By Steven Goddard
I recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting of some top weather modelers. Weather models differ from climate models in that they have to work and are verified every hour of every day around the planet. If a weather model is broken, it becomes obvious immediately. By contrast, climate modelers have the advantage that they will be long since retired when their predictions don’t come to pass.
Weather and climate models are at the core very similar, but climate models also consider additional parameters that vary over time, like atmospheric composition. Climate models iterate over very long time periods, and thus compound error. Weather modelers understand that 72 hours is about the limit which they can claim accuracy. Climate modelers on the other hand are happy to run simulations for decades (because they know that they will be retired and no one will remember what they said) and because it provides an excuse to sink money into really cool HPC (High Performance Computing) clusters.
But enough gossip. I learned a few very interesting things at this meeting.
1. Weather modelers consider the realm of climate calculation to be “months to seasons.” Not the 30 year minimum we hear quoted all the time by AGW groupies. That is why NOAA’s “Climate Prediction Center” generates their seasonal forecasts, rather than the National Weather Service.
2. The two most important boundary conditions (inputs) to seasonal forecasts are sea surface temperatures and soil moisture. No one has shown any skill at modeling either of those, so no surprise that The Met Office Seasonal forecasts were consistently wrong.
SST modeling capabilities are very limited, and as a result seasonal weather forecasts (climate) are little more than academic exercises.
Oh and by the way, Colorado will be exactly 8.72 degrees warmer in 100 years. But they can’t tell you what the temperature will be next week.
“If I don’t understand it, it must be simple.”
– Dilbert Principle
In the top picture, which boxer is weather and which one is climate? What do readers think?