Ooops! Another big failure of the climate models – rainfall did not increase

According to a new study in Nature, the Northern Hemisphere has experienced considerably larger variations in precipitation during the past twelve centuries than in the twentieth century. Researchers from Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland have found that climate models overestimated the increase in wet and dry extremes as temperatures increased during the twentieth century. The new results will enable us to improve the accuracy of climate models and to better predict future precipitation changes.

From AFP:

Predictions of unprecedented rainfall extremes in the 20th century driven by global warming turned out wrong, a study said Wednesday, casting doubt on methods used to project future trends. A massive trawl of Northern Hemisphere rainfall data for the last 1,200 years revealed there had been more dramatic wet-dry weather extremes in earlier, cooler centuries before humans set off fossil fuel-driven global warming.

This is problematic, said a study in the journal Nature, as the same data models used to anticipate that global warming would cause record rainfall extremes in the 1900s, are the basis for projections of things to come. “It might be more difficult than often assumed to project into the future,” the study’s lead author Fredrik Ljungqvist of Stockholm University told AFP of the findings.

“The truth can be much, much more complicated.”

The UN’s climate science panel, the consensus authority, contends that dry areas will become ever drier and wet ones wetter as the global temperature rises in response to greenhouse gas emissions.

But the new work said sky-high temperatures in the 20th century did not directly translate into record extremes between wet and dry weather, as many had expected. This meant that “much of the change is not only driven by temperature, but some internal, more random variability,” explained Ljungqvist.

“It’s therefore very, very hard also to predict (precipitation extremes) with models.”

Over the study period, drought was most severe during the 12th century, which was a warm one, and the 15th which was cold, said the scientist. For the study, a team of experts in history, climate, geology and mathematics, compiled drought and rainfall data for Europe, North Asia and North America, and reconstructed 12 centuries worth of “water history”.

They considered geologically preserved evidence of stream flow, lake levels, marine and lake sediments, tree rings and historical records. The team’s reconstruction for the 20th century differed vastly from climate models which had suggested wet areas should have been wetter, and dry ones drier, than ever before. “In the past, on a longer timescale, there have been even larger variabilities,” said Ljungqvist. This divergence “certainly adds fuel to the fiery debate” on the link between warming and rainfall extremes, Matthew Kirby of California State University’s Department of Geological Sciences wrote in a comment published by Nature.

“Do their results invalidate current predictive models? Certainly not. But they do highlight a big challenge for climate modellers, and present major research opportunities both for modellers and climate scientists…”

James Renwick of the Victoria University of Wellington said the predicted wet and dry extremes are “very likely” to materialise in the 21st, century. Extreme drought and downpours are among many risks that scientists warn about in a warmer world. Others include land-gobbling sea level rise, crop and water shortages, disease spread and wars over dwindling resources.


the paper:

Large variations in precipitation over the past millennium

Date:
April 6, 2016
Source:
Stockholm University
Summary:
According to a new study, the Northern Hemisphere has experienced considerably larger variations in precipitation during the past twelve centuries than in the twentieth century. Researchers from Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland have found that climate models overestimated the increase in wet and dry extremes as temperatures increased during the twentieth century. The new results will enable us to improve the accuracy of climate models and to better predict future precipitation changes.
  1. Fredrik Charpentier Ljungqvist, Paul J. Krusic, Hanna S. Sundqvist, Eduardo Zorita, Gudrun Brattström, David Frank. Northern Hemisphere hydroclimate variability over the past twelve centuries. Nature, 2016; 532 (7597): 94 DOI: 10.1038/nature17418

Accurate modelling and prediction of the local to continental-scale hydroclimate response to global warming is essential given the strong impact of hydroclimate on ecosystem functioning, crop yields, water resources, and economic security1, 2, 3, 4. However, uncertainty in hydroclimate projections remains large5, 6, 7, in part due to the short length of instrumental measurements available with which to assess climate models. Here we present a spatial reconstruction of hydroclimate variability over the past twelve centuries across the Northern Hemisphere derived from a network of 196 at least millennium-long proxy records. We use this reconstruction to place recent hydrological changes8, 9 and future precipitation scenarios7, 10, 11 in a long-term context of spatially resolved and temporally persistent hydroclimate patterns. We find a larger percentage of land area with relatively wetter conditions in the ninth to eleventh and the twentieth centuries, whereas drier conditions are more widespread between the twelfth and nineteenth centuries. Our reconstruction reveals that prominent seesaw patterns of alternating moisture regimes observed in instrumental data12, 13, 14 across the Mediterranean, western USA, and China have operated consistently over the past twelve centuries. Using an updated compilation of 128 temperature proxy records15, we assess the relationship between the reconstructed centennial-scale Northern Hemisphere hydroclimate and temperature variability. Even though dry and wet conditions occurred over extensive areas under both warm and cold climate regimes, a statistically significant co-variability of hydroclimate and temperature is evident for particular regions. We compare the reconstructed hydroclimate anomalies with coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model simulations and find reasonable agreement during pre-industrial times. However, the intensification of the twentieth-century-mean hydroclimate anomalies in the simulations, as compared to previous centuries, is not supported by our new multi-proxy reconstruction. This finding suggests that much work remains before we can model hydroclimate variability accurately, and highlights the importance of using palaeoclimate data to place recent and predicted hydroclimate changes in a millennium-long context16, 17.


Added: LLNL found the same thing last year, see: https://www.llnl.gov/news/climate-models-overestimate-rainfall-increases

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47 thoughts on “Ooops! Another big failure of the climate models – rainfall did not increase

  1. Sounds like no matter what the official predictions are, cast by the models, The “Natural Variability” factor still trumps the CO2 Forcing Fudge Factor (CO2FFF). As long as they can’t, and until they can, correctly attribute the Natural Variability factors and determine the proper NON CO2 induced warming, the models will function no better than a broken clock (correct 2 times and incorrect 1438 times)

  2. “It might be more difficult than often assumed to project into the future,”

    Always more difficult than projecting into the past…….

  3. ““Do their results invalidate current predictive models? Certainly not.”

    There is the money quote. The study unequivocally invalidates current predictive models but these guys just brazenly lie their way through. I’m afraid Alinski’s rules have been well learned by post normal scientists who make up the consensus on CAGW (I don’t use their ‘climate change’ nomenclature when they insist it means getting warmer. I hope someone is cataloguing all this to put in their faces when they switch horses as they will surely do a la Ehrlich.

    • “Certainly not”
      No it only “appears” to make the current predictive models look like utter c**p to the layman, while those in AGW climate science know better then that. :)

    • “Do their results …” This certainly is the money quote. However, just to be picky, I don’t believe that it is possible to invalidate models that have no validity to begin with. Until it can be demonstrated that all relevant variables are included (with their appropriate magnitudes and signs), any model is fundamentally worthless. No model has yet passed this basic test.

    • Failed predictions used to be bad news for scientific hypotheses. Now, it just means the data needs to be adjusted.

  4. They considered geologically preserved evidence of stream flow, lake levels, marine and lake sediments, tree rings and historical records.

    … stalagmite, stalagtite, …

    Real science does wonders to the imagination.

    Thanks – Hans

  5. “The UN’s climate science panel, the consensus authority,…”
    Wow, an authority to determine what is thought by others.

  6. i find it almost incredible to read some of what these obviously very intelligent people say at times. it is fairly obvious ,even to someone as thick as me, that our warmer world has led to more benign weather. certainly in the northern hemisphere.

    i mean come on ,did freddy really think before he uttered this incredible piece of insight “It might be more difficult than often assumed to project into the future,” . that right there is a nss quote of the year.

    i would suggest the minute he or any other climate scientist are able to predict into the significant future climate science will not be the most fruitful field for that ability.

    what leads to the belief that warmer means more extreme weather ? surely warmer means an expansion of the temperate zone, meaning the clash between large masses of air at significantly different temperatures that can lead to extreme weather events is taking place in a smaller area due to it occurring nearer to the poles ? a very simplistic thought from a simplistic person regarding a less than simple system , but it sure isn’t following the complex modeled explanation either.

  7. and present major research opportunities both for modellers and climate scientists

    Doesn’t it always. Given the record of failure here, can we give the next tranche of taxpayers cash to plumbers or something, and let them take a crack at this.

  8. 1200 years of proxies for precipitation correlated with proxies for temperature? Perhaps they have a problem with validating the proxies, as the notorious Mann “hockey stick” illustrated.

  9. ….“Do their results invalidate current predictive models? Certainly not. But they do highlight a big challenge for climate modellers, and present major research opportunities both for modellers and climate scientists…”

    Yes, the results do invalidate current predictive models. How much clearer can it get?

    But we understand that millions more in grant money will provide for dozens of “independent” publications that show these results to be incorrect and confirm that precipitation is now more extreeeeeeeeme and probably worse than we thought!

    • I, for once see the problem the other way around. Let me explain.

      Over 70 % of the Earth surface is covered with water. An increase of temperature should lead to an increase of evaporation and then an increase of precipitation (provided nothing else changes) Simple and logical, so far.

      So maybe the problem is not the models, but all that temperature tampering and cooking that comes usually when a new version of a temperature dataset is introduced, when a weather station is moved or its equipment upgraded. E. g. before the Hadcrut dataset was modified on 2011, the year 1998 was the warmest on records, after the “upgrade” it became the third after 2010 and 2005, if memory serves.

      If you have bad data, the models are not going to work.

      • Sorry, I forgot to mention that maybe rainfall didn’t increase that much because temperatures didn’t change that much. If something is wrong maybe is the temperature records, but not necessarily the models.

  10. “Over the study period, drought was most severe during the 12th century, which was a warm one, and the 15th which was cold, said the scientist.”

    Michael the Syrian wrote of frequent freezing of the Euphrates in the 1120/30’s. Esper et al 2014 shows the same cold period in JJA temperatures for Europe.

      • And notice how once the temperature decided to cool a little bit – even WWII with all it’s outlay of hydrocarbons usage, and fire making – never even made the tiniest of blips on global temperature.

        TA
        April 7, 2016 at 7:11 pm

        Another chart with a 1930’s spike.

  11. “Do their results invalidate current predictive models? Certainly not. But they do highlight a big challenge for climate modellers, and present major research opportunities both for modellers and climate scientists…”

    A better question is this: will ANY STUDY EVER invalidate current predictive models…?

    We already know the answer since current predictive models cannot be validated anyways…

  12. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015GL064127/abstract
    Substantial changes in the hydrological cycle are projected for the 21st century, but these projections are subject to major uncertainties. In this context, the ‘dry gets drier, wet gets wetter’ (DDWW) paradigm is often used as a simplifying summary. However, recent studies cast doubt on the validity of the paradigm and also on applying the widely used P-E (precipitation-evapotranspiration) metric over global land surfaces. Here we show in a comprehensive CMIP5-based assessment that projected changes in mean annual P-E are generally not significant, except for high-latitude regions showing wetting conditions until the end of the 21st century. Significant increases in aridity do occur in many subtropical, but also adjacent humid regions. However, combining both metrics still shows that ca. 70% of all land area will not experience significant changes. Based on these findings we conclude that the DDWW paradigm is generally not confirmed for projected changes in most land areas.
    —–
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n2/full/nclimate2068.html
    The hydrological cycle is expected to intensify in response to global warming. Yet, little unequivocal evidence of such an acceleration has been found on a global scale. This holds in particular for terrestrial evaporation, the crucial return flow of water from land to atmosphere. Here we use satellite observations to reveal that continental evaporation has increased in northern latitudes, at rates consistent with expectations derived from temperature trends. However, at the global scale, the dynamics of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) have dominated the multi-decadal variability. During El Niño, limitations in terrestrial moisture supply result in vegetation water stress and reduced evaporation in eastern and central Australia, southern Africa and eastern South America. The opposite situation occurs during La Niña. Our results suggest that recent multi-year declines in global average continental evaporation reflect transitions to El Niño conditions, and are not the consequence of a persistent reorganization of the terrestrial water cycle. Future changes in continental evaporation will be determined by the response of ENSO to changes in global radiative forcing, which still remains highly uncertain.

  13. ““It might be more difficult than often assumed to project into the future,” the study’s lead author Fredrik Ljungqvist of Stockholm University told AFP of the findings.”

    Yogi Berra already told us that….“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

  14. Professor Steven Sherwood Director of the Climate Change Research Centre at The University of New South Wales

    “Previous studies, based on models, have shown that warming-induced trends in regional precipitation have not yet emerged from natural variability (“noise”). This seems inconsistent with the paper’s claim that the changes predicted by these same models are unrealistic, since it should not yet be possible to tell even according to the models themselves.”
    Dr Markus Donat:

    “It seems to me that the researchers’ claim of discrepancies between climate models and proxies during the most recent century is based on an “apple-to-oranges-comparison”. They use proxies of water availability (that is affected by both precipitation and evaporation) but compare against modelled precipitation only.”

    Dr James Renwick:

    “I am not too surprised that there is disagreement for the 20th century as there is a strong component of random variability evident in the observational record. The picture of the “wet getting wetter and the dry getting drier” is one that is very likely to emerge over the course of this century but has not been evident, or expected, during the 20th century.”

    https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/wet-and-dry-models-on-climate-extremes-questioned

  15. Warmer wetter dryer is a result of intuitive though unscientific thinking, the scientists were tasked with flashing out this naturally occurring intuitive thinking.

    It’s a perfect example of the assumptions used in models being wrong, oh and also the assumption that the globe will follow a linear path to conditions in 2100 from today, which is utter nonsense

  16. Rainfall is highly variable over different parts of the globe. It varies with the climate system and general circulation pattern. In rainfall is orography specific and over this superposed the natural variablity. Natural variability is not the same all over the globe. In such a scenario, the average may not give significant results. Even with in India southeastern part is different from the all India.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  17. This “adds fuel to the fiery debate?” I’d say it urinates on the smoldering remains of the CAGW hoax.

  18. …“Do their results invalidate current predictive models? Certainly not. But they do highlight a big challenge for climate modellers,…

    “Do their results invalidate current predictive models? Of course they do. But we’re certainly not going to come to that conclusion while there is money to be made from climate modelling…”

    There. Fixed that for them…

  19. Ljungqvist is a notorious challenger of the AGW line that nothing unusual happened prior to the XXth century with his paleoclimate reconstructions from proxies. It is interesting that they got to publish this article in Nature. The price to pay is the lip service to the current paradigm:
    Ljungqvist said the findings did not mean current climate change, blamed on rising man-made greenhouse gas emissions, was less of a threat than thought.

    But there are some important conclusions to be extracted from Ljungqvist recent work. The main one is that the rule that warmer is wetter is still true, but two periods in the last 1200 years show significant deviation from that norm:

    1- 12th and 13th centuries were significantly dryer than expected from temperatures alone, and I don’t think we know why. We know the 13th century had really unusual volcanic activity so perhaps it is linked to that.
    2- 17th century was very cold without a corresponding drop in precipitations. It might be linked to low solar activity during the Maunder minimum.

  20. Model builders and those scientists that cling to the CAGW theory live in an alternate universe….one in which they can apply their brilliant mastery of mathematical equations that represent the physics of known laws that drive the atmosphere……..and use it to project the outcome of weather and climate to distant time frames.

    Us operational meteorologists that make a living in this universe, get reality checks on model limitations on a regular basis.

  21. “…casting doubt on methods used to project future trends.” The method has been to look for ways to concoct the most alarmist prediction for anything that they can find a way to blame on fossil fuel burning or on human economic activity generally.

  22. Hang on, I thought that the scientists were all corrupted, and that the only produced junk science? Or is that only true when their results support AGW and its related conclusions? In all other cases the science is rock solid?

    • Your leadership pawned off the stupidity that the law of thermodynamics written for calculating atmospheric chemistry doesn’t work calculating atmospheric chemistry: with that ignorant ”green house gas effect on Venus” drivel a high schooler knows is impossible as soon as he cross checks temperature and energy intensity at identical pressure levels on Venus and Earth, Mars, etc.

      Your leadership told the world, it was all gonna end, but that – he couldn’t show his work, because it might later lead to value for him in the private sector. The WORLD was gonna end, but HE couldn’t SHOW his work. Because he might need that for his own private sale of it.

      Then he left it on the ftp server, somebody got it and passed it around, and Uh Oh! It’s a Hockey Stick generator, doH!.

      Then this same ignorant scheming clown sued a guy for telling people what a liar he is,
      and in the lawsuit he lied saying he won a Nobel Prize he didn’t win so the guy telling everyone what a pathological liar he is
      was calling a Nobel Prize winner,
      a liar.

      That’s ”the scientists” who concocted the crap you claim is scientific bastion.

      Your leadership Phil Jones admitted in his Feb 2010 BBC don’t go to jail interview – that he’d concocted every single tenth of warming on any global database he dealt with, since 1998. 1995 was what he said but he was under sedation afraid of going to jail when he confessed so – it’s understandable.

      Then he was seen telling John Christy ”The scientific world would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world cooled since 1998. OK IT HAS
      but it’s only seven years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.

      Your leadership’s ”scientists” after suspending then moving Phil Jones, had to issue the press release named

      ”The Recent Pause in Warming” wherein they described the three papers they’d written about how they knew
      everybody knew
      they knew
      it hadn’t warmed in the ”15 years since 1998 ” – the press release taking place in 2013. ”The 15 year pause in global warming.”

      And here you are, squealing about everyone else’s perceptions when you haven’t worked measuring anything for money in your life.

      You believed the laws of thermodynamics for the atmosphere couldn’t properly calculate the temperature of – atmospheres.

      You believed it was warming all those years till Phil Jones admitted twice, and his bosses admitted in three papers – that

      you were just stupid – it hadn’t warmed, one whit – since 1998. Who was Phil Jones lying to? To ”the scientific community.”

      You don’t even count. He didn’t even mention his church.

      Just scientists but it couldn’t be concealed anyway, and when he confessed, those who said he had been lying all along, were EXACTLY right about the real temperature of the world – the temps of the raw datasets placed online that way by LAW to stop – adjustments frauds, like YOU fell for.

      So you don’t need to be trying to contrive some tone like you’re here from the respectable end of the field. You’re here with the same class of people – government employees – who convinced the entire planet for decades that pot is like heroin, worse for someone than methyl amphetamine.

      If everyone knew how simply atrociously – atrocioiusly ignorant you act and sound they’d laugh at you, to your face – where ever they found you.

      Chris
      April 7, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Hang on, I thought that the scientists were all corrupted, and that the only produced junk science? Or is that only true when their results support AGW and its related conclusions? In all other cases the science is rock solid?

      • Jim Rollins – epic rant, but devoid of logic and facts. What a pathetic diatribe, it’s literally laughable. I made a very specific point that when scientific papers that support AGW are mentioned on this site, the work is immediately called out as suspect and being done for money. Even when the article sits behind a paywall. In other words, the accuracy of the work and conclusions is attacked even before the commenters (or at least most of them) have seen the paper.

        On the other hand, if the paper in some way undermines AGW or its effect – in this case projected rainfall increases – then the work is rock solid and the conclusions valid. Even when the paper sits behind a paywall.

        So if scientists apply for a grant and reach conclusions that support AGW, they are corrupt and after the money, if they apply for a grant and reach conclusions that in some way run counter to AGW, they and their work is rock solid.

        You in no way refuted my point. As to your last comment “If everyone knew how simply atrociously – atrocioiusly ignorant you act and sound they’d laugh at you, to your face – where ever they found you. ” You keep harping about government as if that’s the only segment that supports AGW. The private sector – the Fortune 1000, the oil companies, the insurance companies, the retailers, the pharma companies – ALL of them have concluded that AGW is real. You’re out there on Fantasy Island with the rest of your cohorts, enjoy your isolated existence.

      • Well Chris, AGW is real, and by the actual evidence gathered to date, real insignificant. The real game being played is the hoax where natural variability is used to perpetrate legal financial fraud. The “scientific papers” “might’s, may’s and could’s” are used as “proof”, when in reality it’s mere supposition and conjecture and instead of the scientist saying “that’s not what I said” the impression is left that “supposition is fact” and that’s why your precious AGW supporting papers are presumed untrustworthy. They earned it through pal review.

  23. The models are showing a strong similarity to a giant, hastily-crafted wooden representation of a horse that the builders tried to pass off as a real horse.

  24. This study illustrates the difference between engineering models and academic models. All engineering models started off as academic models. As our understanding of the physical processes being modeled increase, the accuracy and ability of the models to successfully predict real world behavior increases. Once an academic model is thoroughly tested and validated then it can be used in engineering applications where prediction failure is not an option. Too often we forget that the climate models are still largely academic models. They are a long way from being useful predictive tools in real applications. They are useful from an academic standpoint. However, when it comes to applying them for real world decision making they are definitely not ready for prime time.

  25. Top story on The Washington Times website this morning (my time).

    Climate-change models wrong on predicting rain, drought extremes: study

    Anthony Watts, who runs the climate-science website Watt’s Up With That, posted the results under the headline, “Ooops! Another big failure of the climate models—rainfall did not increase.”

    He pointed out that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers reached the same conclusion in a study released in December, finding that climate models “overestimate the increase in global precipitation due to climate change,” in part because they fail to take into account the increased absorption of sunlight by water vapor.

    Well done!

  26. Trying to determine how much the average global temperature is changing using global climate models is a bit like trying to determine how fast a car is going by analyzing losses and what is going on in the combustion chambers. It’s theoretically possible but not very accurate, especially if your model is faulty.

    Objective analysis (not funded by government grants or energy companies) reveals that change to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (and thus burning fossil fuels) has no significant effect on climate.

    A simple conservation of energy equation, employing the time-integral of sunspot number anomalies and an approximation of the net effect of all ocean cycles achieves a 97% match with measured average global temperatures since before 1900. Including the effects of CO2 improves the match by 0.1%. http://globalclimatedrivers.blogspot.com

  27. When you open a model and don’t see compressed fluid mechanics you’re viewing fraud. Not maybe, not Thursdays, not when the prime minister jiggles the Yen so he can pick up that sexy property by the harbor, all the capitalists are falling all over themselves about.

    The reason they don’t have those compression mechanics is so the frauds who claim they believe in a green house gas effect can substitute magic,

    for proper compression thermodynamics.

  28. It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.
    Where is Yogi Berra when we need him?

  29. This is a fascinating and important paper and I am glad that it got published, especially in a prestigious journal like Nature.

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