Page 6, Propagation of Error and the Reliability of Global Cloudiness Projections by Pat Frank

Claim: More Work Required to Study “Settled” Climate Science

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Last Halloween, Naomi Oreskes unsettled the climate community by suggesting the work of WG1 scientists is done, and that they should move on to other fields. Climate scientist have now published a response in Scientific American detailing the big gaps in their understanding, and a detailed explanation of why they still need money.

Seeking Certainty on Climate Change: How Much Is Enough?

Two physicists object to a Scientific American essay calling for an end to one climate report. A science historian counters that the report has done its job

Sabine Hossenfelder is a physicist and research fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies in Germany. She is author of the book Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astrayand creator of the YouTube channel Science without the Gobbledygook. Credit: Nick Higgins

Tim Palmer is a Royal Society Research Professor in Climate Physics at the University of Oxford.

In a recent column in Scientific American, Naomi Oreskes argues that we understand the physics of climate change well enough now. She writes that the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Working Group 1 (WG1)—the ones tasked with assessing the physical science basis of climate change—should “declare their job done.” According to Oreskes, we should instead now deal with the problem by focusing on adaptation and mitigation.

It is true that the scientific basis of global long-term trends is settled. We know that sea levels are rising, average temperatures are increasing, and glaciers are dying. We know that business as usual will put our and future generations at risk of great suffering. But we do not have a good understanding of the regional impacts of climate change, and uncertainties in the long-term predictions currently span a range that could mean anything from a serious but manageable inconvenience to an existential threat.

Indeed, Oreskes has previously been critical of WG1’s reports: a February 2013 paper she co-authored in Global Environmental Change argued that the IPCC reports have consistently underpredicted ”at least some of the key attributes of global warming from increased atmospheric greenhouse gases.” But why is that? It’s because the job of climate scientists is not done.

A key reason for the underestimates that Oreskes and her colleagues belabored is that current-generation climate models are crude representations of the complex dynamical system that is our climate. For example, current global climate models can’t represent cloud systems using the laws of physics because the grid spacing is too coarse (a hundred kilometers or more). In the models, therefore, clouds are represented by highly simplified empirical formulas that describe the clouds’ true properties in a relatively crude way.

The consequence of our inability to model essential climate processes very accurately is that we cannot correctly simulate extreme weather and climate events. The horrendous weather events of 2021—the near-50-degree-Celsius heat in British Columbia and the devastating flooding in the Eifel region in Germany, China’s province of Henan and New York City—are completely outside the range of what current-generation climate models can simulate.

Read more:

It is fascinating they mention clouds, because in 2019 when our Dr. Pat Frank pointed to gaps in our understanding of clouds as a major reason climate models have no predictive skill, he provoked a vigorous response from the climate community.

Yet as soon as someone like Oreskes suggests their work is done, suddenly the science of modelling clouds seems very unsettled indeed.

Note Dr. Roy Spencer also criticised Pat’s work. But Dr. Spencer wrote a paper in 2007 in support of Dr. Richard Lindzen’s Iris hypothesis, the theory that surface warming triggers net negative feedback changes in cloudiness which oppose the surface warming. Pat Frank’s response to Dr. Spencer’s criticism is available here.

Whatever your views on Dr. Spencer and Dr. Frank’s position, and anyone else involved in the climate model cloud debate, everyone seems to more or less agree clouds are a problem. Understanding clouds seems pretty fundamental to being able to model the global climate in detail. Modelling of clouds in current generation climate models is deeply flawed.

So I think we can safely conclude that Naomi Oreskes is wrong about the science being settled.

The following is a lecture by Dr. Pat Frank explaining his concerns about climate models and clouds.

4.7 23 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
James F. Evans
November 29, 2021 6:03 pm

“Settled science”

Not when others want to challenge it.

Bryan A
Reply to  James F. Evans
November 29, 2021 10:19 pm

I find this report Very UNSETTLING

Reply to  James F. Evans
November 30, 2021 9:18 am

Challenge accepted.

Clouds are definitely not settled, but can be settled once you realize that the amount of clouds is a free variable relative to the temperature and the radiant balance. That is, a radiant balance can be achieved for any amount of clouds at any surface temperature.

When you also recognize that the average fraction of the planet covered by clouds has a relatively consistent yearly average, it becomes clear that clouds are either dependent on or a dependency of something that’s not the radiant balance or the temperature.

There’s only one possibility left, which is the equivalent emissivity of the planet, or the ratio between the planet’s emissions and the RADIANT emissions by the surface, as this can also be expressed as the lone free variable in the radiant balance. When you notice that this ratio has an even more constant average than the amount of clouds, while at the same time being highly dependent on clouds, it becomes clear that the function of clouds is to maintain this ratio at a globally constant value. In fact, its converged mean has a definitive, testable value of 2/(1 + sqrt(5)) = 0.62 that arises from the math of clouds driving a chaotically self organized atmosphere into an energy optimized state that maximizes surface warmth given the available, post albedo solar forcing. The reason a constant equivalent emissivity optimizes surface warmth is that changing it takes work that is not otherwise available to maintain surface heat.

I know with absolute certainty that if models are adjusted to maintain a constant average ratio between the SB emissions of the surface and the emissions at TOA, they would automatically become much more accurate and suffer far less from the classic divergence problem. But then again, they would be incapable of predicting the kind of future warming needed to keep the climate cabal in alarmist mode.

Paul S.
Reply to  James F. Evans
November 30, 2021 10:52 am

“More work required to study “Settled” Science”

More woke required to study “Settled” Science. There, I fixed it

The Saint
Reply to  Paul S.
November 30, 2021 6:26 pm

How can climate science be settled when it is so wrong on many fronts? Every open minded investigator knows what I am talking about.

Tom Halla
November 29, 2021 6:12 pm

Oreskes is much more a political activist than a scientist. Lysenko forever!

Reply to  Tom Halla
November 29, 2021 11:30 pm

Sabine Hossenfelder is about the same her area of study for her PHD into Quantum Gravity lead nowhere and hit the wall. The LHC produced what was nightmare result for her and a few fellow theorists

She switched to science journalism and with the bucks on climate change she has dabbled around the edges as a “qualified voice”.

Reply to  LdB
November 30, 2021 1:55 am

Lee Smolin at Perimeter is the Quantum Gravity whistleblower, being extremely qualified.

Hossenfelder blames maths, only part of the problem.
Does physics consultancy – who knows, for climate and government?

Last edited 1 month ago by bonbon
Dave Fair
Reply to  bonbon
November 30, 2021 12:18 pm

Government and Leftist foundations are the only sources of climate related funding.

Reply to  LdB
November 30, 2021 1:57 am

Sabine says this at the end of that article:

“I hope that this latest null result will send a clear message that you can’t trust the judgement of scientists [particle physicists] whose future funding depends on their continued optimism.”

Of course, in some fields the judgement of scientists cannot be questioned.

Reply to  climanrecon
December 2, 2021 10:12 am

Say what you want about Sabine, but her comment you quote is spot-on in general and even more poignantly in application to climate science that I can understand why she would want to jump into this arena — because it’s full of charlatans and she clearly wants, like Feynman, scientists in their thinking and hypotheses to be honest in paying attention to and respecting data.

Climate science should be a rich field for her if she is willing to go beyond a being high-level (even if accurate) commentator who can be easily ignored because she doesn’t “do” climate science.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  LdB
November 30, 2021 3:01 am

Her YouTube site, though, is fun to watch- I always laugh the way she pronounces “Einstein”.

Shanghai Dan
November 29, 2021 6:16 pm

Hey now… We can’t let the gravy train end!

November 29, 2021 6:20 pm

Fake to the left, fake to the right, gather up the money and run. “Naomi Oreskes unsettled the climate community by suggesting the work of WG1 scientists is done” <<it’s a false front. Nothing more than a “stage” for WG1 scientists to stand on and shout – “Give us more money. Our work will never is not done.”

Zig Zag Wanderer
November 29, 2021 6:38 pm

C’mon, man!

Expecting Climate Scientology research to stop is like expecting covid variants to stop appearing. It’ll never happen while the $s are available!

Get double jabbed, then triple jabbed, then repeat every six months. Feed the Climate Hysteria bandwagon. Don’t let that cash cow out of the paddock, ever!

Last edited 1 month ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Robert of Texas
November 29, 2021 6:52 pm

Wow, who knew you could just declare the job in science is done and move on? And here I thought science dealt with what could stand up to data and testing instead of just being dogma.

The AGW crowd really need to start building temples. They should select the color of their priestly robes and write a book of holy canon law for their followers Attendance would of course be mandatory while wearing masks and standing 6 feet from one another. The holy day would be any day where around that temple a temperature record is broken, it rains heavily, or there is a drought.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
November 29, 2021 8:03 pm

It is the standard move in government.

As soon as the bosses figure they screwed up the plans, screwed up construction, caused long delays and massive cost overruns and the news is going public next week.

They declare success and move on.
Anyone asks, deer in the headlight response, “What contract?”. We successfully closed that contract.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
November 30, 2021 5:09 am

Real scientists, not today’s pseudo scientific whores, know that the science is never settled on any topic. There is ALWAYS more to learn and more often than not the new stuff learned results in the rejection of what was previously believed.

Prior to the Keppler telescope mission, many perhaps most scientists in astronomy and biology and geochemistry thought that the Earth must be unique in the universe because so many different effects must come together to create intelligent life on our planet. Then Keppler came along, and discovered that every single planet within its narrow search radius had at least one planet, and that there are 400 billion stars just within our Milky Way galaxy, and that there are trillions of galaxies elsewhere in the known universe. Combined with the fact that the chemical compounds essential for life – oxygen, hydrogen, water molecules, and carbon molecules – are the most abundant compounds in the universe – means that is it now certain that there are at last trillions if not hundreds of trillions of potential Earth like planets in the known universe capable of sustaining life as we know it.

We did not know that as recently as two decades ago.

November 29, 2021 7:18 pm

Sabine and Tim have collaborated before…resulting in one of the global warming HITS of all time….

Alastair gray
Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 29, 2021 8:17 pm

Not bad for alarmists. They normally take themselves so seriously

November 29, 2021 7:24 pm

Seems to me that Oreskes is replaying the Lysenko position on the role of the environment versus genes. He won those battles in the 30s, 40s and 50s because of Stalin. He lost the war because of the facts. Russian science is still recovering from devastation wrought by science driven by ideology rather than the scientific method.

Pat from kerbob
November 29, 2021 7:38 pm

Very nice of the true believer scientists to state clearly that the science is not settled.

All the previous bafflegab about how the long term actually is unsettled is undone by the admission they have no clue about clouds.

As clouds alone have the ability to manage whatever heat has been seen plus more, they just admitted it’s all up for grab

Tom Abbott
November 29, 2021 7:42 pm

From the article: “So I think we can safely conclude that Naomi Oreskes is wrong about the science being settled.”

Naomi is just trying to score propaganda points. She wants a consensus that the science is settled so she can beat the skeptics over the head with it. She knows the science isn’t settled, she just doesn’t want Joe Public to know.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 29, 2021 9:50 pm

She knows the consensus is nonsense and we know the consensus is nonsense. She is just desperately trying to keep us from knowing we know.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Rory Forbes
November 30, 2021 12:09 am

I am so pleased pantomime season is nearly upon us, “she knows that we know that she knows that we know, but she doesn’t want us to know that we know that she knows!!!” Still, history has demonstrated that very little science is ever “settled”, as years later someone comes up with a better theory of what happened before, & new discoveries are always being made!!!

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Alan the Brit
November 30, 2021 10:09 am

as years later someone comes up with a better theory

And in our hearts we know that too so we don’t lose confidence in the method and quietly disregard the bell-ends like Oreskes. It reminds me of the old soviet workers pantomime – ‘we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 30, 2021 3:21 am

Oreskes didn’t even know how google works 😀

November 29, 2021 7:48 pm

This talk and analysis by Dr. Pat Frank show quite definitively that the various IPCC climate models have absolutely no predictive ability whatsoever. It shows also that so far there is zero evidence coming from the models about what CO2 is actually doing to the passage of the climate. There is no science in the models, only politics.

Tom Abbott
November 29, 2021 7:49 pm

From the article: “It is true that the scientific basis of global long-term trends is settled. We know that sea levels are rising, average temperatures are increasing, and glaciers are dying. We know that business as usual will put our and future generations at risk of great suffering.”

No, you don’t know any of those things, other than that the sea level is rising, and there is no evidence the rise has anything to do with humans. Average temperatures are cooling at the present time, even though CO2 is rising, and glaciers advance and retreat during all time periods, regardless of what humans do.

You sir, are operating on a whole lot of unsubstantiated speculation about humans and CO2 and the atmosphere.

A real scientist would make sure he was operating from a solid foundation. The foundation of Human-caused Climate Change has never been established. Yet here you are, acting like it has been established. It pays well, I suppose.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 29, 2021 9:02 pm

A real scientist wouldn’t assume that all scientists are male.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 29, 2021 9:31 pm

It’s a very common generalisation to refer to unknown individuals as male. Most languages have similar, eg romance languages where a mixed gender group is referred to as a male ‘they’.

Tough if that offends your delicate sensibilities, but these days with LGBQWERTY genders, it’s very difficult to decide on pronouns at all!

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
November 29, 2021 10:09 pm

I am sooo offended. Your LGBQEWERTY acronym shows upper case bigotry and an appalling level of discrimination against lower case letters.
This is a classic example of the arrogance of alphabetical capitalism.

Reply to  TonyL
November 30, 2021 2:00 am

alphabetical capitalism, the letter of the law.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 29, 2021 9:56 pm

It would help if you understood basic English. The standard convention for pronoun in that context is always ‘he’. There are those who choose she in order to appear woke and progressive. She, like you comes across as a doofus.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Rory Forbes
November 29, 2021 10:33 pm

the convention of using ‘he’ is old and outdated in modern English. More common is the use of they or he/she. It is at the end of the day simple politeness. It is also worth noting that more women than men are now graduating with science degrees in the many places such as the EU, UK and the USA so using the masculine pronoun is not only outdated but increasingly inaccurate.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 29, 2021 11:31 pm

I don’t give a crap about what is ‘common’. The English convention is still ‘he’. I understand that some confused idiots are pandering to nonsense ‘gender’ politics creating confusion about pronouns, but it’s meaningless drivel. Conventions exist so we can all make ourselves understood. This has nothing to do with the number of females taking science. English doesn’t need your help. Live with it.

English is not your 1st language. Best to learn it the proper way. No one is assuming all scientists are male except possibly a few with poor English skills. There was nothing wrong with Tom’s sentence. Any other form (using woke silliness) would have been unclear.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Rory Forbes
November 29, 2021 11:41 pm

Conventions exist and they change. Words and language change all the time. Compare Shakespeare or Chaucer to modern English. In saxon times there was were good gender neutral pronouns, i.e. thee, thou, they. Then the convention changed and people used ‘he’ and ‘she’. Now the convention has changed again and gender neutral pronouns are preferred. For instance the latest edition of the AP style guide lists they as the preferred singular gender neutral pronoun.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 12:08 am

In saxon times there was (sic) were good gender neutral pronouns, i.e. thee, thou, they.

You really are a gormless twat. Thee, thou and they are now the same gender neutral pronouns you, you and they! Thee and thou were never used to denote the third person at all.

If you’re going to argue about grammar, it’s best to learn some first, mate.

Last edited 1 month ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Jeremy Poynton
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
November 30, 2021 12:42 am

I’m still waiting for proof that gender exists separate from sex. Call me old-fashioned, but for me, “gender” remains the grammatical term I was taught back in the day. I guess what’s change is just HOW much people can be obsessed with themselves and how special they are, but most of all, how special us orthodox old fools must be made to see and treat them as.

Good luck with that.

Reply to  Jeremy Poynton
November 30, 2021 6:35 pm

“Gender” _is_ a purely grammatical term independent from sex – largely irrelevant in Modern English, but alive and well in French, German, Russian and most other European languages. Whoever makes a different claim is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. There is nothing sexually male in “der Tisch”, no more than female in “la table”, because it is the same dead asexual manufactured object each time. Mixing up genders in pronouns is bad grammar and has no relevance regarding the sex of those addressed, no more than a French table is “female” or a German “male” – you don’t get a litter of stools when you leave the two alone together!

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 3:30 am

In other times, we had Sire.
Btw, there is a try to change the convention.
Better, the try ends as soon as possible.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 8:14 am

good gender neutral pronouns, i.e. thee, thou, they. Then the convention changed and people used ‘he’ and ‘she’.

The modern forms of ‘thee, thou, and they’ are ‘you, you, and they.’ Your choices do not make your point, Izaak.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 10:36 am

There you have it, I have little to add to the ‘consensus’ that knowledgeable native speakers consider being “woke” a fool’s game. People here prefer proper English convention over the ‘woke’ pidgin of the sadly uneducated, like yourself.

For instance the latest edition of the AP style guide lists they as the preferred singular gender neutral pronoun.

They and them are plural, not singular. We use ‘it’ for singular neutral. Clarity will always overrule political correctness.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 11:37 am


a feature common to all languages and all words: Meaning is determined by the use, the context, which may be a sentence, paragraph, passage or even complete story or narrative.

When we hear a word with no context we tend to think of the most common meaning which is listed first in a dictionary. If we hear a single word, we cannot know what the user means unless we can read minds.

The meaning of a word is determined the same way in the writings of Chaucer, Shakespeare and J K Rowling and that is from its context in the writings of each. Meaning has nothing to do with what a person thinks or feels but context. We make nonsense of language when we impose on words meanings with no contextual support. The function of language is to communicate clearly and not confuse or con. Without this function language can only be a meaningless babbling. Imposing an artificial political or ideological convention promotes confusion. This is particularly evident in the abuse of language in climate alarmism.

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 6:30 pm

“thee/thou/thy” is second person singular, now in most contexts replaced by second person plural “you/your”. And “Saxon times” have nothing to do with it as they were still in use in educated language in the 19th century when any Saxons around would have spoken German and lived near Leipzig or Dresden.
“Style guide lists” are for semi-illiterates who have no feeling for the basically unchanging demands of good grammar. You can learn excellent English from Shakespeare – the only thing that has changed is the spelling. If you use an edition in modernized 20th century spelling you will find, maybe to your own surprise, not a single ungrammatical sentence in Shakespeare. Languages are more stable than they are given credit for, and if they occasionally aren’t, the mistaken idea that novelty is better than tradition is usually to blame.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 2:02 am

Thou dost protest too much, methinks!

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 3:25 am

Yes, and we see the results 😀

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 7:22 am

Stop whining.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rory Forbes
November 30, 2021 5:09 am

“The standard convention for pronoun in that context is always ‘he’. There are those who choose she in order to appear woke and progressive.”

I choose not to be woke. 🙂

I like irritating pronoun fanatics.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 30, 2021 10:40 am

I choose not to be woke.:-)

I like irritating pronoun fanatics.

As do I.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 29, 2021 11:21 pm

So we can take it you have no other objections to Tom’s comment.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Redge
November 29, 2021 11:43 pm

There are other obvious objections like the claim that the average temperature is cooling at the present. Any long term temperature trend shows that global temperatures are steadily increasing.

Jeremy Poynton
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 12:44 am

Long term? Planets been cooling for some 7k years, as in previous interstadials. That’s “long term” and that’s what matters – not some more than welcome warming coming out of the LIA.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 1:36 am

What do you mean by long term? Since the natural recovery from the devastating LIA? Or since the Eemian? Define your terms, then lose the argument.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 3:32 am

Ask griff, he will tell you abot natural varabity 😀

Last edited 1 month ago by Krishna Gans
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 3:23 am

What’s about idiots ? 😀

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 7:22 am

Any evidence today, Izaak the Shill?

Reply to  Izaak Walton
November 30, 2021 11:26 am

A real sailor assumes all ships are female.

Peta of Newark
November 29, 2021 7:53 pm

So having ‘things’ with all the physical, radiational, energetic and thermodynamic properties of what sank The Titanic, ride over your head at 1, 2 or 3+ miles of altitude ‘keeps you warm’?

We are in sooooo much trouble here, we really are.

edit to (4 in the morning) PS

Clouds are icebergs
Climate Science is The Titanic

What could possibly happen next?

haha: Beautiful – someone out there has a sense of humour

Last edited 1 month ago by Peta of Newark
Chris Gillham(@waclimate)
November 29, 2021 9:08 pm

The science is no way settled regarding the extent of warming over the past 150 years.

In the wake of Australia’s net zero 2050 pledge at Glasgow, I’ve uploaded a series of four analyses concerning the influence of 1972 metrication, AWS installations peaking in 1996, a mystery warming shift in 2013 and six historic climate documents with F converted to C suggesting 0.6C mean warming since the 1800s rather than the BoM’s 1.44C since 1910.

They start at – Australia’s climate history : was Glasgow worth it?

I recommend the four pages for anybody interested in previously unsighted Australian research.

Richard M
Reply to  Chris Gillham
November 30, 2021 1:15 pm

a mystery warming shift in 2013 

I believe you will find that corresponds to the PDO switching from negative to positive. It started trending upward in 2013 and went positive in Feb 2014.

high treason
November 29, 2021 9:19 pm

Any REAL scientist knows that REAL science can never be settled. Pseudoscience, on the other hand can be “settled” to deflect scrutiny and questioning. It also serves as a way to evade giving answers.
Questions make us human.
Answers make us free.

November 29, 2021 9:23 pm

Wavy jet stream tracks involve longer lines of air mass mixing, more clouds, less solar energy into the oceans and in due course global cooling.
The opposite for less wavy jet stream tracks.
That is all one needs for a diagnosis of any underlying temperature trend.

November 29, 2021 10:43 pm

what? no jokes about Halloween?

Reply to  chickenhawk
November 30, 2021 4:52 am

Didn’t you see the picture of Naomi Oreskes?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Disputin
November 30, 2021 7:17 am

. . . and that’s no joke.

November 29, 2021 11:18 pm

It is fascinating they mention clouds…

I argued this point with activist, I mean reporter, Richard Black, formerly of the BBC, decades ago.

He didn’t get it

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Redge
November 30, 2021 12:24 am

But why would he “get it”, Richard Black didn’t want to “get it” in the first place, his closed mind won’t allow him to do so!!!

Vincent Causey
November 30, 2021 12:16 am

Sabine Hossenfelder recently did a video allegedly debunking the quantum erasure double slit experiment, picking up, supposedly on what nobody else has noticed. She is either a genius or somebody who over estimates their ability.

Reply to  Vincent Causey
November 30, 2021 1:39 am

Suspect she is the problem. Linky?

Vincent Causey
Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
November 30, 2021 1:12 pm

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Vincent Causey
November 30, 2021 7:19 am

Monty, I’ll choose door #2.

Reply to  Vincent Causey
November 30, 2021 10:21 am

Sabine Hossenfelder also did a long video with the climate “scientist” Tim Palmer in which Dr. Palmer repeats many Alarmist claims (toward the end of the video) that are contradicted by actual measurements. She (Isick Walton- should I say “It” as I don’t know Sabine’s pronouns?) didn’t challenge any of his (it’s, Isick?) false claims so they (both of them) appear to be ignorant of the actual data. I wrote to her (it, as in the apparently, but not necessarily, female-looking one) with links to the actual measurements pointing out the inconsistencies in his (it’s?) statements. She (it?) didn’t respond. Two points, 1) Sabine isn’t serious about educating the public about the poor state of climate “science” and 2) – Isick Walton is an idiot.

Jeremy Poynton
November 30, 2021 12:38 am

NASA scientists makes clear their inability to model clouds – 2019

NASA has conceded that climate models lack the precision required to make climate projections due to the inability to accurately model clouds. 
Clouds have the capacity to dramatically influence climate changes in both radiative longwave (the “greenhouse effect”) and shortwave.

Cloud cover domination in longwave radiation

In the longwave, clouds thoroughly dwarf the CO2 climate influence. According to Wong and Minnett (2018):”

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Jeremy Poynton
November 30, 2021 8:12 am

Part of the problem is that clouds are made up of H2O. H2O absorbs near IR from the sun. So when water vapor precipitates into droplets it absorbs near IR and turns back into vapor. This energy never gets to the surface (ocean/land). Do water droplets radiate longwave IR down to earth? Does water vapor radiate longwave IR down to earth? Does upwelling longwave radiation from the surface cause water droplets to return to vapor?

Try to find some actual physical research on how clouds and water vapor interact with radiation and even worse how convection affects radiation to/from clouds. Climate scientists are going to have to leave their office computers behind at some point and do actual physical work to measure these effects so real data can can be gathered.

Who knew?

Ed Zuiderwijk
November 30, 2021 12:44 am

Oreskes is unsettled about being settled.

November 30, 2021 2:08 am

Before the dust settles here, maybe high energy physicist Hossenfelder has not heard of Shaviv and Svensmark. CERN certainly has. They are the cloud guys.

GCR’s blow holes right through the settled model. Even CERN cannot compete!

Are GCR’s unsettling, as the silence here is deafening!

Last edited 1 month ago by bonbon
November 30, 2021 3:38 am

Somewhat OT, but interesting, even in concern of the “settled science” 😀

“Megafauna extinctions led to more grassland fires worldwide
Continents that lost the most large grazing herbivores over the past 50,000 years have seen the biggest increases in grassland and savannah fires”

Last edited 1 month ago by Krishna Gans
November 30, 2021 4:45 am

 and glaciers are dying.”

I always thought glaciers were just big chunks of ice. Who knew they were actually alive all this time.

What is their average life expectancy? Maybe they’re just dying of old age. It happens to the best of us.

Reply to  Sailorcurt
November 30, 2021 4:53 am

Even worse, any discussion of stellar nucleosynthesis ends up with dying stars. Nuclear physics has become a galactic undertaker.

Reply to  Sailorcurt
November 30, 2021 8:55 am

Oozing down to a puddle isn’t the way I would choose to go out.

So I want no existential similarly to glaciers, thank you very much.

November 30, 2021 5:55 am

It would be interesting to see how sensitive the climate models are to the cloud parameter. Do a model run with the cloud scalar at a negative 50% from the mean value and another run at the plus 50% of the mean. How wildy would those runs diverge? I would assume our best understanding of clouds and cloudiness for any future period of time could be easily off by +/- 50%

November 30, 2021 6:15 am

I’ve never understood Dr. Spencer’s position on the accumulation of uncertainty in iterative models.

The models run an iteration and the results include various endpoint values AND ERROR MARGINS around each of those values.

So, for the next iteration, the starting points are uncertain…a range of starting points exist. No? Each of those myriad of starting points ends up with its own result and error margins. Errors can add or cancel, but the magnitude if *possible* errors always grows (there is always error in each direction).

Roy must be asserting that the error in one iteration will usually be negated in subsequent iterations. Is that possible? Yes, but what exactly is Roy’s basis for that assertion? That behavior could occur in a system where maximum possible errors are definable… like a phase change temperature barrier condition that has ZERO chance of ever being exceeded. I don’t see that in this discussion where hundredths of a degree errors must accumulate into tenths of a degree uncertainty in the *starting points* in subsequent iterations.

I suspect that the expansion of uncertainty is more constrained than Dr. Frank suggests, but the Modelers seem to be conceeding NO GROWTH of uncertainty, and that is certainly not plausible. I’ve never seen such a model when trying to model reality… where uncertainty is unavoidable.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  DocSiders
November 30, 2021 7:33 am

It boils down to looking at the last iteration and seeing uncertainties of lots of degrees — and then deciding that because there is no way “errors” could be this large, the UA must be wrong. Spencer falls into a common trap by thinking uncertainty is the same as error, it is not.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  DocSiders
November 30, 2021 8:18 am

The question at this point is not what the uncertainty value truly is but whether the predicted value is inside the uncertainty range. A value of 0.001±0.1 is beyond uncertain.

Reply to  DocSiders
November 30, 2021 8:53 am

Pat Frank cleared that up here at WUWT – numerous climateers confuse uncertainty with ACTUAL temp. swings, a really basic failure.

Gordon A. Dressler
November 30, 2021 7:01 am

Hmmmm . . . just noting that in the top graphic above the ensemble-of-climate computer models’ range of total cloud fraction errors/disagreements from North pole to South pole is ± 30%. Cloud coverage is a very key determinate of solar energy that reaches Earth’s surface and thereby warms the planet on a daily-yearly basis.

Nevertheless, to adapt an old saying: ± 30%? . . . close enough for intergovernmental panel work.

/sarc off

David Dibbell
November 30, 2021 7:59 am

Presumably, the purpose of climate modeling is to simulate what happens to the magnitude and disposition of energy absorbed from the sun with increasing GHG concentrations in the atmosphere: will there really be more energy stored in the land and oceans, or will it all end up being emitted back to space with little or no effect?

The problem with expecting any reliable answer, ever, from the large-grid, discrete-layer, step-iterated, parameter-tuned models is that, “you can’t get there from here” numerically. Pat Frank has shown this formally, as given here again in this posting.

For those so inclined, go to this paper, “Structure and Performance of GFDL’s CM4.0 Climate Model” by Held, et al.

About clouds, there was purposeful tuning prioritizing TOA fluxes over cloud simulation itself:

“The tuning of AM4.0’s cloud scheme focused on these TOA fluxes rather than on cloud process level constraints on water/ice content or droplet size. While the results do not guarantee accurate cloud feedbacks to climate change, the ability to fit seasonal changes is a relevant constraint. Future development will need to focus on satisfying observational constraints on process level cloud variables while minimizing any loss of realism in the TOA fluxes.”

About the RMSE (root mean square error) of TOA (top of atmosphere) shortwave and longwave fluxes, see figures 15 to 17.

About precipitation, see figure 18. Note that a RMSE of 1 mm/day of precipitation represents about 29 W/m^2 (of latent energy conversion to heat or work.)

You would need, say, a hundred-fold or a thousand-fold improvement in the RMSE to ever reliably diagnose or project the single-digit W/m^2 theoretical “forcing” from GHG increases. And then the question will be, what is the uncertainty of the observed data to begin with? That’s why I say, “You can’t get there from here!”

November 30, 2021 7:59 am

The modelers’ dream (our nightmare) is to have a National Climate Service along the predictive lines of the National Weather Service, and they have a long way to go. All nonsense of course but the US still throws $2.6 billion a year at so-called climate research, which modeling is not.

November 30, 2021 8:52 am

Gotta keep the grant money flowing.

Andy Pattullo
November 30, 2021 10:29 am

After watching the Climate Change/Global Warming circus for all these years, I am convinced we do indeed need to invest more into understanding the entire dynamics of climate and weather, but we need to invest those resources in people who actually dedicate themselves to the principles of science, not political/social advocacy which seems where most of the money goes these days. We need transparency, objective oversight and high levels of accountability if we are going to bring true understanding from the efforts and resources expended. This means real consequences for shoddy, dishonest or totally incompetent work and rewards for getting it right. Everyone who deliberately lies to promote their own agenda should face a real risk of defunding followed by prosecution/litigation. If that could happen the air might clear very rapidly because the advocates of this nonsense are all cowards at heart.

November 30, 2021 12:30 pm

Would be good if they could predict the weather on Christmas Day, and the major weather events in 2022. Instead we get this from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology on Nov 25:
“December to February rainfall is likely to be above median for parts of eastern Australia, with highest chances for eastern Queensland.”
“December to February maximum temperatures are likely to be above median for most of Australia, with below median daytime temperatures likely for eastern NSW.”
“The La Niña in the Pacific Ocean and the positive Southern Annular Mode (SAM) state are likely influencing the above median rainfall outlooks.”
Their modelling is so imprecise, yet they know for sure what the temperatures will be in 2050 and 2100. Would be useful if they could predict the next drought.

Richard M
November 30, 2021 1:28 pm

From the latest NASA CERES data it appears that models will need to add ocean cycles such as the PDO and AMO to get even close to accurate cloud data. The data shows a significant reduction in clouds around 2014 that appears to be tied to the PDO. The added solar energy from fewer clouds led to an increase of +1.42 W/m2 from 2001 to 2020 (most of it in the last 6 years)
comment image

This energy is actually more than enough to explain all the warming over those 20 years. One might even conclude increasing CO2 provided cooling to offset some of that warming.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Richard M
December 2, 2021 7:00 am

Very interesting. Thanks.

Richard S Courtney
December 1, 2021 1:58 am

Eric Warrell,

You say,

Whatever your views on Dr. Spencer and Dr. Frank’s position, and anyone else involved in the climate model cloud debate, everyone seems to more or less agree clouds are a problem. Understanding clouds seems pretty fundamental to being able to model the global climate in detail. Modelling of clouds in current generation climate models is deeply flawed.

So I think we can safely conclude that Naomi Oreskes is wrong about the science being settled.

Yes, and the problem has been known for much longer that 2019 when Pat Frank published his report of the problem.

In 2005, Ron Miller and Gavin Schmidt, both of NASA GISS, provided an update of an evaluation of the leading US GCM which they first reported in 2001. They are U.S. climate modelers who used the NASA GISS GCM and they strongly promoted – and still promote – the AGW hypothesis. Their paper titled ‘Ocean & Climate Modeling: Evaluating the NASA GISS GCM’ was updated on 2005-01-10 and is available at

Its abstract says:

This preliminary investigation evaluated the performance of three versions of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies’ recently updated General Circulation Model E (GCM). This effort became necessary when certain Fortran code was rewritten to speed up processing and to better represent some of the interactions (feedbacks) of climate variables in the model. For example, the representation of clouds in the model was made to agree more with the satellite observational data thus affecting the albedo feedback mechanism. The versions of the GCM studied vary in their treatments of the ocean. In the first version, the Fixed-SST, the sea surface temperatures are prescribed from the obsevered seasonal cycle and the atmospheric response is calculated by the model. The second, the Q-Flux model, computes the SST and its response to atmospheric changes, but assumes the transport of heat by ocean currents is constant. The third treatment, called a coupled GCM (CGCM) is a version where an ocean model is used to simulate the entire ocean state including SST and ocean currents, and their interaction with the atmosphere. Various datasets were obtained from satellite, ground-based and sea observations. Observed and simulated climatologies of surface air temperature sea level pressure (SLP) total cloud cover (TCC), precipitation (mm/day), and others were produced. These were analyzed for general global patterns and for regional discrepancies when compared to each other. In addition, difference maps of observed climatologies compared to simulated climatologies (model minus observed) and for different versions of the model (model version minus other model version) were prepared to better focus on discrepant areas and regions. T-tests were utilized to reveal significant differences found between the different treatments of the model. It was found that the model represented global patterns well (e.g. ITCZ, mid-latitude storm tracks, and seasonal monsoons). Divergence in the model from observations increased with the introduction of more feedbacks (fewer prescribed variables) progressing from the Fixed–SST, to the coupled model. The model had problems representing variables in geographic areas of sea ice, thick vegetation, low clouds and high relief. It was hypothesized that these problems arose from the way the model calculates the effects of vegetation, sea ice and cloud cover. The problem with relief stems from the model’s coarse resolution. These results have implications for modeling climate change based on global warming scenarios. The model will lead to better understanding of climate change and the further development of predictive capability. As a direct result of this research, the representation of cloud cover in the model has been brought into agreement with the satellite observations by using radiance measured at a particular wavelength instead of saturation.

Subsequently, although the report is called a “preliminary investigation”, there has been no publication to refute its findings. This is not surprising because the difficulty was – and still is – lack of computing power to provide adequate spatial resolution for prediction of the physical effects of cloud formation and, therefore, those effects need to be parametrised.

The abstract was written by strong proponents of AGW but admitted the NASA GISS GCM had “problems representing variables in geographic areas of sea ice, thick vegetation, low clouds and high relief.” These still unresolved problems are severe. For example, clouds reflect solar heat and a mere 2% increase to cloud cover would more than compensate for the maximum possible predicted warming due to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the air. 

Good records of cloud cover are very short because cloud cover is measured by satellites that were not launched until the mid 1980s. But it appears that cloudiness decreased markedly between the mid 1980s and late 1990s. Over that period, the Earth’s reflectivity decreased to the extent that if there were a constant solar irradiance then the reduced cloudiness provided an extra surface warming of 5 to 10 Watts/sq metre. This is a lot of warming. It is between two and four times the entire warming estimated to have been caused by the build-up of human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. (The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that since the industrial revolution, the build-up of human-caused greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has had a warming effect of only 2.4 W/sq metre). So, the fact that the NASA GISS GCM has problems representing clouds must call into question the entire performance of the GCM. 


The abstract says;

the representation of cloud cover in the model has been brought into agreement with the satellite observations by using radiance measured at a particular wavelength instead of saturation

but this adjustment is a ‘fiddle factor’ because both the radiance and the saturation must be correct if the effect of the clouds is to be correct. There is no reason to suppose the adjustment will not induce the model to diverge from reality if other changes – e.g. alterations to greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere – are introduced into the model. Indeed, this problem of erroneous representation of low-level clouds could be expected to induce the model to provide incorrect indication of effects of changes to atmospheric GHGs because changes to clouds have much greater effect on climate than changes to GHGs.



Tom Abbott
Reply to  Richard S Courtney
December 2, 2021 7:09 am

Excellent post, Richard. As usual.

You wrote: “For example, clouds reflect solar heat and a mere 2% increase to cloud cover would more than compensate for the maximum possible predicted warming due to a doubling of carbon dioxide in the air.”

Muller also says a two percent increase in clouds would offset all CO2 warming. I think he was figuring this based on an ECS of about 3C.

Captain climate
December 1, 2021 4:14 am

Global warming is seriously dangerous give us money to understand it and spread the word that it’s a problem. Oh no you all think it’s a problem now well hold on a second we’re not sure we need more money to study it further.

%d bloggers like this: