Guest post by Pat Frank
Readers of Watts Up With That will know from Mark I that for six years I have been trying to publish a manuscript with the post title. Well, it has passed peer review and is now published at Frontiers in Earth Science: Atmospheric Science. The paper demonstrates that climate models have no predictive value.
Before going further, my deep thanks to Anthony Watts for giving a voice to independent thought. So many have sought to suppress it (freedom denialists?). His gift to us (and to America) is beyond calculation. And to Charles the moderator, my eternal gratitude for making it happen.
I would like to publicly honor my manuscript editor Dr. Jing-Jia Luo, who displayed the courage of a scientist; a level of professional integrity found lacking among so many during my 6-year journey.
Dr. Luo chose four reviewers, three of whom were apparently not conflicted by investment in the AGW status-quo. They produced critically constructive reviews that helped improve the manuscript. To these reviewers I am very grateful. They provided the dispassionate professionalism and integrity that had been in very rare evidence within my prior submissions.
So, all honor to the editors and reviewers of Frontiers in Earth Science. They rose above the partisan and hewed the principled standards of science when so many did not, and do not.
A digression into the state of practice: Anyone wishing a deep dive can download the entire corpus of reviews and responses for all 13 prior submissions, here (60 MB zip file, Webroot scanned virus-free). Choose “free download” to avoid advertising blandishment.
Climate modelers produced about 25 of the prior 30 reviews. You’ll find repeated editorial rejections of the manuscript on the grounds of objectively incompetent negative reviews. I have written about that extraordinary reality at WUWT here and here. In 30 years of publishing in Chemistry, I never once experienced such a travesty of process. For example, this paper overturned a prediction from Molecular Dynamics and so had a very negative review, but the editor published anyway after our response.
In my prior experience, climate modelers:
· did not know to distinguish between accuracy and precision.
· did not understand that, for example, a ±15 C temperature uncertainty is not a physical temperature.
· did not realize that deriving a ±15 C uncertainty to condition a projected temperature does *not* mean the model itself is oscillating rapidly between icehouse and greenhouse climate predictions (an actual reviewer objection).
· confronted standard error propagation as a foreign concept.
· did not understand the significance or impact of a calibration experiment.
· did not understand the concept of instrumental or model resolution or that it has empirical limits
· did not understand physical error analysis at all.
· did not realize that ‘±n’ is not ‘+n.’
Some of these traits consistently show up in their papers. I’ve not seen one that deals properly with physical error, with model calibration, or with the impact of model physical error on the reliability of a projected climate.
In climate model papers the typical uncertainty analyses are about precision, not about accuracy. They are appropriate to engineering models that reproduce observables within their calibration (tuning) bounds. They are not appropriate to physical models that predict future or unknown observables.
Climate modelers are evidently not trained in the scientific method. They are not trained to be scientists. They are not scientists. They are apparently not trained to evaluate the physical or predictive reliability of their own models. They do not manifest the attention to physical reasoning demanded by good scientific practice. In my prior experience they are actively hostile to any demonstration of that diagnosis.
In their hands, climate modeling has become a kind of subjectivist narrative, in the manner of the critical theory pseudo-scholarship that has so disfigured the academic Humanities and Sociology Departments, and that has actively promoted so much social strife. Call it Critical Global Warming Theory. Subjectivist narratives assume what should be proved (CO₂ emissions equate directly to sensible heat), their assumptions have the weight of evidence (CO₂ and temperature, see?), and every study is confirmatory (it’s worse than we thought).
Subjectivist narratives and academic critical theories are prejudicial constructs. They are in opposition to science and reason. Over the last 31 years, climate modeling has attained that state, with its descent into unquestioned assumptions and circular self-confirmations.
A summary of results: The paper shows that advanced climate models project air temperature merely as a linear extrapolation of greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing. That fact is multiply demonstrated, with the bulk of the demonstrations in the SI. A simple equation, linear in forcing, successfully emulates the air temperature projections of virtually any climate model. Willis Eschenbach also discovered that independently, awhile back.
After showing its efficacy in emulating GCM air temperature projections, the linear equation is used to propagate the root-mean-square annual average long-wave cloud forcing systematic error of climate models, through their air temperature projections.
The uncertainty in projected temperature is ±1.8 C after 1 year for a 0.6 C projection anomaly and ±18 C after 100 years for a 3.7 C projection anomaly. The predictive content in the projections is zero.
In short, climate models cannot predict future global air temperatures; not for one year and not for 100 years. Climate model air temperature projections are physically meaningless. They say nothing at all about the impact of CO₂ emissions, if any, on global air temperatures.
Here’s an example of how that plays out.
Panel a: blue points, GISS model E2-H-p1 RCP8.5 global air temperature projection anomalies. Red line, the linear emulation. Panel b: the same except with a green envelope showing the physical uncertainty bounds in the GISS projection due to the ±4 Wm⁻² annual average model long wave cloud forcing error. The uncertainty bounds were calculated starting at 2006.
Were the uncertainty to be calculated from the first projection year, 1850, (not shown in the Figure), the uncertainty bounds would be very much wider, even though the known 20th century temperatures are well reproduced. The reason is that the underlying physics within the model is not correct. Therefore, there’s no physical information about the climate in the projected 20th century temperatures, even though they are statistically close to observations (due to model tuning).
Physical uncertainty bounds represent the state of physical knowledge, not of statistical conformance. The projection is physically meaningless.
The uncertainty due to annual average model long wave cloud forcing error alone (±4 Wm⁻²) is about ±114 times larger than the annual average increase in CO₂ forcing (about 0.035 Wm⁻²). A complete inventory of model error would produce enormously greater uncertainty. Climate models are completely unable to resolve the effects of the small forcing perturbation from GHG emissions.
The unavoidable conclusion is that whatever impact CO₂ emissions may have on the climate cannot have been detected in the past and cannot be detected now.
It seems Exxon didn’t know, after all. Exxon couldn’t have known. Nor could anyone else.
Every single model air temperature projection since 1988 (and before) is physically meaningless. Every single detection-and-attribution study since then is physically meaningless. When it comes to CO₂ emissions and climate, no one knows what they’ve been talking about: not the IPCC, not Al Gore (we knew that), not even the most prominent of climate modelers, and certainly no political poser.
There is no valid physical theory of climate able to predict what CO₂ emissions will do to the climate, if anything. That theory does not yet exist.
The Stefan-Boltzmann equation is not a valid theory of climate, although people who should know better evidently think otherwise including the NAS and every US scientific society. Their behavior in this is the most amazing abandonment of critical thinking in the history of science.
Absent any physically valid causal deduction, and noting that the climate has multiple rapid response channels to changes in energy flux, and noting further that the climate is exhibiting nothing untoward, one is left with no bearing at all on how much warming, if any, additional CO₂ has produced or will produce.
From the perspective of physical science, it is very reasonable to conclude that any effect of CO₂ emissions is beyond present resolution, and even reasonable to suppose that any possible effect may be so small as to be undetectable within natural variation. Nothing among the present climate observables is in any way unusual.
The analysis upsets the entire IPCC applecart. It eviscerates the EPA’s endangerment finding, and removes climate alarm from the US 2020 election. There is no evidence whatever that CO₂ emissions have increased, are increasing, will increase, or even can increase, global average surface air temperature.
The analysis is straight-forward. It could have been done, and should have been done, 30 years ago. But was not.
All the dark significance attached to whatever is the Greenland ice-melt, or to glaciers retreating from their LIA high-stand, or to changes in Arctic winter ice, or to Bangladeshi deltaic floods, or to Kiribati, or to polar bears, is removed. None of it can be rationally or physically blamed on humans or on CO₂ emissions.
Although I am quite sure this study is definitive, those invested in the reigning consensus of alarm will almost certainly not stand down. The debate is unlikely to stop here.
Raising the eyes, finally, to regard the extended damage: I’d like to finish by turning to the ethical consequence of the global warming frenzy. After some study, one discovers that climate models cannot model the climate. This fact was made clear all the way back in 2001, with the publication of W. Soon, S. Baliunas, S. B. Idso, K. Y. Kondratyev, and E. S. Posmentier Modeling climatic effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions: unknowns and uncertainties. Climate Res. 18(3), 259-275, available here. The paper remains relevant.
In a well-functioning scientific environment, that paper would have put an end to the alarm about CO₂ emissions. But it didn’t.
Instead the paper was disparaged and then nearly universally ignored (Reading it in 2003 is what set me off. It was immediately obvious that climate modelers could not possibly know what they claimed to know). There will likely be attempts to do the same to my paper: derision followed by burial.
But we now know this for a certainty: all the frenzy about CO₂ and climate was for nothing.
All the anguished adults; all the despairing young people; all the grammar school children frightened to tears and recriminations by lessons about coming doom, and death, and destruction; all the social strife and dislocation. All the blaming, all the character assassinations, all the damaged careers, all the excess winter fuel-poverty deaths, all the men, women, and children continuing to live with indoor smoke, all the enormous sums diverted, all the blighted landscapes, all the chopped and burned birds and the disrupted bats, all the huge monies transferred from the middle class to rich subsidy-farmers.
All for nothing.
There’s plenty of blame to go around, but the betrayal of science garners the most. Those offenses would not have happened had not every single scientific society neglected its duty to diligence.
From the American Physical Society right through to the American Meteorological Association, they all abandoned their professional integrity, and with it their responsibility to defend and practice hard-minded science. Willful neglect? Who knows. Betrayal of science? Absolutely for sure.
Had the American Physical Society been as critical of claims about CO₂ and climate as they were of claims about palladium, deuterium, and cold fusion, none of this would have happened. But they were not.
The institutional betrayal could not be worse; worse than Lysenkoism because there was no Stalin to hold a gun to their heads. They all volunteered.
These outrages: the deaths, the injuries, the anguish, the strife, the malused resources, the ecological offenses, were in their hands to prevent and so are on their heads for account.
In my opinion, the management of every single US scientific society should resign in disgrace. Every single one of them. Starting with Marcia McNutt at the National Academy.
The IPCC should be defunded and shuttered forever.
And the EPA? Who exactly is it that should have rigorously engaged, but did not? In light of apparently studied incompetence at the center, shouldn’t all authority be returned to the states, where it belongs?
And, in a smaller but nevertheless real tragedy, who’s going to tell the so cynically abused Greta? My imagination shies away from that picture.
An Addendum to complete the diagnosis: It’s not just climate models.
These problems are in addition to bad siting and UHI effects.
The whole AGW claim is built upon climate models that do not model the climate, upon climatologically useless air temperature measurements, and upon proxy paleo-temperature reconstructions that are not known to reconstruct temperature.
It all lives on false precision; a state of affairs fully described here, peer-reviewed and all.
Climate alarmism is artful pseudo-science all the way down; made to look like science, but which is not.
Pseudo-science not called out by any of the science organizations whose sole reason for existence is the integrity of science.