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New Study Increases Concerns About Climate Model Reliability

ScienceDaily – December 12, 2007

If you read this site on a regular basis, this will be no surprise to you. A couple fairly prominent and outspoken scientists are trying to explain that the computer models that are used for predicting the massive problems of the future are not quite as accurate and foretelling as some will have you believe.

Many people will say that the climate projections are good enough and we should go into massive retooling of the worlds economy based on this small amount of information. This is the common theme over at RealClimate. While the jury is still out, in my opinion, as to what the future holds for us, there is no question that we do not have very good evidence on either side of the issue. The current models make numerous assumptions and any errors in the logic will tend to exaggerate over time.

Scientists question computerized climate-change models  – September 26, 2007

As anyone that has read this site regularly can attest, I am disappointed in the state of our technology when it comes to understanding and predicting our climate with computerized models.  I have repeatedly called for the dedication of more funds and more brain power on this problem. The entire global warming discussion is based on the use of computer models and it seems foolish to me that we should spend billions of dollars on preventing global warming when we can’t first spend a few millions to improve our ability to forecast and model the climate.

Simple model for Global Warming

I am doing something a little different for this posting. I am referencing a site by one of the more frequent commenters on this site, Mike Alexander. Dr. Alexander holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering and has written a variety of books on things that interest him (see his financial analysis books here). Luckily for us, his interest also includes the changes to the global climate.

Dr. Alexander put out a rather straight-forward discussion on global warming that is primarily focused on the greenhouse effect. While the goal of this discussion was to keep it “simple” you will definitely need to strap on your thinking cap to follow all of the math. If you are math challenged, the wording around the equations is fairly easy to follow.

Why global climate models do not give a realistic description of the local climate

RealClimate – May 27, 2007

I have written about this excellent site often (here and here and here and here and here) but I really must encourage all of my regular readers to read this article on climate models.  As you know, I regularly have called for more effort to be done in this area of computer technology as I honestly believe that the climate scientists need a concerted effort for a rapid increase in capability in handling massive amounts of numbers and equations in parallel.

Toward regional-scale modeling using the two-way nested global model TM5: Characterization of transport using SF6

Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 109 – October 12, 2004

I am not going to encourage you to read the source article.  I think that is the first time I am making that suggestion.  There are two main reasons:

  1. it costs $9 to buy it (and you can probably find a better way to spend your 9 bucks)
  2. it is a very difficult read.  I am not a meteorologist but I do have an engineering degree and even I struggled with this.  I know that I have several climate scientists as regular readers and I am sure they would understand much of the article but for the rest of my readers, I expect this is a little too deep.


Science Now – Fall 1999

Yes, I realize this is an old article.  I am posting it here not because it is news but because it is well written regarding climate models.  We need good climate models in order to predict the future of our planet and the weather that surrounds it.  Take a minute to read the below excerpts and then jump to the article and read the rest.  It is worth your time if you are interested in this subject.

The first part of the article discusses how climate models work.  This is especially worth your time.

EdGCM Educational Global Climate Modeling

Unfortunately, I was not able to load this software when I first tried.  My internet connection was not up to the task.  However, I wanted to let my readers know about this tool that promises to be very educational. 

One of the big challenges of climate science is the model that is used to predict the future.  Essentially, scientists must take a small amount of historical data and then predict what is going to happen in the future to accomplish a scenario that has never happened in the past.  This is extremely difficult and is subject to extreme interpretation.

Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions

Ohio State University – February 15, 2007

This is an extremely strong article that basically says the models that some scientists are using to predict doom and gloom are not complete or not correct. Interesting that this report comes out only days after IPCC report gave a 90% chance that humans are causing global warming.

I don’t understand how he can say that the models are not exact and then the global population is supposed to take these same models, assume the sky is falling, and spend billions of dollars trying to correct it.

What I Learned about Climate Change: The Science is not Settled

David Siegel discusses his current views on climate change and how he arrived at those conclusions. It is an excellent read, especially for someone that is open to scientific reasoning on why the science of climate change (or global warming) is simply not settled. In fact, if the science on global warming is settled, it would have to be concluded that man in the form of carbon dioxide production, has some but a slight influence on the climate.

Mr. Siegel claims that this paper supports ten statements. He then says that he will back those statements during the paper. Unfortunately, my reading is ineffective at substantiating his ninth statement. I tend to say that there is some pretty substantial evidence of destruction of reef systems by changes in the acidification of the ocean and there appears to be some linkage between acidification and levels of carbon dioxide.

Less feedback forcing than previously guessed at

Most of the long-term climate models show feedback from an increase of carbon dioxide that ultimately creates more carbon dioxide. The theory is that as CO2 increases, the temperature increases. As the temperature increases, it forces more CO2 to be released from CO2 sinks or it causes less CO2 to be absorbed. This extra CO2 causes a dramatic increase in temperature – which releases more CO2. Many of the models that predicted the end of world had this increase in CO2 and temperature. It really wasn’t the CO2 from man that was the problem, it was the tipping point that was reached by man’s CO2.