Climate Craziness of the Week: only the 'cooler' models are wrong – the rest say 4ºC of warming by 2100

From the University of New South Wales and Dr. Steven Sherwood:

“Climate sceptics like to criticise climate models for getting things wrong, and we are the first to admit they are not perfect,” said Sherwood. “But what we are finding is that the mistakes are being made by the models which predict less warming, not those that predict more.”



Cloud mystery solved: Global temperatures to rise at least 4°C by 2100

Cloud impact on climate sensitivity unveiled

Global average temperatures will rise at least 4°C by 2100 and potentially more than 8°C by 2200 if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced according to new research published in Nature. Scientists found global climate is more sensitive to carbon dioxide than most previous estimates.

The research also appears to solve one of the great unknowns of climate sensitivity, the role of cloud formation and whether this will have a positive or negative effect on global warming.

“Our research has shown climate models indicating a low temperature response to a doubling of carbon dioxide from preindustrial times are not reproducing the correct processes that lead to cloud formation,” said lead author from the University of New South Wales’ Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science Prof Steven Sherwood.

“When the processes are correct in the climate models the level of climate sensitivity is far higher. Previously, estimates of the sensitivity of global temperature to a doubling of carbon dioxide ranged from 1.5°C to 5°C. This new research takes away the lower end of climate sensitivity estimates, meaning that global average temperatures will increase by 3°C to 5°C with a doubling of carbon dioxide.”

The key to this narrower but much higher estimate can be found in the real world observations around the role of water vapour in cloud formation.

Observations show when water vapour is taken up by the atmosphere through evaporation, the updraughts can either rise to 15 km to form clouds that produce heavy rains or rise just a few kilometres before returning to the surface without forming rain clouds.

When updraughts rise only a few kilometres they reduce total cloud cover because they pull more vapour away from the higher cloud forming regions.

However water vapour is not pulled away from cloud forming regions when only deep 15km updraughts are present.

The researchers found climate models that show a low global temperature response to carbon dioxide do not include enough of this lower-level water vapour process. Instead they simulate nearly all updraughts as rising to 15 km and forming clouds.

When only the deeper updraughts are present in climate models, more clouds form and there is an increased reflection of sunlight. Consequently the global climate in these models becomes less sensitive in its response to atmospheric carbon dioxide.

However, real world observations show this behaviour is wrong.

When the processes in climate models are corrected to match the observations in the real world, the models produce cycles that take water vapour to a wider range of heights in the atmosphere, causing fewer clouds to form as the climate warms.

This increases the amount of sunlight and heat entering the atmosphere and, as a result, increases the sensitivity of our climate to carbon dioxide or any other perturbation.

The result is that when water vapour processes are correctly represented, the sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of carbon dioxide – which will occur in the next 50 years – means we can expect a temperature increase of at least 4°C by 2100.

“Climate sceptics like to criticize climate models for getting things wrong, and we are the first to admit they are not perfect, but what we are finding is that the mistakes are being made by those models which predict less warming, not those that predict more,” said Prof. Sherwood.

“Rises in global average temperatures of this magnitude will have profound impacts on the world and the economies of many countries if we don’t urgently start to curb our emissions.


newest oldest most voted
Notify of

More crystal ball gazing. GIGO sums it up.


What is sad is that this study will be taken as solemn truth, and we will see it vigorously promoted on some CAGW websites.
Oh! There it is! Antarctic and Greenland ice, rising sea levels.
Planet likely to warm by 4C by 2100, scientists warn
New climate model taking greater account of cloud changes indicates heating will be at higher end of expectations

I don’t doubt that the models that show less warming get clouds wrong. I am quite certain that ALL the models get clouds wrong, and a lot else as well.

Mr Green Genes

May I be the first to say
“It’s worse than we thought!”
It’s rather a ‘coincidence’ that this has come out at a point of maximum embarrassment for the CAGW loonies though, isn’t it?
Anyway, Happy New Year to all, either in advance or after the event, depending on where you are.


How odd, I thought that “the Science” was settled but now this study claims the models were wrong all along.
My model predicts a wind of change, especial in Australia. Sherwood should make sure his CV is up to date.
I dont think he will have a Happy New Year!

Peter Dunford

Willis should find this amusing.


Classmate of Turney’s? ☺

John M

I don’t care what the standings say, my model says the Lions win the Super Bowl, and dag nab it, that’s what I’m going with.

Ice-Trapped 'Scientists'

4ºC of warming? You say it like it’s a bad thing.

Crispin in Waterloo

“When the processes in climate models are corrected to match the observations in the real world…”
Oh goody! They are going to start making the climate models match real world observations! I can hardly wait to see a climate model that correctly predicts cloud cover and matches the temperatures of the past 20 years.
If they fail, then this is just another fiddle placed on top of all the other fiddles. I would also like to see how the forcing feedback manages to ‘beat the system’ that places severe limits on a all other feedbacks in the real world.
This is going to be an interesting year.


… mistakes are being made by the model …
Yes, but who made the models …? Those didn’t start to exist by themselves … Reality check, please!

So the good Prof. Sherwood believes that models are more ‘accurate’ when they depart even further from recent physical measurements!!!!
It was also funny when he uses phrases such as: ‘the models produce cycles that take water vapour to a wider range of…..’.
And I thought that models were computer programs that obeyed what the programmer commanded….
If I produced a computer program that, when I fixed a known problem it failed to a greater degree I would not announce it to the world until I had fixed all problems within….
Still, this is climate science, so we all have a lot to learn about publishing techniques…

Gary Hladik

Whoa, they must smoking some primo stuff!


Wonder if you correct for the clouds and re-run the models, whether the other knobs and dials on the models still remain the same. Seems like these guys are “fixing” the “flaw” in some of these models and putting the change back, without any view to correlativeness of this “fix”.


Only if they add an additional +4 degC of adjustments. It’s their MO.

“or rise just a few kilometres before returning to the surface without forming rain clouds.
When updraughts rise only a few kilometres they reduce total cloud cover because they pull more vapour away from the higher cloud forming regions.” I hate it when my vapor pulls away from the higher regions.
Does this make any sense whatsoever? How could it even be measured with any accuracy?
For the MSM, if a “Climate Scientist” says so, it must be true…


alternative version –
‘I produced a stocks and shares price predictor.
I got all of the prices wrong, some by a long margin.
But I found the bug !!
All the price predictions that were closest to the stock market were the ones most affected by the bug.
Please buy my stock market predictor’


This is what happens when you give Chicken Little a computer for Christmas.
I go back and forth on this. Is their behavior the result of sincere fear that that the end is nigh and their fear is causing them to reject evidence or is this simply a con to keep the grant gravy train going?
There is something in the human brain chemistry that makes us susceptible to the idea that the gods are angry over man’s actions and that the world is going to come to an end unless we repent. Scientist are as likely as others to fall into this mind set — particularly when ‘repenting’ mean re-aligning society to conform to their own ideals.
One wonders when the fever will break.

Ed Barbar

Let’s say the research is in fact correct. Models have not properly taken into account the true climate sensitivity. This shows the models are even further off from the actuality, which means even less is known about the climate system than previously thought, and the models are even a worse indicator of the actual response to CO2.


But I thought that the increase in temperature/increase in CO2 relationship was logarithmic.
Something out of kilter here.

Bruce of Newcastle

Models not reflecting reality? Perhaps this is why his UNSW colleague and climate modeller Chris Turney is currently trapped in ice. His models tell him water water everywhere in every direction. Strangely, though, there’s all this white stuff stopping the ship from moving. Must be popcorn.

A climate model proves another climate model wrong. Apparently the one model considers a portion of real-world observations that the other does not. Which model predicted that the largest increase in human-produced CO2 of all time would accompany a 17-year period of no warming? Now that that is a real-world observation too, which model will now incorporate it and prove the others wrong?


John M says:
December 31, 2013 at 11:34 am…
I’m sorry John M but, your models are clearly wrong. Empirical evidence shows the Lions did not make the playoffs. Therefore, there is no possibility the Lions could win the Super Bowl. I suggest you input real world data and observations into your model and account for all reasonable factors before making such claims. The Lions are in a pause and have been for many years now. While your faith and adherence to your team is commendable, your theory and model have been proven false.
Now, my model on the other hand strongly suggests the #18 Broncos forcing is clearly the dominant factor in the rise to the Super Bowl. This is backed by evidence and observation. I theorize the Broncos will win.

A. Scott

Yep – wonder if this magical new discovery also fixes the fact that NONE of the models predicted the 17 year pause in warming …

It is hot at the equator. There is massive cloud and rain at the equator.
As you get further from the equator, it gets colder. And rain reduces.
Note band of deep blue rain on top of the equatorial heat. Note near zero precipitation in antarctica:
More heat causes more rain that lowers temperatures. (Note the hot areas above are in desert areas with little water and downwelling air flow).
It isn’t about water vapor causing fewer clouds, it’s about added heat causing more water vapor and more precipitation (and thus cooling via dumping heat at altitude).
The models that are most right are the ones that “get it” that more heat causes more water vapor to rise and causing more precipitation to cool things. The models that are most wrong are the ones that turn water vapor into an IR gas and “trap heat”; ignoring the precipitation from our heat pipe Earth.
As the sun cooled off, the poles got colder. Now the heat engine will run faster (delta / difference between poles and equator is higher) as it works harder to dump more heat to space. A side effect is MORE precipitation (and more clouds) that will hold until the oceans have cooled off by the same amount. My guess is about 2030. Look for colder and wetter until then. Then we just get “way colder’ and drier (as the oceans have cooled then and don’t evaporate as much) untli the sun wakes back up and the lunar tidal forces move to the warmer cycle.


Doc1; These people are sick.
Doc2; Let some blood out of them.
Doc1. OK, did that. 20% of them died and the rest are still sick.
Doc2; Well, obviously you didn’t let enough blood out of them.
Doc1; OK, I let more blood out. Now half of them are dead and the rest are still sick.
Doc2; Wow, this disease is worse than I thought. Double the bloodletting.
Doc1; Uhm…there’s this other doctor, and he’s not letting the blood out of his patients, and they’re getting better…
Doc2; The disease is just talking a pause. The symptoms are just hiding. Somewhere that doctors can’t find them. But since no blood was let out of them, it means that they are actually getting sicker. When the diseases stops pausing, it will be even worse. Triple the blood letting.


The real solution is more money……


Climate scientists don’t even remotely know what they don’t know about climate science. Yet they build a model, plug all sorts of information in it and then use it to base all of their predictions on. How frigging amazing is that for nonsense?


He just added a fudge factor to grab a headline, period, knowing that even the likes of the faux Marcott 2013 hockey stick now famously passes peer review.

Theo Goodwin

Here they present an argument that makes a crucial appeal to empirical evidence yet they provide no empirical evidence whatsoever. What children they are. What children Nature’s editors are.
Sorry, folks, but if you are going to claim that you understand cloud behavior as it bears on albedo then you must present well confirmed physical hypotheses which explain the claim and you must present the empirical evidence that makes them well-confirmed. Until you have those things, do not publish your weak as Pajamas Boy claims.

davidmhoffer says:
December 31, 2013 at 12:22 pm
David – you have a way with words! That not only sums it up perfectly, but captures the foolishness and the arrogance of today’s “climate scientists” and their blinkered approach. Brilliant.

Jim Cripwell

sarc on/ For people who are not up to date, with climate models GIGO does NOT mean garbage in, garbage out. It means garbage in, gospel out. sarc off/


“But what we are finding is that the mistakes are being made by the models which predict less warming, not those that predict more.”
So if we remove from the figure at the top of the post all of the ‘wrong’ models…….
That makes it so much easier to demonstrate that models != reality. Thanks for the clarification.


davidmhoffer says:
December 31, 2013 at 12:22 pm
Thread winner!


I am not a climate scientist, I am a mere glider pilot, so of course I don’t know anything about thermals, but two things strike me as odd;-
1, If thermals form clouds then they will go all the way to the tropopause to form a rainstorm unless something stops them. If an inversion stops them, they will dissipate without interacting with the air above the inversion – they will not “draw water vapour” out of the air above the inversion, that is utter nonsense.
2. The vast majority if clouds and rain are frontal, not thermal, in origin.
I really do not understand what this man is talking about.

a jones

Yes, When i was young, a long time ago, and learning my trade in Natural Philosophy we used to call this the fiddle factor: denoted as F double dash.
A happy new year to all at WUWT and its readers.
Kindest Regards


Somewhat OT, but the ENSO meter has moved massive neutral.
As in “where has our heat gone?”

Lars P.

Can somebody help me to understand, is this what the averaged satellite datasets is plotting?

John gardner

Happy new year everyone (its already 2014 here in Oz).
C’mon Willis, rip into the pile of cr@pola!


Shocking, if you go searching for the mistakes that would go in a particular direction, you find the mistakes that go in that direction. You didn’t go looking for any mistakes in the other direction, so you didn’t find any.
So, if you go looking for model problems that could bias them low, you find some and you remove them, the models warm more. You perhaps fail to realize that it is not the effect of the problems you find that determines the bias in one direction or another, it is the sum of *all* problems, including the ones you haven’t even contemplated, much less identified.
So sure, if you try hard enough you can find a model problem that actually reduces the amount they warm, and if you correct *only* that model problem, they’d warm more.
The more sensible thing to do would be to look for a method to determine whether the total bias due to model problems is in one direction or another, regardless of the source of the bias. In this regard the weak rate of warming in the last few decades-and more recently the absence of a warming trend entirely-compared to models illustrates that, even if this cloud problem is biasing models low, the remaining biases must add up to a *high* bias in their sensitivity estimates.
Me thinks Sherwood is lost in the forest, because he can’t see it for the trees.

Lawrie Ayres

It’s downright embarrassing that these climate idiots, Sherwood has form and Turney was an unknown until he got stuck in ice, are Australians. It is unsurprising that the Sydney Morning Herald printed the rubbish and are unlikely to print the inevitable retraction/correction just as they fail to report Turneys Antarctic fiasco. In this they are ably assisted by the public broadcaster, the ABC. It’s been a bad week for warmists here as the front page of the Australian newspaper yesterday carried an op-ed by one of the PM’s chief advisors that the CC fraud is collapsing and a news article linking Green policies to job losses and increased power charges. The Antarctic circus is icing but some in the media are trying to ignore it.
Happy New Year to all at WUWT. 2014 is shaping to be the year of the skeptic.


Stepping back from the trees for a moment to look at the forest…
If we proceed on the assumption that this paper is correct (not that I am, but let’s just suppose for a moment) it is actually a devastating blow to the climate models. If the models closest to reality are in fact incorrect about cloud modelling, and fixing that portion of them forces their results even further from reality, it means that something else is wrong with the models, or perhaps (more likely) several other things.
What this paper (if correct) shows is that the models are even worse than we previously supposed.
This paper joins an ever growing list of peer review literature that has ceased trying to prove the models wrong, and instead tries to explain why they are wrong, with ever increasing contortions to preserve the CAGW memoplex at the same time.


Lars P. No, that is global lower troposphere, the plot above is tropical mid-troposphere.

Lars P.

timetochooseagain says:
December 31, 2013 at 12:59 pm
Lars P. No, that is global lower troposphere, the plot above is tropical mid-troposphere.


Climate sceptics like to criticize climate models for getting things wrong, and we are the first to admit they are not perfect”
Yeah, when we are caught out we admit it.

Harry Passfield

“…mistakes are being made by the models modellers.” [Fixed]

Rob Dawg

This isn’t “horseshoes.” The mainstream climate projection modellers have it wrong. Adjusting wrong doesn’t fix a broken model.


I despair with the drivel and rubbish these people come out with I really can’t be bothered being polite with them anymore. I’ve just seen a post on UK Sci Weather that says the reason that ‘ship of fools’ is stuck in ice is because of AGW with more fresh water due the Antarctic ice cap melting.
Well all know that ice melts faster on land than the ocean where it’s impervious to melting especially the further it freezes outwards. How you and other have the patience is beyond me . Personally I think the bulk of AGW’s like the journalist on that shipping are &*cking Idiots and there is no other way to deal with them now. The gloves are going to have to come of very soon as no ones is giving an inch an intrenched ideological warfare looks on the cards as these fanatics just won’t accept any truth that is laid before them. Some of the responses and comments you hear to real situations make one want to do a Ben Sanity Clause .
Honestly I want to tell them just to shut the *&ck up. They are a public health hazard


Ok, so his Excellency wnats do double the climate sensitivity. Hey let him. This will just make reality even more inconvenient for the excellencies of climate science. We don’t lose anything; they were idiots anyway.

Mike McMillan

We’re already a seventh of the way to 2100 without any warming, so when the rise finally starts, it’s gonna be really steep.