Study: Climate models disagree on why temperature 'wiggles' occur

Inconsistencies may undermine model’s reliability for projecting decade-to-decade warming and lead to misinterpretation of data

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From Duke University:

DURHAM, N.C. — A new Duke University-led study finds that most climate models likely underestimate the degree of decade-to-decade variability occurring in mean surface temperatures as Earth’s atmosphere warms. The models also provide inconsistent explanations of why this variability occurs in the first place.

These discrepancies may undermine the models’ reliability for projecting the short-term pace as well as the extent of future warming, the study’s authors warn. As such, we shouldn’t over-interpret recent temperature trends.

“The inconsistencies we found among the models are a reality check showing we may not know as much as we thought we did,” said lead author Patrick T. Brown, a Ph.D. student in climatology at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

“This doesn’t mean greenhouse gases aren’t causing Earth’s atmosphere to warm up in the long run,” Brown emphasized. “It just means the road to a warmer world may be bumpier and less predictable, with more decade-to-decade temperature wiggles than expected. If you’re worried about climate change in 2100, don’t over-interpret short-term trends. Don’t assume that the reduced rate of global warming over the last 10 years foreshadows what the climate will be like in 50 or 100 years.”

Brown and his colleagues published their findings this month in the peer-reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research, at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/enhanced/doi/10.1002/2014JD022576/.

To conduct their study, they analyzed 34 climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its fifth and most recent assessment report, finalized last November.

The analysis found good consistency among the 34 models explaining the causes of year-to-year temperature wiggles, Brown noted. The inconsistencies existed only in terms of the model’s ability to explain decade-to-decade variability, such as why global mean surface temperatures warmed quickly during the 1980s and 1990s, but have remained relatively stable since then.

“When you look at the 34 models used in the IPCC report, many give different answers about what is causing this decade-to-decade variability,” he said. “Some models point to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation as the cause. Other models point to other causes. It’s hard to know which is right and which is wrong.”

Hopefully, as the models become more sophisticated, they will coalesce around one answer, Brown said.

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137 thoughts on “Study: Climate models disagree on why temperature 'wiggles' occur

  1. In other words, “pay no attention to how badly these models had predictrd climate for the past decade or so, we still expect a climate apocalypse. Please send your donations to…”

      • “””””……“The inconsistencies we found among the models are a reality check showing we may not know as much as we thought we did,” said lead author Patrick T. Brown, a Ph.D. student in climatology at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment……”””””
        The sheer brilliance of this statement simply confounds me.
        A candidate for a PhD would get further along towards that goal if he simply said:
        “We never can know as much as we thought we did.”
        I do hope that RGBatDuke doesn’t get wind of this discovery. Well I hope he’s not one of your kids Robert.
        The notion that you can model the climate of this whole planet, without simply thousands of variables, astonishes me in the arrogance of that idea.
        g And yes you can model some things; lots of things; but not this.

      • +1
        Just because those guys are nasty doesn’t mean skeptics should emulate them. It’s not good strategy. After all, they’re losing, at the very least in the court of public opinion.

      • Unfortunately, he will face re-education and will learn to toe the line when it comes to grant funding etc. That is why every study that shows problems with AGW ALWAYS include the caveat “but this in no way
        implies the earth is not warming due to man made CO2” etc. etc.

      • But then, he goes on to say “Don’t assume that the reduced rate of global warming over the last 10 years foreshadows what the climate will be like in 50 or 100 years.” In other words: The apocalypse is still on! Rah! Rah! Rah!

  2. “If you’re worried about climate change in 2100, don’t over-interpret short-term trends.”
    And yet, when the spike occurred in 1998, the short term trend was enthusiastically over-interpreted to mean runaway global warming. They can’t have it both ways.

  3. Somehow I never imagined this excuse for the pause. And neither did Ben Santer with his 17 years falsifies paper. So, the models work fine year to year and century to century, just not decade to decade? When the conclusion is simplified like that, it becomes clear that some of Duke’s grad schools do not teach clear thinking, or maybe even thinking at all. Decades pass one year at a time, amd each of those years creates an imcrementally greater discrepancy between CMIP5 and reality, despite best efforts by the likes of NASA and NOAA to distort that reality.
    Wonder what RGBatDuke thinks about this new paper from his institution?

    • Rud,

      So, the models work fine year to year and century to century, just not decade to decade? When the conclusion is simplified like that, it becomes clear that some of Duke’s grad schools do not teach clear thinking, or maybe even thinking at all.

      I think it’s more there a part of the explanation that’s missing, and it’s the long cycle ocean states, AMO, PDO, etc, and the size of the impact to surface temps when these change.

      • Mi Cro,
        The party line is that GCMs get the frequency and amplitude of such events nearly correct but suck at exact timing. Depends on the model of course. Stuff like AMO and PDO don’t exist as input parameters so not even the hindcast portion of a CMIP5 run will get the timing of those wiggles correct.

        • The party line is that GCMs get the frequency and amplitude of such events nearly correct but suck at exact timing. Depends on the model of course. Stuff like AMO and PDO don’t exist as input parameters so not even the hindcast portion of a CMIP5 run will get the timing of those wiggles correct.

          Not if you take this as true

          only that when one model produces CO_2-driven warming balanced against aerosols and another produces CO_2-driven warming balanced against decadal oscillations and another gets its results from something else entirely, and when all three models fail to have the right decadal power spectrum or variance, it is difficult to take any of their results seriously EVEN IF one thinks — as I think — that the preponderance of both the data and the theory indicate that TCS due to increasing CO_2 in the atmosphere is between 1 and 2 C per doubling.

          my highlighting

          I am fond of yelling, “Don’t do what I say, do what I mean” at a particularly recalcitrant piece of code. I oft see it written by climate modelers, “We don’t know what it will do before we run it.” And yet, AOGCMs only do exactly as they have been asked.

          It’s what happens when you have outputs that feedback into the inputs, you get emergent behavior. Analog circuit simulations were always tricky, the simulator itself could oscillate as each node of the matrix tries to stabilize, and then you can start to step time forward, at which point the whole thing can oscillate. So here you have a field that loops in back on itself with a time delay. And while you can figure out how a cell will respond, as I wrote this I decided that you could easily have enough conditions on the signals coming into a cell that you might not even figure this out without running it in a debugger mode to see these conditions.

      • What you say is true. But there are also two other large factors. First, as I nelieve Akasofu was among the first to point out, CMIP3 completely and CMIP5 mostly have tuned parameterizations from a warming period now sandwiched between two periods without warming, so will run hot. Computational limits force grid scales much larger than the quintessial tropical convection cell, a Tstorm. So they cannot get the water vapor and cloud feedbacks right. That is why CMIP5 still produces a tropical upper troposphere hotspot when none exists in any of the observational data.
        Covered in much more details in several essays in my new ebook.

    • It’s neither me nor any relation. However, I agree with the conclusions, and have said much the same thing in this venue, as have many others. This is also far from sufficient as a meta-analysis of the shortcomings of CMIP5.
      But it’s a start.
      And as for clear thinking, I didn’t see Patrick Brown asserting that predictions of total climate sensitivity from the models were EITHER high OR low — only that when one model produces CO_2-driven warming balanced against aerosols and another produces CO_2-driven warming balanced against decadal oscillations and another gets its results from something else entirely, and when all three models fail to have the right decadal power spectrum or variance, it is difficult to take any of their results seriously EVEN IF one thinks — as I think — that the preponderance of both the data and the theory indicate that TCS due to increasing CO_2 in the atmosphere is between 1 and 2 C per doubling. It is also not only difficult but outright impossible to make the assertions made in e.g. AR5 SPM that one can have some “confidence” that most of the observed warming over ANY given interval but especially over the last 30-40 years is due to anthropogenic or natural causes or any particular mix in between. CMIP5 models both attribute warming to different causes and mixes of causes and fail to reproduce observed reality particularly accurately and are inappropriately presented and collectively averaged as if the average is somehow a meaningful number without any regard to how well or poorly the models in question do compared to reality.
      Why is it a bad thing or evidence of sloppy thinking to publish this? Who would even disagree with it?
      rgb

      • It’s probably because they are hoping to see something along the lines of “CO2 is innocent of all charges.” Too many of us seem to think of science in courtroom or political terms these days rather than in properly sceptical yet speculative terms that actually convey nuanced degrees of scientific knowledge. Then too, many of us seem to have “made up our minds,” which we fail to realize means they simply haven’t closed the coffin lid on us yet.

      • Who would even disagree with it?
        =====
        Me for one…it’s a joke
        The “models” have good consistency year to year…….when you’re dealing in 100th of a degree
        ….but fall apart in decades…when you’re dealing with 10th degrees…………ROTFL
        And what….the temperature is supposed to jump way up to get back on that trend line sometime in the future!

      • With all due respect, I disagree with “If you’re worried about climate change in 2100, don’t over-interpret short term trends.” It’s a truism, appears directed at skeptics who interpret the “pause” as debunking the models, without recognizing the downstroke, that models over-interpreted to begin with. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but there’s been a steady stream of truisms tossed about by CAGW believers, the tone of this article reminds me of the end-of-world cults the day after the predicted (pardon me, “projected”) end doesn’t happen. That said, I re-read after seeing your post, and must admit that the doubts and criticisms expressed by Mr. Brown are a breath of fresh air from academia. Your post expresses these doubts much more clearly, thanks for that.

      • rgbatduke,

        Why is it a bad thing or evidence of sloppy thinking to publish this? Who would even disagree with it?

        I answer your rhetorical questions straight: those who consider anything written about GCMs from a climate consensus perspective to be a priori wrong.

      • Here is something from SkS written in 2010. The years went by and we are still at a standstill.

        SkS – Last updated on 11 September 2010 by Michael Searcy.
        Theory, models and direct measurement confirm CO2 is currently the main driver of climate change…..
        While natural processes continue to introduce short term variability, the unremitting rise of CO2 from industrial activities has become the dominant factor in determining our planet’s climate now and in the years to come.
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/CO2-is-not-the-only-driver-of-climate.htme dominant factor in determining our planet’s climate now and in the years to come.

        When will they update this page? Sometime in the years to come.

      • Yes, that is his paper. You cite the last line of the abstract, but not the two before. Read together, the line you cite means that we now have (take your pick of method and dataset) anywhere from 15 to 18 to 19 to 26 years of observed no statistically observed warming. Which means the steadily rising CO2 didn’t cause any for more than his model requiste period. Which means that by his criteria, the models are busted. See above comment to Mi Cro for inherent reasons why this must be so.

      • Brandon Gates says: January 26, 2015 at 12:14 pm
        ”I answer your rhetorical questions straight: those who consider anything written about GCMs from a climate consensus perspective to be a priori wrong.”
        Brandon, the author of the paper clearly states –
        “This doesn’t mean greenhouse gases aren’t causing Earth’s atmosphere to warm up in the long run”
        – an assumption that as an accepted priori prevents the author from ever truly understanding why the models fail.
        Remember it is not just the AGW hypothesis but the foundation assumption of a net atmospheric radiative GHE that is unproven.
        Adding radiative gases to the atmosphere will not reduce the atmospheres radiative cooling ability. Nor will adding radiative gases to our radiatively cooled atmosphere reduce its ability to cool the solar heated surface of our planet.

      • Brandon Gates
        Rud Istvan,
        I am hopeful that someday in the near future that Ben Santer will be paraphrased correctly. The actual quote is, “Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”

        I am hopeful that someday in the near future that you will check your quotes and assertions. It has been quoted dozens of times on WUWT.
        site:http://wattsupwiththat.com "Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature"

  4. I beg your pardon,
    but this staring at your navel and deciphering the message therein. Idiots with funding. Do they expect to be taken seriously?

  5. “The inconsistencies we found among the models are a reality check”
    How very clever of them, weasel-wording around modelling reality. What they need to do is check reality!

  6. Quote:
    “This doesn’t mean greenhouse gases aren’t causing Earth’s atmosphere to warm up in the long run,” Brown emphasized.
    Endquote.
    Translation: “Please don’t reduce my grant…….”
    Ralph

    • Well I agree with the student’s assertion: “This doesn’t mean greenhouse gases aren’t causing Earth’s atmosphere to warm up in the long run,”
      BUT !! if that IS the state of knowledge of the situation, then an EQUALLY TRUE statement is:
      That doesn’t mean greenhouse gases ARE causing Earth’s atmosphere to warm up in the long run.
      You can’t have a factual third assertion.
      So pray tell, what in this student’s mind cause him to select his assertion over the equally valid assertion, or why didn’t he simply specifically say both; that what they do know, is that they DON’T KNOW EITHER WAY.
      Of course if you have a destination bias, then you might choose the one option that reinforces your pre-conceived notion about what you don’t know.
      “WE DON’T KNOW”, is a perfectly acceptable scientific conclusion.

      • I suspect that his grants and PhD might be in jeopardy if he, in fact, stated his position as you have correctly pointed out that it should be stated. The reality he, and other young scientists, are working against is the institutional bias — to h3ll with what’s really going on in the world.

  7. “The inconsistencies existed only in terms of the model’s ability to explain decade-to-decade variability, such as why global mean surface temperatures warmed quickly during the 1980s and 1990s, but have remained relatively stable since then.”
    So, the models work well over the warming period which they were tuned for, but they don’t work after that. They’ll probably work better for the recent decade after being tuned to match that also. Doesn’t mean that there is a basis in reality.

  8. As Tamsin Edwards says (although she phrases it slightly differently) : “All models are wrong, and some are useless.”
    Communication………

    • GCMs are worse than worthless except to help falsify the CACA hypothesis which they are designed to show.

  9. “When you look at the 34 models used in the IPCC report, many give different answers about what is causing this decade-to-decade variability,” he said. “Some models point to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation as the cause. Other models point to other causes. It’s hard to know which is right and which is wrong.”

    That’s ok. We’ll just average all the output together and call it good.
    See? Science ain’t so hard!

    • Jeff Alberts,
      At first blush this paper appears to be arguing the opposite of simply taking an ensemble mean and calling it good.

      • I don’t have access to the paper (and might not even understand it), but my jab was mainly at the IPCC and their ensemble means. Only one of the models can be right (but probably none of them are), averaging bad output with good output can’t give you good output.

    • So let me ask this question: Is he asking what causes decade-to-decade variability in the OUTPUT of the models ?? OR Is he asking what causes decade-to-decade variability in THE CLIMATE (you know ; the thing that Mother Gaia keeps track of to see that it ALWAYS obeys the laws of Physics.)
      If “other models” point to “other causes” and some models point to some causes; and neither one points to what the climate itself says is going on, then ALL of such models are wrong.
      If the models are correct, then they must point to what causes the “decade-t-decade” variability in the climate, or they are just rubbish.

      • In my opinion, the reason for the wiggles in the Temperature is; as I have said on multiple occasions. Physical systems never respond to the average of anything, as they have no precognition. Physical systems only respond to NOW; instantaneous values and simultaneous values of ALL parameters or variables. Those “instantaneous” intervals can (evidently) be as short as 10^-43 seconds; or may be it’s 10^-34 seconds.
        We are familiar (some persons are) with phenomena that happen in as short as 10^-18 seconds; attoseconds. (no not me; I’ve just read about them in the optics literature.)
        g And like I said, that’s just my opinion. Patrick Brown better not rely on that for his PhD thesis !

  10. The models also provide inconsistent explanations of why this variability occurs in the first place.

    The models don’t provide ANY explanations. They simply parrot the assumptions programmed into them.

    • I am fond of yelling, “Don’t do what I say, do what I mean” at a particularly recalcitrant piece of code. I oft see it written by climate modelers, “We don’t know what it will do before we run it.” And yet, AOGCMs only do exactly as they have been asked.

  11. Notice the “as the atmpsphere warms” pro-forma genuflection to the climate gods. No introsection about *if* the climate actually warming. No questioning of assumptions.

  12. The inconsistencies we found among the models are a reality check showing we may not know as much as we thought we did

    Well, out of a child’s mouth comes the truth. So long Settled Science, Consensus et al.

  13. Any “Climate Scientist” that can not create and read a 100 year graph is Too stupid to be allowed to voice an opinion on Climate. Weather conditions change over a 60 year cycle. Climate over 5 times that. pg

  14. I think this is very good from a PhD student – they can hardly be expected to come out and say “the whole thing is crap” because they have to get their thesis approved by a committee of people who have a vested interest. At the same time, a proper analysis of the models, with the pretty clear statement that we cannot learn anything from them because they don’t match the actual data, is a big step forward.
    The statement that we can’t say anything about the temp in 2100 from decadal long trends is exactly correct – that is the mistake that was made looking at the trend up to 1998. The fact that this is not stated explicitly in the paper is probably on the (wise) advice of the students supervisor who wants to see their student be employed some time in the future.

    • Well for the record, 65% of ALL USA PhD graduates in Physics, NEVER ever get a paying job in the field of “expertise” characterized by their Doctoral Thesis.
      That doesn’t mean they are incompetent; or even substandard; nor does it speak to the competence of their supervisor or advisor.
      It means NOBODY is going to pay ANYBODY to try to make a profitable business venture out of ” The Hermaphroditic Life Style of the Palolo Worm ”
      Companies hire people who can help make money for them.
      But all sorts of “institutions” take in Post Doc “fellows” to continue their fetishes, if only to help bring in more endowments from folks who are enamored with credentials.
      But if you DO pick a productive study for your shingle then companies WILL pay you handsomely for your expertise.
      I thought of getting a PhD in “ice cream making”, but it seemed that the idea was well understood already.
      g

      • That’s just the problem, When a field is well understood, in order to get a PhD in that area, you must say that it is incorrectly understood, that black is white and white is black. With the right statistical techniques, you can prove that ice cream making is based on denial of newly discovered post-normal tenets. Having done this, you can get a job as Chief Physicist at a soda fountain.

  15. Ah my, there goes his ambitions of getting a PhD. I think the lesson here for all aspiring Climate Scientists is that you should never, ever publish a study that is off-message. Experienced Climate Scientists know that the best way to get ahead in the world is to wait for a politician to give a speech that makes some kind of a poorly supported claim, and then to publish research that provides the needed support.
    For example. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will shortly be claiming that the New York Blizzard was caused by Global Warming. This is an opportunity for a PhD student to manufacture adjusted data to support this claim. You will become famous as the press eagerly reports your finding broad and wide (despite the fact that you are still a student). Then, for extra credit, if anyone points to the older studies that said that snow fall would become a rarity in New York, you can say that “such claims come from deniers funded by tobacco industry groups who are intentionally misrepresent the data for political purposes. In fact, the models have perfectly predicted increasing snow fall. Now we have reached the tipping point and we can no longer delay action.”
    PhD granted!

  16. So in spite of the evidence we just produced showing the inability to predict with any accuracy, It’s still going to happen. Perfect.

  17. “… If you’re worried about climate change in 2100, don’t over-interpret short-term trends. Don’t assume that the reduced rate of global warming over the last 10 years foreshadows what the climate will be like in 50 or 100 years …”.
    ==========================================
    Phew that’s a relief, the ‘pause’ had me worried that I had to stop worrying.

  18. Hopefully, as the models become more sophisticated, they will coalesce around one answer, Brown said.
    Definition: Sophistry
    n. noun
    1: Plausible but fallacious argumentation.
    2: A plausible but misleading or fallacious argument.
    Hmmmm – I believe Mr. Brown used the term correctly!

    • Hopefully, as the models become more sophisticated, they will coalesce around one answer, Brown said.
      ===========
      They do that already. After billions of $ spent and unclounted years of effort, the models have coalesced around the wrong answer.

      • ferd,
        Unfortunately it’s not the “wrong answer” to the faithful believers in CAGW or the money changers intent on profiting from carbon trading and renewable energy money geysers. It’s the answer they want.

      • The only way the models can coalesce around the same answer is if they all use the same parameters in the same way i.e. one model. Each model is based on different theories. It has alway puzzled me how averaging different theoretical models is meaningful.

    • Right on Mate. Leads to my observation that people who consider themselves “sophisticated” usually are !

    • The problem is not that the model are not sophisticated enough. It could be that they are too sophisticated already. If you read Monckton’s article last week, IPCC = Inferior to a Pocket Calculator Calculation..
      The real problem is lack of data. Tim Ball’s recent article highlights this. Models can not manufacture data that do not exist, particularly if you are looking for accuracy to 0.01C degrees.

  19. Given that climate models disagree THAT CLIMATE WIGGLES OCCUR (the pause), it’s not too big an intellectual leap that they also disagree on why wiggles occur.
    We’re right back to “climate models are crap”.

  20. Climate “science” is descending to the level of surreal comedy.
    How stubbornly and irrationally are they going to go on denying intrinsic chaotic dynamics within climate?
    Are they unaware what idiots they look as they cast about for for discreet external “forcing” explanations for ever tinier climate oscillations on an ever smaller and smaller, fractal scale?

  21. Might be interesting to know how those models are programed. My understanding is that a ‘greenhouse gas’ molecule in the atmosphere is a unique entity. It can radiate over 360 degree cubed directions. If said molecule happens to be several kilometres above the surface then rather more than 50% of the radiation will escape to space. Only molecules close to the surface might achieve the claimed 50% back radiation. Ah well, best to let the ‘experts’ muddle along. Hope you youngsters are prepared for the coming cold. Won’t bother me, I’m too old.

    • Actually the thickness of the atmosphere is such a small fraction of the earth radius that the curvature of the atmosphere barely comes into play in determining where a photon goes.

      • But the photon is more likely to escape freely going outward. Going inward, toward a thicker atmosphere, it is more likely absorbed sooner (blocked from descending). This creates a net flow vector outward, not downward.

  22. My BS detector went off with this statement:

    The analysis found good consistency among the 34 models explaining the causes of year-to-year temperature wiggles, Brown noted. The inconsistencies existed only in terms of the model’s ability to explain decade-to-decade variability, such as why global mean surface temperatures warmed quickly during the 1980s and 1990s, but have remained relatively stable since then.

    What seems clear is that the ENSO process strongly influences the up and downs in the temp anomalies of the past 18 years, .i.e. The Pause. And no one has been able to accurately model the ENSO process, and most have concluded it is chaotic. No GCM can tell us (so far) what the ENSO will do in the next decade, much less a century. (see below) And since as Mr. Brown noted, with his “decade-to-decade” statement, several decades is all we have so far that we have to judge the models against. And they are failing badly. So why should the suddenly be nailing it on longer intervals?
    And the fact that they were tuned with past knowledge, saying they accurately forecast the 1880 to 1998 interval is disingenuous. It’s only what the modelers forecasted for the future is how the GCMs must be objectively evaluated. They knew the “past” when they tuned them.
    A good discussion of the problems of ENSO modeling is here:
    http://scienceofdoom.com/2014/12/26/natural-variability-and-chaos-six-el-nino/
    Scienceofdoom discusses this problem of ENSO modeling, and uses a figure from a 2009 paper on modeling the ENSO to highlight how problematic ENSO is for the modelers.
    https://scienceofdoom.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/wittenberg-2009-fig1.png
    And since we can’t model the ENSO process over a few decades, there should be no expectation that we can model the Climate over a century or longer, with any skill.

    • The unexplained variability of climate change in the form of an unexplained lack of variability of climate appears not so much decade-to-decade, but more decade-to-decade-to-decade.

  23. “This doesn’t mean greenhouse gases aren’t causing Earth’s atmosphere to warm up in the long run,” Brown emphasized. “ Right, keep your eye on the future grant money and the defense of your PHD thesis.

  24. There are three logical partitions of reality: scientific, philosophical, and faith. The scientific method was conceived to restrict runaway speculation into the latter two domains. Today, scientists routinely conflate not only the first and second, but also the third domains. The scientific domain is actually very limited in time and space. The accuracy of natural and enhanced perception is inversely proportionate to the product of time and space offsets from an established reference. The system is chaotic by virtue that is incompletely or insufficiently characterized and unwieldy. The scientific domain does not even include all of planet Earth, let alone all of the solar system, and certainly nothing beyond, where we have liberally indulged in inference justified by unscientific assumptions of independence (or weak correlation) and uniformity. The scientific method was designed to dissuade us from prediction and inference, and limit ourselves to forecasts and deduction, over an indefinitely short span of time and space. The scientific domain is characteristically utilitarian with a small overlap into the philosophical domain that guides development as we improve our skill and knowledge of the physical realm.

    • This is an analysis I like. One of the causes of science going bad is the general misconception of the importance and the applicability of science by the general public and probably also by many scientists. To do science the right way, you have to adhere to strict rules. These restrictions do limit what you can investigate, how you can investigate and if and how you can apply the results.
      It may be that science brought about profound changes in our way of living, nevertheless the phenomena and processes suitable for scientific investigation are mainly limited to the physical realm, and even so within this realm you can only do good science by again limiting your scope. Many areas in life are beyond scientific investigation. Science can be a wonderful thing, as long as you have a healthy perspective on its limits.

    • Not really. Newton, Galileo, Francis Bacon, Lord Kelvin and ever so many scientists called themselves natural philosophers on the quite understandable grounds they were philosophers. As well as natural philosophy (what we call science), philosophy encompasses logic. The discipline that determines how mathematics works and computers. The world’s first science journal is called, oddly enough, Philosophical Transactions.

      • Consider the significance of hard partitions. As natural philosophy became rigorous and structured with the adoption of the scientific method, it, ironically, forced a natural partition of science and other philosophies. With the constrained frame of reference direct by the limited scope of the scientific method, improved knowledge and skill, science, for the first time, became utilitarian, not philosophical. Scientists use deduction to characterize and exploit phenomenon that are observable and reproducible. Still, we have philosophy (e.g. a-tom) to guide our investigation, and faith in knowledge and skill imperceptible to mortal senses (e.g. origin or pre-conception and post-mortem disposition).

      • Several scientists have assured me that deduction has no role to play in science since they claim deduction cannot generate new knowledge. That said, the philosophy of biology class I took had several graduate biology students who took to logic like ducks to water. Very handy to have them around as the lecturer was a physicist by training and needed some assistance to come up to speed with biology. The Git was a tad out of date also since his biology dated back to the late 60s. It was a great experience. The Git’s first lecturer in philosophy was also a physicist specialising in the study of causality.
        The utilitarian use of philiosophers goes back a long way. Archimedes was renowned as a designer of war machines for example. You might wish there to be a hard demarcation line between philosophy and science, but many philosophers find it very blurry.
        You speak of “the scientific method”. There isn’t a single method, just as there isn’t a single science. Jim Steele for example is a field biologist. It would be strange indeed if he used methods identical to Richard Feynman.

  25. There is not the slightest bit of evidence that models can predict the future from first principles, except in the most trivial of cases.
    The n-body problem crops up repeatedly in all branches of science, with different names. From quantum mechanics, to chaos theory, to stock market forecasting. The fundamental problem is this non-linear response whyen there is more than 1 attractor. For example.
    Prior to 1 million years ago the ice ages had a cycle of 41 thousand years, as climate orbited the earths orbital obliquity attractor. Now for the past 1 million years the ice ages have a cycle of 100,000 years as climate orbits the earth’s orbital eccentricity attractor.
    And none of this is linear. This wasn’t gradual change. The climate shifted from 1 state to the other, as it stopped orbiting the 41k attractor and started orbiting the 100k attractor. And it is beyond the power of current mathematics to solve the future state, beyond a matter of probabilities.
    Like the weather. There is a X% chance ice ages will continue to have a 100k cycle, and a Y% chance they will shift back to a 41k cycle; and a 1-(X+Y)% chance something else will happen. But we don’t know when.

    • Like the weather. There is a X% chance ice ages will continue to have a 100k cycle, and a Y% chance they will shift back to a 41k cycle; and a 1-(X+Y)% chance something else will happen. But we don’t know when.

      As always, I’m a member of the Fred Berple fan club, and would only add: We don’t know what X is, or Y is, and we cannot explain at all the gradual deepening of the orbital minima for each attractor…

  26. Each climate model is cr@p when held up to scrutiny. The ‘climate scientists’ think if they average all the cr@p models together, that they average themselves into something useful. That is the problem.

    • This is like mixing 1/2 gallon of the world’s best ice cream and 1/2 gallon of horse poop, and expecting 1 gallon of 50% ice cream.

      • … and the mixer is blind to which bucket is poop and which is ice cream before tasting the recipe output.

  27. Hear hear Go Home.
    Meanwhile, I am still stuck trying to figure out what the heck “average temperature” means. (Don’t even get me started on “average temperature” for a non-equilibrium system!)

    • Max Photon, its really quite simple. Done just like the CMIP5 model ensembles by brilliant IPCC climate scientists. Surely you trust them.
      Add up N thingy anomalies. Why anomalies? Cause else you cannot add up thingies. Divide by N. That always gives the numerical anomaly thingy average to as many decimal places as you please. NASA GISS likes x.xx in thingies like 2014 warmest ever temperature PR, even though their accuracy is only x.x. See, easy peasy.
      But if you want the resulting thingy anomaly average to actually mean something useful regionally, sorry you are out ot luck. Like CMIP5 models don’t downscale. Essay Last Cup of Coffee in ebook Blowing Smoke.
      Which was perhaps your point, which perhaps I am sarcasticly reinforcing.

    • Paul, you are up lateish for the UK.
      For how badly, see my comments over at your place on your new ‘All of Paraguay has been diddled’ post. Well done! Booker has another column to write. Gavin more explaining to do. Not to mention the BEST ‘Mosherised’ buggyness you motivated Shub and I to discover over at JoNova’s yesterday that will drive Mosher battier than the BEST station 166900 discovery did over at Judith Curry’s. Explained high level over at your place in my last comment today. Regards

    • Well this group of Physicists with a population of one, says that Electromagnetic Radiation Energy is NOT “heat” (noun); and it can go in any direction it pleases.
      But it is possible to subsequently convert some or all of that EM energy to waste “heat” whereupon it does then conform to the principles of thermodynamics.
      While it is in the form of EM radiation, it does obey the conservation of etendue, ($3 French word for “throughput”) and indeed its redistribution IS bound by the second law of thermodynamics.
      In fact famed thermodynamicist Rudolph Clausius was perhaps the first to derive “The Optical Sine Theorem” from the second law. That says basically that no optical system can for an image that is “brighter” than the source, nor can ANY optical system form an image that is “brighter” than an “Aplanatic” optical system can.
      Brighter, in this case means higher radiance.
      Also, if you drive your car from point (A) to some other point (B) carrying with you four gallons of “Radiator fluid”, does that qualify as “Convection” as far as “Heat” (noun) is concerned ??

      • Well this physicist holds that since EM energy is NOT “heat”, and in fact it knows nothing of Temperature which is a thermal property of macro systems, that EM radiation does not, and cannot transfer “heat” anywhere. It transfers high quality energy which can in principle be 100% converted to “heat” at the receiving end; but “heat” (noun) does not make the journey. The converse is not true and “heat” cannot be 100% converted to any other form of energy.
        Seems to have something to do with the fact that the kinetic motions of “hot” (adj) molecules are random in direction and it is not possible to marshal them all to move in the same direction.
        But EM radiant energy can be converted into other things besides “heat”, such as electricity for example, which is another form of energy that is NOT heat, but can be converted into heat 100%, but again irreversibly. And some of that electricity can be converted (non thermally) into EM radiation, and at completely different frequencies from what form of radiant energy may have originally been converted to electricity.
        But thermal radiant energy that is a consequence of the Temperature of a body (Planck radiation) can participate in bi-directional transport from one body to another regardless of their Temperatures; but as you point out the net flow of energy (as thermal EM radiation) is always from the hotter body to the colder body. The radiation making the journey (in either direction) still knows nothing whatsoever of Temperature.
        Of course the radiant energy involved in the so-called “greenhouse effect” is a consequence of a single atom or molecule, not a large assemblage of molecules like thermal radiation. And that radiation also knows nothing of Temperature; but it knows a lot about atomic or molecular electron structure.
        It’s time we stopped teaching new Physics students that “heat” (noun) is transported by conduction, convection, and radiation. Might just as well teach them that heat is transported by coal.
        The means of producing heat is transportable and is transported by coal; and the means of producing heat is also transportable and is transported by EM radiation; but “heat” itself is not transported by coal or by EM radiation. Yes the lump of coal does have a Temperature, but don’t try keeping warm by just going to bed with a lump of coal under the sheets. It’s coal; it’s NOT “heat.” (noun).

      • I didn’t really want to pursue this issue further, but in the interest of even one person coming to understand it, it is worth another try.
        Consider the Temperature range on earth (surface) on any ordinary northern summer day. When they say that the mean global Temperature is 288 K (+15 deg. C).
        We know that at Vostok, which will be in the dead of winter night, the extreme of Temperature can get down to -94 deg. C (-137 F). And -100 F is fairly common.
        At the other end, in the summer North African deserts in daylight, the in shade air Temp can be 136 deg. F about 57 deg C, and the hard surface rock or sand can get over +60 deg C and blacktop, maybe as much as 90 deg C.
        So ignoring volcanic Temperatures, we can say that earth has an extreme Temperature range of about 150 deg. C. By that we mean simultaneously on the same day at the same time, and 110 deg C range is common as dirt.
        So let’s say we make ourselves a laser tweezer machine which can hold a single atom or molecule stationary in a ultra high vacuum immune from collisions with anything else (well they can also hold living organisms for examination.)
        So we are going to hold a single CO2 molecule in our field of view.
        A plain common garden variety 16O-12C-16O CO2 molecule.
        We will take it to Vostok, and the Sahara, and open the outside light shutters so as to allow light and LWIR photons to enter the chamber where our trapped CO2 is being watched by our microscope.
        No matter where on earth we take it, or what the local Temperature is, we will find that sooner or later, our CO2 molecule will start doing the elbow bend dance, when a 15 micron or thereabouts LWIR photon wanders into the chamber, and excites that particular molecular resonance of the normally straight CO2 molecule. And the frequency of the oscillation will be pretty much the same wandering over the usual line width range.
        So now we have a dilemma. The surrounding surface Temperature is between -90 and + 60 deg. C, and everywhere in between somewhere on earth, and yet we can still find 15 micron photons that excite the degenerate bending mode oscillation of the CO2 molecule. Evidently the wavelength of a photon is not dependent on the Temperature of the source.
        Well actually we could take our gizmo into outer space where there is maybe a 2.7 K Temperature, or even close to the sun to get near that 6,000 K Temperature photon source. Well we’d have to stay a way off to not fry our machine.
        We will find 15 micron photons in all of those places no matter what the Temperature is so long as it isn’t zero K.
        So clearly the local Temperature is having no effect on the presence or behavior of 15 micron photons. They all have the same photon energy of about 130 meV and they exhibit no knowledge of the surface Temperature that gave rise to them (thermally).
        Ah but you say; you have to look at the whole spectrum.
        Well no, a photon has a unique frequency and energy = h(nu); it doesn’t have a spectrum (other than the line width).
        But to humor you we will look at the spectrum anyhow.
        So photons coming from the sun, exhibit a spectrum peaking at about 500 nm with 98% of its black body like energy between about 250 nm and 4.0 microns. That is 0.5 to 8.0 times the peak wavelength and is characteristic of a black body Temperature of 6,000 K which is almost right for the sun.
        Ok, so now we have a broad spectrum of EM radiation with a peak at 500 nm, corresponding to a 6,000 K Temperature.
        So being daring, we go out in our birthday suit and bathe in that 6,000 K spectrum of EM radiation.
        Well I would expect to be instantly vaporized by that 6,000 K blow torch, but nothing of the sort happens.
        Our broad spectrum of radiation doesn’t seem to know that it is supposed to have a Temperature of 6,000 K, corresponding to its spectrum.
        Well sorry ! not one of those broad spectrum of energy photons has any notion that it is supposed to exhibit 6,000 K Temperature, corresponding to the spectrum of the whole gamut of photons arriving from the sun.
        No photon knows anything about the Temperature of the surface or object that spawned it, and it can and will land on and get absorbed (maybe) by any surface, no matter what the temperature of that surface is.
        G But remember this is just my opinion. If you use it in your PhD thesis, you might get expelled from school. But you will have learned something, even without your shingle.

    • As soon as I read ” Second Law of Thermodynamics” and “gravitational field” tossed into a comment I safely assume Doug Cotton is deploying yet another sock puppet.
      [Thanx, deleted. ~ mod.]

  28. These GCMs produce, at enormous cost, all sorts of different warming scenarios. Most of them are way up there in the really hot zone.
    They disagree on slope, intensity and timing. But, taken together, are good enough for policy-making?
    I think there’s a good chance they are all not even wrong.

  29. the baby polar bear says to the mother polar bear.
    ” Mummy ? are you sure that I am a polar bear ? ”
    ” yes of course , don’t be silly you are a polar bear ”
    ” but are you really sure that I am a polar bear ? ”
    ” Look your mummy is a polar bear, your daddy is a polar bear ! Why do you keep asking if you are a polar bear ? ”
    ” because I am bloody freezing “

    • How to catch a polar bear:
      First, take an ax and chop a hole in the ice
      Next, get some peas & sprinkle them around the edge of the hole
      (punchline—>) When the bear comes to take a pea, you kick him in the ice hole.

    • Bill, the bigger message in the bottom three panels is that there is no distinquishable anthropogenic signal prior to circa 1950. The whole IPCC anthropogenic case falls apart immediately, since as Lindzen first pointed out, take 1920 to 1945 and 1975 to 2000. Set them side by side without the anomaly number. They are indistinguishable. See essay cAGw for the exact juxtapositions including the bottom three panels.
      Graphical proofs are always fun. Juries of laypersons get them immediately. Regards.

  30. But, but …haven’t we been told many times that THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED? CO2 is causing catastrophic global warming/climate change. We can’t predict 2016 or 2020 but we are absolutely sure that 2100 will be HOT and BAD.

  31. The warmest CSIRO in Australia are proudly trumpeting today that Global Temperatures will rise by 5 degrees C by the end of the century. When will the insanity stop ?

    • I wouldn’t worry too much, Bunyip. According to Paul Brown, author of iGlobal Warming Blandford (1996)

      Already scientists believe that the temperature has risen between 0.3°C and 0.6°C (32.5–33.1°F) since the nineteenth century… Even so, global mean surface temperatures increase at a rate between 0.15°C and 0.33°C (32.3 and 32.6°F) per decade.

      So temperatures have already risen by 323–326°F since the nineteenth century. Did you notice? Neither did I…

  32. A study of climate models is pointless for the simple reason that one of their assumptions is that increasing CO2 concentration causes an increase in temperature which is clearly discredited by empirical data. There are 368 locations listed on the World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases and most locations contain multiple data files. I have yet to find a file of historic CO2 concentration data that shows a statistically significant correlation between monthly increments in CO2 concentration versus temperature increments be they ground station or satellite measurements. The correlation is usually a small positive or negative number with very high probability that the value is zero.
    While the IPCC obviously does not investigate such data, preferring instead to play computer games, there is value to be gained by study the data. My work to date has shown the following correlations between the annual increment in the CO2 concentration and the average of the relevant satellite temperature over each 13 month period. Provisional results for the correlation coefficient are :
    Mauna Loa 0.69
    NOAA Pacific Ocean(00N) 0.62
    Cape Grim vs satellite temperatures 0.64
    Macquarie Island 0.73
    Izana – Tenerife 0.54
    Barrow 0.36
    South Pole 0.22
    Cape Kumukahi 0.67
    In all cases the probability of zero correlation is insignificant.
    My conclusion to date is that the global temperature has controlled the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration with the temperature increase being the natural consequence of the last ice age and mini-ice ages. The source of the CO2 may be effervescence from the oceans or biogenic CO2 due to the proliferation of life forms as temperature increases. This is reflected in the coefficients being less in the polar regions where there is less biological activity.

  33. It’s understandable that Anthony deletes comments…
    [SNIP. Very understandable, after seeing your scurrilous comments about him on your own blog. But in this case a moderator deleted your comments, not Anthony. You are persona non grata here. Why can’t you get the message? ~mod.]
    […and, since Doug Cotton can’t seem to get it into his head that his bizarre off-topic comments are not welcome here (or at almost every other climate blog), no matter what sock puppet persona he tries, his comments WILL BE summarily deleted. Even PSI/Slayers have rejected you, get a clue.] – Anthony

  34. And yet the global warming climate change climate disruption machine rolls on in the media and blogs, Kind of like Jason in the Halloween movies, no matter how many times you kill him, he comes back to life to murder more innocents.
    Maybe it is inertia, once the boulder starts down the mountain it is difficult to stop. Eventually at the bottom the boulder will stop, the question is how much damage it will cause on the way down.

  35. ““This doesn’t mean greenhouse gases aren’t causing Earth’s atmosphere to warm up in the long run,” Brown emphasized. “It just means the road to a warmer world may be bumpier and less predictable, with more decade-to-decade temperature wiggles than expected.”
    In a pre-Copernican discussion of planetary motion, the equivalent argument would have been something like:
    “This doesn’t mean the heavenly bodies aren’t moving around the Earth in Divine circles,” Brown emphasized. “It just means the Harmony of the Spheres is bumpier and less predictable, with more epicycles in the paths of heavenly bodies than expected.”
    Greenhouse gases do not create or ‘trap’ energy or heat. They *do* add a small increment to the specific heat of the atmosphere, but this merely increases its effectiveness as a blanket.
    How broken does a paradigm have to be before the devout will abandon it?

  36. “This doesn’t mean greenhouse gases aren’t causing Earth’s atmosphere to warm up in the long run,” Brown emphasized. “

    Our religion is still the one, true religion.

  37. Model on climate will never have predicative skill, it la la land to think so. Of course leftist always live in la la land.

  38. “This doesn’t mean greenhouse gases aren’t causing Earth’s atmosphere to warm up in the long run,” Brown emphasized. “It just means the road to a warmer world may be bumpier and less predictable, with more decade-to-decade temperature wiggles than expected.”
    No. It means you can’t distinguish the warming caused by man vs. by nature. You assume it is mostly caused by man’s CO2. Forget your models. Where is the evidence in the empirical data? The wiggles are strong enough to halt the warming for 18 years or more. What if nature does this again and again and again? Will you see your over-hyped global warming in the long run?

  39. “The inconsistencies we found among the models are a reality check showing we may not know as much as we thought we did,” said lead author Patrick T. Brown, Bingo! A light goes on! But lets take it a little further; If you can’t predict the temperature ten years out, what makes you think you can predict it 100 years out?

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