilean mountian blowing its top.
Yesterday was the day after a party for me, so my posts were a little off.
Concerning the IPCC, Willem de Lange’s short anecdote speaks volumes about the IPCC’s attitude. It sums it up beautifully.

Nicolas O'Gorman
May 4, 2008 5:00 am

Reading all the fascinating comments here in London, I have some comments…
As an economist and economic modeller I see great similarities between economic and weather forecasting.
A) In economics we do not know enough. Modelling must be treated with great circumspection. Furthermore we know that non-linearity and thus lack of predictability is everywhere. Like weather science?
B) The advent of computers and software has provided a tool for economists.
They worship the tool and assume that by using such sophistication the answer must be right. Only a monority of users have the ability to understand the weaknesses of modelling and thus of the software. similar to climate science?
C) In economics the majority begin with a pre-conceived notion and will interfere with models so that they give the “right” answer. This is technically bias in modelling and highly dangerous. They do it PARTLY because they believe in their own initial judgement, PARTLY because seeing a mathematical model give the desired outcome exerts a truly powerful magic on them, and really convinces them of their own special ability.
Yes, this is what really happens in London’s financial centre of the globe.
I suggest that part of the problem in climate science is not just conscious fiddling and agendas but also the sheer conceit of people who sincerely believe that their preconceptions must be correct. Perhaps some of this borders on religion.
Of course the time-honoured way to defeat irrationality is cold hard fact. You cannot beat it.
For this reason, I salute all of the contributors. I shall certainly read this blog regularly.

John Archer
May 4, 2008 7:48 pm

Larry Sheldon and Roger Carr: See here for what looks like a clear definition and explanation of forcing.
Apparently the full term is radiative forcing.
I’m not a climate scientist but it seems to me that if you know how to calculate it then you know what it means. So how do you calculate it?
Here is my understanding in short. If it is wrong I’d be pleased if others here corrected it.
First though, when the climate scientists talk about differences in incoming and outgoing radiation I assume, for obvious reasons, they mean as averaged over a period of at least 24 hours and no doubt a lot longer than that—a year at least—and that the climate system is that of the whole Earth and not just some part of it.
Well, it seems to be very simple. Start with the difference between incoming (+ve) and outgoing (-ve) radiation. This is net irradiance. It’s the change in this net irradiance that constitutes radiative forcing; i.e. it’s a change in a difference between incoming and outgoing energy. A bit like a change in your net pay from what it was in 1750.
Yes, according to Wiki the IPCC baseline for measuring that change is 1750. But this has to be a typo or they had very long poles or very high-flying kites then to get up to the tropopause—the Montgolfier brothers were just children at the time—so I guess it’s meant to be 1950.
As an example, since an increase in CO2 traps more outgoing radiation, then other things being equal an increase in CO2 results in positive forcing.
If I’m right in all this, you know what forcing is now. If I’m wrong, there are sure to be people here who will jump on me and get it right.

anna v
May 5, 2008 12:41 am

“Forcing ” is a forced term 🙂 that is needed in the models of how the sun and earth interact.
The idea is that you make an imaginary sphere at some height in the atmosphere, the tropopause lets say, where the stratosphere with rarified air and much less humidity starts. Then a simple energy conservation model is imposed with the logic: the amount of energy that comes in ( watts per meter square) must also be going out in equal amount. It is the same type of argument as why the universe is not infinite: an infinite universe would reflect infinite radiation and thermodynamically everywhere the temperature would be as in the star surfaces. In the case of the sun earth system, if less radiation came out than came in, the earth would be boiling by now.
It is then assumed that this equilibrium exists , and the temperature is kept by the “atmospheric green house effect” stable at a specific value. A forcing is an excess of energy in watts per meter square at that imaginary frontier with the stratosphere, over this radiative energy balance. The system then will have to heat up or cool until it reaches a new temperature. It “forces” a change in temperature.
Now there are problems with this picture. An obvious one is that the heat capacity of the earth ( land and oceans and air) cannot be taken into account correctly, a radiation budget is a lopsided thermodynamic concept. This is because energy is also stored in convection systems and ocean vortices called oscillations and cloud systems in a cycle of precipitation and evaporation, all non linear and not easily modeled. Another is the inherent heat from the center of the earth, the temperature goes up as one goes down in the earth, and the unknown magma influences at the bottom of the ocean floors and ridges : those 200.000 new volcanoes recently estimated.
anyway, this is my two cents of the euro on forcings

Pierre Gosselin
May 5, 2008 4:03 am

John Archer,
Added CO2 concentrations will enhance the CO2 greenhouse effect. No one disputes that. Skeptics say the enhancement is slight. Even many of the alarnmists say that it is slight. The question is what effect this enhancement has on clouds, moisture and vapour. Will they amplify the greenhouse effect, as many alarmists claim, or leave it unchanged, or even reduce it? I’ve heard a 1% increase in clouds is enough to offset the entire manmade Co2 greenhouse effect.
So far observations show that the CO2 greenhouse effect has been small at best. Keenlyside et al has pretty much indirectly confirmed that.

May 5, 2008 7:55 am

While the PDO does appear to be changing to a cool cycle, I would not assume this means the global average will go down substantially. The determining factors, if we are to get much cooler globally, will be if the AMO flips as well as the Sunspot count staying very low too. Without these two also happening nearly simultaneously, the temperature decrease will not be enough to “cool” the AGW talk coming from true believers like Jim Hansen.

May 22, 2008 4:54 am

Some time ago i spent several weeks in the British Library trying to track down the underlying science to the earlier IPCC assessments – in particular the concept of radiative forcing or RF. Despite my best efforts – as an experienced science policy analyst – but not a specialist atmospheric scientist – including a reading of the IPCC special publication on how they derived the concept of RF, I could not get a picture sufficient for critical appraisal – it is a ‘fuzzy’ concept that I understand has a number of critics even within IPCC – and one of the fuzzy bits relates to where in the atmosphere the RF is relevant. Much net radiation data of relevance to Global Warming relates to the surface – and if you track NASA-GISS on the surface flux you can see the watts/sq metre excesses during the late 1980s and 1990s and a shift around 2000-2001. These excesses over the average are more than enough to explain the warming since 1980 – but they are dominated by SW visible radiation – nothing to do with carbon dioxide – and are of the order of 4 watts/square metre maintained for several years – but also subject to cycles (solar peaks) and volcanic effects. The flux is several times greater than the CO2 RF – but how to compare the RF with the forcing of the SW – IPCC says you cannot, but i don’t know why not.
The only explanation for the SW flux is cloud or aerosol changes. There are new analyses for the flux anomalies 1983-2003 that show increaased flux also in cloud free skies – suggesting aerosol changes – and a lot of this in areas with no man-made pollution (e.g. Samoa) – the so-called ‘dimming’ of the 1980s shifted by 1985 to brightening – and my reading of the data suggests this was a natural phenomenon aided only a little by the control of sulphur emissions.
It leaves me with a question for future research – can solar factors affect aerosols (Svensmark is researching this in relation to clouds) and in particular can voltage changes – especially large and sudden hits as in a solar flare – clear the aerosols (Svensmark used voltage to clear the cloud chambers after each experimen but did not remark on the potential for this to happen naturally). I have only recently become aware that the atmosphere HAS a voltage differential – so much for my science education at England’s best!
And yes – a small percentage shift in low level reflective cloud is quite enought to equal the global warming RF (however you compare it) – and the ISCCP data sets show a global decline of 4% from 1983-2001 – low-level cloud of this kind will reflect about 25% of the incoming SW leaving about 340 watts/sq m at the surface on a global average (but clouds are not distributed averagely!!) – simple maths (and it will not be that simple) suggests a 4% shift in cloud will increase the SW by 1% or 3.4 watts/sq m – about double the computed RF for CO2.
The models do not replicate decadal cloud fluctuations, nor oceanic cycles with which they are related, nor the harmonics of these cycles, nor do they incorporate any solar mechanisms beyond the TSI (visible – not sure about the UV part – which is known to fluctuate more witht he cycle but harder to derive an RF because it is a UV-upper atmosphere-heating-transfer of energy rather than RF) – that is – no solar-cloud links – and this despite dozens of papers showing oceanic-cycle/solar cycle correlations.
I have reviewed the science of this (www.ethos-uk.com) until February – not yet had time to look at the implications of Keenlyside’s modelling of the NAO and expectant cooling – but the defenders of the modelling approach are saying that if you take the outer percentiles of their projections, then some do show cooling blips – NOW they tell us! But these are simple random variability – they do not yet accept that natural forces are the MAIN driver – my ‘reviewers’ estimate for Global Warming – 1979-2005, is that 80% is natural, 15% carbon dioxide – and thus a 50% emissions cut will deal with 7% of the driving force. Not even worth doing (to avoid dangerous climate change) when the T is on the up. When T is on the down (as in a Dalton or Maunder Minimum) then CO2 becomes a friend – though not a very warm one.
On a multi-disciplinary note – I don’t think emission reduction protocols will damage economies as much as commentators fear – but expanding renewable supplies of wind, tidal and biofuels, as well as nuclear power – will have very serious impacts on food prices and supplies (especially under a cooling scenario), biodiversity, rural life, indigenous peoples, forests and water, and local democracy – and these are immediate compared to the apparent eventual benefits of emission controls. The absence of impact assessments on the ‘targets’ now being set by the EU is truly frightening.

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