Forecasting Climate Change Is A Very Complex Process

Guest essay by Howard Lowe


Models have difficulty predicting the current temperature, let alone the future. Source: WSJ

Mother Earth is a dynamic place, constantly changing and evolving. Although it operates in a cyclical manner, the major cycles are not short, falling into a time frame of thousands, tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands of years. We know that the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west on a regular 24-hour cycle, but times vary depending on the season of the year. The Earth revolves around the Sun, and the Moon around the Earth, all in a cyclical predictable manner. These phenomena have always intrigued man leading him to seek more knowledge about his surroundings, about the star-filled skies, about his origin, about the future.

For more than a hundred thousand years man has developed into a sophisticated creature, one with ever increasing scientific ‘know how’. Even after landing on the Moon man still dreams of worlds far beyond Earth and the Moon, and plans journeys into deep space. In preparation, he studies all manner of sciences to increase his knowledge of this home planet. One such effort deals with studies Earth’s past and present climates, and lastly prediction of future climates.

You will discover predicting long range climatic conditions have about the same chance of success as selecting next week’s six winning lottery numbers. Let’s look at weather. How about predicting the exact local rainfall next week? The dates, number, violence, and exact paths of Atlantic hurricanes for next season? Acquiring the skills and knowledge to predict such future climate and weather conditions with any degree of accuracy is still out into the future. To do so will require extremely complex data bases. Even then, random variance will hamper predictive capability. Data bases must include carefully controlled collections of geological, geophysical, meteorological, oceanographic, and biological information. Even though, the collection of data has vastly improved, the density and location of measurement sites in the oceans are still a weak link. However, the volume of data being collected by satellites is overcoming many of these weaknesses.

Many laymen and some scientists tend to over simplify this extremely complex problem. Let’s take a step back and look at the hundreds of different data types that must be collected and analyzed. Mathematical models are designed and constructed using formulae to massage and analyze data sets. The fewer the data points, the less reliable the answers. How about the reliability of the data? For example, only during the past century has accurate data been systematically recorded and collected on such things as temperature, rainfall, snowfall, flood, tides, and wind. Although a great deal of data was collected for many centuries, it was not done in a systematic manner, nor did it cover broad geographic regions. Therefore, much of these data are questionable due to poor collection practices; and in the less populated areas, collection sites are sparse, widely scattered, or non-existent.

How can ancient artifacts and cave drawings assist us in studying climate? Paleolithic cave drawings made over 40,000 years ago offer information on climatic conditions at that period of time, and must be considered. Later in time, written records from early civilizations offer information on crops, floods, droughts, snowfall, and detailed accounts of natural catastrophes. Additionally, archeological and anthropological sciences add valuable information about prehistory climates.

Rocks in the Earth’s crust carry a record of global climate changes. Over the past two centuries, geologists have been able to decipher a lot of the story rocks tell us. These geological studies have given us a good ‘peek’ at the Earth’s climatic conditions over hundreds of millions of years. Geological data have been collected and analyzed for thousands of specific locations, making it possible to determine the geological age of rocks, along with their fossil content. However, there are millions of such locations scattered across the globe that have never been examined by geologists. Even a huge organized effort cannot search out and record all of these locations – so, one can only connect widely spaced dots.

Ice cores recovered during drilling operations on glaciers and ice sheets offer scientists another glimpse into the past. Precise measurement of temperatures and atmospheres (gas bubbles) in the cores make it possible to establish climatic conditions for different geological times.

Oceanographic surveys, using sophisticated underwater exploration techniques, have come of age in the past few decades. Their findings add still more to our knowledge about the planet. Underwater exploration combines engineering technology with other scientific disciplines, such as geology, geophysics, oceanography, meteorology, and archeology. Once all of these data are collected, samples can be described and identified as to aerial location and depth. Based on these descriptions and measurements, a determination of their geologic age can be made. Retrieved archeological artifacts are described, offering additional climate clues. The task of correlating such a myriad of data types from widely spaced dots is a Herculean task. Remember the surface of today’s globe is 70% water; and its extent has varied geographically over time. How many unaccounted for dots might this include? Yes, thousands, maybe millions.

The need for deep-ocean exploration has been driven by offshore oil and gas drilling. Deep drilling platforms are located in ocean depths that reach over two miles. Large amounts of data acquired during drilling, along with deep-sea research programs, could throw new light on the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates. Deep-ocean drilling programs are adding to our knowledge of bottom-ocean sediments, and deep-ocean life forms, along with study of the geological formations penetrated during drilling operations. Collected data include a photographic record, samples of water and sediments, drilling cuttings, and temperature and pressure measurements.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has initiated a deep-sea exploration program using the unmanned submersible vehicle, Nereus. On May 31, 2009, Nereus reached the sea floor at an amazing depth of 35,768 feet. The location was in the deepest part of the world’s oceans in the Mariana Trench. There the submersible spent ten hours making scientific measurements, gathering physical samples and taking photographs of the ocean’s bottom at a depth of seven miles[1].

Data from all the preceding scientific programs may make it possible to improve predictions about future climatic conditions. However, we must take into account the vastness of the atmosphere that surrounds our Earth, as well as the enormous extent of the seawater and seabed. Arriving at reasonable scientific conclusions, based on relatively few scattered data points, becomes as much an art as a science. Understand the problem?

No, we are still short many more factors. We must take into account the solar conditions that affect the Earth. These include the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, variations in the declination of the Earth’s axis, precession (wobble effect) of the Earth on this axis. Then there is the cyclical variation of sunspot activity on the Sun, and lastly, the effects of solar weather. To these, add meteor showers and collisions with rogue asteroids. Every one of these factors, and innumerable combinations of them, played roles of varying importance in the Earth’s climate changes in the past.

Are you beginning to understand the complexity of the predicting climatic conditions for tomorrow, or for a decade ahead? How about a hundred years? Unfortunately, the public has been misled by the statements of some scientists; those who we recently discovered either manipulated data, or relied on inadequate and/or unreliable data, to construct a doomsday model[2] for the Earth’s future. Such erroneous climate outcomes have been widely published by a gullible media, guided by a group of misguided uninformed environmental loons. The leaders of the movement have appointed themselves experts on global warming, not climate change. Their ravings are familiar – I often apply my pet phrase – Don’t confuse me with facts. My mind is made up. Now, no amount of scientific evidence, to the contrary, will convince them that presently, no one can state with any assurance that the Earth is in either a long-term-warming or a long-term cooling trend. Nor will they accept that alteration of the Earth’s climate by unpredictable catastrophic events in the distant past occurred. These events include: 1) massive asteroid or meteor[3] collisions, 2) enormous volcanic eruptions that loaded the atmosphere with volcanic dust, or 3) violent earthquakes.

Real science is based on facts; theories developed by scientists are the basis for seeking solutions – made to be tested (proved or disproved). The correct answers are not determined by a vote of the majority, or consensus; they are determined by reality. Remember, the truth comes from building hypotheses and theories, then rigorously testing them against the data. Only by questioning hypotheses and theories can correct scientific conclusions be reached. However, remember that the data to back up the conclusion must also be adequate. Moreover, had man not exercised his intellectual curiosity it is doubtful if he would ever have progressed beyond the Stone Age.

Far too much emphasis has been placed on global warming and/or global cooling. Not enough on climatology. Not enough on testing the hypotheses. Not enough on research perforrmed by interdisciplinary scientific teams. The environmental activists’ tunnel vision is very simplistic. To them, the Earth will either have catastrophic heating or freezing. They give little thought about what might really be happening. Dr. Carl Wunsch, Professor of Physical Oceanography at Massachusetts Institution of Technology, said that he finds the statements of both extremes of the global climate-change debate distasteful. I go a step further – I find that arguing for either extreme is unscientific and beyond prudence and reason. Presently, the sciences of climatology and meteorology are in their infancy and predictions about future climates are flawed, and therefore, can only be classified as educated guesses, i.e., more accurately, hypotheses that must be tested, not yet theories.

I disagree with those who broadcast that the survival of man depends on our control of the Earth’s climate. They fail to take into account hundreds of intricately woven factors that affect climate; most are far beyond man’s ability to control. Man can only exert bare minimal control over the contents of the atmosphere and hydrosphere. He can improve the utilization and conservation of the Earth’s resources, and initiate methods to stabilize the Earth’s population. Unfortunately worldwide consensus is needed to address these issues. Do you believe we can get such a consensus from the world’s governments?

Excerpt from a not yet published, but copyrighted book by – Howard R. Lowe, PE & Prof. Petroleum Geologist. Title – Beyond Our Control – Debunking Manmade Global Warming.

In my opinion, the material contained in these few pages are very important to pass along to the uninitiated public who have been swamped with erroneous, inaccurate, and often deceptive information about climate. I hope you will consider publishing this in your website. If the material is noted as being part of an unpublished book; you do not need to make reference to the book. My name is sufficient (I am sending my full bio to verify my expertise).



[1] In 1960 the US Navy’s manned bathyscaph made a dive of 35,800 feet in the Marianas Trench and stayed on bottom for 20 minutes.

[2] Mathematical models are based on the data input and can be manipulated quite easily to get predetermined results.

[3] Effects of an asteroid impact would be global if in the range of 6-7 miles in diameter; because a meteor moves much faster than an asteroid, a smaller meteor could just as much global disruption.

Howard Lowe is geologist, and  a member of The Right Climate Stuff Research Group – a Houston group made up mainly of NASA scientists, engineers and astronauts who are man-made global warming skeptics.


88 thoughts on “Forecasting Climate Change Is A Very Complex Process

    • I don’t understand why more people don’t discuss Chaos theory as related to climate modeling. An early pioneer in Chaos Theory was Edward N. Lorenz, a professor at MIT. It came about accidentally through his work on weather prediction in 1961. Lorenz was using a simple digital computer to run his weather simulation. He wanted to see a sequence of data again and to save time he started the simulation in the middle of its course. He was able to do this by entering a printout of the data corresponding to conditions in the middle of his simulation, which he had calculated previously. To his surprise the weather that the machine began to predict was completely different from the weather calculated before. Lorenz tracked this down to the computer printout. The computer worked with 6-digit precision, but the printout rounded variables off to a 3-digit number. This difference is tiny and the consensus at the time would have been that it should have had practically no effect. However, Lorenz had discovered that small changes in initial conditions produced large changes in the long-term outcome [cox]. Lorenz’s discovery showed that even detailed atmospheric modeling of multivariable effects such as weather cannot, in general, make precise long-term predictions.

      • Your description of what Lorenz found is certainly correct.
        However, what he found and what he predicted are two different things.

    • Even the IPCC acknowledged that:

      “In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled-nonlinear chaotic system, and therefore that long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001), Section, page 774

      • They did indeed … and then omitted to mention it every single report that they published since.

        They can not have forgotten, so this is a clear case of deception by omission.

        Thanks for the reminder.

    • WE know quite a lot about how models work. This excerpt is from Hansen 2002, a detailed and informative paper.

      3.3. Model Sensitivity

      The bottom line is that, although there has been some
      narrowing of the range of climate sensitivities that emerge
      from realistic models [Del Genio and Wolf, 2000], models
      still can be made to yield a wide range of sensitivities by
      altering model parameterizations.

  1. I disagree with those who broadcast that the survival of man depends on our control of the Earth’s climate
    I disagree too.

    .”control” the climate:
    – what would be the set point?
    – who decides?
    – at all possible, as anthropic hypothesis cannot be confirmed?

    • The set point would be somewhere between about -94 deg. C and + 60 deg. C.

      That’s where it is now and the climate is just right. If it isn’t, where you are ; Move !

  2. I have always believed, based on the evidence, that the global climate is slowly warming because we are in an interglacial period between Ice Ages. The graph at the beginning of the article doesn’t provide very compelling evidence for my belief, as it hardly shows any warming at all. I suspect this is simply because the time frame is too short to show the trend.

    However, it certainly doesn’t provide any evidence of a catastrophic warming trend linked to the increase of atmospheric CO2. I don’t see how anyone could look at that graph and become alarmed.

      • Precisely, maximum Holocene temperatures and sea levels ca. 1.5 meters above present mean sea levels about 7,000 years ago. The long term trend since then is slight cooling. In fact, at any scale beyond about 20 KA, the only long term trends in temperature and CO2 are level to downward. You can “adjust” the trends by cherry picking the glacial maxima, but, once you exit the Pleistocene, no long term trend for either CO2 or temperature at any time span is increasing. Life “fixes” carbon, dropping out of the available pool more rapidly than natural emissions can replace it over geological time spans. If it is a GHG, we need more CO2 not less. Otherwise the probable result is a repeat of the Permian extinction. Ultimately the planet could look a good deal like Mars, where most CO2 tends to be frozen or buried.

    • “I have always believed, based on the evidence, that the global climate is slowly warming because we are in an interglacial period between Ice Ages.”

      What ‘evidence’ would that be Steele? The big picture is that all recent interglacials start with a spike in temperature and then show a downward trend until the climate flips back into another glacial period. This change is also usually very rapid on the geological timescale.


    Models only produce what you put into them, leaving room for temperature inflation bias, Thus a predetermined predictable result. Making it a warmer curve more than the realistic curve. Its what the research grant giver expects. And what rent seeking Model makers happily gives (Every one has their price)
    The AGW Idealogs receive the money and giveth the inflated results. (“The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away”)
    If they produce honest realistic models the grant money would dry up and the malicious warmist crowd would give them the cold shoulder and try to destroy their positions and standing.

    The same crowd get brought and paid for over and over again with grants , lecture tours, endless climate conferences. Etc… Crooks one and all!

    • Many models are useful. In engineering we use tons of “models” to design bridges, buildings, dams, pipelines, floodways, ad infinitim. They are “proofed” by measuring results against predictions. Updated models are being developed and used with success all the time:

      One of the issues with “Climate” models is that there are so many variables and what exacltly do you measure? I don’t think they know.

      If I use a flood routing program per the above reference, simplifying a bit, I can measure the rainfall, and I can measure how high the water was, I can adjust my model to reality including new structures such as bridge abuttments and treed areas that may affect the flow. Not a lot of parameters, but both the input conditions and actual results are measureable.

      So how long will it take to figure out what the inputs are for climate models? Doesn’t look like the control knob is CO2 – or if it is, there are some pretty significant other “control knobs”.

      So, the climate models have been around for as long as 35 years. Why have they not been adjusted to actually “project” something close to reality. Is temperature actually a good proofing parameter? After 30 some years, something looks a bit off.

      If the water distribution system models I used were this bad, I would have had no clients. Yet, those models have worked well for more than 35 years, first on time share, and then on desktops and portables and even on hand held devices. In proofing, you can find problems in systems. They are good enough that they point you to leaky or pliugged pipes. So, what do the climate models tell us? Sureley there must be more than just a meaningless “average” global temperature.

      I am sure there are many outputs, yet the only thing that is blogged about is this meaningles average temperature. Is there more? Help me reduce my ignorance.

      Why are the climate models so poor?

      • Thanks Wayne.
        I agree with you: Many models are extremely useful. In engineering we use tons of “models” to design bridges, buildings, dams, pipelines, floodways, ad infinitim. They are “proofed” by measuring results against predictions. Updated models are being developed and used with success all the time:

        The real world of Engineering could never allow such corrupt modeling.
        But Climate modeling has become is an art form of deception, would a real science /engineering project trust a climate promoting zealot and his modeling methods, to do real world modeling on the performance of a suspension bridge or a satellite for example?
        These hucksters bring shame to the world of science.

      • Because the Solar Scientists said in 1970… that the TSI was a constant [they called it the “Solar Constant”]! Therefore, something else must be causing the Earth to warm or cool other than the SUN. After they put up the SOLAR EUV, UV satellites, they found that the TSI was not a constant and varied every Solar Cycle.

        The Climate researchers were misled by the Solar Scientists. Since Sunspots are an “artifact” of some other process “poorly understood”, why not use the 10.7cm FLUX as an indication of the Solar energy reaching the Earth.

        Try that as the control knob! In that model one needs to take into account the amount of Solar Energy stored in the Oceans and dissipated to space via a different pathway, i.e., the way the energy comes into the Earth is not the same way that the energy leaves the Earth! [i.e., the Earth doesn’t radiate like the Sun.

      • They try to model regional temperature, and didn’t come close.
        They try to model cloud coverage, and didn’t come close.
        They try to model precipitation, and didn’t come close.

        So they settled for average global temperature and proclaimed that even though they were still of by quite a bit, the difference didn’t matter and the fact that they couldn’t model any of the sub-elements of climate, that didn’t matter either.

      • Despite the whine of various trolls, nobody hear categorically rejects all models.
        What we ridicule is the reliance on models that aren’t validated, and worse aren’t fixed when they do fail validation.

      • Actually the earth does radiate, just like the sun. It just radiates at different frequencies.

      • Because engineers have to get paid by the customer for actual results that will withstand the insurance investigators and NTSB. Modelers get paid for trying, and the results needed are those that acquire more funding, not results that build something tangible.

  4. I’ve asked this before in buried thread,
    if I remove everything from a flask and then put in 2 molecules of CO2 would they end up on the bottom of the flask drawn there by gravity ?
    If this happens why is the atmosphere thinner with altitude ?

    • If your flask is cold enough your CO2 will become less energenic and tend to stay near the bottom but co2 gas has energy to resist gravity so it moves about until, and after, it collids with another object. It’s been years since I studied chemistry or the gas laws so perhaps someone else can explain better why gases don’t tend to layer.


      • Even at temperatures at which gases will freeze or liquify, they still have considerable kinetic energy. The molecules move about continuously, bouncing off each other and/or the walls of a container. The ‘bulk’ properties of all that molecular kinetic energy become things like temperature and pressure, related by things like the ideal gas law, PV/T=k. Those properties can be derived from first principles of energy and motion (Newton’s Laws) using Boltzmann’s statistical mechanics.
        The individual molecule’s kinetic energy (‘heat’) guarantees they remain well mixed. Gravity guarantees atmospheric pressure declines with altitude, but is far too weak to sort the atmosphere’s gases by atomic weight/mass. Even high speed gas centrifuges (Iran, uranium hexafluoride) do this very slowly and inefficiently.
        Since gases liquify at different temperatures, the only practical way to separate them (other than by chemical binding) is cryogenically in an air liquifaction plant.

      • If the density were low enough even gases would stratify in the atmosphere with heavier molecules predominantly near the bottom. At the density of our atmosphere, molecular motions are not dominant. It is the bulk convective flows that mix heavier gases such as CO2 in both horizontal and vertical directions.

    • Yes (qualitatively), they would be drawn more towards the bottom with the probability based on gravity and their energy. The actual answer is statistical thermodynamics, and I confess to have forgotten the mathematics in the intervening years since college. However, the basis is quite simple in principle. A moleducle of gas has a probability of being anywhere within its energy range, and it is more likely to be at a lower energy point than higher. At normal temperatures, this is negligible on the size of a bottle due to the small difference in energy between the top and botom of a bottle. However, it makes a difference over the course of verticle miles.

    • Zemlik,

      The molecules will not end up on the bottom of the flask, unless the flask is crazy big. The short reason is that the change in gravitational potential energy is small compared to the kinetic energy of the molecules.

      The long reason requires math. If you like, just skip down to .

      The probability distribution under the influence of gravity is given by the Boltzmann distribution (a basic result of statistical mechanics):
      p(z) = exp( -E(z)/(k*T))
      where p(z) is the unnormalized probability of a molecule being at height z, E(z) is the gravitational potential energy at height z, k is Boltzman’s constant, and T is absolute temperature. From basic physics, we have
      E(z) = m*g*z
      where m is the mass of the molecule and g is the gravitational acceleration.
      It is useful to make two simple substitutions:
      m = M/N
      where M is molar mass (molecular weight) and N is Avogadro’s number.
      k = R/N
      where R is the ideal gas constant.

      So now we have p(z) = exp(-M*g*z/(R*T)).

      If you take M to be the average molecular weight of the molecules in air, this is called the barometric law (which, like many things, can be derived in other ways). We can rewrite this as
      p(z) = exp(-z/h) where h = R*T/(M*g).

      h is called the “scale height” since it give the height scale over which gravitational effects are important. For air with earth gravity and temperature appropriate to the atmosphere, h is 7 km or so. So you don’t need to worry about this in any flask that you can pick up.

      In the absence of convective mixing, there would be a different scale height for each gas, since they have different molar masses. They would not “layer”, but the relative amounts would change with height. But in any system large enough to matter, temperature gradients will produce convection which will mix the gases and make the composition the same everywhere unless the pressure is so low that diffusional separation becomes effective. In the earth’s atmosphere, the long lived gases are uniformly mixed up to about 100 km.

  5. A great summary of the infinitely problematic nature of the multifarious projections/predictions/whatever they call them now that emanate from the so-called climate scientists. Thank you, I shall certainly buy your book when it comes out.

    One question – or two rolled into one – which I’ve never managed to get a CAGW believer to answer, whether a scientist or not: With reference to the claimed requirement to restrict temperature rise to 2 degrees C, what is the correct temperature for the earth, and how often and for how long has the earth been at that temperature in its history?

    • Thank you for your kind comments. I have the manuscript in the hnads of six top flite scientists/engineers (The Right Climate Stuff Research Group as well as five engineers, geologist, and meterologists. I intend to submit it for publication by mid July. Howard

  6. butbutbutbut……what about the one or two models that almost got it right for a couple of weeks

  7. Hey, are you hungry? I’ve a tray of 102 cookies here. 97% percent of them have been proven to be poison. The other 5 we don’t know yet. Could be poison, one of them may not. What? No deal? Okay, better idea. We took all 102 cookie batches and mixed them together and averaged. Want one?

  8. Even then, random variance will hamper predictive capability.
    random (white) noise would make climate more predictable than it is. climate shows 1/f (pink) noise which makes it much more difficult to treat statistically.

    think of a coin toss. its predictability comes from white noise. over time the noise will quickly cancel out and you will end up with 50-50 heads and tails with very little variance. This happens because the coin itself is static, it never changes.

    climate, sock markets, ocean tides, these are dynamic systems. they have power series (1/f) pink noise. this is because the thing you are studying is changing all the time. it is like a coin that bends and changes shape every time you toss it. it is much, much more difficult to predict statistically.

    the problem for climate science is that in many cases they treat the climate statistically as though it was a coin toss, ignoring the lessons learned in other fields. this has lead to a false confidence in the results of climate predictions, largely based on faulty statistical analysis.

    [But is your money safer in a sock market, or in today’s stock market? .mod]

    • [But is your money safer in a sock market, or in today’s stock market? .mod]

      While I understand what your are asking, all me to respectfully make a couple of points.

      When people say “my money is in the bank” or “my money is in the stock market” I always try to point out the error in this line of thinking.

      If you have foldable currency — in the US, FRNs — and you ‘deposit them’ in a bank, you are actually selling your FRNs and buying bank deposits. If you do the reverse transaction, your are selling bank deposits and buying FRNs.

      Similarly, if you ‘invest in the stock market’ you (typically) have chosen to sell bank deposits and buy stocks.

      It is incorrect to say “my money is in the stock market.” Sorry, you sold your money. You own stock. The stock market is not a container that holds money. If you own only stocks, you have no money.

      Bank deposits, savings accounts, stocks, bonds, IRAs, pensions … these are all entirely different assets. Imagining that you have ‘money in them’ is, well, puerile.

      The sock market is an exception :-)

  9. the survival of man depends on our control of the Earth’s climate
    it hasn’t in the past. food, shelter and clothing. the only mandatory items for human survival. two out of three allow us to survive regardless of the climate.

    without clothing and shelter, the only place on the planet that a human being can survive is the tropical jungles. everywhere else we die of exposure. everywhere.

    by that reasoning, we should change the climate of the earth, so that it is everywhere a tropical jungle. the only problem is that there is a whole lot of other things in the jungle that are perfectly happy to eat humans. From microbes on up, we are food.

    the advantage of clothing and shelter is that it allowed us to move to climates that our predators couldn’t adapt to. we thrive because we can adapt where our predators cannot.

  10. It is impossible to model climate without knowing ALL the physics and chemistry involved. We never will.

    • While I certainly understand the spirit of your point, one can model climate without knowing any physics or chemistry. Of course, the model will be totally worthless …

      I think your fundamental point is that it is impossible to create a model of climate that will agree with reality for any length of time without knowing all of the physics and chemistry. But even knowing all of the physics and chemistry would not solve the problem of information loss in a complex of far-from-equilibrium systems.

      So, that said, +1.

  11. Wonder if any of the model-worshippers (can’t really call them anything else, can we? Certainly not scientists) want to put their grant money where their (often) potty mouths are and get into a little Julian Simon – Paul Ehrlich betting?

  12. Humans, thanks to technology, can have great input to eliminating drought, one effect of changing climate, by 1) storing water; 2) moving it around from feast (flood) to famine (drought) by tunnels, pipelines, and other imaginative means; 3) continuing “inexpensive” desalination development a la the Israelis. I’m sure there is much more. With Earth’s surface (at least) being 70% water there is no excuse. Think Middle Easterners would give up their religious vendettas for water? or American Marxist elitists give up their ideological power grab worth trillions of dollars for investment in this reasonable response to “global climate”? It is humanly possible to “forecast” drought and be prepared for it. The exact when or where might not ever be within our abilities, but preparation/investment is possible.

    • and of the 30% of land surface we only use a few inches, of the 70% water we should and could use hundreds of meters!

      • I meant say “depth” in inches of land use and depth in hudreds of meters of available water in the oceans

  13. Forecasting Climate Change Is A Very Complex Process

    Is ‘complex’ being confused here with ‘complicated’?

    Those two words do not mean the same thing, yet I often sense they are (ab)used interchangeably.

    Your thoughts?

  14. This is a silly question which continues to puzzle me about the IPCC models — forget about real world observations.

    In the IPCC model world, it puzzles me why the feedbacks kick in only after year 2000 and the temperature predictions/projections fan out to preposterous heights in the following century as if there is something critical about a global average temperature of say 14.65C that doesn’t apply at say 13.82C.
    Why, in the model world, don’t the feedbacks kick in around 1850 when CO2 started to rise or 1900, why does that process only start at ~2000?

    • The model runs were done in the year 2000. Prior to that the graph is not model runs but historical data

      • “The model runs were done in the year 2000. Prior to that the graph is not model runs but historical data …”.
        I know that, my point is in the virtual model world the choice of the year 2000 when positive feedbacks appear takeoff is purely arbitrary.

    • Christopher Handly,

      The feedbacks in that graph are constant. The ranges of values are due to different assumed future emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (RCP2.6, RCP2.5, etc.) and differences in feedbacks between the models. There is minimal variation before 200 since they all use the same historical greenhouse gas concentrations and the models were all tuned to be somewhat close to historical temperatures.

  15. Take a stationary roulette wheel. Hold the ball directly on the rim of the wheel above a specific number and then let go. Repeat 100 times. The number of ball’s resting place will be completely random. In a real game the wheel is also spinning in one direction and the ball in the opposite direction at varying speeds depending on the croupier and his actions, yet still there are people who believe you can find patterns which enable you to predict where the ball will fall in the future. Such is also the misguided belief of those who try and predict the long term future of the climate

  16. Nah, we know why the planet has not warmed for 18 years. We know what is incorrect with the IPCC’s general circulation models (GCM).

    The appeal to the earth’s climate is too complicate and hence a climate model can never be devised is silly talk.

    Mindless repetition of the chaotic climate urban legend. The earth’s climate appears chaotic if there is no knowledge/basic understanding of what is forcing the climate, what is causing the changes.

    There is more than sufficient observational evidence and analysis results to solve the puzzle: Why does the planet warm and cool cyclically? What cause the interglacial periods to start and end abruptly? Why did the planet warm in the last 50 years? And is the planet about to abruptly cool?

    We know that it is a fact that the planet has warmed and cooled cyclically in the past with a period between cycles of 1470 years with a beat of plus or minus 400 years, correlating with solar cycle changes. Some of the cooling events are abrupt cooling events, where the cooling is sufficient to terminate an interglacial period.

    The medium and abrupt large cooling events occur with the same 1470 year plus or minus 500 years beat frequency which supports the assertion that it the same forcing function that is causing the changes. The sun is causing all of the cycles and abrupt climate change events.

    We know the past cyclic warming and cooling has been in high latitude regions. We know the warming in the last 30 years has been in high latitude regions rather than in the tropics which is where the majority of the CO2 warming is predicted to occur by the IPCC’s general circulation models.

    We know that earth internal forcing functions are irregular so the source of the forcing of past warming and cooling cycles must be external to the earth. The external forcing function is: Solar changes that modulate the amount of planetary cloud cover which caused the cyclic warming in the past and caused more than 75% of the recent warming.

    We know the periodicity of the solar changes (which in turn cause the periodic earth warming and cooling) is caused by how the sun is moved by the large planets. The abrupt solar cycle changes occur when there is a change in direction of the sun which sets off oscillations in the sun which in turn affects a region of the sun were sunspots originate from.

    And lastly we know there has been an abrupt change to sun and due to the abrupt change to the solar cycle there is now a sudden and significant increase in sea ice both poles. The planet is cooling, same as it did in the past when there was an abrupt change to the solar cycle.

    Crux of AGW’s Flawed Science
    (Wrong water-vapor feedback and missing ocean influence (William: missing solar influence. This review paper has half the solution, it is missing how the sun changes and how the solar cycle changes directly and indirectly modulates the amount of planetary cloud cover, the earth’s ocean do not drive cyclic planet temperature change, the sun if the forcing agent)

    … The model simulations (IPCC’s general circulation models (GMCs) have followed the unrealistic physical ideas emanating from the National Academy of Science (NAS), 1979 (or Charney Report). This report speculated that as the troposphere warms from CO2 increases that this warming would be accompanied (follow the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship between temperature and moisture) by a moisture increase such that the relative humidity (RH) of the air would remain near constant as the temperature increased. Implicit in this NAS assumption of CO2 induced warming was the necessity that this increase of moisture would add additional blockage of infrared (IR) radiation to space beyond what the CO2 gas did by itself. The net IR blockage to space from increasing CO2 was thus assumed to occur not only from the CO2 gas itself but also from the extra water-vapor gain needed to keep the RH near constant as the temperature rose. This additional water-vapor gain was shown by the models to have about twice as large an influence on reducing IR blockage to space as the CO2 increase by itself. Thus, any CO2 increase of one unit of IR blockage to space would simultaneously bring along with it an additional two units of water-vapor blockage of IR loss to space. This additional moisture related blockage of IR loss to space (associated with CO2 induced warming) has been designated as ‘positive water-vapor feedback’. All the CO2 climate models have strong amounts of positive water-favor feedback. …

    … Observations show that the warming or cooling of the upper troposphere does not occur
    with RH remaining close to constant. Temperature and relative humidity tend to change oppositely
    from each other and not in unison as the models assume. My project’s study of cumulus convection and tropical cyclone formation over many decades has taught me that the NAS 1979 (Charney) Report assessment that rising CO2 amounts will occur with water-vapor increase is not a realistic assessment of how these parameters change in the upper troposphere. …

    … The (William IPCC’s general circulation models) GCM CO2 simulations are also constructed so as to have their moisture simulations arranged such that water-vapor changes occur uniformly at both upper and lower tropospheric levels. By contrast, the observations of moisture change at upper and lower tropospheric levels show them to be little related to each other (Figure 3).

    .. Our observation analysis finds that increases in cumulonimbus (Cb) cloud intensity and frequency brings about a decrease in upper tropospheric water-vapor, not an upper tropospheric moistening as the model simulations show. …

    The IPCC’s go to model to explain the earth’s energy balance is a flat earth model where there is no night and day. The flat earth model hides and I would assume purposely hides the fact that the majority of long wave radiation that is emitted off into space is in the tropics.

    As CO2 is evenly distributed in the atmosphere and the amount of CO2 greenhouse forcing is proportional to amount of long wave radiation that is emitted at the latitude in question before the increase in atmospheric CO2, the most amount of warming should have occurred in the tropics not in high latitude regions, if the increase in atmospheric CO2 was causing the warming. i.e. A signature of the CO2 warming is tropical region warming.

    We also know there has been cycles of warming and cooling that correlate with solar cycle changes and that the past cyclic warming is of high latitude regions. The sun causes the cycles, the how solar changes modulate planetary cloud cover is all that is missing.

    All of the computer models of the climate have adopted the flat earth theory of the earth’s energy, as portrayed in Kiehl J. T. and K. E. Trenberth 1997. Earth’s Annual Global Mean Energy Budget. Bull. Am. Met. Soc. 78 97-208.

    It assumes that the earth can be considered to be flat, that the sun shines all day and all night with equal intensity, and that the temperature of the earth’s surface is constant.

    All the quantities on the graph are given as correct to the nearer Watt per square meter, but the figures in the paper are shown to possess very high inaccuracy which can never be measured, but always has to be “qualitatively estimated”. On this occasion it was possible to stretch these inaccuracies to the level needed to provide a “balanced” energy budget. The total energy entering is made equal to the energy leaving. In this way it is now possible to calculate the effect of additional greenhouse gases. If it was not “balanced” and the “balance” varied it would be impossible to calculate.what are the effects of additional greenhouse gases.

    There has now been a change of heart, in the following paper: Trenberth, K E, J T Fassulo, and J T Kiehl. 2009 Earth’s Global Energy Budget. Bull Am. Met. Soc. 90 311-323. This paper does a complete reassessment of the figures in the first paper. Its amended version as a mean between March 2000 and May 2004 is attached (enlarged).

    The earth is now thoroughly flattened, as if it had been run over by a cosmic steamroller. Most of the figures have changed. Those for input and output of radiation.

    The peculiar solar cycle 24 – where do we stand?

    Greenland ice temperature, last 11,000 years determined from ice core analysis, Richard Alley’s paper. William: The Greenland Ice data shows that have been 9 warming and cooling periods in the last 11,000 years. There was abrupt cooling 11,900 years ago (Younger Dryas abrupt cooling period when the planet went from interglacial warm to glacial cold with 75% of the cooling occurring in less than a decade and there was abrupt cooling 8200 years ago during the 8200 BP climate ‘event’).

    Timing of abrupt climate change: A precise clock by Stefan Rahmstorf
    Many paleoclimatic data reveal a approx. 1,500 year cyclicity of unknown origin. A crucial question is how stable and regular this cycle is. An analysis of the GISP2 ice core record from Greenland reveals that abrupt climate events appear to be paced by a 1,470-year cycle with a period that is probably stable to within a few percent; with 95% confidence the period is maintained to better than 12% over at least 23 cycles. This highly precise clock points to an origin outside the Earth system; oscillatory modes within the Earth system can be expected to be far more irregular in period.

  17. William, you have been tricked. The tropical ocean and lower atmosphere cool because of the expansion of the atmosphere. Moist air (from the ocean evaporating) is less dense and expanding air cools. The tropopause is much higher and therefore colder above the tropics, which means that the atmosphere is not radiating as much energy to space as the poles where the tropopause is much lower and warmer.

    Just look at the IR signature of a Hurricane or Cyclone, their tops are extremely high and extremely cold, and yet they do a wonderful job of cooling the ocean and atmosphere below them. They are not radiating much IR at all.

    80% of the energy entering the tropics does not leave directly via IR radiation, it expands the atmosphere there first and and then radiates out in the temperate and polar zones when the atmosphere contracts.

    The effects from additional CO2 in the process is neutral, no effect at all.

    • 80% of the energy entering the tropics does not leave directly via IR radiation, it expands the atmosphere there first and and then radiates out in the temperate and polar zones when the atmosphere contracts.

      Much of it is carried polewards by oceanic currents which are the heat pump of the planet..

  18. To me it appears that they started with a weather program and converted it to simulate climate. They had to increased time and space sampling intervals so that the simulations could be completed in finite time. More CO2 causing warming was hard coded in so that is what the simulations show. The simulations may also be numerically unstable which affects the results. I have seen it often is this type of simulation. There is an underlying predictor corrector loop. When time is advanced each cell has to predict its future state in order to compute its affect on its neighboring cells. The future state is then computed based on the changes in the neighboring cells which them selves change. Because the values change each cell has to be recomputed in iterations until the different values between iterations is below a prescribed value. Increasing the time interval and the cell size may make the whole process unstable so that the results may be more a function of the numerical instability then of the model being simulated.

    • willhaas

      To me it appears that they started with a weather program and converted it to simulate climate. They had to increased time and space sampling intervals so that the simulations could be completed in finite time. More CO2 causing warming was hard coded in so that is what the simulations show.

      No, today’s 23 general circulation models (now being strategically “re-branded” as Global Climate Models!) began as local climate mmodels studying the very local weather and dust movements and winds in a specific area: LA basin is one start, the nickel mining and smelting region of Canada, the Ohio River valley and Pittsburgh polluted valleys. They got LOTS of funding by arguing they could “solve” the “acid rain” invented problem across the eastern US, and epanded those “studies” to a sympathetic ear at the EPA and the US computer modeling groups out west in Boulder, CO. The ozone hole was “solved” next – both with more funding (creating more studies and yielding more “institutions” and new fancy campuses and buildings and computer labs in Boulder) which allowed/required other institutions to demand more computers and more funding from their Congressional prostitutes ……

      But the foundation is still the dust particles and local weather/wind/temperature models of a single valley or plain. Its just that a “plain” can be expanded by programmers as far as the money permits. They may be valid for the LA basin – you still read papers touting the change of a vital “dust particle” parameter of some nanometer width getting “refined” into 6 more “accurate” estimates of an average dust particle.

      For the globe? They are as valid as Trenberth’s flat earth model.

  19. The difference between engineering computer modeling and scientific computer modeling is in engineering if your model predictions don’t match past known results when given past known inputs you are sent back to the proverbial showers. And you are told don’t come back until it does match. In science, or at least in climate science, if your model predictions don’t match past data you don’t even try to make it match. What you try to match is what the people giving you funding want to see.

  20. In reply to:
    jinghis May 13, 2015 at 4:34 pm


    Are you a troll? Are you making random comments for a purpose? Or do you just like silly talk with no connection to peer reviewed papers or observations?

    The standard scientific method is to compare observations to model/theory predictions. This is critical analysis.

    It is a fact that the observations (the fact that high latitudes of the earth warmed in the last 50 years rather than the tropical region of the warmed) supports the assertion that the IPCC general circulation models are incorrect. Pointing out the fact that observations unequivocally show (the pattern of warming observed does not match the pattern/signature of warming if CO2 was the forcing function) that the IPCC general circulation models are incorrect is not ‘skepticism’.

    Observations/critical analysis supports the assertion that the IPCC models are incorrect. It can also be shown that there was a pathetic effort to hide the fact that the IPCC models are incorrect.

    The ubiquitous toy model diagram that is presented by the cult of CAGW to provide a sciency explanation of the CO2 forcing, hides the fact there is a significant latitudinal variance in the amount of short wave radiation that strikes the earth (equator verses higher latitudes) as the earth is a sphere not a flat table. As the short wave solar energy is changed to long wave radiation the majority of the long wave radiation is also emitted in the tropics rather than at the poles.

    Now as CO2 is evenly distributed in the atmosphere the potential for CO2 greenhouse warming is the same for every latitude. The actual CO2 forcing is proportion to both amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the amount of long wave radiation that is emitted to space prior to the increase in CO2.

    The cult of CAGW used a silly toy flat earth model as they want to hide the fact that there has been almost no warming of the tropical region. Almost all of the warming in the last 50 years has been in high latitude regions rather than the tropics.

    This disconnection between model predictions and observations is called the latitudinal warming paradox. A theory/model that is incorrect creates paradoxes. Observations do not agree with/support the IPCC’s theory/model predictions.

    This peer reviewed paper support the assertion that the fact that the majority of the warming in the last 50 years has been in high latitudes regions rather than in the tropical region supports the assertion that the majority of the warming in the last 50 years was not due to the increase in atmospheric CO2.

    There are two basic observational facts that support that assertion:

    1) The CO2 forcing is proportional to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 has increased yet there is no increase in surface temperatures for 18 years. The cult of CAGW calls this the pause in warming, rather than observational evidence that their models are incorrect.

    2) The majority of CO2 forcing warming occurs at the equator rather than in high latitude region. This is not what is observed.

    Limits on CO2 Climate Forcing from Recent Temperature Data of Earth

    The atmospheric CO2 is slowly increasing with time [Keeling et al. (2004)]. The climate forcing according to the IPCC varies as ln (CO2) [IPCC (2001)] (The mathematical expression is given in section 4 below). The ΔT response would be expected to follow this function. A plot of ln (CO2) is found to be nearly linear in time over the interval 1979-2004. Thus ΔT from CO2 forcing should be nearly linear in time also.

    The atmospheric CO2 is well mixed and shows a variation with latitude which is less than 4% from pole to pole [Earth System Research Laboratory. 2008]. Thus one would expect that the latitude variation of ΔT from CO2 forcing to be also small. It is noted that low variability of trends with latitude is a result in some coupled atmosphere-ocean models. For example, the zonal-mean profiles of atmospheric temperature changes in models subject to “20CEN” forcing ( includes CO2 forcing) over 1979-1999 are discussed in Chap 5 of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program [Karl et al.2006]. The PCM model in Fig 5.7 shows little pole to pole variation in trends below altitudes corresponding to atmospheric pressures of 500hPa.

    If the climate forcing were only from CO2 one would expect from property #2 a small variation with latitude. However, it is noted that NoExtropics is 2 times that of the global and 4 times that of the Tropics. Thus one concludes that the climate forcing in the NoExtropics includes more than CO2 forcing. These non-CO2 effects include: land use [Peilke et al. 2007]; industrialization [McKitrick and Michaels (2007), Kalnay and Cai (2003), DeLaat and Maurellis (2006)]; high natural variability, and daily nocturnal effects [Walters et al. (2007)].

    An underlying temperature trend of 0.062±0.010ºK/decade was estimated from data in the tropical latitude band. Corrections to this trend value from solar and aerosols climate forcings are estimated to be a fraction of this value. The trend expected from CO2 climate forcing is 0.070g ºC/decade, where g is the gain due to any feedback. If the underlying trend is due to CO2 then g~1. Models giving values of g greater than 1 would need a negative climate forcing to partially cancel that from CO2. This negative forcing cannot be from aerosols.

    These conclusions are contrary to the IPCC [2007] statement: “[M]ost of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

    • William said – “The ubiquitous toy model diagram that is presented by the cult of CAGW to provide a sciency explanation of the CO2 forcing, hides the fact there is a significant latitudinal variance in the amount of short wave radiation that strikes the earth (equator verses higher latitudes) as the earth is a sphere not a flat table. As the short wave solar energy is changed to long wave radiation the majority of the long wave radiation is also emitted in the tropics rather than at the poles.”

      You have it only partially correct. The tropics and extra tropics compromise something like 64% of the earths surface but they absorb over 80% of the solar radiation, but the tropics emit less radiation than their surface area percentage.

      A square meter at the equator absorbs as much or more SW radiation as a thousand square meters at the pole simply based on geometry. And the Tropics has almost 9 times the surface area of the poles. Your chart if properly weighted to absorption per square meter would be an inverted U.

      The latent heat is transported poleward and when the atmosphere condenses and contracts the heat is then radiated out of the system.

      CO2 doesn’t even play a measurable role in the energy flow through the system.

  21. You will discover predicting long range climatic conditions have about the same chance of success as selecting next week’s six winning lottery numbers.

    Hey! I’ve got an IDEA! How about we get together a bunch of past lottery grand prize winners, have them guess what the climate will be like in 50 years, average their guesses, and…BINGO!

    Where’s my cheque?

  22. “Then there is the cyclical variation of sunspot activity on the Sun, and lastly, the effects of solar weather.”

    I would look at solar weather first, as nothing else changes at the appropriate scales and ranges to account for much at all. Take the solar minima that occur roughly every ten solar cycles. The only thing in sight that could possibly account for the sharp increase in negative Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillation conditions and El Nino episodes in 1807-1817 in the Dalton Minimum, was weak solar wind states. Evidenced by a lack of Aurora sightings, see page 11:
    and low CET temperatures (annual on the far right column):
    The positive/negative AO/NAO episodes can be forecast too, which is rather upsetting for the convention that such variability is internal and chaotic. but usefully indicates that the dominant solar variable is being completely neglected.

  23. “… initiate methods to stabilize the Earth’s population.

    Demographics is destiny – someone said. Now many say so.

    I wonder what is meant by “stabilize” in the above quote. Some populations of countries are declining. As those numbers drop, elsewhere the numbers go up. Is the increase of people in Europe via boatloads of people from Africa a good or a bad thing if it helps stabilize the population of both regions? Maybe, on balance, there is a stable Earth population. Another thought is – at what number is a stable population near some “best” or acceptable level? Using what criteria? Who decides?

    Many times it is best not to introduce an issue unless you understand it very well and are prepared to support a position.

  24. To forecast change the first step is to understand the pattern previous to the change and produce the expected value without change. If you choose to use a facile three hundred years out of date method to project the future natural temperature and get a simplistic assessment of normal progression, of course the answers of change will be rubbish.
    Climate scientists are regrettably totally untrained and not very bright sub first year engineering undergrad level amateurs at signal processing and should never have even been listened to at all.
    Compared to the proper analysis of normal the period of so called global warming was nothing of the kind. It was just the coincidence of two of the natural long term cycles within the normal very long term noise figure.

    • jfreed27.

      Dead wrong. Your UN bureaucrats are pushing the lie to justify the policy of taxes and Big Finance money transfer they (and you) want.

      In the UK alone, energy poverty caused directly by your climate change policies killed 23,000 one winter; 13,000 the next. Worldwide, tens of millions die from cold, from dung-smoking fires, from illness and disease easily prevented by clean water, sanitation, and food preservation YOU deny them.

  25. LOL.. who here is getting paid by what interest group? Sorry to see you brought a hateful attitude, we’re just here discussing the facts we have collectively observed and how they relate to predictions made which conveniently require centralization of government and redistribution of wealth.
    Yes, I get benefits from blogging here but they’re not monetary, friend. No one here has to sell skepticism in science matters, it should come naturally to an open, inquisitive mind. There is no dogma here to counter the consensus guided global meme, only open-minded discussions of reality vs. opinion to test our current convictions.
    When evidence is actually proven of anthropogenic climate disruption, you can be sure that Mr. Watts will be among the first to report it and there will be no problem of accepting empirical fact. Until that time comes we will do as followers of great scientists like Feynman and Sagan do. We will continue to observe and question the presented theories with as little bias or emotion as humanly possible.
    Hating people shortens your lifespan and suppresses one’s natural optimism. Civility provides intrinsic satisfaction and a healthy relationship in the community. Welcome to the thinker’s club.

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