Weubbles Gone Wild: presenting alarming new projections for US temperature

From the UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN and the “worse than we thought” department, comes this claim that the “business as usual” scenario will make for intolerable summers. They claim a “big improvement” in modeling, but like all other climate models, they have no way of testing the veracity of their forecast output against the reality in the future.

High-resolution climate models present alarming new projections for US

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Approaching the second half of the century, the United States is likely to experience increases in the number of days with extreme heat, the frequency and duration of heat waves, and the length of the growing season. In response, it is anticipated that societal, agricultural and ecological needs will increase the demand on already-strained natural resources like water and energy. University of Illinois researchers have developed new, high-resolution climate models that may help policymakers mitigate these effects at a local level.

In a paper published in the journal Earth’s Future, atmospheric sciences professor Donald Wuebbles, graduate student Zach Zobel and Argonne National Laboratory scientists Jiali Wang and Rao Kotamarthi demonstrate how increased-resolution modeling can improve future climate projections.

Many climate models use a spatial resolution of hundreds of kilometers. This approach is suitable for global-scale models that run for centuries into the future, but they fail to capture small-scale land and weather features that influence local atmospheric events, the researchers said.

“Our new models work at a spatial resolution of 12 km, allowing us to examine localized changes in the climate system across the continental U.S.,” Wuebbles said. “It is the difference between being able to resolve something as small as Champaign County versus the entire state of Illinois – it’s a big improvement.”

The study looked at two different future greenhouse gas output projections – one “business as usual” scenario where fossil fuel consumption remains on its current trajectory and one that implies a significant reduction in consumption by the end of the century. The group generated data for two decade-long projections (2045-54 and 2085-94) and compared them with historical data (1995-2004) for context.

“One of the most alarming findings in our business-as-usual projection shows that by late-century the southeastern U.S. will experience maximum summer temperatures every other day that used to occur only once every 20 days,” Zobel said.

Although not as severe, other regions of the country are also expected to experience significant changes in temperature.

“The Midwest could see large unusual heat events, like the 1995 Chicago heat wave, which killed more than 800 people, become more common and perhaps even occur as many as five times per year by the end of the century,” Wuebbles said. “Heat waves increase the mortality rate within the Midwest and the Northeast because people in these densely populated regions are not accustomed to coping with that kind of heat that frequently.”

The extreme temperatures and extended duration of the warmer season will likely take a significant toll on crops and the ecosystem, the researchers said. Areas like the American West, which is already grappling for limited water resources, could witness much shorter frost seasons at high elevations, leading to a smaller surge in spring meltwater than what is needed for the early growing season.

“The high resolution of our models can capture regional climate variables caused by local landforms like mountains, valleys and bodies of water,” Zobel said. “That will allow policymakers to tailor response actions in a very localized way.”

The new models concentrate on temperature and do not factor in the effect that regional precipitation patterns will have on the impact of the anticipated climate changes. The researchers plan to extend their study to account for these additional variables.

“The concept of global climate change can be somewhat abstract, and people want to know how these projected changes are going to affect them, in their community,” Wuebbles said. “Our models are helping answer those questions, and that is what separates our work from the larger, global-scale studies.”


The paper:

High resolution dynamical downscaling ensemble projections of future extreme temperature distributions for the United States” is available online (open access): http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2017EF000642


The aim of this study is to examine projections of extreme temperatures over the continental United States (CONUS) for the 21st century using an ensemble of high spatial resolution dynamically downscaled model simulations with different boundary conditions. The downscaling uses the Weather Research and Forecast model at a spatial resolution of 12 km along with outputs from three different Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 global climate models that provide boundary conditions under two different future greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration trajectories. The results from two decadal-length time slices (2045-2054 and 2085-2094) are compared with a historical decade (1995-2004). Probability density functions of daily maximum/minimum temperatures are analyzed over seven climatologically cohesive regions of the CONUS. The impacts of different boundary conditions as well as future GHG concentrations on extreme events such as heat waves and days with temperature higher than 95°F are also investigated. The results show that the intensity of extreme warm temperature in future summer is significantly increased, while the frequency of extreme cold temperature in future winter decreases. The distribution of summer daily maximum temperature experiences a significant warm-side shift and increased variability, while the distribution of winter daily minimum temperature is projected to have a less significant warm-side shift with decreased variability. Using “business-as-usual” scenario, 5-day heat waves are projected to occur at least 5-10 times per year in most CONUS and ≥95°F days will increase by 1-2 months by the end of the century.

Some of the output from the model:

79 thoughts on “Weubbles Gone Wild: presenting alarming new projections for US temperature

      • From Illinois no less….

        The Prairie State lost a record $4.75 billion in adjusted gross income to other states in the 2015 tax year, according to recently released IRS data. That’s up from $3.4 billion in the prior year. Many of the migrants were retirees who often flock to balmier climes. But millennials accounted for more than a third of the net outflow in tax returns.

      • The point is they are NOT accurate.
        But these new models are much more precise in their inaccuracy !

        The old adage is true,
        Be careful of computers, they can make very wrong answers, very precisely at a very high speed.

    • Damn, though! I’ve just GOT to get me one of those computer programs that produce those pretty graphs.

    • This is simply wasting of computers time and misuse of energy and government funds for doing such research.

      In fact I questioned an eminent micrometeorologist in 1994 [through commenting their article through the journal] simply using the computers and present them as research without verification. In fact they used poor quality models in testing [the models themselves present high range of errors in scientific terms].

      Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • Is this anything more than a “higher resolution version of the same chaos” that exists nowhere outside the computer that is being used to produce it?

      • AH! But it’s NEW “higher resolution version of the same chaos”!
        We waited and saw that the old ones got it wrong. So we came up with this NEW one that will get it right. Just wait and see.
        (I’m told that recycling is a good thing. Feel free to recycle this comment when the next “New and Improved” model comes out.)

    • According to my inner twelve year old:
      Weubbles wobbles but he won’t fall down.

      Valid climate models are nearly (or maybe completely) a mathematical impossibility. We’ve known that ever since the beginning of computer modelling. Edward Lorenz, arguably one of the fathers of numerical modelling, pointed it out. Nobody since then has given a convincing explanation of why he’s wrong.

      Computer models are valid, if and only if, they have the physics and the initial conditions and nothing else. When historical trends are used to tune the models, they become an exercise in curve fitting. link

      Why is curve fitting bad? It’s predictions are just an exercise in extrapolation. That’s a big no-no. link

      All the computer climate models have to be tuned and they are all invalid. It doesn’t matter how big the computer is, the spatial grid spacing doesn’t matter, the time slices don’t matter. Nothing makes those models more valid.

      Weather forecasting can be validated. It has been noted that, as far as computer power goes, the law of diminishing returns has set in. link Climate models are no different. Claiming that a tighter grid spacing, enabled by a bigger supercomputer, makes much difference is just dreaming in technicolor.

      • “Valid climate models are nearly (or maybe completely) a mathematical impossibility. We’ve known that ever since the beginning of computer modelling. Edward Lorenz, arguably one of the fathers of numerical modelling, pointed it out. Nobody since then has given a convincing explanation of why he’s wrong.”

        In one of his valedictory addresses, Lorenz did indeed caution his heirs to only work with tractable problems. But they took the approach that honesty and tractability doesn’t pay as well as alarmism.

      • CB – There’s nothing wrong with curve fitting if your goal is to interpolate within a range of values where you have some decent data. But curve fitting is notoriously bad at extrapolating outside its data range unless the dependent variable is very well behaved — e.g. linear, exponential, cyclic, etc.

        OTOH, the thesis that Texas will be pretty much uninhabitable in the Summer may have some merit. I spent much of a Summer working in Texas. I can attest that it is already pretty much uninhabitable in Summer. Why would that change?

  1. What they need is a scenario where CO2 does basically NOTHING except make the world better for plant life.

  2. GIGO, but they learned one thing make your predictions for so far ahead there is little to no chance of you being called out when they prove to be nothing but BS.

  3. So they have increased the resolution of just the CONUS and somehow think they have a better model. How are they modeling the cells coming in from the west or north? How do they pick out the finer patterns of ENSO and AMO/PDO and its effects on North America? How do they replicate the ridiculously resilient ridge and other emergent phenomena and their impacts on North America?

    Weather is much more complex than just CO2!

  4. So this is a new WTWTM (worse than we thought model) based on previous WTWTMs?
    How about we introduce a protocol for assigning version numbers to WTWTMs so we can keep up with the latest?
    I mean, how embarrassing for say Justin Trudeau to be caught out citing WTWTM v33 when WTWTM v34 has already been released?

  5. “Same old crap, but now with more Pixels!!”
    Example of talking out of both sides of your mouth (not Anthony, UIUC): Heat waves will be more common in the Northeast. Heatwaves are particularly deadly in the Northeast since nobody knows how to deal with them given that they are so uncommon.
    Wait, if they are common in 70 years won’t our great-grandchildren have learned how to cope?
    Global warming will make the growing season longer, so we will have less food! Wait, what?

  6. Er, did they use the IPCC Ouija board to model their projections by any chance? A look at the raw, measured temperature data in the continental USA over the past century or so shows a clear decline in extreme heat events. If these projections were based on actual observátions, as opposed to witchcraft, then their fraudcasts might be deemed worthy. As it is, they are just more unverifiable bunk from a production line of failed alarmist nightmare scenarios.

    • PP Wouldn’t you like to see one computer run using the unadjusted temps since 1900? The 30s would destroy the whole history of projections. Just once – Trump should fund it!

  7. The critical issue with long-horizon model projections of heat waves and other weather phenomena isn’t resolution. It’s realism! Weubbles offers precious little in that regard.

  8. Climate models do not regionally downscale with any skill. It is not only a matter of resolution. Some references discussed in essay Last Cup of Coffee.

  9. “increases…… the length of the growing season. ….. will increase the demand on … water and energy.”

    …and they actually get accolades for this?….from the dept of stating the obvious

    Of course, they never qualify it……..and obviously didn’t consider more corn for ethanol //snark
    or the benefit of producing more food….it’s a bad thing

  10. UIUC is one of twelve designated university supercomputing sites nationwide. A shame to see that capability investment wasted on something like this, especially after all the papers showing that regional downscaling of GCMs shows no skill (translation from the technical term of art: no skill= produce garbage). Pielke Sr. had a nice tegional downscaling review paper in EOS in 2012.

    • ristvan – I agree. Their statement “This approach is suitable for global-scale models that run for centuries into the future” is complete nonsense. It is not possible for such a bottom-up climate (weather) model to remain accurate for more than a few days. The entire modelling approach needs to be changed – and workable models would use remarkably little computer power because they would work with the whole forest not the individual twigs.

    • Meh. The only other use it would be put to is probably bitcoin mining. Hmmm, I bet there’s a scandal on that out there somewhere…

    • A high order polynomial fit will give a bad answer with much less effort. English is a very expressive language, but it seems to lack a term for the concept that making some process too complicated to understand somehow makes the process valid.

  11. The movie On The Beach comes to mind. Shouldn’t responsible governments be handing out cyanide pills, for when, you know, the warmaggedon hits?

    • That movie showed ultimate bureaucracy at work, with the nurse ticking off the names of people so nobody took more than their share of death pills. Geoff.

  12. Anthony Watts
    “but… they have no way of testing the veracity of their forecast output against the… the future.”

  13. There have been a number of scary reports about the effect of global warming on heat related fatalities, but a very recent paper
    -“Projections of temperature-related excess mortality under climate change scenarios”-
    in Lancet -Planetary Health ( a new journal from a Lancet group with dear Christiana as its, er, figurehead)
    gives a different picture using global data supplied by numerous authors :
    As you can see it is open access and I would draw your attention to their Fig2 which compares the drop in cold related fatalities with the rise in heat related fatalities for different parts of the world , from the present to 2100 under different RCP forcings .
    Now if I have interpreted the article correctly , as you would expect, currently, everywhere cold related fatalities exceed heat related fatalities and the decrease in these , compared to the rise in heat related fatalities as the century proceeds, means an overall benefit for people everywhere , except towards the end of the century and under the most extreme RCP8.5 conditions .
    Even this overtaking is confined to tropical areas and in the Northern hemisphere and in places like China , even the warming predicted by RCP8.5 is a net benefit although no doubt extremely uncomfortable without a/c.

    • As I understand it, AGW models state that the increase in average temperatures will be due to polar warming and rise in nighttime lows. Any paper that isn’t consistent with this is rubbish.

      • The paper is not a climate physics paper , but is about one aspect of the medical benefits or disadvantages from global warming under different scenarios .
        As I mention in reply to Jim below , the message is IMO quite reassuring (unless you are a committed warmist or subsidy farming renewables entrepreneur)

    • I always wonder about papers that have so many authors. Did they all actually contribute> A sentence or two each? Maybe the MScs did the work, and wrote the paper, while the PhDs supervised?

      • Jim I think that your reservations may be lessened the following from the paper:
        We collected observed daily time series of mean temperature and mortality counts for all causes or non-external causes only, in periods ranging from Jan 1, 1984, to Dec 31, 2015, from various locations across the globe through the Multi-Country Multi-City Collaborative Research Network. We estimated temperature–mortality relationships through a two-stage time series design. We generated current and future daily mean temperature series under four scenarios of climate change, determined by varying trajectories of greenhouse gas emissions, using five general circulation models. We projected excess mortality for cold and heat and their net change in 1990–2099 under each scenario of climate change, assuming no adaptation or population changes.”-

        and about the contributors:
        AG, YG, MH, and BA set up the collaborative network. AG, YG, and FS designed the study. AG coordinated the work, and took the lead in drafting the manuscript and interpreting the results. AG and FS developed the statistical methods. AG, FS, and AMV-C did the statistical analysis. BA, AH, FS, AMV-C, and VH provided substantial scientific input in interpreting the results and drafting the manuscript. YG, ST, MdSZSC, PHNS, EL, PMC, NVO, HKa, SO, JK, AU, JJKJ, NRIR, MP, PGG, AZe, PM, MS, MH, YH, MH-D, JCC, XS, HKi, AT, CI, BF, DOÅ, MSR, YLG, C-fW, AZa, JS, MLB, TND, DDV, CH, SV, and SH provided the data, and contributed to the interpretation of the results and to the submitted version of the manuscript.”-

        As you can see an international collaboration . Overall I see this as a reassuring paper , that the benefits of global warming may outweigh the disadvantages , although of course they mention the pressing need for mitigation (ie money) .
        When you put this paper alongside the one, mentioned here not long ago, that pointed out that moderate cold kills more than moderate heat , it is the screaming horror stories such as the one that prompted this thread that are the “outliers”.


    Seems the Alarmists are following the script of “Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea [The Global Warming Edition] Movie

    Ha ha

    • I love Barbara Eden’s dancing to the Frogmen music. I would love to “dance’ with Miss Eden.
      I Dream of Genie!

  15. Improving the resolution is not the problem. Weather simulations that are even higher resolution are only good for about 10 days at best. The real problem with the models is that they have hard coded in that more CO2 causes warming yet there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is zero. The the digital simulation of climate change is really just a sophisticated form of make believe.

  16. Weubbles and his fellow morons have to tune-in model convection parameters to get these results. They have no idea if they are correct, yet they present them as data. They have zero idea if longer growing seasons allows for more grain production. They have no idea if lower min temps means less heating for homes and business. They have no idea if anything they write will be true. Future junk predictions.
    Dr. Weubbles is Junk science in action. (He must’ve got the Ab’ie Normal brain)

    Dr Weubbles, you are a pseudo-scientist. You are free to wallow in the junkscience you create.

    Junk in, Junk out. (JIJO)

  17. Someone needs to create a new computer game based on creating different climates. For the CAGW gang the most popular would involve making very hot and extreme ones while the Good Green forces battle the forces of fossil fueled capitalism to Save the Planet and survive and all that. The programming used to create this ‘scientific projection’ could be the basis of that, though even some mom’s basement software developers could likely do much better.

    Would be ideal for the game to also be able to create new ice age climates for the world to battle but that could lead to incorrect thinking so would have to be banned.

  18. If they’re going to compare to “historical data” from 1995-2004, it might be interesting to run their downscaled model against historical runs from those same models covering 1995-2004, and see how closely that resembled reality. Or better yet, perform the same exercise for the 30s so they can tell if their approach is capable of reproducing an actual historical event of elevated heat waves.

  19. Amazing what money is being spent on. I design and troubleshoot air quality control equipment for coal fired power plants. Yes, your read correctly, I am guilty of helping that dirty industry continue to operate pumping tons of the dreaded CO2 into the atmosphere. I lay awake at night wondering what kind of person that I am. :). Not. I have helped remove tons among tons of real pollutants from the emissions of coal fired power plants. We have even overachieved in some areas and are putting the transformed pollutant back into the environment.

    We utilize several very complex models that were designed by PhD types to generate all kinds of results for installation of the air quality control equipment. Equipment sizing, capital costs, operating costs, equipment effectiveness, economic impacts, etc. I was using and evaluating the model as a working engineer, as opposed to a PhD, several years ago. I came across a number input that I did not understand. There were no units and it seemed random. After much digging I found out it was called a calibration variable. You used that variable to calibrate the model when it varied from what was actually found in the field. That was years ago. If that model was to be re-used today no one would even know about that variable and produce data and information like it was totally valid.

    I wonder how many of those climate models have variables similar to that described above and most likely most have multiple variables like that that will never be found. What could go wrong?

  20. Anyone who continues reading after this start:

    “High resolution dynamical downscaling ensemble projections of future … ”

    Has far more tolerance of fake science bull-shirt than me!

  21. I especially liked this part… “Heat waves increase the mortality rate within the Midwest and the Northeast because people in these densely populated regions are not accustomed to coping with that kind of heat that frequently.”

    Their example disproves their claim. The southerners somehow don’t have higher mortality during heatwaves. I know a few northerners, and I am confident that if heat waves become more frequent in the north, the locals will quickly adapt!

    I don’t think those researchers get out of that ivory tower often enough.

    • Well, I imagine the sale of window ac units would go up. And maybe new houses would be built with central ac. Seriously, this is not complicated.

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