Great moments in climate prediction: 'World will warm faster than predicted in next five years, study warns'

That now failed headline is from Duncan Clark in the Guardian.


And, for good measure he added:

New estimate based on the forthcoming upturn in solar activity and El Niño southern oscillation cycles is expected to silence global warming sceptics

Just a few small problems there:

  1. Climategate gave skeptics a worldwide voice and stage
  2. Actual temperature has been flat, not increasing
  3. Actual solar activity has been far lower than predicted, not increasing
  4. What El Niño?

Let’s take them one by one.

1. Climategate: I’ll give Duncan this one, nobody could have predicted this event, even though many skeptics had been correctly predicting that behind the scenes there was a lot of “team collusion” going on, which was laid bare for all to see. See our WUWT Climategate section here.

2. Actual temperature has been flat, not increasing: Yes, and since this is a British newspaper, lets use British data to illustrate it and Paul Clark’s excellent “Woodfortrees” website to show what has been happening since 2009 with British HadCRUT4 data.


3. Actual solar activity has been far lower than predicted, not increasing: A whole bunch of scientists missed this one, except Dr. Leif Svalgaard. Many were predicting a larger than normal solar cycle, instead we got the weakest one in 100 years.

This animated graph shows the progression of shrinking predictions:

4. What El Niño? I’ll let Bob Tisdale explain that one here:

We live in interesting times.


The whole paper making the claim in 2009 is available for free here:
h/t to Bruce S.





78 thoughts on “Great moments in climate prediction: 'World will warm faster than predicted in next five years, study warns'

  1. Back in the oughties there were many alarmist predictions of climate doom, not one of which have actually materialised, If anything climate has been more clement during that period.
    Haven’t these idiots ever heard about the boy who cried wolf!

  2. Anthony: Would you include a section in your new website that lists all the model and climate predictions which have not come true or which have failed? The Ice Free Artic prediction is always a great one. If you have included these, I have yet to find them in one place. Thanks for your time and attention to this matter.

    • P.S. I found the ClimateFail Files but they do not appear to be complete. They deal with Nye and Gore but there are waaaaay more. Thanks.

  3. they have no choice either the global temperature will rise rapidly or their prediction will be falsified.
    they should have said whaterver the natural processes wich slowed the rise of temperature they will stop and the rise will resume unababted…..if not ..well we may have been wrong…

  4. The comments are quite funny on that article.
    And it was back when they weren’t threaded so you can see the discussion develop.
    [snip – off topic-mod]
    And debate was permitted on the Guardian five years ago.

  5. The ‘forthcoming upturn in solar activity’ refers to the current solar cycle. Back in the middle of 2009 we were still at/near the solar minimum. It is a low cycle, but definitely higher than the minimum.

  6. Ah, but in 60 years time those temperatures between August 2009 and July 2014 will have been adjusted upwards and Duncan Clark of the Grauniad will have been correct all along.

    • No – the temps prior to 2009 will have been adjusted downwards. By this time, the LIA will have extended to 1950!

  7. One of these days we’ll turn around and the climate Chicken Littles won’t be there.
    *Turns around.*
    Nope, still there.

  8. ‘Although every prediction we have ever made was mis-over-estimated, we now predict we have mis-under-estimated the previous prediction of warming.’
    Is that what they are saying?

  9. You can tell they’ve lost all momentum now, if they had a meeting or conference-call and planned out a strategy and decided this was a good idea to go forward with, it’s an indication of how hollowed-out, defeated and side-lined AGW is becoming.

  10. We live in mendaciously ignorant times. The proliferation of fools and liars popping off has reached a tipping point that has made institutionalized public deceit an acceptable behavior.
    At every level governments are engaged in unrestricted deceit and manipulation at levels never seen before.
    Even down at the municipal level we see public officials spewing forth the products of collusion, ulterior motives, chiselers and con artists.

    • That’s what caught my eye as well. How was warming caused by natural factors supposed to silence skeptics?

    • The rent-seekers backed Gore and CO2 because they could make a buck from it. Starting with the corn-growers of Iowa, Big Al’s home state, who salivated at the foresee-able earnings from biofuels.
      Are these experts now saying CO2 has been abandoned as a solar amplification? What about the dreaded ’emissions’ in that case? Are those reduced to the significance of a fart, after all?

  11. I like the animated chart.
    These clowns keep giving you fodder to report. As the sun sets on CAGW the shrill cries will continue to increase in orders of magnitude. Anthony, you have job security! 198,555,602 million views to date and that’s just here @ WUWT.

  12. I love the animated shrinking predictions – not often that watching an animated graph has made me laugh!

  13. No here’s a question.
    If the excess heat is going into the oceans below 700m as Trenberth says then it can’t be affecting the weather very much. Why then are extreme weather events being linked to the energy imbalance which is supposed be causing climate change?

  14. This prediction was so lame. Here’s a prediction: “‘We are predicting the world will warm much faster than we are currently predicting”. THAT’s a prediction.

  15. But the chaps at the Guardian used to tell me the Sun was not that important.
    An El Nino would not silence me, it would make me scream EL NINO not Co2.

  16. I used to know a woman that managed defaulted commercial loans for a bank. She would make financial projections about the companies immediately after their default. I asked how often the companies met or exceeded her projections. She said that it was very rare. I told her that she was obviously using a flawed methodology in making her projections. She disagreed. She claimed that her projections were “correct” at the time she made them. I laughed at her, but she never understood why I laughed at that claim.
    It seems as if the same type of thing occurs with climate models. People like David Appell claim that climate models are never wrong because they are always “correct” about the claims that they are making given certain conditions. I’m sure the authors of Duncan’s paper will merely claim that they were right. They will say that their claims were contingent on El Nino. They will say that the non-occurance of El Nino doesn’t make them wrong.
    It’s all part of the Bizarro World of Global Warming.

    • It’s the bureaucratic way of thinking. “Correct” means that the correct procedure was followed, not that results were correct.

      • You’re 100% correct. That’s exactly what she meant. She meant that she was using an industry standard method for making financial projections. I told her that, regardless of reason the method was being used, it was obviously a flawed methodology. She said no, “my methodology isn’t flawed – my methodology is to flawlessly use the accepted standard.” I told her that this merely meant that the accepted standard was flawed. She asked how she could be flawed in using an accepted standard. I again told her that the accepted standard methodology was obviously flawed and that it’s flawed to use a flawed methodology. She asked, “how can an accepted standard be flawed if it’s the accepted standard?”
        I’m not exaggerating about her comments.
        In much the same way, the climate alarmist seem to think that they can do no wrong or make no flawed predictions as long as the climate alarmist community seems to agree with their sentiment. It’s crazy.

      • This is the same ‘reasoning’ the Australian BOM are using for their temparature adjustments.
        They claim they use ‘World’s best practice’ when adjusting old temp readings that then create warming temps from cooling raw data.

  17. This animated graph shows the progression of shrinking predictions:

    Anthony, this animation is great. Since I’ve read your blog for years, I knew that this was happening, but this animation captures it so well.
    Again, I have a feeling that the people making the original predictions will claim that they didn’t get anything wrong. They will claim that their predictions were “correct” at the time.

  18. From the same year we also have this failed prediction from the Met Office.

    Met Office – 14 September 2009
    Global warming set to continue
    …..However, the Met Office’s decadal forecast predicts renewed warming after 2010 with about half of the years to 2015 likely to be warmer globally than the current warmest year on record.
    Commenting on the new study, Vicky Pope, Head of Climate Change Advice at the Met Office said: “Decades like 1999-2008 occur quite frequently in our climate change simulations, but the underlying trend of increasing temperature remains……

    How many more years of climate prediction failure do we have to endure? It goes on and on………………

  19. Actual temperature has been flat, not increasing

    There is no single “actual temperature”. But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume there is. It hasn’t been “flat”. the trend has been flat, up to a certain point. I think it’s important to get these things right.

  20. More bargaining phase of the breakdown of a cult having very little to do with science proper. Climate models only use total solar irradiance (TSI), not sunspot activity, and TSI doesn’t vary enough to change temperature much, so this is pure speculation, just finger pointing, playing of of skeptical focus on sunspot activity and speculative theory. Then a mere *lack* of a strong ocean cycle can suddenly mask their highly amplified greenhouse effect? That is just a bizarre logic busting word game. They say warming will shoot up to 150% of predictions, so why aren’t the predictions updated them so they will be accurate? And currently the rate of warming is at 0%, or already 100% lower than expected, by definition, as a counter argument that something is rather wrong with models if they require such a spring back effect to avoid moderation of their positive water vapor feedback assumption that they claim is part of the classic greenhouse effect but very much is not. They also ignore that the lack of a strong ocean cycle very likely represents a lull before a *negative* phase of its cycle kicks in for a whopping 60 years before it once again peaks.

  21. SOME PEOPLE have been so wrong, so often, that everyone else – who thinks – is forced into a stern, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” attitude. SOME PEOPLE, just refuse to accept it isn’t everyone else’s fault for not buying-in, and not their lack of skill in prediction making. THE REST OF US, are really sick of being patronized in this way.

      • Fun fact. I just found this comment under an Ehrlich video on youtube:
        “I have to wonder how anyone can deny global warming as both poles melt for the first time in human history. Can they be so hypnotized by Hateradio buffoons that they can’t see the evidence of their own eyes?”
        That comment is from a year ago.It is impossible to say whether the person is consciously lying or just got wrong information about the poles. Maybe a victim of Western Journalism.
        The comment can be found under the youtube video with the code YHc7-275h0Y for anyone who needs to see it for themselves. It is by a person called Jim Mooney.

  22. But this guy Clark cannot possibly be a prat, because 2,000 concerned climate scientists are meeting right now in Samoa to assess the impact on Climate Change on various Pacific islands. Presumably also to work out how they can be compensated for their submerging and warming land areas! (sarc)

    • Presumably the scientists have already worked out how they are to be compensated for traveling thousands of miles to Samoa on big, big airplanes. First things first, after all. Second, of course, is per diem. After that, the Samoans and other islanders might come into it somewhere.

  23. The authors of this alleged “skeptic silencing” paper were Judith Lean [of “Judithgate” fame] and David Rind of NASA GISS, who very confidently predicted global temps would warm 0.15C plus or minus 0.03C [i.e. warm from 0.12C-0.18C] during the five year period 2009 to 2014.
    The trend in observations from the following datasets show that over the five years 2009-2014, the globe instead cooled by:
    HadCRU4 surface data: -0.044C
    RSS satellite data: -0.09C
    Further, the paper predicts there will be a “pause” in warming due to low solar activity for the subsequent 5 years from 2014-2019 with a temperature change of only 0.03C +/- 0.01.
    Ironically, this paper which was claimed by the Guardian rag in 2009 to “silence global warming skeptics” was not only wrong about the predicted anthropogenic warming, but also [possibly correctly] predicts that low solar activity will lead to a “pause” in warming from 2014-2019.

    • I agree with you Hockey Schtick, that the paper that the Guardian article referred to was Lean and Rind 2009 ‘How will Earth’s surface temperature change in future decades’, rather than the Lean and Rind 2008 paper ‘How natural and anthropogenic influences alter global and regional surface temperatures: 1889 to 2006’ that is linked to in the “update”.
      The full Lean and Rind 2009 paper can be found here:
      The 2009 paper is the paper that your article quotes from and that your graphs are from.
      Another point to note is that the L&R2009 model prediction included a predicted major volcanic eruption in 2013 and moderated the predicted 0.15C increase in global temperature from 2009 to 2014. If you factor in the fact that such a major volcanic eruption never happened, L&R2009 prediction was an even greater fail.

  24. Looking at that Solar Cycle chart, it’s not going to be a very good ‘season’ for HAM radio operators, especially for those chasing the 10-11 meter bands.

  25. So if they say the world will warm faster than they say the world will warm, can that be considered a positive feedback loop ??

  26. Given that this was a 2009 article and the 2010 El Nino did show up, they at least got that part right. On the other hand, 2010 fell well short of 1998 in most temperature metrics and wasn’t enough to stop “the pause”. At this point, it’s just noise on a flat baseline.

  27. Welp, I must have missed something because when did the ‘experts’ start making temperature predictions based on solar activity? I certainly haven’t seen any correlation between the 11 year solar cycle and temps. Have they?
    The further I go down the rabbit hole with you guys the more I am gobsmacked.

  28. Anthony, I think it’s ok to revisit the prediction that was attributed to Jim Hansen back in 1988. He was quoted as claiming that the West Side Highway in NYC would be underwater in 20 years (which would have been 2008).
    Yes, yes, I know you’re giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was asked about 40 years and not 20 years (because in 2009, the reporter magically remembered that he mistakenly wrote 20 years), but the fact remains that Hansen never said anything to correct the prediction until AFTER the prediction was falsified.

    • 26 years ago, in 1988, Hansen said the West Side Highway nearby his office would be underwater in 40 years. Its implausible that its initial rise would be nonexistent for 26 years. If the Hudson hasn’t risen by more than an inch in the next four years, his prediction will look very, very unlikely.

  29. Man predicts “Predictions will be underestimates”
    Meanwhile Al Gore hauls himself up by his bootstraps.
    NASA predicts ‘we can climb into space hand over hand so long as we can bang pitons into the sky?
    Does anybody DO logic and thinking anymore?

    • “Does anybody DO logic and thinking anymore?”
      Only when the results match the pre-agreed narrative, otherwise it’s big-oil funded delusional activism…..

  30. Can someone please direct me to a published “Theory of Climate Change” upon which a majority of scientists agree? It seems to me that there is supposed to be some sort of consensus, but I cannot find anywhere a concise theory upon which all these scientists agree. Surely something upon which so many agree with near certainty is written down, right?

  31. Definition of “prat”:
    “If you consult the Urban Dictionary, you should get an idea of the shades of meaning attached to it;“clueless person of arrogant stupidity”, “Basically someone who’s a major idiot, or is delusional and dumb. Acts against logic and thinks he’s self-righteous”, “Someone who is full of themselves and, almost invariably, stupid as well. With a hint of deluded.””
    I think on our side of the pond, the most accurate synonym is “Obama”.

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