The state of climate science: 'fluxed up'

Science not settled, still in a state of flux – IPCC AR5 in disarray. It is looking like my single word quote in Rolling Stone “stillborn”, will be accurate.

The title is my twist on what Dr. Judith Curry said in an email to David Rose in his latest article about the upcoming IPCC AR5 report:

Last night Professor Judith Curry, head of climate science at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said the leaked summary showed that ‘the science is clearly not settled, and  is in a state of flux’.

She goes on to say:

She said  it therefore made no sense that the IPCC was claiming that its confidence in its forecasts and conclusions has increased.

For example, in the new report, the IPCC says it is ‘extremely likely’ – 95 per cent certain – that human  influence caused more than half  the temperature rises from 1951 to 2010, up from ‘very confident’ –  90 per cent certain – in 2007.

Prof Curry said: ‘This is incomprehensible to me’ – adding that the IPCC projections are ‘overconfident’, especially given the report’s admitted areas of doubt.

Professor Myles Allen also got in a few licks, Prof Allen said:

‘The idea of producing a document of near-biblical infallibility is a misrepresentation of how science works, and we need to look very carefully about what the IPCC does in future.’

Rose also took Dana Nuccitelli and John Abraham to task at the Guardian over ugly death threat type comments that remain about their rebuttal to his article last week, while other comments are removed for not meeting “standards”.

the guardian graphic.jpg

BTW, Rose is Jewish.

And finally, he calls out Bob Ward, but unfortunately doesn’t mention his past as a punk rocker before he became a climate activist:

Another assault was mounted by Bob Ward, spokesman for the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at the London School  of Economics.

Mr Ward tweeted that the article was ‘error-strewn’.

The eminent US expert Professor Judith Curry, who unlike Mr Ward is a climate scientist with a long list of  peer-reviewed publications to  her name, disagreed.

On her blog Climate Etc she defended The Mail on Sunday, saying the article contained ‘good material’, and issued a tweet which challenged Mr Ward to say what these ‘errors’ were.

He has yet to reply.

As for the state of climate science, this summary by Rose of the IPCC situation is worth sharing:


What they say: ‘The rate of warming since 1951 [has been] 0.12C per decade.’

What this means: In their last hugely influential report in 2007, the IPCC claimed the world was warming at 0.2C per decade. Here they admit there has been a massive cut in the speed of global warming – although it’s buried in a section on the recent warming ‘pause’. The true figure, it now turns out, is not only just over half what they thought – it’s below their lowest previous estimate.

What they say: ‘Surface temperature reconstructions show multi-decadal intervals during the Medieval Climate Anomaly  (950-1250) that were in some regions as warm as in the late 20th Century.’

What this means: As recently as October 2012, in an earlier draft of this report, the IPCC was adamant that the world is warmer than at any time for at least 1,300 years. Their new inclusion  of the ‘Medieval Warm Period’ – long before the Industrial Revolution and  its associated fossil fuel burning – is a concession that its earlier statement  is highly questionable.

What they say: ‘Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10 – 15 years.’

What this means: The ‘models’ are computer forecasts, which the IPCC admits failed to ‘see… a reduction in the warming trend’. In fact, there has been no statistically significant warming at all for almost 17 years – as first reported by this newspaper last October, when the Met Office tried to deny this ‘pause’ existed.In its 2012 draft, the IPCC didn’t mention it either. Now it not only accepts it is  real, it admits that its climate models  totally failed to predict it.

What they say: ‘There is medium confidence that this difference between models and observations is to a substantial degree caused by unpredictable climate variability, with possible contributions from inadequacies in the solar, volcanic, and aerosol forcings used by the models and, in some models, from too strong a response to increasing greenhouse-gas forcing.’

What this means: The IPCC knows the pause is  real, but has no idea what is causing it. It could be natural climate variability, the sun, volcanoes – and crucially, that the computers have been allowed to give too much weight to the effect carbon dioxide emissions (greenhouse gases) have on temperature change.

What they say: ‘Climate models now include more cloud and aerosol processes, but there remains low confidence in the representation and quantification of these processes in models.’

What this means: Its models don’t accurately forecast the impact of fundamental aspects of the atmosphere – clouds, smoke and dust.

What they say: ‘Most models simulate a small decreasing trend in Antarctic sea ice extent, in contrast  to the small increasing trend in observations… There is low confidence in the scientific understanding of the small observed increase in Antarctic sea ice extent.’

What this means: The models said Antarctic ice would decrease. It’s actually increased, and the IPCC doesn’t know why.

What they say: ‘ECS is likely in the range 1.5C to 4.5C… The lower limit of the assessed likely range is thus less than the 2C in the [2007 report], reflecting the evidence from new studies.’

What this means: ECS – ‘equilibrium climate sensitivity’ – is an estimate of how much the world will warm every time carbon dioxide levels double. A high value means we’re heading for disaster. Many recent studies say that previous IPCC claims, derived from the computer models, have been way too high. It looks as if they’re starting to take notice, and so are scaling down their estimate for the first time.

Rose also mentions the new paper from Nic Lewis taking the Met office climate model to task for having an ECS of 4.6C, which is greater than even the IPCC is claiming:

Lewis’s paper is scathing about the ‘future warming’ document issued by the Met Office in July, which purported to explain why the current 16-year global warming ‘pause’ is unimportant, and does not mean the ECS is lower than previously thought.

Lewis says the document made misleading claims about other scientists’ work – for example, misrepresenting important details of a study by a team that included Lewis and 14 other  IPCC experts. The team’s paper, published in the prestigious journal Nature Geoscience in May, said the best estimate of the ECS was 2C or less – well under half the Met Office estimate.

He also gives evidence that another key Met Office model is inherently skewed. The result is that it will always produce  high values for CO2-induced warming, no matter how its control knobs are tweaked, because its computation of the  cooling effect of smoke and dust  pollution – what scientists call ‘aerosol forcing’ – is simply incompatible with the real world.

This has serious implications,  because the Met Office’s HadCM3 model is used to determine the Government’s climate projections, which influence policy.

Mr Lewis concludes that the Met Office modelling is ‘fundamentally unsatisfactory, because it effectively rules out from the start the possibility that both aerosol forcing and climate sensitivity are modest’. Yet this, he writes, ‘is the combination that recent observations support’.

We live in interesting times.

Read Rose’s article here:


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Or put another way …
“We don’t have an effin’ clue, guv!”


governments only look at one section, the Guide to Policy Makers, of the report and that is written by some politician not any scientist. It contains what governments want to hear not what they should hear, BIG BIG difference.

Latimer Alder

Pigeons…let me introduce Cat!
He will be among you for some time……….
Buy popcorn shares. Sell alarmists.

David Rose has written a worthwhile article.


She said it therefore made no sense that the IPCC was claiming that its confidence in its forecasts and conclusions has increased….

I have said before that it’s amazing that in the face of a 16+ years temperature standstill, failure of the climate models and a flood of climate sensitivity reducing papers that the IPCC is even more confident! In what other scientific field would you see this? The answer is simple: The IPCC has been infiltrated by numerous advocacy groups and ’cause’ campaigning climate scientists.


As predicted by myself and others, the failed hypothesis will NOT fade away quietly into the night. It will be fought over, tooth and nail. Every last little nit will have to be dragged into the light of day for all to see. Every failed projection, every prediction of CO2 “fingerprint” that has simply not appeared, every idiotic doom-laden prediction. They will continue to deny what is right in front of them, while calling us the d-word.
Oh, and, people with facts on their side do NOT fight so strongly to protect their worldview. People who have been lying for years do. People who knew their hypothesis was invalidated years ago do. People who invested their inheritance on bird-slicing…. er…. wind farms do. People who know the jig is up will deny it to the end. Watch an episode of Cops. See the suspect get frisked. See the office take the coke from the suspect. See the suspect INSIST that coke was not on him.
The similarities between Baghdad Bob (aka Comical Ali), The Black Knight from “Holy Grail”, and AGW believers are astounding.
Hey – Antarctic ice is increasing.
“No ’tisn’t”
Hey, no temperature increase in almost 17 years.
“‘Tis but a scratch!”
It’s not now warmer than during the Medieval Warm Period.
“It’s only a flesh wound”
Hey, sensitivity isn’t even HALF your lowest estimate.
“We butchered the force present at the airport. We have retaken the airport! There are no Americans there!”


What they say: ‘Surface temperature reconstructions show multi-decadal intervals during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (950-1250) that were in some regions as warm as in the late 20th Century.’

But Michael Mann says some regions were WARMER than the late 20th Century! Figs, grapes anyone?

Medieval Climatic Optimum
Michael E Mann – University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA
It is evident that Europe experienced, on the whole, relatively mild climate conditions during the earliest centuries of the second millennium (i.e., the early Medieval period). Agriculture was possible at higher latitudes (and higher elevations in the mountains) than is currently possible in many regions, and there are numerous anecdotal reports of especially bountiful harvests (e.g., documented yields of grain) throughout Europe during this interval of time. Grapes were grown in England several hundred kilometers north of their current limits of growth, and subtropical flora such as fig trees and olive trees grew in regions of Europe (northern Italy and parts of Germany) well north of their current range. Geological evidence indicates that mountain glaciers throughout Europe retreated substantially at this time, relative to the glacial advances of later centuries (Grove and Switsur, 1994). A host of historical documentary proxy information such as records of frost dates, freezing of water bodies, duration of snowcover, and phenological evidence (e.g., the dates of flowering of plants) indicates that severe winters were less frequent and less extreme at times during the period from about 900 – 1300 AD in central Europe……………………
Some of the most dramatic evidence for Medieval warmth has been argued to come from Iceland and Greenland (see Ogilvie, 1991). In Greenland, the Norse settlers, arriving around AD 1000, maintained a settlement, raising dairy cattle and sheep. Greenland existed, in effect, as a thriving European colony for several centuries. While a deteriorating climate and the onset of the Little Ice Age are broadly blamed for the demise of these settlements around AD 1400,

The David Rose article’s format (What they [IPCC] say vs. What this means) is an effective communication method.
As to Judith Curry’s long and fairly consistent intellectual journey to a skeptically balanced scientific processing of climate science, she has set a wonderful role model for her peers.

Reality is the only antidote that can put an end to the fluxed up AGW conceptual models of reality…

Kudos to Judith Curry for standing up for science and the scientific method.
As for the despicable antisemitic comments of Nuttelli et al, they should be charged and find themselves in jail.
Reminds me too much of the Nazi campaign against ‘Jewish science’.


But they had come up with a another reason to tax us, a government sponsored study, they were just doing their job! No global warming, no reason for a Co2 tax!


What they say: ‘Most models simulate a small decreasing trend in Antarctic sea ice extent, in contrast to the small increasing trend in observations… There is low confidence in the scientific understanding of the small observed increase in Antarctic sea ice extent.’

But a paper out earlier this year blamed melting ice shelves. Is there anything carbon dioxide can’t do?


So, they are 95% sure that humans cause somewhere between +0,05C and +0,1C per decennium. Catastrophic AGW is turning into Benevolent AGW.
Next we will be allowed to produce Appealing AGW because CO2 keeps going up while temperatures start going down.


As for the Met Office I only have pity. This year they held a crisis meeting about their crappy forecasts. This year they told us to expect wetter summers just before the UK enjoyed a barbecue summer. Previously they told the UK to expect a barbecue summer just before a damp washout. The Met Office should be privatized, closed down or they should stick to the weather (7 days only) and not the climate.

Bloke down the pub

It should have become apparent to the warmists a long time ago that every time they exaggerate the likely outcome of any future warming, the harder it becomes to explain away the differences between their predictions and reality. They must be totally oblivious to the ridicule that awaits them.


Bloke down the pub says:
September 15, 2013 at 4:33 am
Never mind the ridicule – it’ll be the physical pain and suffering that’ll hurt the most – at least, if I had my way !
Seriously, although the general greeny type alarmists deserve some pain – my REAL anger is still reserved for the so called scientists that allowed this scam to go this far. Any of the scientists that have written peer reviewed papers extoling AGW without genuine scientific merit should be totally disbarred from any kind of scientific based post, and preferably put up against a post with a blind fold! They have NO excuse! Whatever their reasons, motivations, etc – the bad science perveyors must be tried and sentenced – they have thrown the scientific method out of the window and lead the whole world down a wrong and painful path. This is completely unacceptable and something I hope real scientists will also feel very very angry about, as it has created a level of mistrust never seen before…..

Richard M

The claim of .12C/decade does not match the graph shown in The Mail article. Since we know there was no warming (cooling, in fact) prior to 1980, and the graph shows only .4C of warming after 1980, how can they make that claim? The actual warming over the entire 60 years is more like .05C/decade. Now, I suppose they could be claiming other factors (like aerosols) accounted for some cooling which raised the CO2 warming. Otherwise it makes no sense at all.
Given that China and India have not seen any cooling in the last 20 years the entire idea that aerosols create cooling has been falsified. I can’t see where they could get away with making such a claim.

Bill Illis

The developments over the past year, and especially those in the last few months, should at least allow those scientists who knew they were wrong, those who played with the numbers to stay in the game, to start being more objective about the whole thing.
Perhaps it will even take away some of the power of the bullies out there which have policed everyone to the tow the party line over the years.
And it should result in less public support for green energy and CO2 reduction schemes/taxes. It doesn’t take too many headlines as in “warming half of expected, scientist admit” before people take notice.
Just trying to be more positive about this since many of us have been waiting for this for a decade.

David Wells

What this means is that like wind turbine and solar speculators the very poor are supporting an every growing bank of over educated halfwits so indulged in irrelevant minutiae that they cant tell chalk from cheese. If the cost of abating 1 degree C is $3.2 quadrillion but we have no credible method of identifying whether Co2 is the anti Christ or not and that if the speculated Armageddon remains light years away then surely there must be a more positive pursuit in life than this self indulgent form of idiotic navel gazing. What is the positive purpose of spending billions to pursue a problem for which there is no solution other than mass extermination which presumably even the IPCC would consider a tiny bit extremist but I suppose it is all about bank accounts at the end of the day and right now Al Gore is the gold medal winner, clear proof that bullshit baffles brains!


Have they ever actually tried running their models with LOW climate sensitivity?

Not “fluxed up”, not “not settled”, not “stillborn”. Failed. A complete delusion, built upon a false foundation, nurtured over two generations of scientists.

Not even false. There is insufficient connection to reality for it to be false. It is nothing but a scarey Halloween story about things that go bump in the night.

Phillip Bratby

AGW is dead. Remove all useless wind turbines immediately and stop killing the elderly.


The “consensus” is that all the so-called climate scientists should be fired for incompetence and work minimum wage at McD’s instead of keeping their snouts in the public grant funding trough.


Our daily media news is filled with examples of experts and public officials who have made major errors in fact or judgment but continue to deny their fault despite the existence clear facts to the contrary .Attempts to cover up their error gets them into even deeper trouble . The ones that successfully deal with mistakes are the ones who acknowledge their mistake quickly and publically and go on to do better things having learned from the past experience . Science is built on countless past errors and experimentation until the next level of understanding is achieved especially if the science is complex involving many fields or the science is relatively young still.. Science is always in a state of flux and is never settled. It is a pity that the Agw scientists and IPCC never learned from their scientific ancestors . I detect an aura of scientific arrogance and claim of superior expertise which sometime comes from attempting to force unproven science from top down instead of developing the correct science from bottom up which is the normal route . Any one who claims that their science is settled or that they are 95% certain that humans are responsible for the majority of recent warming since 1950 is clearly not a competent scientist. No mature or competent scientist would ever express such rubbish. This entire IPCC experiment continues to be a scientific problem of major proportions until the scientific community steps in to fix it.

Rod Everson

Anthony: “It is looking like my single word quote in Rolling Stone “stillborn”, will be accurate.”
Looking at the bright side, Anthony? Good for you! Who knows? Your Rolling-Stone-distilled quote might yet end up on the cover of a magazine featuring the IPCC’s AR5, maybe even with your pic? Seriously.


The IPCC is simply doing what is said it would do, what’s the big deal?


You said
” IPCC is simply doing what is said what it would do”
That is where the problem probably started . Their charter or principles governing their work was to study only ” human induced ” climate change . That is like directing the justice department to only investigate and take testimony of one potential criminal when the real culprit is not known at all up front . Only major injustice can come of this approach and the wrong conclusions would be arrived at .The IPCC directive was a predirected scientific study when there was no basis of prior science knowledge to know that human induced science was the cause of climate change . So their entire prime focus was on human induced climate change , rather than studying all causes with equal vigor.Subsequently outside of IPCC organization it has become evident that there could be other prime factors which may dwarf man induced climate change .

johnny pics

THe epa has forced states into adapting a “stretch code” for home building. They state it is necassary to combat “global warming”. Walls now need to have an r-value of 20.0 it previously was r -15. windows have an r-value of 3. Can anyone figure if there is any savings considering
Most heat will be lost through the windows?


Edcaryl: my spotty memory recalls that Mann had a graph projecting climate change if Man contributed no CO2 to the atmosphere. This, of course would be the same result if the climate had no sensitivity to the gas. I have not seen a side-by-side comparison of this projection to the actual results of the past sixteen years, but I would bet that it is closer than any of the other model runs.
Perhaps someone here has such a comparison or can point us to one.


Hey johnny pics, homes that are insulated too much need to have some sort of heat exchanger to replace stale room air with outside fresh air. “Superinsulated” houses are designed with this in mind, and it costs quite a bit extra to build this way. These types of houses typically have very small windows to limit heat loss. A very tightly built house could cause health problems for occupants if it is not designed correctly. I doubt the EPA is too concerned about this, though, since they could care less about us poor, dumb taxpayers.

What they say: ‘The rate of warming since 1951 [has been] 0.12C per decade.’
What this means: In their last hugely influential report in 2007, the IPCC claimed the world was warming at 0.2C per decade. Here they admit there has been a massive cut in the [estimated] speed of global warming – although it’s buried in a section on the recent warming ‘pause’. The true figure, it now turns out, is not only just over half what they thought [0.2 C/ decade]– it’s below their lowest previous estimate. [what value was the lowest estimate]

Which, by the way, was published with a 90% confidence!
(Or so they wanted us to think.)

J Martin

And if the current cooling trend steepens over the next few years as seems likely then it destroy what little credibility of the IPCC remains. Bring it on.

Lars Karlsson

0.2 C/decade is future projected warming. 0.12 C/decade is warming since 1951. Rose’s comparison is simply wrong.
Seriously, does anybody here really believe that IPCC claimed it had warmed 0.2 C/decade (= 1.2 C) since 1951?

johnny pics

MKelley thanks for the info. ….Poor(not as dumb as they think) taxpayers..


Willis – I still cannot get my head around some of this terminology. As I see it:
Forcing = a medium that returns energy to the surface, that would otherwise be lost to space.
Feedback = a VARIABLE medium that either returns energy to the surface or prevents it getting there in the first place.
Governor = a VARIABLE medium that either returns energy to the surface or prevents it getting there in the first place – but one that tends to return the system to the status quo (like any governor on an engine would).
Right? Little bit right? Wrong? Completely wrong??


herkimer says:
September 15, 2013 at 8:41 am

You said
” IPCC is simply doing what is said what it would do”

That is where the problem probably started . Their charter or principles governing their work was to study only ” human induced ” climate change .

Implicit in their remit was the direction to study all factors affecting climate change, since only then could the human contribution be teased out.

Brian H

It should henceforth be far easier for sceptics to get column inches and treatment as ‘respectable’ participants in policy making.
The costs of following incorrect projections is starting to not just make governments antsy, but downright balky. I think recriminations of catastrophists will come soon, if not quite yet.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Vancouver

I want to raise something pointing out to me by one of the Expert Reviewers. I would not have noticed myself because it is so subtle.
AR4 says 90% confidence in what, exactly? That AG emissions are responsible for “most” of the recent warming. Yes or no? Based on their previous works we know this really means “nearly all”.
AR5 says 95% confidence in what, exactly? That AG emissions are responsible for ‘more than half” of recent warming. Yes or no? This is a very big change in the claim. It must not go unnoticed when discussing the “rise in confidence”.
First, is this Expert Reviewer’s observation true?
If so, this affects how we discuss the confidence issue, and it is an issue. As Willis has pointed out, a drop in the ECS to old values is a big drop in confidence and he could probably put a number on it. The change in the claim from “most” to “>half”, i.e. as little as 51%, implies a similar drop in confidence that they know what the impact of all AG emissions are.
We may know intuitively that the confidence numbers are baseless but we can know for a fact that the claims are unequal.


Scientists accept their computers ‘may have exaggerated’ …

…I think it was the scientists themselves, and not their computers, who did all of the exaggerating!
The speed with which the CAGW argument is unraveling is just breathtaking, but these folks have powerful friends. We’ll know CAGW is headed for the ash-heap of history when governments start to change and/or dump their “carbon control” strategies, i.e. Oz carbon tax (headed out), emissions controls, alternative energy mandates etc.
It’s not lookin’ good for Al Gore, is it?

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Vancouver

I just read in the linked Mailonline article that the current phrase is “more than half”.
Can someone confirm it used to be “most”?


You said
“Implicit in their remit was the direction to study all factors affecting climate change, since only then could the human contribution be teased out.”
The scope of such a complex study can’t be just implicit . It has to be clearly spelled out .I think it is clearly stated that they wanted “the basis of risk of human induced climate change” as you see below . Otherwise one would state that they wanted to know the risk assocaited with all factors involved in climate change , but it does not say that . Why only human induced climate change? . In my opinion , the powers in charge perhaps wrongly prejudged the prime cause of climate change as human only. It now appears that the highest risk is not human induced climate change at all but possibly other factors . It was the scientists outside of IPCC who perhaps ” teased “out these other factors as they were under no mandate to look at human induced issues primarly.Anyway that is my take on it . Others may see it differently
Here is what I understand their mandate was
The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.


“A state of flux” ?
Maybe “A state of fear”


Here’s a link to an interesting article from today’s Daily Mail newspapermin London, that is taking on the BBC’s parroting prognistications of pending problems:


Crispin in Waterloo
“More than 50%” of recent warming can be just as large as ” most ” of recent warming in my opinion . What is the difference ?

Luther Bl't

The IPCC is between a rock and a hard place. According to the Daily Mail article, “governments have tabled 1,800 questions and are demanding major revisions”. The IPCC can wave these away, issue the report as scheduled, and find themselves defunded by Christmas. Or they can take them on board – in which case the report will not see the light until at least next Christmas. Doubtless some of those 1800 questions have been purposefully crafted to occasion the maximum of consternation and delay (and then there is Donna Laframboise and her Team(tm) to pick over the bona fides afterwards).
“Stillborn” appears to be a totally apt epithet.

Mario Lento

Nippy says:
September 15, 2013 at 11:55 am
“A state of flux” ?
Maybe “A state of fear”
“A State of Fear” was the science fiction book that led me to be sceptical.
“An Inconvenient Truth” was a science fiction movie that led me to feel lied to.
“WUWT” is the greatest website in the world, and has given me great hope that Truth could be found. Anthony, the Mods and contributors should get some great recognition.
That people could watch the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” and be swayed into believing man is causing Catastrophic Global Warming is downright frightening to me. It gives me great sadness to know that so many people are/were gullible enough to so easily be willing to go down the path of self destruction –all while thinking their are doing good.


CodeTech says:
September 15, 2013 at 4:02 am

CodeTech hits the nail on the head. The “denial” of the future will be that of the prior alarmists, reduced to “yeah, but it’s riddled with spelling mistakes” in an attempt to discredit. Hamsters and elderberries will be next.
In the meantime, I’m waiting with ‘bated breath for responses from Bob “The Attack Puppy” Ward and from Dana “Bad Motor Scooter” Nuccitelli. I shall ignore Mann, as he’s like a stuck record.
Right – off to make a batch of deliciously buttery popcorn.


Do the guilty verdicts for the scientists who failed to predict the L’Aquila quake set any precedents for the alarmists who have lied and deceived in order to keep the AGW bandwagon on the road? As the story unravels this question needs to be asked.
At the time I remember thinking that the verdicts were bizarre, but now I’m not so sure. The acts of the alarmists are despicable and have resulted in the misdirection of valuable resources and probably unnecessary deaths. They should be put on trial if only to rescue the scientific principle.

George Steiner

What is the evidence that this is a pause?