Guest essay by Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.
– FOREWORD: WUWT readers probably remember when the now head of NASA GISS, Dr. Gavin Schmidt, could not stand to be seen on the same stage with Dr. Roy Spencer. Gavin decided to hide offstage while Dr. Spencer had finished his interview with John Stossel, rather than be subject to some tough questions Dr. Spencer might have posed in a debate with him on live TV. Gavin knew he’d lose, so he acted like a child on national TV and hid from Dr. Spencer offstage. It was one of the truly defining moments demonstrating the lack of integrity by mainstream climate scientists.
Now, Dr. Schmidt seems to be hiding from those inconvenient questions again, as Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. writes below. Dr. Schmidt also hides from me, having blocked WUWT on Twitter, so I’d appreciate it if some other WUWT readers would let him know of this publication. Dr. Schmidt is welcome to publish a rebuttal (or simply answer the questions) here if he wishes. He has my email. – Anthony Watts
Questions for Gavin Schmidt – Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York
by Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.
On March 18 2015, I submitted a set of questions to Gavin Schmidt, Director of NASA GISS, who initially seemed inclined to answer and ask some of his own. However, he now is not even replying to my e-mails. If he were a scientist without leadership responsibilities in the climate community, he certainly can choose to ignore my request. However, he is a Director of a major US federal laboratory and, as such, he (or his staff) should be responding to such requests. As of today’s date, he has not answered any of the questions.
By posting these questions, I am encouraging others to respond to the science issues I have raised, as well as be used in the future when Gavin is required to testify, such at a House and/or Senate committee. In your comments, please focus on the scientific issues and avoid any comments on motives, personal attacks etc.
My questions to Gavin follow:
Below are my questions that you agreed to look at in your tweet. I have copied to Judy as her weblog is an appropriate place to present this Q&A if she agrees. Judy might also want to edit and/or add to the questions.
Thank you for doing this. It shows that there is room for constructive debate and discussion on these issues.
1. There is a new paper on global albedo Stephens et al 2015
There is also a powerpoint talk on this at http://wind.mit.edu/~emanuel/Lorenz/Lorenz_Workshop_Talks/Stephens.pdf
Among the conclusions is that
“Climate models fail to reproduce the observed annual cycle in all components of the albedo with any realism, although they broadly capture the correct proportions of surface and atmospheric contributions to the TOA albedo. A high model bias of albedo has also persisted since the time of CMIP3,mostly during the boreal summer season. Perhaps more importantly, models fail to produce the same degree of interannual constraint on the albedo variability nor do they reproduce the same degree of hemispheric symmetry.”
Q: How do you respond to this critique of climate models with respect to the GISS model?
2. In 2005 Jim Hansen made the following statement regarding the GISS model [https://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/1116592hansen.pdf]
“The Willis et al. measured heat storage of 0.62 W/m2 refers to the decadal mean for the upper 750 m of the ocean. Our simulated 1993-2003 heat storage rate was 0.6 W/m2 in the upper 750 m of the ocean. The decadal mean planetary energy imbalance, 0.75 W/m2 , includes heat storage in the deeper ocean and energy used to melt ice and warm the air and land. 0.85 W/m2 is the imbalance at the end of the decade.
Certainly the energy imbalance is less in earlier years, even negative, especially in years following large volcanic eruptions. Our analysis focused on the past decade because: (1) this is the period when it was predicted that, in the absence of a large volcanic eruption, the increasing greenhouse effect would cause the planetary energy imbalance and ocean heat storage to rise above the level of natural variability (Hansen et al., 1997), and (2) improved ocean temperature measurements and precise satellite altimetry yield an uncertainty in the ocean heat storage, ~15% of the observed value, smaller than that of earlier times when unsampled regions of the ocean created larger uncertainty.”
Q: What is the GISS update to this summary including the current estimates for the imbalance?
3. There are questions on the skill of the multi-decadal climate prediction models in terms of their use for regional impact studies for the coming decades. These models have been tested in hindcast runs. What are your answers to the following:
When run in hindcast (over the last few decades) where the forcings of added CO2 and other human inputs of greenhouse gases and aerosols are reasonably well known:
Q: What is the quantitative skill of the multi-decadal climate projections with respect to predicting average observed regional climate statistics?
Q: What is the quantitative skill of the multi-decadal climate projections with respect to predicting CHANGES in observed regional climate statistics?
Q: What is the quantitative skill of the multi-decadal climate projections with respect to predicting observed regional extreme weather statistics?
Q: What is the quantitative skill of the multi-decadal climate projections with respect to predicting CHANGES in observed regional extreme weather statistics?
4. The issue of value-added by regional downscaling has been discussed in
Pielke Sr., R.A., and R.L. Wilby, 2012: Regional climate downscaling – what’s the point? Eos Forum, 93, No. 5, 52-53, doi:10.1029/2012EO050008. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/r-361.pdf
Among our conclusions is that
“…downscaling has practical value but with the very important caveat that it should be used for model sensitivity experiments and not as predictions….. It is therefore inappropriate to present [downscaling of multi-decadal climate projections] results to the impacts community as reflecting more than a subset of possible future climate risks.”
Q: Can regional dynamic and/or statistical downscaling be used to increase the prediction (projection) skill beyond that of available by interpolation to finer scales directly from the multi-decadal global climate models predictions?
5. There is considerable debate as to where heat has been going in recent years since the temperature increases at the surface and troposphere have flattened. On example of this discussion is in the post
Q: Since it is claimed that a large fraction of the heat from human input of CO2 and other greenhouse gases has been going into the deeper ocean over the last 10-15 years (as an attempt to explain the “hiatus”), why is the global average surface temperature trend still used as the primary metric to diagnose global warming?
6. The paper
Matsui, T., and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2006: Measurement-based estimation of the spatial gradient of aerosol radiative forcing. Geophys. Res. Letts., 33, L11813, doi:10.1029/2006GL025974. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-312.pdf
writes the following
“This paper diagnoses the spatial mean and the spatial gradient of the aerosol radiative forcing in comparison with those of well-mixed green-house gases (GHG). Unlike GHG, aerosols have much greater spatial heterogeneity in their radiative forcing. We present a measurement-based estimation of the spatial gradient of aerosol radiative forcing. The NGoRF is introduced to represent the potential effect of the heterogeneous radiative forcing on the general circulation and regional climate.The heterogeneous diabatic heating can modulate the gradient in horizontal pressure field and atmospheric circulations, thus altering the regional climate.”
Mahmood, R., R.A. Pielke Sr., K. Hubbard, D. Niyogi, P. Dirmeyer, C. McAlpine, A. Carleton, R. Hale, S. Gameda, A. Beltrán-Przekurat, B. Baker, R. McNider, D. Legates, J. Shepherd, J. Du, P. Blanken, O. Frauenfeld, U. Nair, S. Fall, 2013: Land cover changes and their biogeophysical effects on climate. Int. J. Climatol., DOI: 10.1002/joc.3736. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/r-374.pdf
…shows that such heterogeneous forcing also exists for land use/land cover change.
Q: What is the relative role of land use/land cover change relative as well as added aerosols with respect to added CO2 and other greenhouse gases in affecting local and regional climate and changes in regional climate statistics?
6. In our post at Climate Etc
An alternative metric to assess global warming – http://judithcurry.com/2014/04/28/an-alternative-metric-to-assess-global-warming/
“We present this alternate tool to assess the magnitude of global warming based on assessing the magnitudes of the annual global average radiative imbalance, and the annual global average radiative forcing and feedbacks. Among our findings is the difficulty of reconciling the three terms.”
Q: Please provide your best estimate for the terms.
7. The book
DISASTERS AND CLIMATE CHANGE Rightful Place of Science Series
Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes by Roger Pielke, Jr.
discusses the role of changes in climate in recent decades on disasters.
Q: What is your conclusion on the role of changes in extreme weather as they affect society during the last several decades?