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« The eagle has crash landed | Main | Tax-funded recessionmongers »
Thursday
Dec192013

A discrepancy

 

The Royal Meterological Society's evidence to the AR5 inquiry was apparently written by Emily Shuckburgh, incorporating comments from the society's Climate Science Communications Group, including Ed Hawkins, and the governing council. I was struck by their remarks about the reliability of climate models:

Does the AR5 address the reliability of climate models?

13. The Report devotes Chapter 9 to a comprehensive, balanced and realistic evaluation of climate models which is based on the published literature and draws extensively on the results of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5). As stated in the report (Chapter 9, final draft) climate models are based on physical principles, and they reproduce many important aspects of observed climate. We agree with the report when it states that both these aspects contribute to a “confidence in the models’ suitability for their application in detection and attribution studies and for quantitative future predictions and projections”, and when it notes that “whereas weather and seasonal climate predictions can be regularly verified, climate projections spanning a century or more cannot. This is particularly the case as anthropogenic forcing is driving the climate system toward conditions not previously observed in the instrumental record, and it will always be a limitation.”

This seems an astonishing thing to say, given Ed Hawkins' now iconic graph showing the divergence of the temperature record from the projections, to the verge of falsification. It seems like one story for the climate debate and another for the policymakers.

I've tweeted Ed to see if he can shed any light on the discrepancy.

 

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Reader Comments (30)

Rhoda predicts that you will not get one of the other side to come here and answer the awkward questions which have been posed here recently. I suggest that you put out the invitation with a commitment to strong moderation (oxymoron?) and rigid adherence to the topic. If they accept, I hope their contribution will be somewhat more honest than the hair-splitting we saw on the making fog thread.

Why don't the models match observation?

How can you propose unmodelled processes to explain the hiatus and still support the reliability of the models?

Why aren't the worst-performing models chucked out?

That should do.

Dec 19, 2013 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

"...anthropogenic forcing is driving the climate system toward conditions not previously observed in the instrumental record..."

So all the time and money squandered (sorry - invested) in AR5 was totally unnecessary - Shuckburgh already knows what's driving the climate.

Dec 19, 2013 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

note that qualifying 'a' in "contribute to a “confidence in the models’ suitability ..."

Dec 19, 2013 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndyL

Let's face it, that just a lie, either through zeal or ignorance.
I favour the second for most of them, as they do not seem to have the ability to read between the lines of what AR5 says and excludes.

Dec 19, 2013 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterA C Osborn

From IPCC Synthetis report / Tallbloke:

For the period 1998–2012, 111 of the 114 climate-model simulations show a surface-warming trend larger 26 than the observations (Box SYR.1, Figure 1a). There is medium confidence that this difference between models and observations is to a substantial degree caused by unpredictable internal climate variability. Variability sometimes enhances and sometimes counteracts the long-term externally forced warming trend (Figure Box SYR.1). Internal variability thus diminishes the relevance of short trends for long-term climate change. There are also possible contributions from inadequacies in the solar, volcanic, and aerosol forcings used by the models and, in some models, from too strong a response to increasing greenhouse gases and other anthropogenic factors. {WG1 2.4, 9.3, 9.4; 10.3, 11.2, 11.3, WG1 Box 9.2}

Dec 19, 2013 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBengt Abelsson

9. Given AR5 is a comprehensive synthesis of the published literature, our judgement is that the report accurately reflects the views of the vast majority of professional climate scientists who are actively working the field.
Shouldn't that read "...working the scam"?

Dec 19, 2013 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTux52

For Emily and Ed:

http://judithcurry.com/2013/06/16/what-are-climate-models-missing/

http://www.academia.edu/4210419/Can_climate_models_explain_the_recent_stagnation_in_global_warming

Dec 19, 2013 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Noting AndyL's comment, maybe my reading skills are at a low ebb today, but the quoted words sound a bit like a long-winded way of saying as little as possible.

Dec 19, 2013 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Michael Hart

Yes, I've wondered on several of the official submissions whether they are inching into plausible deniability territory.

Dec 19, 2013 at 2:15 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Policy makers have frequently been denied facts in making decisions. AGW promoters rely on that as their underlying tenet.

Dec 19, 2013 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Variability sometimes enhances and sometimes counteracts the long-term externally forced warming trend
And just how is anyone supposed to get through this intellectual thicket?
As long as the climate establishment insists that every last scrap of everything is the result of positive or negative effect on the (to their blinkered minds) well-established fact that there is a "long-term externally [by which I take it they mean 'anthropogenic] forced warming trend" climate science will never make any proper progress or be of any long-term value to humanity.
I'm not even saying they are wrong, though I believe they are, but their minds are so firmly welded shut that we could be into the next Ice Age, let alone little ice age, before they even acknowledge that a cooling trend might just be a cooling trend and not excess heat playing hide and seek or a warming trend "masked" by volcanic activity or aerosols,or any other plucked-out-of-the-air excuse to avoid using what limited reasoning power they have.

Dec 19, 2013 at 2:27 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Given that she is "undertaking a part time secondment to the UK Government's Dept of Energy and Climate Change" (her own website) are we surprise buy what she wrote.

Ed Davey would be proud of her and you cannot get any better than that

Dec 19, 2013 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

The nature of a 'good lie' is still a lie , the MET know full well AGW has brought into it funding is could otherwise never get , and for the 'stars ' of the MET political influence they become addicted to . So talking out of the side of their mouth to keep this situation is going is actual what you expect .
Facts and science be dammed, when cash, power and ego come in.

Dec 19, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Shukburgh's a perfect compliment for the dim-witted Ed Davey. The blind leading the blind.

Dec 19, 2013 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Dr Hawkins most recent graph is here: http://www.climate-lab-book.ac.uk/2013/updates-to-comparison-of-cmip5-models-observations/

Dec 19, 2013 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

I find this the most weasely statement from an author(s) who know that the models have failed:

“confidence in the models’ suitability for their application in detection and attribution studies and for quantitative future predictions and projections”


I would agree completely. The models are entirely suitable for their application.


What the author(s) patently fail to then acknowledge is that when used for "that application" they CANNOT detect or confidently attribute causes and effect. In addition, while suitable for quantiative predictions, the results indicate that real world is not behaving how the models predict.

It isn't technically lying, but....

Dec 19, 2013 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

To put my point more succinctly.


The questioned asked about reliability and the Met Office only responded that the models are suitable.

Dec 19, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

by their weasel words Ye shall know them!

Dec 19, 2013 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinlegs

The increasingly strident tone of the full-faith Greenshirts, and their tame ignorami and fellow-traveller crooks, is (as Bish hints above) being tempered by a few wannabe survivors who are starting to plant 'We always said there were problems, Guv' excuses into the official record.

When the rats start looking for the lifeboats it's all over – even if the captain is still driving full speed into the rocks, and the passengers in the First class lounge haven't looked up from their five course expense account lunch.

Dec 19, 2013 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-Record

Meanwhile, Hansen and Sachs are coming out against AR5 on the grounds IPCC should call for more severe emissions cuts.

"The study recommended that fossil fuel emissions should decline by 6 percent per year starting immediately. That rate, along with reforestation efforts that would help to soak up some atmospheric carbon, would lead to an atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide — the main long-lived greenhouse gas — of 350 parts per million (ppm) by the end of this century. The study put forward a scenario in which cumulative CO2 emissions are held to 500 billion tonnes of carbon, half of the IPCC target."

They appear to be stuck on 350 ppm, no matter what is happening this century.

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/study-proposes-far-more-stringent-carbon-emissions-cuts-16794

Dec 19, 2013 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0961321032000097683#.UrMidbRqESk

Check this link out

The property sharks are circling .Scare a few people out of their homes .Pick up some dirt cheap nice beachfront property.

Dec 19, 2013 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

...This seems an astonishing thing to say, given Ed Hawkins' now iconic graph showing the divergence of the temperature record from the projections, to the verge of falsification. It seems like one story for the climate debate and another for the policymakers...

This is perfectly standard Whitehall-speak, and will be easily recognised as such. I certainly did - I have written quite a few drafts like this in my time. It is crafted to give the impression of supporting a course of action, while not actually saying anything false. Therefore it is particularly interesting to note what is NOT said, and what is missed out.

...climate models are based on physical principles, and they reproduce many important aspects of observed climate...

Translated, this says that climate models are based on theory rather than reality, and they reproduce SOME aspects of observation - but NOT the aspects we are interested in.

...both these aspects contribute to a “confidence in the models’ suitability..

Translated, this says that the aspects of 'being based on theory' and 'being able to reproduce some aspects of climate' are good things to have in a model, but studiously avoids making any assertion that the models ARE suitable.

Dec 19, 2013 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

BH"given Ed Hawkins' now iconic graph"

That link goes to a Carbon Brief version of Hawkins.
Does anyone know the direct link to Ed Hawkins graph.?

Dec 19, 2013 at 8:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrapetomania

"This is particularly the case as anthropogenic forcing is driving the climate system toward conditions not previously observed in the instrumental record ....."

The operative word is 'toward'. It absolves the authors from having to show evidence currently extant in the instrumental record, of those 'conditions'.

Neat.

Dec 19, 2013 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterbullocky

Drapetomania: "Does anyone know the direct link to Ed Hawkins graph.?"

Chandra helpfully supplied the link upthread.

Dec 20, 2013 at 4:03 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Its not what is written its what is not written. I think deception covers it.

Dec 20, 2013 at 7:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartyn

Martyn, this sounds just like the BBC. Its not what is said that matters, but what they don't say.

Dec 20, 2013 at 8:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Why aren't the worst-performing models chucked out?

That should do.
Dec 19, 2013 at 1:12 PM rhoda

Because they all perform much the same so it would not be clear which perform worst.

The climate science criterion for assessing a new model is how well it agrees with existing models.

Dec 20, 2013 at 10:38 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Ed Hawkins' iconic graph is one thing, but (in the Bishop's twitter), I've only just noticed that Lucia Liljegren (of the Blackboard) has adopted her Josh persona as her twitter avatar. And some of Josh's output is equally iconic. For Josh nerds, it was an early one- Josh 17

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/8/josh-17.html

Dec 20, 2013 at 11:08 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

While there may be some debate about the usefulness of global climate projections, there is a consensus that regional climate projections over a several decade time period are worthless.

AR5: Box 11.2: Ability of Climate Models to Simulate Observed Regional Trends
The ability of models to simulate past climate change on regional scales can be used to investigate whether the multi-model ensemble spread covers the forcing and model uncertainties. Agreement between observed and simulated regional trends, taking natural variability and model spread into account, would build confidence in near-term projections. Although large-scale features are simulated well (see Chapter 10), on sub-continental and smaller scales the observed trends are, in general, more often in the tails of the distribution of modelled trends than would be expected by chance fluctuations (Bhend and Whetton, 2012; Knutson et al., 2013; van Oldenborgh et al., 2013). Natural variability and model spread are larger at smaller scales (Stott et al., 2010), but this is not enough to bridge the gap between models and observations. Downscaling with RCMs does not affect seasonal mean trends except near mountains or coastlines in Europe (van Oldenborgh et al., 2009; van Haren et al., 2012). These results hold for both observed and modeled estimates of natural variability and for various analyses of the observations. Given the statistical nature of the comparisons, it is currently not possible to say in which regions observed discrepancies are due to coincidental natural variability and in which regions they are due to forcing or model deficiencies. These results show that in general the CMIP5 ensemble cannot be taken as a reliable regional probability forecast, but that the true uncertainty can be larger than the model spread indicated in the maps in this chapter and Annex I.

Pielke Sr. Reveiw of paper and links to earlier posts on regional models:
http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/quotes-from-peer-reviewed-paper-that-document-that-skillful-multi-decadal-regional-climate-predictions-do-not-yet-exist/

Dec 21, 2013 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

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