Climate change computer models flawed, contradict data

| June 14, 2014 | 4 Comments

Climate change scientists can’t explain 16-year pause in global warming

By Michelle Stirling-Anosh  

During a presentation in Calgary recently, economist Ross McKitrick told his audience that we should be more concerned about the flaws inherent in climate change models than the current 16-plus year pause in global warming.

climate change

Not all climate change scientists agree and there is no “consensus” on the impact of human activity.

McKitrick pointed out that historically computer models had had some parity with recorded temperatures, but that changed when the models began to dramatically depart from observed temperatures after 1998. Prior to that, the longest previous span of separation was nine years. The present disparity is now into its 16th year.

Climate models are based on perhaps the most complex mathematical models ever designed, but they are still just a crude approximation of the intricacies of natural forces, such as that of the ocean-atmospheric systems.

While the models have been consistently predicting significantly rising temperatures, actual temperatures are flat. From 1998 to 2014 carbon dioxide (CO2) levels rose 9 per cent with no rise in temperatures, contradicting the fundamental premise of Anthropogenic Global Warming. That must mean there is a basic flaw in the climate model. Climate model error growth is cumulative and compounding.

McKitrick told his audience that warming trends have in fact fallen off since 2000, which indicates that global temperatures are actually cooling.

Using another forecasting tool called the Integrated Assessment Models, economists try to assess the ‘social costs of carbon’ to set policy on carbon taxes. Unfortunately, as these are calibrated to the faulty climate models, errors are amplified.


The margins of error in the climate model, McKitrick said, are by no means small. The climate models’ predicted a global surface temperature rise from 1998 to 2013 that is five times the actual temperature rise as determined by the Hadley Center in the UK. In fact, he said the divergence between observed temperatures and climate model predictions is now so great it is unlikely they will converge again.

Basing public policy on these exaggerated and flawed models should concern us all, McKitrick added, because governments use them to set greenhouse gas reduction targets and climate policies. Those policies affect the cost of everything, from our insurance rates to our vehicle prices to our home energy bill, to the sustainability of our investments and pension funds.

The likely error in the models, McKitrick said, stems from the fact that the effect of CO2 on warming, or the climate sensitivity of CO2, has been exaggerated.

Further, as Israeli astrophysicist Nir Shaviv says, the models exclude the quantifiable effect of the sun: “. . . the IPCC is still doing its best to avoid the evidence that the sun has a large effect on climate. They of course will never admit this quantifiable effect because it would completely tear down the line of argumentation for a mostly man-made global warming of a very sensitive climate.”

And while governments are using flawed calculations to set emissions taxes and targets, ironically these calculations generally omit the benefits of our modern, carbon-based society – such as medical, educational, work and recreational opportunities, not to mention the benefits of higher crop production which results from CO2 fertilization.

McKitrick also warned his audience not to be fooled by the apparent precision of the social cost of carbon damages, calculated to seven digits, citing economist Robert S. Pindyck who wrote in the Journal of Economic Literature that: “[The] models are so deeply flawed as to be close to useless as tools for policy analysis. Worse yet, their use suggests a level of knowledge and precision that is simply illusory, and can be highly misleading.”

McKitrick advises policy makers to wait two to four years before deciding if any drastic new climate policy measures are necessary.

In the meantime, public and policy makers should also be wary of claims of the alleged social costs of carbon that fail to account for the benefits.

Michelle Stirling-Anosh is the Communications Manager of Friends of Science. Ross McKitrick’s presentation “The Pause in Global Warming: Climate Policy Implications” can be viewed online http://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?id=750

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Category: Environment

Comments (4)

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  1. Bill Butler says:

    The reason that the phrase “Global Warming Deniers” is used is that the “Deniers” ignore demonstrable evidence, and fabricate stories and “facts” that are not true.

    For example, the statement
    “Climate change scientists can’t explain 16-year pause in global warming.”
    is NOT true.

    There has been NO “16-year pause in global warming”.

    Despite the fantasies of Global Warming Deniers, the earth continues to warm at the rate of 4 Hiroshima atomic bombs per second – running 24/7 – including the years from 1998 to present.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/4-Hiroshima-bombs-worth-of-heat-per-second.html
    Earth’s Rate Of Global Warming Is 400,000 Hiroshima Bombs A Day
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/22/3089711/global-warming-hiroshima-bombs/#
    Four Hiroshima bombs a second: How we imagine climate change
    http://phys.org/news/2013-08-hiroshima-climate.html
    This measured/observed warming rate is via the Argo buoy system. http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/About_Argo.html

    2005 was warmer than any previous year. Then 2010 broke the 2005 record. Data at:
    NOAA/National Climate Data Center
    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/anomalies.php

    2012 was the warmest year on record for the United States.
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/ncdc-announces-warmest-year-record-contiguous-us

    Sea level continues to rise due to thermal expansion and glacial melting. The rate of sea level rise has quadrupled since the 1870 to 1924 period.
    Columbia University
    http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/SeaLevel/

    Glaciers continue to melt, and the rate of melting has accelerated since 1998.
    World Glacier Monitoring Service
    http://www.wgms.ch/mbb/sum12.html

    Ocean heating has accelerated sharply since 1998. (Note: Over 90% of Global Warming ends up heating the oceans.)
    Graph at:
    http://www.durangobill.com/GwdLiars/GwdOceanHeat.jpg
    Full peer reviewed paper at:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50382/full
    Up to date info at:
    NOAA/National Oceanographic Data Center
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/ (click on “2”)

    Finally, November 2013 just set a record for the warmest November in history, and April 2014 tied for the warmest April.
    NOAA/National Climate Data Center
    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/anomalies.php

    More at:
    http://www.durangobill.com/GwdLiars/GwdGlobalWarmingStoppedIn1998.html

  2. VanIslGuy says:

    Thanks to Mr. Butler for presenting a forceful repudiation of the misinformation conveyed by your writer. This isn’t news. It’s propaganda, the advancement of denialism. The nonsense spewed by this McKitrick character purports to refute the research and findings of every major scientific body in the developed world including the national academies of science of every OECD nation, NASA, NOAA, NCAR, Environment Canada, the EPA, Britain’s Meteorological Office, Germany’s WBGU, and the Royal Society. If McKitrick wants to cite the Hadley Centre, let him present their findings. He doesn’t. He picks one bit of data and then spins it and you then echo his nonsense. Hadley has, by the way, dealt with the controversy McKitrick seeks to create but, of course, there’s no mention of that in this bit of faux-journalism.

  3. ray delcolle says:

    “Temperatures and sea levels are rising faster than many models said they would. If anything, climate models underestimate future change.” http://clmtr.lt/c/IAk0BaX0cMJ

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