National Satellite Meteorological Center of China Meteorological Administration

Updated Climate Models Clouded by Scientific Biases, Researchers Find

Peer-Reviewed Publication


Satellite captured cloudy Southern Ocean

Clouds can cool or warm the planet’s surface, a radiative effect that contributes significantly to the global energy budget and can be altered by human-caused pollution. The world’s southernmost ocean, aptly named the Southern Ocean and far from human pollution but subject to abundant marine gases and aerosols, is about 80% covered by clouds. How does this body of water and relationship with clouds contribute to the world’s changing climate?

Researchers are still working to figure it out, and they’re now one step closer, thanks to an international collaboration identifying compensation errors in widely used climate model protocols known as CMIP6. They published their findings on September 20 in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.

“Cloud and radiation biases over the Southern Ocean have been a long-lasting problem in the past generations of global climate models,” said corresponding author Yuan Wang, now an associate professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University. “After the latest CMIP6 models were released, we were anxious to see how they performed and whether the old problems were still there.”

CMIP6, a project of the World Climate Research Programme, allows for the systematic assessment of climate models to illuminate how they compare to each other and real-world data. In this study, Wang and the researchers analyzed five of the CMIP6 models that aim to serve as standard references.

Wang said the researchers were also motivated by other studies in the field that point to the Southern Ocean’s cloud coverage as a contributing factor to some CMIP6 models’ high sensitivity, when the simulations predict a surface temperature that rises too quickly for the rate of increased radiation. In other words, if improperly simulated, the Southern Ocean clouds may cast a shadow of doubt on the projection of future climate change.

“This paper emphasizes compensating errors in the cloud physical properties in spite of overall improvement of radiation simulation over the Southern Ocean,” Wang said. “With space satellite observations, we are able to quantify those errors in the simulated cloud microphysical properties, including cloud fraction, cloud water content, cloud droplet size and more, and further reveal how each contributes to the total bias in the cloud radiative effect.”

The cloud radiative effect — how clouds interfere radiation to warm or cool the surface — is largely determined by the physical properties of the cloud. “Cloud radiative effects in CMIP6 are comparable with satellite observations, but we found there are large compensating biases in cloud fraction liquid water path and droplet effective radius,” Wang said. “The major implication is that, even though the latest CMIP models improve the simulation of their mean states, such as radiation fluxes at the top of the atmosphere, the detailed cloud processes are still of large uncertainty.”

According to Wang, this discrepancy also partially explains why the model climate sensitivity assessments do not perform as well, since those assessments rely on model detailed physics — rather than the mean state performance — to evaluate the overall effect on the climate.

“Our future work will aim to pin down individual parameterizations that are responsible for these biases,” Wang said. “Hopefully, we can work closely with model developers to get them solved. After all, the ultimate goal of any model evaluation study is to help improve those models.”

Other contributors include Lijun Zhao and Yuk L. Yung, Division of Geology and Planetary Science, California Institute of Technology; Chuanfeng Zhao, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University; and Xiquan Dong, Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona.


Advances in Atmospheric Sciences




Compensating Errors in Cloud Radiative and Physical Properties over the Southern Ocean in the CMIP6 Climate Models



From EurekAlert!

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Steve Case
September 21, 2022 10:56 pm

“…clouds may cast a shadow of doubt on the projection of future climate change.”

That’s right, clouds cast a shadow. Clouds form because of more evaporation causing more water vapor resulting in more precipitation. Says so right in the IPCC assessment reports. The IPCC doesn’t say more clouds, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure that part out. Here’s my favorite link for that:

IPCC FAR Chapter 10 Page 750
Mean Precipitation
For a future warmer climate, the current generation of models indicates that precipitation generally increases in the areas of regional tropical precipitation maxima (such as the monsoon regimes) and over the tropical Pacific in particular, with general decreases in the subtropics, and increases at high latitudes as a consequence of a general intensification of the global hydrological cycle. Globally averaged mean water vapour, evaporation and precipitation are projected to increase. 

And it doesn’t take much more head scratching to figure out that more clouds reflect more of the sun’s radiation back out to space and constitutes negative feed back. Willis E. Has banged on about that in more detail many times on these WUWT pages. If you still don’t understand the concept, it rains every afternoon in the tropics. There’s a reason Hawaii has a rainbow on its license plates.

Reply to  Steve Case
September 22, 2022 6:42 am

Steve: – ” The IPCC doesn’t say more clouds, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure that part out. ”

comment image

Have a look to the website: —click <climate+clouds> – you will find lots of information and plotted data for clouds, water vapor, relative + specific humidity…and much more.

Over land we (still) have an average of 38W/m² evaporation / over oceans it`s 100W/m².
During a drought, evaporation tends to zero with every day without rain.
! A regional feedback amount of theoretical 38W/m² due to missing evaporation,
but if that is not enough for you to explain thermal runaway over land areas,
you can consult the clouds.

Without or less evaporation –> no or less clouds – keeping an average of -19W/m² away from the surface. – A terrible deadly vicious circle for nature.
Huge amounts of solar energy are used on the earth’s surface but also within the troposphere for the non-temperature-increasing process of evaporation. Even if this energy is released again through condensation in the atmosphere – it is an energy transport in the right direction to space. The production of clouds during condensation also increases the cooling efficiency of water.

The more intensive this dissipating water cycle takes place, the cooler the temperature structure of air and soil will be.
In order to prevent rising temperatures over land areas, there is no alternative to an adequate supply of water, because without available water in the soil only increasing, sensible heat and LW radiation are available as land surface cooling.

A humanity that has drained land areas for thousands of years and thus today continues to have a steadily reducing influence on the evaporation rate on 94 Mio. km² of the ice-free land area – is surprised today (how dumb) that it has one foot in the desert and the other in hell – and is confronted with increasing record temperatures, droughts and crop failures.

Using the reduced rH by 1% over land…(-0,22% / decade)

comment image

I calculated a ~10% lack of evaporation over land accumulated by land use change and closed stomata of vegetation of ~ 6800 km³/y within the last 50-75 years alone.
This can explain a warming effect of ~ +3.5W/m² on the land surface – but also the quickly spreading global desertification.

Not so much the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2), but the loss of evaporative landscapes and clouds is the main cause of climate change.

The stupidity of the IPCC can now even be proven relatively “watertight”.
In their graphs on cooling & warming contributions of climate factors, the cooling factor “land-use reflectance / irrigation” < (~ -0.125°C) appears for the first time in the history of the IPCC in 2020/8.

comment image

Thus, the albedo is assessed over land-use-changed areas such as cities (~1.5 million km²) and global agriculture (~48 million km²).
Global irrigation/y is ~2600 km³, with only ~1000 km³ going to evaporation and 1600 km³ lost to surface or underground runoff.

If the IPCC now for the first time ascribes a cooling effect to the “additional evaporation” via irrigation, that is correct…
BUT – WHERE IS THE WARMING EFFECT ??? – that humans continue to exert through “additional drainage, sealing…etc. etc.

These warming of +3.5W/m² are attributed “generously” as the water vapor feedback to CO2 emissions by the IPCC,
…continuously rising (record) temperatures have been (BOM) measured over land for decades and blindly ascribed their increase to global warming caused by GHE & climate gases –
!!! but the only thing missing is evaporation on land, water or intelligent water management.

BTW — With 6800 km³/y of water, plants can absorb about 25-50 Gt CO2 through photosynthesis (1m³ evapotranspiration = 3.7 – 7.4Kg CO2 absorption).
More than mankind produces annually.

There would have been no appreciable climate change since 1750 due to the burning of fossil fuels if mankind had not ironed down millions of km² of moors, (rain) forests, wetlands and vegetation so mercilessly stupidly.

My GEB / land+9L/m² graph show how we can cool the land surface by evaporation of ~1250 km³ Water – and cool the earth by clouds.

comment image?w=775&zoom=2

detailed info:

Steve Case
Reply to  macias
September 22, 2022 10:20 am

Yes in the details as you point out. I was referring to the summary for policy makers that I like to link to. Very few people including me delve into the details. The summaries do leave stuff out that tends to mitigate the effect of the hysterical narrative that’s been with us for over 40 years.

Reply to  macias
September 22, 2022 6:39 pm

I’m giving Macias an upvote for this comment.

My first observations and questions about human activities on climate(s) came about through my hours upon hours of staring down on cleared, cultivated landscapes from 30,000 feet on hundreds of hours of business trips to many parts of the world from 1973 through 2017.

Now I make do with Google Earth.

But the extent of land areas now used to grow food to feed us all must induce some sorts of effects on how weather patterns used to function before such areas were clearfelled then planted with seasonal flora.

But C02 as the control knob for climates? –
I call bullshit on that one.

Reply to  Steve Case
September 23, 2022 1:27 am

And, evaporation cools both the water surface and the air where the water is evaporated into. This principle is what evaporative coolers/swamp coolers use. Then after clouds have blocked the heat source(the sun), and dumped the heat far away from where it was absorbed, cold rain falls on the ground cooling it even more.

The water cycle is cooling every step of the way.

September 21, 2022 11:59 pm

These so called scientists won’t get very far unless they include the fact that at evaporation Water absorbs the energy of radiation and converts it to Latent Heat in the Vapor produced.
This takes place at CONSTANT TEMPERATURE which means that the sensitivity is virtually ZERO.
Evaporation and Condensation occurs continuously in the climate so the above fact has a considerable influence on the global SENSITIVITY value.

One can but ask here whether any of the CMIP6 models include the above in their calculations

September 22, 2022 12:31 am

Updated Climate Models Clouded by UNSCIENTIFIC Biases, Researchers Find

Reply to  DRSulik
September 22, 2022 9:15 pm

Could also go with:

Updated Climate Models Clouded by Scientism Biases, Researchers Find


Updated Climate Models Clouded by “The Science” Biases, Researchers Find

September 22, 2022 2:12 am

Always trust compooter models from people with letters after their name-
A VNI West puzzle: What is it about this modelling that looks a bit odd? | RenewEconomy
Lest doubts and impure thoughts creep in and …gulp!…that way leads to the dark side and the dooming.

September 22, 2022 2:31 am

The floods are slowly inundating everything, yet some scientists still don’t know what is causing the warming. In fact, it doesn’t matter at the moment because now only geoengineering can provide a temporary solution.

Bob B.
Reply to  Michael
September 22, 2022 3:25 am

I am hoping you forgot the /sarc tag

Reply to  Bob B.
September 22, 2022 5:57 am

Maybe it was washed away by the floods, they are inundating everything after all.

Reply to  Michael
September 22, 2022 3:38 am

“geoengineering can provide a temporary solution.”

As there is no problem this temporary solution of yours is surplus to requirement.

Richard Page
Reply to  Michael
September 22, 2022 4:34 am

“Geoengineering can provide a permanent new problem that will need to be resolved.”
There – fixed it for you.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Michael
September 22, 2022 10:56 am

This is doubly funny because over at SciTechDaily, one of your Brothers in Hand Waving is claiming the whole world is in a drought:

September 22, 2022 3:15 am

Clouds also have extraterrestrial influences.

Not fashionable, but maybe worth considering them

September 22, 2022 4:09 am

So, they are saying the previous models were wrong?

Quick! Somebody tell the politicians before they screw up the World’s economy.

Oops! Too late.

Richard Page
September 22, 2022 4:32 am

Oh. Completely off topic I know but couldn’t resist. Jacob Rees-Mogg has now officially lifted the pause on fracking and the UK government is now looking at a round of oil and gas leases (including fracking) in October. The usual suspects, along with some Tory MP’s, have been screaming since the announcements.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Richard Page
September 22, 2022 10:34 am

The UK needs to secure its energy supply. This looks like a good start towards that goal. Without a secure energy supply, everything comes tumbling down.

Richard Page
Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 22, 2022 12:16 pm

Very true. What was interesting was the contrast between Rees-Mogg’s common sense approach and Milliband’s irrational ideology and veiled threats. One step at a time but it’s the right path to be on.

September 22, 2022 4:36 am

Climate “models”…’nuff said.

Reply to  RevJay4
September 22, 2022 10:03 am

Are we talking about pretty women in skimpy bathing suits on Caribbean beaches? They run a little hot, too.

Bob Hunter
Reply to  RevJay4
September 22, 2022 1:15 pm

 Exactly AND “the Southern Ocean clouds may cast a shadow of doubt on the projection of future climate change.” However, the modellers will just change something else in their extremely complicated programs to get their desired result.
I believe the only thing that will change the alarmists belief is time. i.e. about 30 years when Antarctica, Arctic, Greenland and glaciers will have a negligible change in ice.

Kevin kilty
September 22, 2022 5:40 am

I am not familiar enough with these advanced climate models to say what they can do, or not do, but I wrote heat transfer codes for geothermal work forty years ago and I know about errors that reside in code. For at least thirty years I have been brow-beaten by the wide-eyed modeling fanatics about how good the models are and how we need to believe. For these same thirty years I keep reading about improvements to the models. Some of these sound rather substantial. This press release about improving things as fundamental as getting surface warming and top of the atmosphere to balance better corroborates my suspicion that these models are not suitable for the uses they are being put to.

This is a lot like the advertising for commercial products. The new and improved version hyped to the skies, suggesting inadvertently that the old product must have been pretty bad.

Richard Page
Reply to  Kevin kilty
September 22, 2022 12:20 pm

No matter how advanced or superbly designed the structure is, if the foundations are crap, it will fail badly. Every model is built on a faulty premise which introduces failure right from the start. Scrap the lot and start over with better ideology!

Dave Fair
Reply to  Richard Page
September 22, 2022 1:35 pm

Start over with NO ideology.

Pat from Traralgon
Reply to  Richard Page
September 22, 2022 8:18 pm

“Starting over with better ideology” is a bit like me telling you “Don’t think of an elephant.”

  • It’s easy to say but harder to put into practice.
Reply to  Kevin kilty
September 24, 2022 8:04 am

Computer simulations (models) are like masturbation. It’s easy to comfuse them with the real thing.

September 22, 2022 7:11 am

But why do we give the Nobel Prize for the worst climate model?

Reply to  John Shewchuk
September 22, 2022 8:21 am

Manabe was miles ahead of the pack , received a Nobel for his knowledge, not “models” as the uglytube drivel states.

Read his paper here and you can find info (say Table9) that is still breaking news. Have a learn…

Reply to  DMacKenzie
September 22, 2022 8:33 am

That paper reflects an impressive amount of work — which created the climate model that produced the least accurate results. Even more impressive is the Russian model, which had the best verification stats, and of course the Russians know it’s the sun that drives climate change — not CO2 …

Reply to  DMacKenzie
September 22, 2022 5:59 pm

Manabe was an incompetent climate modeller. This is the reason given for the Nobel award:
“Syukuro Manabe demonstrated how increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to increased temperatures at the surface of the Earth,” 

Manabe is now the useful idiot. He knows the models are nonsense but he still accepted the Nobel Prize in physics.

Any connection CO2 has to global warming is unmeasurable.

If CO2 was able to influence the energy balance directly then there would be GLOBAL warming. It is plainly clear there is NO global warming. So CO2 would need to be highly selective in what it warms. cools or leaves untouched.

The Southern Ocean is cooling. The tropics have zero trend. The NH is warming as expected due to increasing solar intensity on average and notably spring that drives the summer temperatures. NH April solar intensity at 40N – 0.0 is J2000:
-0.500  375.423566
   -0.400   375.813785
   -0.300   376.204330
   -0.200   376.594883
   -0.100   376.985132
    0.000   377.374769
    0.100   377.765110
    0.200   378.154160
    0.300   378.541432
    0.400   378.926421
    0.500   379.308615

Reply to  RickWill
September 22, 2022 7:30 pm

I think the quote you gave is someone’s interpretation of what they think Manabe did. What he did, basically with sliderules in the 1960’s is a different breed than today’s GCM’s with hundreds of parameters to guesstimate.
Maybe you should start here with his 1961 paper and see if it bears resemblance to what you feel is a “model”.
And Southern Ocean cooling isn’t even related to Manabe’s paper…

Reply to  DMacKenzie
September 22, 2022 8:07 pm

The quote I provided was from the awarding committee:

He accepted the award in the full knowledge that climate models are useless for long-term prediction. He is nothing more than a useful idiot.

The paper is naive crap related to weather forecasts. There is nothing in there about convective instability or sea ice formation. They are the factors that control earth’s energy balance. Weather forecasts are good for a few days. Thinking that weather models can be extended to climate prediction is nothing short of stupidity.

Reply to  RickWill
September 23, 2022 10:32 am

Yeah, like I said, what someone else thinks Manabe did rather than reading his paper….much like yourself….

September 22, 2022 10:15 am

this is off-topic, but related somewhat…

I believe that the models are at least mathematically chaotic (butterfly-effect chaotic) and I wonder if any of them have been run multiple times with slightly varying input values to see how much variation is in the end results and how long in projected time the results start to vary significantly.

It is possible that one or more of my assumptions are incorrect, ie, models are not chaotic, the results are terminated before the resulting values vary, But I have wondered about this.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  yara
September 22, 2022 11:05 am

I wonder if any of them have been run multiple times with slightly varying input values

Standard Operating Procedure called “ensembles.” From what I can tell, it provides an estimate of the range of outputs of all the models, without validating the assumption that the mean is accurate.

The way I see it is that logically there can only be one best forecast — probably the Russian model. Averaging that with all the models that are inferior leads to a bias towards the inferior models that appear to be running hot. GIGO

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
September 22, 2022 5:46 pm

Any climate model that shows a warming trend in the Southern Ocean is WRONG. They are all WRONG, including the Russian Model.

If they cannot get the trend in the right direction for the Southern Ocean or have anything but zero trend in the Nino34 region then the model can be dismissed as BS. All models can be dismissed as BS. The concept of GHE influencing Earth’s energy balance has no basis in physics. Models that embody this unphysical claptrap forecast meaningless claptrap.

September 22, 2022 3:01 pm

“Our future work will aim to pin down individual parameterizations that are responsible for these biases,” 

So parameters are wrong but we will work on getting them right.

This is all you need to know about climate models. THEY ARE UNRELATED TO OBSERVABLE PHYSICS. They rely on fiddles.

The whole concept of GHE only occurs in climate phiisics. Laws written by politicians.

The cloud persistence in the Southern Ocean is simply related to the surface temperature never getting above 15C. They is no convective instability. It is all condensing cloud that slows the rate of cooling because the atmosphere is often fully saturated. Meaning no surface evaporation so primary heat loss through convection to cloud tops.

Once above 15C, an LFC can form and that reduces the average relatively humidity as instability sets in. See attached showing variation of RH with ocean surface temperature.

The cloud works both ways because it makes the surface slow to respond to sunshine. It takes 192W/m^2 change in solar EMR to shift the Southern Ocean temperature one degree centigrade.

The reason the Southern Ocean is cooling is because it is has been getting less solar EMR for a long time. The peak December sunlight was 3.5kys ago. It is dropping at 0.5W/m^2 per century.

Pat Frank
September 22, 2022 4:33 pm

Cloud error alone is enough to make CMIP5 simulations about 1000× too coarse to resolve the tiny perturbation of CO₂ emissions, and the CMIP6 models are no better.

The whole of consensus climatology is no more than pseudoscience. A subjectivist narrative decorated with mathematics.

Reply to  Pat Frank
September 22, 2022 7:38 pm

Sounds like a cranky response Dr. Pat….so not very helpful….your youtube video is…

Pat Frank
Reply to  DMacKenzie
September 23, 2022 9:33 am

Why is it cranky to point out a demonstration, DM?

Reply to  Pat Frank
September 23, 2022 10:53 am

My humble apologies….I didn’t realize your links to appropriate thought food were “right before my eyes”!
My opinion of “helpful” for WUWT comments is if one has an expressible viewpoint to back it up with links to papers or videos, calcs, or whatever night cause readers to do a bit of study themselves to determine the plausibility of the statements made. Which you did…

Pat Frank
Reply to  DMacKenzie
September 23, 2022 1:37 pm

Thank-you, DM. 🙂

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