Whoops! Study shows huge basic errors found in CMIP5 climate models

Earth’s_Energy_Budget_Incoming_Solar_Radiation_NASA

Incoming solar radiation at the Top of the Atmosphere (TOA)

It was just yesterday that we highlighted this unrealistic claim from CMIP5 models: Laughable modeling study claims: in the middle of ‘the pause’, ‘climate is starting to change faster’. Now it seems that there is a major flaw in how the CMIP5 models treat incoming solar radiation, causing up to 30 Watts per square meter of spurious variations. To give you an idea of just how much of an error that is, the radiative forcing claimed to exist from carbon dioxide increases is said to be about 1.68 watts per square meter, a value about 18 times smaller than the error in the CMIP5 models!

The HockeySchtick writes:

New paper finds large calculation errors of solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere in climate models

A new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters finds astonishingly large errors in the most widely used ‘state of the art’ climate models due to incorrect calculation of solar radiation and the solar zenith angle at the top of the atmosphere.

According to the authors,

Annual incident solar radiation at the top of atmosphere (TOA) should be independent of longitudes. However, in many Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) models, we find that the incident radiation exhibited zonal oscillations, with up to 30 W/m2 of spurious variations. This feature can affect the interpretation of regional climate and diurnal variation of CMIP5 results.

The alleged radiative forcing from all man-made CO2 generated since 1750 is claimed by the IPCC to be 1.68 W/m2. By way of comparison, the up to 30 W/m2 of “spurious variations” from incorrect calculation of solar zenith angle discovered by the authors is up to 18 times larger than the total alleged CO2 forcing since 1750.

radiative-forcing-components

Why wasn’t this astonishing, large error of basic astrophysical calculations caught billions of dollars ago, and how much has this error affected the results of all modeling studies in the past?

The paper adds to hundreds of others demonstrating major errors of basic physics inherent in the so-called ‘state of the art’ climate models, including violations of the second law of thermodynamics. In addition, even if the “parameterizations” (a fancy word for fudge factors) in the models were correct (and they are not), the grid size resolution of the models would have to be 1mm or less to properly simulate turbulent interactions and climate (the IPCC uses grid sizes of 50-100 kilometers, 6 orders of magnitude larger). As Dr. Chris Essex points out, a supercomputer would require longer than the age of the universe to run a single 10 year climate simulation at the required 1mm grid scale necessary to properly model the physics of climate.

The paper: On the Incident Solar Radiation in CMIP5 Models

Linjiong Zhou, Minghua Zhang, Qing Bao, and Yimin Liu1

Annual incident solar radiation at the top of atmosphere (TOA) should be independent of longitudes. However, in many Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) models, we find that the incident radiation exhibited zonal oscillations, with up to 30 W/m2 of spurious variations. This feature can affect the interpretation of regional climate and diurnal variation of CMIP5 results. This oscillation is also found in the Community Earth System Model (CESM). We show that this feature is caused by temporal sampling errors in the calculation of the solar zenith angle. The sampling error can cause zonal oscillations of surface clear-sky net shortwave radiation of about 3 W/m2 when an hourly radiation time step is used, and 24 W/m2 when a 3-hour radiation time step is used.

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dam1953

Ouch. That’ll leave a mark.

[snip – no more Mosher drive-bys, make a point with a reference – mod]

Linking to the SI. ?
good moderation policy.
The reference IS the point for people who can read

Beefeater

I know I’d prefer a brief summary and a link.
Otherwise don’t bother.

The models measure incoming sun light for a flat earth?
?

Oh, you must be talking of the sharia compliant vision of the earth.

leon0112

Oops!

johnmarshall

But they are still adding fluxes which is not correct.
All models make one wrong assumption, that CO2 heats the atmosphere. There is no empirical data that shows it does.

How do you tangle longitude and TOA solar? That’s just nuts.

The sun doesn’t shine at night. (Simple answer to simple question)

Patrick

The sun DOES shine at night. It shines constantly. It’s just that the Earth has rotated away from light strike!

mike restin

It’s always 12 noon directly under the sun, isn’t it?

michael hart

The models don’t like to wait until the sun has passed over the yardarm.

NeedleFactory

Douglas:
Patrick is correct. Furthermore. “Annual incident solar radiation” averages over all hours of all days, so the day-night distinction is superfluous.

He was being facetious.

Beefeater

That’s why the 49er fans planned their solar landing at night.

It’s always 12 noon directly under the sun, isn’t it?
==============
you’ve hit the nail on the head. In each time zone the sun is only overhead at noon for a single longitude. It is early or late for all others, because each time zone is typically 15 degrees of longitude – the distance the sun appears to travel in 1 hour.
It is this error, the temporal distance between your longitude and the actual longitude of the sun that could lead to an oscillation in the calculated TOA energy, depending on the size of your time slice and your relative position within the slice.
Quite silly actually of the model builders not to correct for this, but given the size of the grid they probably just assumed it would all wash out in the averaging. And since the models showed warming and they expected to see warming, they never bothered to look for errors. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Phil Cartier

The energy from incident radiation(the sun) does not average out. That nasty T^4 power in Stefan’s law plays heck with using averages to calculate heat and energy transfer. It’s not coincidence that thunderstorm strongly tend to form in the afternoon, shortly after the ground has absorbed all that heat from the sun. A model would have to integrate the heat input across a grid cell from sunrise to sunset to generate an accurate picture of the energy flow..

Brian H

A given point has rotated away, not the whole Earth. How wide a strip and duration is noon, anyway? .0001°?

PhilCP

Nitpick: 100 km vs 1mm is 8 orders of magnitude, not 6.

It’s even worse than we thought !

jorgekafkazar

That will undoubtedly be the response of Warmist pseudoscientists and their co-religionists.

Robin Pittwood

8 OOM by distance. That’s 16 OOM by area and 24 OOM by volume. That’s a lot more opportunity for error. An error in the 24th digit would propagate. A numerical butterfly effect.

Ha. Ya got me!

KTM

They can just instruct their computers to calculate pi to 10^24 digits for all relevant calculations, thereby cancelling out the imprecision of their blunder with increased mathematical precision for pi.

Ed Moran.

Fast, Johan. Fast!
Thank you!

Wado

Another excuse coming

rpielke

Hi Anthony –
Thank you for this new information.
This is another example of the deficiencies of these models. For a summary of others, please see our articles
Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairaku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2012: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. Extreme Events and Natural Hazards: The Complexity Perspective Geophysical Monograph Series 196 © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. 10.1029/2011GM001086. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/r-3651.pdf
Preface to
Pielke Sr, R.A., Editor in Chief., 2013: Climate Vulnerability, Understanding and Addressing Threats to Essential Resources, 1st Edition. J. Adegoke, F. Hossain, G. Kallos, D. Niyoki, T. Seastedt, K. Suding, C. Wright, Eds., Academic Press, 1570 pp.
http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/b-18preface.pdf
Best Regards
Roger Sr.

policycritic

What’s the hyperbole? Can you explain.

Genghis

Steve thanks for the input. It appears that Models don’t compensate for the Latitude angle at all. They model a flat circular earth instead of a sphere, that is why they all get 417 watts per square meter, when the poles should be receiving ZERO solar insolation..
You have shown exactly why models are completely nonphysical representations.

NeedleFactory

Genghis:
Quoting from post quoting the paper (my emphasis): “ANNUAL incident solar radiation at the top of atmosphere (TOA) should be independent of LONGITUDES.” so I’m not sure why you’re talking about Latitude angles.
From Mosher’s reference, it appears to me that some models show low variance with longitude, some others do much less well. I’m making some assumptions here, because the x- and y-axes are unlabeled. I also assume the chart titles identify various models.

sailboarder

I’m sorry, but I think solar input is a function of both latitude and longitude, as both have equal angles of incidents towards the “edge” of the earth “disk”.
What am I missing?

Chip Javert

Steven
Every now and then (but not often enough to be valuable) you actually say something interesting, meaningful, and understandable.
The rest of the time it’s a couple lines of snark with (at best) a link to what may or may not be relevant.
This egotistical QED game is almost always misleading, usually obscure, not supported by any relation to your point.
You may (think you) understand it, but so what?

Genghis:
Even if the IPCC used a complex calculus formula with the function from zero to the max at the equator (whatever value they used) in total solar insolation, and adjusting for the time of day and angle of the sun from mid day, and then total sunlight at the other pole…. a very complex problem just to think about……… the current data still comes out wrong. Developing a fractal formula made much more sense. Especially in light of ocean, land, clouds, and ice and incident angle of sunlight relative to the earth.
If AND I DO MEAN IF, the IPCC’s number were correct, global runaway warming would already be a reality and not a prediction. We wouldn’t be debating about whether they were right or wrong, it would be obvious.

The error mode, when it occurs, is an almost exactly sinusoidal variation around the equator, with 3h or 1h period according to sampling. It will have no effect on total incoming radiation. The authors say it will have negligible effect on mean surface temperature.

“Now it seems that there is a major flaw in how the CMIP5 models treat incoming solar radiation, causing up to 30 Watts per square meter of spurious variations. To give you an idea of just how much of an error that is, the radiative forcing claimed to exist from carbon dioxide increases is said to be about 1.68 watts per square meter, a value about 18 times smaller than the error in the CMIP5 models!
1. If you look at the SI you will see that only SOME of the CMIP5 models were examined.
2. If you look at the SI you will see that only SOME of this subset had the issue
3. If you look at those that did you will see that only SOME of them had ‘large errors”
4. If you look at the errors you wil see that it is not constant but sporatic.
5. comparing the effect of a sporatic forcing to a constant forcing is a hoot.
6. There is no secular component to the error
next
“Why wasn’t this astonishing, large error of basic astrophysical calculations caught billions of dollars ago, and how much has this error affected the results of all modeling studies in the past?
The paper adds to hundreds of others demonstrating major errors ”
1. astonishing? hardly.
2. Large? it depends.
3. Hundreds of other papers demonstrating major errors? like I said, requires due diligence.
Models are wrong. Hyperventilating in either defense of models or in attacking models.. is bad drama.

Genghis

What Steven has referenced shows that the GCM’s average solar insolation to be 417 watts for every square meter for the entire Earth.
That means that every cell in the computers calculation for the high latitudes is off by at least 350 watts and every cell in the lower latitudes is off by at least 70 watts, simply based on the angle of incidence.
And furthermore because it is based on a non rotating earth it is off by up to 60 megajoules because of lack of computing the actual insolation. A 417 watt average is meaningless.
No wonder the GCM’s have no predictive power, they can’t even get the inputs correct.


Nick Stokes
March 10, 2015 at 2:12 pm
The authors say it will have negligible effect on mean surface temperature.

Isn’t the scientific method to do the correct calculation to see how it effects model evolution? What if there is a chaotic effect and it changes strange attractors? There is no way to know until you do it correctly.

jolly farmer

Another drive-by.
Steven Mosher, ever more predictable, ever more boring.

Brandon Gates

Ghengis,

What Steven has referenced shows that the GCM’s average solar insolation to be 417 watts for every square meter for the entire Earth.

No. Just … no. See the main paper:
Fig. 1. Annual-mean incident solar radiation at the top of atmosphere from 8 climate models in CMIP5. The color scale has been adjusted to highlight the zonal variation in the tropics. The model names are in Table S1 of the Supplemental Materials. Units: W/m^2
By way of KNMI climate explorer, I report that the entire CMIP5 ensemble gives an annual average of 400 W/m^2 in the tropics (30N to 30S), vs. 340 W/m^2 for the entire globe.

TimTheToolMan

Mosher writes “Models are wrong. Hyperventilating in either defense of models or in attacking models.. is bad drama.”
Yes and wrong models cant model climate change. They can model weather over the next few days. Parametrisation utterly kills models. It cant possibly be known the parameters vary as the climate changes. Modelling climate is many orders of magnitude harder than modelling weather.

Thanks for the links!

rpielke
March 10, 2015 at 9:14 am
Specify
DOY = Day-of-year (1 – 366 in leap years)
LAT = LAT (in radians)
ATF = Air attentuation (function of latitude and season, if in temperate latitudes)
0.75 if polar
The day and hour angle (for declination) = TAU =2*3.1415*(DOY+D9/24-1)/365 for any hour of the day
The declination (for the entire day) at 12:00
=0.006918-0.399912*COS(TAU)+0.070257*SIN(TAU)-0.006758*COS(2*(TAU))+0.000907*SIN(2*(TAU))-0.002697*COS(3*(TAU))+0.00148*SIN(3*(TAU))
The declination for every hour of the day
=0.006918-0.399912*COS(E9)+0.070257*SIN(E9)-0.006758*COS(2*(E9))+0.000907*SIN(2*(E9))-0.002697*COS(3*(E9))+0.00148*SIN(3*(E9))
Where cell E9 is the hour angle for that day (see above)
For each day-of-year, the TOA solar radiation (to within 1/2 watt/m^2 of SORCE measurements)
TOA=1362.36+46.142*(COS(0.0167299*(DOY)+0.03150896))
Over the year, the actual TOA radiation varies from 1408 watts/m^2 (January 5) to a low of 1315 watts/m^2 (July 5).
You now have a latitude, the actual TOA radiation for that day, and the declination for that hour of the day.
ANY day-of-year. Any latitude to any degree of accuracy desired. 1/100 km, 1/10 km, 10 km, 100 km, 1000 km, 1 deg, 0.1 degree, or whatever.
Get an hour angle HRA = =(RADIANS(D9-12)*15) for cell D9-D32 being 0 – 24 hours. Or whatever time interval is desired.
From those, you get a Solar Elevation Angle (SEA) in radians for each hour angle (also in radians) :
SEA =ASIN( (SIN(F9)*SIN(LAT)) +(COS(F9)*COS(LAT)*COS(G9)) )
for cells F9 and G9 being the declination angle and HRA angle for that particular hour. LAT was already defined in radians.
Note. Some users prefer Solar Zenith Angle SZA rather than SEA.
From Solar Elevation Angle for that hour, you get Air Mass (Kasten and Young, 1989; Kasten & Young, 1994, etc.)
AirMass = =IF(I9<0,0,(1/(COS(3.14159/2-H9)+0.50572*(6.07995+I9)^-1.6364)))
(Note, if the SEA is < 0.0 (the sun is below the horizon, the air mass = 0.0 and the sun has no radiation at that location at that hour. Uses Excel notation for cell H9 being the SEA (in radians))
=IF(I9<0,0,(ATF)^((J9))) for cell J9 = AirMass for that hour of the day.
(Note, if SEA < 0 (the sun is below the horizon, again, the attenuation = 0.0)
Direct radiation on that day at that latitude on a perpendicular surface to the sun's rays =
=TOA*K9 for cell K9 = the attenuation factor for that hour of the day.
Direct radiation on a flat surface depends on latitude.
Direct radiation on a flat surface =L9*SIN(H9)
for cell L9 = direct radiation on a perpendicular surfae and cell H9 being the SEA angle at that hour.
If a mountain slope, the GC Models ignore it.
The GC Models also ignore the effect of high altitude (less attenuation, cleaner air as well, less air mass).
the direct solar radiation is thus calculated in about 9 steps using single formulas at each step.
Diffuse radiation can be modeled as a function of air mass and direct radiation, or as a function of the Link turbidity factor, or as simple percentages of the potential direct radiation. Albedo of many common terrains and substances (particularly snow, soil, plants and water) is different between direct and diffuse radiation, so be careful at what is assumed and what is measured.
You can now calculate the albedo for the oceans based on the solar elevation angle for the ocean surface (which changes from 0.067 to 0.75 at low SEA angles) and the albedo for the land, sea ice, tundra, desert, and farm lands. None of which are "modeled" uniquely.
So, how could they screw this simple a function up? Because they knew the answer they wanted.

Ralph Kramden

the alleged radiative forcing from all man-made CO2 generated since 1750 is claimed by the IPCC to be 1.68 W/m2
Let’s see, given the IPCC equation : (dT/dt) (C/year) = Forcing (W/m2) / 3.3
0.51 = 1.68 / 3.3
In other words the temperature of the atmosphere has risen over 5 degrees in the last 10 years.
I don’t see that in the temperature records, maybe that makes me a denier.

NavarreAggie

“a supercomputer would require longer than the age of the universe to run a single 10 year climate simulation at the required 1mm grid scale necessary to properly model the physics of climate.”
In other words, “All models are wrong. Some are useful.”
That one sentence underpins how little we really understand about “climate change.”

Paul

“That one sentence underpins how little we really understand about “climate change.”
Pretty much everything is understand about “climate change”, very little is know about actual climate…

Paul

Yikes, let’s try that again,
Pretty much everything is understood about “climate change”, very little is known about actual climate…

marque2

I think that is a bit of hyperbole, on two grounds. 1: they could use computers that are on the order of 100x what they are.secondly it only takes a matter of a day or so to do the calculations. 8 orders of Magnitude is 100 billion days ,and the Universe has been around some 3700 billion days. In about 30 years, this will be a reasonable amount of computing power as well.
The real difficulty would be creating sensors that could calculate to weather for each square centimeter. I doubt that will ever be possible.

daved46

Actually it’s 10^8 in one direction. (100 x 1000 meters x 1000 mm/meter) With three dimensions we have 24 orders of magnitude total. Admittedly we won’t need quite as many orders in the third dimension as the atmosphere isn’t really a full 100 km high unless you include the ionosphere. But it’s still far more than you’re talking about.

Sturgis Hooper

The science is not only unsettled but ludicrously wrong.

Fraizer

I believe the phrase is “not even wrong”. But we have known that about CAGW for a long time.

MattS

Too much incoming radiation in their models? Maybe they ran them in a microwave oven. 🙂

Genghis

Ahh, it is the incoming solar radiation that they screwed up on.
That is truly breath taking stupidity. I can understand how trying to ‘calculate’ how much out going radiation there is could be challenging, but incoming radiation is known quite precisely.
The fact that the models were trying to derive a known constant and failing, tells me everything I need to know about the models.

RWturner

Incoming radiation at the top of atmosphere is easy to measure but not at the surface.

MattS

No, incoming solar radiation at the top of the earths atmosphere is not a constant. Outgoing radiation at the sun’s surface is a near constant (it does vary, but not by much).
However, The earth’s orbit is elliptical, not circular, so the distance between the earth and the sun changes constantly. With the constant changes in distance come constant changes in the intensity of solar radiation at top of atmosphere.
As you get farther from the sun, the total amount of radiation stays the same, but it is evenly distributed over the surface of an ever larger sphere. The surface area of a sphere is 4PiR^2 so the decrease in intensity of solar radiation at any given point is quite rapid. This means that while variations in solar radiation at the sun’s surface are negligible, the variations at the top of the Earths atmosphere are quite significant.

Brian R

No, No. I think somebody unplugged one of the cooling fans on their computer. That’s why their models run hot.

Brian Bach

I’m sure this will be the lead story on all the major News outlets. They are always quick to publicize shortcomings of the global warming narrative. Does this mean we can have two more cycles of CO2 doubling before we get to the point we thought we were at? Maybe climate change was responsible for the error. It’s worse than we thought!

Brian H

Burning all known fossil fuel resources would be inadequate to achieve one doubling of CO2 ppm.

Ralph Kramden

Anyone remember the old joke, “we don’t test our software, that’s what users are for”?

rbabcock

That isn’t an old joke.. that is how we do it !

ozric101

He has you there

there are three kinds of software errors:
1. the kind users know about
2. the kind developers know about
3. the kind no one knows about.
typically we only have budget for 1.
sometimes we sneak in a fix for 2.
we hope and pray 3 is small or we find a new job before someone discovers otherwise.

prjindigo

if your math is 18 times worse than the result your margin of error is gonna completely eclipse any “science” you’re attempting to do.
I’ve written this before

Chip Javert

What margin of error? Modelers seldom, if ever, acknowledge the existence of error bars.

Perhaps I need to improve my reading skills but I didn’t see a sign (+ or -) on the “spurious variations. Can someone please clarify?

D.J. Hawkins

What appears to be happening is that the models are using the solar angle at the start of the time period to determine the incoming radiation over the entire segment. This will tend to reduce solar radiation up to noon and increase it after noon, depending on where the segments are centered.

Brian

So maybe the models are on Daylight Savings Time?

Good one Brain after all we do get more sunshine with daylight saving time. I willing to be half the population actual believe we get more sunshine in a day due to daylight saving time.

J

Maybe this explains why the models all run to the hot side?
Maybe not an “accidental” error?

Doug Proctor

And the net effect is ……. what?
The temperature adjustments are huge. Judith Curry seems to accept the Zeke explanation they are reasonable, i.e. their net effect is zero. Others disagree. What is done is less important than what happens as a result. Here, the presence but not the effect is noted. But only the effect is important.
We need at least a calculation of what the error does for the basic energy balance of the Earth on an annual level.
Orbital variations are already known, major, bigger than CO2 forcings and cancelled out by natural processes. I suspect this error will disappear into the general +/- of the models but we need to know with certainty before we get too excited.

@NavarreAggie said “In other words, “All models are wrong. Some are useful.”
Depends on who you are. I would posit that the ‘wrongest’ models are ‘mostest’ useful to the warmists.

Why wasn’t the James Hansen’s quantitative howler that Venus’s surface temperature , 225% the gray body temperature in its orbit — a greater solar gain than anything humanity has yet created , been universally repudiated decades ago ?

….. not to mention the Earth’s oceans boiling from positive water vapor feedback to anthropogenic CO2.

Brian H

Because infinity is unattainable, something terminates the feedback at some point. By the evidence, quite early in the case of water vapor latent heat transactions.

Because why combine what scientists know about ideal gas laws in cosmology to anything here on Earth?

Doesn’t really have anything to do with gas laws because they have to do with change in pressure , not effectively steady state . The equilibrium temperature of a radiantly heated ball depends on the correlation of its absorption=emission spectrum with its sources and sinks . Pressure per se doesn’t enter the equations . It would be nice if it did . We could just fill up giant scuba tanks and use them as sources of perpetual heat .

the lapse rate is related to pressure through gravity. thus the bottom of mine shafts are hotter than the surface, not because they are closer to the center of the earth, but because we have an atmosphere.
the surface pressure of venus is 90 atmospheres. the equivalent of a very deep mine shaft.

Old'un

Another example of increasingly active Chinese scientists rocking the boat of climate science orthodoxy. Good to see.

Bob Boder

one group of communist counteracting another group communist because the self interest collide. what could be better then that.

Joe Chang

Assuming (big if) that the errors cancel out, ie, total energy to earth is approx. correct. Still the spurious errors are not explained. I am next assuming they did not screw up the incident at the equatorial regions, I mean how do you screw this up? hence the variation is in the polar regions? Does this explain why the models predict massive warming on the polar regions? If you can’t melt the polar icecaps with correct incident solar radiation, then a little trigonometry trick fixes that. Hey, Mike did it for his stuff, we can too!

Please excuse me for being dense, but I thought Mr. Watts included an article a week or so ago, that stated that the radiative forcing for CO2 had been measured in Oklahoma and the north slope of Alaska to be 0.2 W/m2. Am I remembering wrong, or did I just not understand the article. Any help would be appreciated.
Dan Sage

mpainter

Dan Sage:
.2 W/ m sq. per decade. Comments showed the interval of 2000-2010 was cherry picked and that figure was merely a measure of temperature differences between the start and the end of that decade.

Ralph Kramden

Dan Sage, I think you are referring to, “Almost 30 years after Hansen’s 1988 “alarm” on global warming, a claim of confirmation on CO2 forcing”, February 25, 2015

Alan Robertson

There will be rationalizations…

Babsy

Yes. Look upthread.

ckb42

I really like the Radiative Forcing graph with the error bars / confidence intervals. The only component I am not able to figure out is “solar irradiance”? What anthro forcing is this trying to quantify? I’m sure it will be obvious after someone tells me… 🙂

joelobryan

The GC models were never intended to do anything except justify an ideology-based economic-political roadmap for the UN. By that metric, they have been somewhat successful. But science they are not.

Old Man of the Forest

How many ‘hiroshima equivalents’ is the error margin?

Rdcii

Oh, I second that! How fun it would be to turn the Hiroshima equivalents propaganda into measures of model error!

Paper is paywalled. SI is not. SI1 shows that the spurious longitudinal variation in some, not all models at the equator correlates in a statistically significant way with feedbacks including clouds and precipitation. SI2 shows that none of these are self cancelling (averaging out around the globe).

Brian H

Indeed, by WE’s governor hypothesis, they are in continual operation to constrain heat accumulation at the tropics,

But the error would not be cumulative, so would not impact the trend.

joelobryan

Obliquity variability should not impact total annual TOA input into the climate system, but the actual impacts are significant.

But that variability is cumulative at the locations where it matters.

ossqss

Spurious variation is not to be confused with consistent variation. Is the trend spurious and or are the outliers truncated via model interpretation or aggregation?

Crispin in Waterloo

We do not know that without seeing the source and type of error.
If the error ‘let in’ more energy than was really there, that energy might be captured by another formula and retained inside the toy atmosphere.
I have always been unimpressed by the initial claim that there would appear a tropical hot spot 8-16km above the ground. When that was first mooted, there was no polar amplification. When measurements showed that there was no hotspot but one of the poles was warming, ‘polar amplification’ appeared from the models. Rather convenient.
What has always amazed me is that, like a monopole, polar amplification has a North but no South. Physics is more interesting than I thought.
The errors are accumulating, and that is the trend.

it would most certainly affect the variance and thus the standard error.

Jeff

Fifty quatloos says that when it’s sorted out, the fixes make CAGW even worse than we thought!

They are no doubt even now writing the letter demanding that they need an even bigger computer.

Duster

But, but … wouldn’t that mean the models were even more usel … ahh, less accurate?

ossqss

And we base energy policy on this type of output? No other place in society would this type of issue be tolerated.
Ask yourself why?
Just amazing.
Queue up Kraftwerk “The Model” metaphorically speaking 🙂

If you had said “on this type of model” I could have made witty comment about women’s fashion.

Duster

It might have been witty, but it would have been appropriate.

Joe Civis

this whole thing reminds me more and more of a “Bugs Bunny” cartoon … cue the Acme climate computer 2000 and dial the results for Elmer…..”ahhhh what a maroon.” wish it were truly just for comedic affect rather than sucking productivity and wealth redistribution.
Cheers,
Joe

Here you go, direct from Bug’s mouth:
http://www.entertonement.com/clips/nsvdjzkfdz

jolly farmer

Hear, hear!
Were you thinking of Drs Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards when you wrote of “comedic effect” and “sucking productivity and wealth distribution”?
Reminded me of:
1) Richard Betts;
2) Crediton solar farms;
3) Tamsin Edwards on Twitter ( and how more women should have careers in science so they can be full-time tweeters. )

Duster

ossqss, “No other place in society would this type of issue be tolerated.”
You really need to read more widely. This very same problem exists in every “science guided” policy area in the western world, from climate to diet to health. The problem is not the scientists necessarily, but rather the non-scientists, especially lawyers and politicians, who jump on “scary” scenarios and set policy on a basis of expecting the catastrophically worst case, and making policy based upon the precautionary principle. Very little public policy makes any kind of sense, and in general the rule will be that the squeaky wheel will get the grease. That is how Prohibition was passed, how current governmental guidelines on diet were established, and why despite any scientific support silicone implants were banned. Anecdotes and scary scenarios (watch The Day After Tomorrow for climate example) are what drive policy, not science. All science offers is the “possibility.” Your average policy maker could careless about the quality of the science.

Hi,
In simple to understand terms… What does this mean…
Can I say the warming that shows up in the models is overstated by X and what we have actually observed is what we should go by..
The Earth will not be in flames in 2 or 5 or 10 years
Is that the takeaway…
I am NOT a SCIENTIST. But all of the fearmongering and alinsky tactics of the Alarmists led me to believe that they were hiding something (not in this instance)

While i have your attention the Earth could be warming because we are still coming out of an ice age 10,000 years ago. But for me it is the almost religious zealotry of the Alarmists that makes me uncomfortable…
/Soapbox off

Duster

Nope. We finished comming out of the Late Glacial Maximum about 10,000 years ago. The planet continued to warm for about another 2,000 years. The earth has been generally cooling for the last 8,000 years or so. The present is not the coolest moment in the late Holocene, but considering that the warming covers the rebound from the LIA, the present is still cooler than about the Roman Warm Period, which in turn was cooler than the warm period that preceded it.

Coldest in ~8,200 years, is what we are:
http://www.oarval.org/Foster_20k.jpg
Graphic by Don J. Easterbrook

Crispin in Waterloo

John,
“…tactics of the Alarmists led me to believe that they were hiding something…”
These days they are hiding from something.

Doug Proctor wrote “Judith Curry seems to accept the Zeke explanation they are reasonable, i.e. their net effect is zero.”
Compensating errors is not the same as accuracy. In the real world this type of mistake would get you a huge wrist slap, you might even be walking the beach afterwards.

Suppose the spurious fluctuations propagate?

Nylo

It is very likely that the errors cancel each other out. I don’t think this finding is important. It would be, if the models were being used to predict regional climate. But that’s not the case. If a cell incorrectly receives 20W/m2 that should have been received by the neighbour cell instead, this is not even a change as significant as the move of a cloud from cell to cell. And models do not model clouds or general cloudiness properly.

As the case may be, is this the kind of error one would expect from ‘state of the art’ climate models ?

jorgekafkazar

Yes, it is, given that the art is in an abysmally primitive state.

Streetcred

Cave art.

If, as I suggest below, the problem comes from sampling every three hours, then the peaks in the error would occur every 45 degrees of longitude. That’s sort of like adding heat to California and Florida while freezing the plains states. Hey, perhaps reality is tracking the models!

DbD

” 30 W/m2 of “spurious variations” from incorrect calculation … is up to 18 times larger than the total alleged CO2 forcing since 1750.”
Couple in proponents of Climate Change were using CMIP5 models to back Global Warming and what do we got?
We have proponents proving by way of this incorrect calculation – “It’s the Sun”.

jorgekafkazar

Etruscan Adage: “Where bug (is), bugs (are).” This is probably not the only significant error in the models. Warmists will immediately counter this discovery with a devastating barrage of ad hominem arguments* and other such nonsense.
* E.g., “Psychological studies show that Deniers have homo sapiens tendencies.”

This is just another example of why I continue to push for an open , well factored and therefore understandable , APL language level planetary model , see , eg , http://cosy.com/y14/CoSyNL201410.html#Need .
Such modern notations are generally as or more succinct than those in traditional textbooks . But they have the enormous advantage of being efficiently executable on any scale hardware so anybody can “play around with” the concepts . For example , in http://Kx.com ‘s K , which is the greatest influence on my own ongoing work on 4th.CoSy a dot product is defined as dot : +/ * . But unlike the typical definition of dot as the sum across the products of corresponding elements of two lists , it will sum across arbitrary arrays of pairs of lists of arbitrary length . Thus that simple expression can compute the dot products of an entire spectral map of the planet with the solar spectrum or a Planck thermal spectrum at once . Mean planetary temperature is , of course , ultimately determined by our spectrum as seen from the outside .
A rather detailed competitive model of the planet can be written in not more than a few pages of APL definitions — and again , run on anything from a smart phone to a super-computer .
There would be no place for stupidity or mendacity to hide for very long .

markopanama

Bob,
Dude, write the app! Get it started and invite others Who Know to add, subtract, multiply and divide. It would be one of the great group learning experiences in history.
You might ping David Evans as a collaborator – he’s really good with F’s Ts.

Mumbles McGuirck

It is interesting that all the CMIP5 and CESM models exhibit the same error. I’ve long suspected that the modelers all borrowed code from one another. This would explain why there is such conformity in their results. It isn’t that they are all very about the right answer, it’s that they are all wrong together because they all use the same faulty code.

Stephen Richards

Yes but if you put all the wrong ones together by averaging their output they are more accurate than reality and the UKMO can then accurately predict the movement of every weather front. /////////sarc off

Chip Javert

…sharing code probably also makes it easier to test (well, test is a relative term) your model with other models…

Mumbles McGuirck

Sorry, that should be “they all vary” not “they are all very”.

MCourtney

Don’t apologise. You were clear.
And you make vary important point.
Seriously, you do.

David Ball

Agreed.

Kevin Kilty

I have spent many weeks now poring over the assertions of astronomer Duncan Steel, cited by a posting on the thread about insolation and ice ages back in early February, that insolation and albedo are much more complicated topics than the climate modelers admit and the models may incorporate incorrectly; and I have found what he has said to be true. This particular problem appears to be a sort of aliasing error and a separate issue from Steel’s concerns, but how many climate change “shoes” might eventually drop?

Bill Illis

The impact on Albedo during the ice ages from all that extra glacier, extra sea ice, decline in forest cover, rise in deserts, rise in grassland, increased land surface with higher albedo due to sea level decline and reduced cloud cover according to the theory, has been vastly understated by the climatologists.
The reduction in net solar forcing is four or five time higher than the climatologists use when they try to simulate the ice ages with a climate model. Remember they need to keep the CO2 forcing impact at a high level so they have to reduce the ice-Albedo impact to keep the numbers close to reality. Increased Albedo during the ice ages reduces net solar forcing by at least -12 W/m2 if you actually run the numbers versus the amount Hansen used of just -3.5 W/m2.

sophocles

That makes what? Explanation 64 or 65 for The Pause? `The Models got it wrong.’

I saw this on a FaceBook post yesterday. My comment there:
From what I can glean from the abstract, the models compute the incoming ToA radiation once per time increment, either one hour or three hours. In three hours, on the equator at the equinoxes, the sun moves 45 degrees. In the course of the daylight, the elevation of the sun could be computed at 0, 45, 90, 45, and 0 degrees above the horizon at one point and 22.5 longitude degrees away, it would be computed at 22.5, 67.5, 67.5, and 22.5 degrees. In terms of full sun, that would be the sine of the sun’s altitude, or 0, 0.71, 1.0, 0.71, 0 (total 2.42) and 0.38, 0.92, 0.92, 0.38 (total 2.60), a 7.5% difference.

Richard Keen

In 2009 Trenberth et al. revised the 1997 vesion of their famous energy budget diagram. Vincent Gray posted a discussion of the changes on ICECAP http://icecap.us/index.php/go/icing-the-hype/the_flat_earth/
Since each of the two diagrams – 1997 and 2009 – contain the best estimates by the best and brightest scientists in the universe, I figure that any changes between the two estimates are an indication of the actual uncertainty in our understanding of what the actual energy amounts are.
So I created a diagram of the energy budget changes between the 1997 and 2009 versions, and here it is: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/EnergyBudgetTFed3.jpg
Note that at the surface of the earth, the major components, such as sunlight and IR absorbed and reflected, are unknown to plus or minus 6 to 9 W/m2. That gives an uncertainty of 1.3 W/m2 for the net surface energy balance. That means it will be difficult to find “the radiative forcing claimed to exist from carbon dioxide increases is said to be about 1.68 W/m2”.
Also note that at the bottom of the energy budget charts there’s a “Net Absorbed 0.9 W/m2”, which is the excess heat that goes to warm the earth. The actual uncertainty of this number is +/- 1.3 W/m2, so the actual net absorbed in indistinguishable from zero. That tells us where Trenberth’s missing heat is. It’s in the statistical uncertainty of the energy budget, and likely does not exist.

jorgekafkazar

Ouch.

There is a 2012 redo by Stephens et. al. TOA imbalance 0.6+/- 0.4. Surface imbalance 0.6+/- 17!
Implications for sensitivity explored in essay Sensitive Uncertainty.

Richard Keen

Ouch indeed, especially considering where they got that 0.9 W/m2 of “missing heat”. There’s no way they could have calculated it from the input numbers – the individual amounts shown on their energy budget chart aren’t accurate enough to come up with a fraction of a Watt per meter squared. And since that 0.9 W/m2 is supposedly Infrared heating from GHG and not sunlight, the number must have been pulled from a warm dark place where the sun doesn’t shine.
Ouch!

Mac the Knife

The ‘Settled Science’ seems to be in greatly in flux….

Trenberth’s 342 W/m2 is a global average. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page3.php
The Earth’s climate is created by the fact that solar radiation is far more intense (per square meter) in the tropics than in the higher latitudes and also varies diurnally and by season. The climate is driven by heat balancing through various physical and radiative mechanisms (many of which are also incompletely modeled). It is not driven by a simplified global average.
IMO, the global average TOA radiation can be as misleading and subject to error as the global average temperature.
Perhaps like Lake Wobegon’s children, all climate models are above average…

Thanks, “Icing The Hype” is an important article.

Kevin Kilty

Nylo March 10, 2015 at 10:00 am
It is very likely that the errors cancel each other out. I don’t think this finding is important. It would be, if the models were being used to predict regional climate. But that’s not the case. If a cell incorrectly receives 20W/m2 that should have been received by the neighbour cell instead, this is not even a change as significant as the move of a cloud from cell to cell. And models do not model clouds or general cloudiness properly.

Your sort of thinking appears almost satirical. Do you work for The Onion? What you say in effect is that there maybe large errors in our models, but they don’t amount to much on net because they probably cancel out–I give many students a ‘D’ when they calculate a correct value through large offsetting errors. Irving Langmuir noted that one sign of pathological science is a tendency toward ad hoc explanations of contrary observations. This looks pretty ad hoc to me.

Nylo

Kevin, the most important thing is to get the total incoming energy right, and also right for a given latitude band. which seems to be done correctly. We are dealing with prediction of GLOBAL temperatures, not local temperatures. The error here presented may cause a given place to be slightly, very slightly, more cold or more hot than it should, because of receiving too little / too much sun. But there will be another place next to it which will be more hot or more cold because of receiving too much / too little. The average doesn’t change, Also keep in mind that it is not just the incoming solar energy that afects a cell’s temperature. If it were like that, Europe would be a much colder place than it currently is. It is not, because we also get heat from other sources, mainly, the gulf stream. So if a cell does not receive the right ammount of solar but the neighbour cell receives extra, you can be sure that there will be some exchange of energy between them.

MCourtney

Nylo,

the most important thing is to get the total incoming energy right…

Surely it’s just as important to get the outgoing energy right too?
And that depends on how hot the area the heat is in, is.
As that depends on how spread out the energy is getting the wrong cell is very significant.
If you’re in one with a jet stream moving away from the equator the heat will spread out more than if it’s over a desert land cell.
Question: How many iterations before you’re model is worthless?
Answer: 1

Jason Calley

Let us suppose that the current calculation methods mis-allocate the incoming radiation. The total is correct, but it is altered so that one area is modeled too warm and another area is modeled too cool. Remember that the radiative properties of an object are not based on the average temperature of the object, but on the sum of all the various small areas on the object. This means that a model with some areas too cool and some areas too warm will radiate more strongly than a model with temperatures which are more evenly distributed — even if the second model has the same average temperature. The CAGW crowd claims that the Earth is warmed by back radiation from extra CO2. If their models have the wrong numbers (too high) for the outgoing surface radiation, won’t they also have the wrong numbers (too high) for the CO2 back radiation?

Crispin in Waterloo

Nylo
It is not as simple as ‘averaging’ because calculated heat loss from the over-warmed model spot has a non-linear response to a change of 1 degree. What you are saying is that the net enthalpy is the same but spread a little differently from reality.
The problem is while that may be true, it does not result in no difference in effective total heat because the hot spots are calculated to have cooled faster than they really did. Put in +28 W/m^2 extra heat into one cell and -28W into an adjacent cell. The combined energy is lost to space is larger that would be the case if the two were both at the average. The loss is minimised when the whole system is the same as the average. The loss is maximised by having all the available heat concentrated onto one spot.
The reasons for this are that space is below the lowest cell temperature and radiation is a function of T^4.
The models having this flaw will estimate that the heat left the system sooner, and because they are tuned to measurements, a fudge factor will have been entered. An incorrect fudge factor. I do not think this has anything to do with anyone’s ‘missing heat’, however. It is impossible to tell how the model outputs will be affected by it. Maybe they all react differently. But it is a lot of heat.

Streetcred

How many “local temperatures” do we need to calculated the “GLOBAL temperatures”?

The error here presented may cause a given place to be slightly, very slightly, more cold or more hot than it should, because of receiving too little / too much sun. But there will be another place next to it which will be more hot or more cold because of receiving too much / too little.

The Earth being ‘spherical’, eventually the error will catch up with its offset.

Alex

I guess if we do a time average of glacier thickness on the great lakes in the USA then they are currently covered by a glacier 250 metres thick.

Kevin, the most important thing is to get the total incoming energy right
Climate models are inherently chaotic. It is very important to get the details as right as you can. “On average correct” can affect the flows. And the flows can affect the clouds. And the clouds can affect the flows.
Catching on yet? You don’t average Navier-Stokes.

Nylo

Hi all,
I didn’t mean that having the wrong amount of solar at TOA for every cell cannot have an impact despite the average is kept correct. It probably has some impact. I just don’t think it is a BIG impact, and in fact, I think that the impact will be much smaller than getting the cloud cover of a particular cell slightly wrong. And current GCMs get the cloud cover at particular cells, not just wrong, but VERY wrong. And if cloud cover is wrong, then having the exact amount of solar energy at the top of the atmosphere or a 1% variation from the exact value at some places starts to become… irrelevant. Move a cloud a little bit, from a cell to the next one, and the energy entering the system will be correct again.
Comparing those 20 Watts to the 1.68 Watts of the CO2 forcing is sensationalist. One is a permanent forcing additional to existing ones and affecting every cell all the time, the other is a forcing that you take from here to put it there keeping the total the same. They cannot be compared.

Lance Wallace

From the paper it seems that the error may be limited to about 8 CMIP5 models, with 20 or so identified as not affected:
“It is seen that the distributions of radiative flux in many models (bcc-csm1-1, BNU-ESM, CanAM4, CCSM4, CESM1-CAM5, EC-EARTH, inmcm4, NorESM1-M) exhibit longitudinal oscillations. The same type of biases was also reported in some climate model in AMIP-2 in the dezonalized anomalies plot [Raschke et al., 2005]. This variation would not be visible in zonally averaged plots or in spatial plots when the color scale has a large range. Other CMIP5 models are found to exhibit little or no zonal oscillations (ACCESS1-0, ACCESS1-3, CMCC-CM, CNRM-CM5, CSIRO-Mk3-6-0, FGOALS-g2, FGOALS-s2, GFDL-CM3, GFDL-HIRAM-C180, GISS-E2-R, HadGEM2-A, IPSL-CM5A-LR, IPSL-CM5A-MR, IPSL-CM5B-LR, MIROC5, MPI-ESM-LR, MPI-ESM-MR, MRI-AGCM3-2H, MRI-AGCM3-2S, MRI-CGCM3.”
They propose a fix: “We applied a revised algorithm in the CESM that corrects the bias from both spatial and temporal sampling errors, guarantees energy conservation, and is easy to implement.”
As Rud says above, the impact for the 3-h averaging time is on clouds (about 2% in amount, which is not negligible, about 2 W/m^2), temperature (0.2K), and precipitation (0.5 mm/day).
Paper is available here:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75831381/zhou%20error%20in%20CMIP%20models%20solar%20zenith%20angle.pdf

Thanks for the paywall end around. Had not yet got around to looking myself.

Brandon Gates

I second that Lance, thank you.

Am I correct in understanding that the magnitude and sign of the (total) error is currently unknown? It may be huge or it may be in the noise?

Magnitude is on order of positive 2w/m^2 clouds plus whatever humidity feedback equates to 0.5mm rainfall.

Thanks!

BallBounces

This just proves we need to spend billions more on settled climate science to get it right. Fork it over™.

Bozza

[You must use a legitimate email address to post here. ~mod.]

pochas

Sounds like one of those “adjustments.”

lance

So will the IPCC be 99% certain now? /sarc….

Derek Alker

The solar averaging error is repeated vertically as well as horizontally…
In other words the models model stacked flat bottomed boxes, which they call a grid system.
What is modeled is certainly a failed and stacked system..

Catherine Ronconi

“Stacked” is the right term.

Bozza

..are you talking about indian internet trolls who get paid by blue-chip companies to fight for their right to use the atmosphere as a dumping ground for free??
[Reply: Are you an Indian internet troll paid to post here? If not, please use a legitimate email address. ~mod.]

Mac the Knife

“Rigged”?

logos_wrench

It doesn’t matter if the error is large. We need extremes to get people to the middle ground.
The principle remains the same humans are to blame. ( favorite excuse #12 of leftist kooks).

Resourceguy

Facts and other key discoveries after the fact do not matter with religions either.

Bozza

[You must use a legitimate email address to post here. ~mod.]

This reveals that substantial manipulation must have been required to get ‘reasonable’ results out of the models. Pampered is, I think, the appropriate word for them.They are not vehicles for discovery. Their core purpose seems to have been PR-support for fundraising and scaremongering. Part and parcel of the corruption of climate science for political ends.

Bozza

[You must use a legitimate email address to post here. ~mod.]

jolly farmer

Exactly.
“Richard Bettsism” = “PR-support for fundraising and scaremongering”;
“Tamsin Edwardsism” = “Part and parcel of the corruption of climate science for political ends.”
Copyright Betts/Edwards 2015.
Well played, guys!

Marlo Lewis

I would just advise people to be cautious in the conclusions they draw from this one paper — or one review article about it. Even if the apparent model error turns out to be real and pervasive, a separate inquiry is required to determine how — or even whether — it affects estimates of climate sensitivity and projections of future warming.

David A

Marlo, waiting is good and I will wait for folk like Rud to report more. However we already know the IPCC models are GIGO, compared to the observations.

David and Marlo, final report from the front on this. WE did us all a favor by downloading top line CMIP5 for all 42 models (ensemble means, not the 107 individual runs) into Excel. Posted here IIRC 12/22/14. Others have since noted the the model ‘closest’ to observed GMST is number 31 (series 31 in Willis’ spreadsheet). I just went to KNMI to see which model. It is IPSL-CM5A-MR, which interestingly is one of the ones that does not contain the error.
It is not possible to speculate on sensitivity, since the Chinese authors only ran the atmospheric portion of CESM for 4 years in order to test their code correction. One would need at least a coupled slab ocean plus (traditionally) 150 years with and without the code fix to get that information.
Don’t think this is the biggest problem with CMIP5. Smallest in CMIP5 is 110km. Means subgrid processes like tropical convection cells have to be parameterized. That is unavoidable, and is the root cause for them running hot. See essays Models all the Way Down for illustrations of the issue, and essay Unsettling Science for Akasofu’s (IMO correct) understanding of the parameterization consequences. If Curry’s stadium wave or Tisdale’s PDO -AMO are close to correct (they are related, and are IMO), it is going to be a very embarassing AR6 WG1. Regards.

David A

Rud states, ” Others have since noted the the model ‘closest’ to observed GMST is number 31 (series 31 in Willis’ spreadsheet). I just went to KNMI to see which model. It is IPSL-CM5A-MR, which interestingly is one of the ones that does not contain the error.
==========================================
Thanks. I have long been curious as to what was different about the model runs closest to the observed T.
My guess was that those few models were predicting less warming because they contained input parameters that would make the IPCC uncomfortable. It would appear to be basic science to want to know why those models have been more accurate, but I have yet to see details on this.

Bozza

[You must use a legitimate email address to post here. ~mod.]

Steve

The authors state that the error they identified would affect use of the models at regional levels (“This feature can affect the interpretation of regional climate and diurnal variation of CMIP5 results.”) So, the fact that the errors may approximately cancel out globally seems to me not to be the major thrust of the paper. It is that this mistake makes the models useless with regard to modifying them in the future with the goal of understanding regional climate changes. Right? I would be interested in Judith Curry’s basis for concluding the errors would approximately chancel out globally. The word “approximately” is a little disturbing when speaking about models that do not work very well. “Approximately” can also be applied to CO2 feedbacks (though I think “wild speculation” would be more accurate) and to estimating the role of clouds, which even the modelers admit is not handled well in current models. Even so, there are hundreds of papers that start with outputs from these models and use them as though they were actual data, which are then fed into other unvalidated models to predict that squirrels will become cannibals, dogs and cats will live together, and the dead will rise from the grave (h/t Ghostbusters, which includes my favorite line, “Back off man, I’m a scientist”) – with 99% certainty

The errors approximately cancel out globally which is why the models so accurately have projected the last 20 years or so of atmospheric temperature.
/sarc