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« The bureaucracy's media defenders | Main | Exeunt stage left »
Thursday
Jan022014

Nature and the Sunday Sport

The paper by Steven Sherwood has been agitating those of a green disposition in recent days, with all sorts of wailing on Twitter about how we're going to hit four degrees of warming by the end of the century. This is certainly the story that Nature gave out in its press release:

Global average temperatures will rise at least 4°C by 2100 and potentially more than 8°C by 2200 if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced according to new research published in Nature. Scientists found global climate is more sensitive to carbon dioxide than most previous estimates.

The research also appears to solve one of the great unknowns of climate sensitivity, the role of cloud formation and whether this will have a positive or negative effect on global warming.

As readers here know, climate models all run far too hot. As far as the latest CMIP5 generation go, this is at least partly because they use estimates of aerosol forcing that are much higher than observations suggest is the case. And if the latest hypothesising about the hiatus in surface temperature rises is correct, the models are all missing a key climate subsystem too, namely transport of heat to the deep oceans.

I haven't got hold of a copy of the Sherwood paper as yet, but from what I have been able to glean from the abstract, the press release, and from conversations around the web, he and his colleagues looked at climate models to see how well these reproduced observations of clouds, finding that the best match came from the models that ran hottest.

In other words, the models that had the most realistic simulations of clouds had the least realistic representations of temperature changes.

If I've understood what was done correctly, this is an interesting conundrum for climate scientists to explore. What it is not is any reason to think that the output of such models is policy-relevant or reason to think that we will warm by 4°C by the end of the century.

Nature really has sunk to the level of the Sunday Sport.

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Reader Comments (129)

Nature really has sunk to the level of the Sunday Sport., actual its been there for some time when it comes to 'the cause ' its a serial publisher of rubbish, hand waving papers through and pal review amongst some of its issues, along with its editor being firmly in the alarmist camp .
Anything in nature on this subject needs to take with a massive pinch of salt.

Jan 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

according to new research published in Nature

Should read,

Some undergrad' messing and fooling around with the departmental software and after more than a few, came up with a figure he'd been thinking about before and thought that it should be - hey presto and before you could say man made global warming - it came to pass. It ain't no miracle.

Jan 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

...this is an interesting conundrum for climate scientists to explore
Precisely! And anyone who wasn't wearing blinkers (or "model-coloured spectacles"!) would understand that.
Pay attention, Steven! The models are getting it wrong; they're getting it wrong in a big way; they're getting it wrong now.
Can he not see the inherent contradiction in trying to argue that because the models that run hot are (perhaps by coincidence, perhaps by crap programming) good at modelling clouds therefore those models are right .... even though they're wrong.
What am I missing here?

Jan 2, 2014 at 9:38 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

At least the Sunday Sport produces a product that is entertaining to someone.

Jan 2, 2014 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

If they believe what they say, then the earth is doomed anyway. Because there is no way that CO2 emissions will reduce by the end of the century. So these 'scientists' should stop spouting their doom an gloom: and work out ways of adapting to a hot world. But seriously, when will they admit they do not understand enough about the complexities of climate to be able to model it?

Jan 2, 2014 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

"Nature really has sunk to the level of the Sunday Sport."

Yes, boobs abound in both.

Jan 2, 2014 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Ah yes, that most settled of science that is climate;

"...one of the great unknowns of climate sensitivity...positive or negative..."

the others being?

Jan 2, 2014 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

TheBigYinJames said:

At least the Sunday Sport produces a product that is entertaining to someone.

Have you already forgotten about all the entertainment provided by the greens aboard the good ship Akademic Shokalskiy?

Jan 2, 2014 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

ssat said:

Ah yes, that most settled of science that is climate;

"...one of the great unknowns of climate sensitivity...positive or negative..."

the others being?

I thought that there was only one other choice - zero - but then I wondered if it would be possible to use imaginary numbers, e.g. the square root of minus one. After all, imaginary numbers do have applications in some branches of physics. Perhaps they could also be used in climate models, or are they imaginary enough already?

Jan 2, 2014 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

So, this amounts to wiggle matching, is that the cutting edge of climate science these days.

Jan 2, 2014 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterJaceF

It might help, to get some sort of rational baseline for these discussions, to use the analogy of Solar Seasons suggested by Dr H Abdussamatov in his November 2013 SPPI paper. 2014 is the start of Solar Autumn in this cycle, which will reach Solar Winter around 2060 and re-emerge to a warm period by 2091 (Fairbridge and Shirley 1987; see Solar Physics 110 (1987) 191-220)). So, even with CO2 emissions, how credible is it to suggest any warming at all before about 2080, by which time there is likely to be a system of satellite captured solar energy transmission in place, much more gas consumption and much less coal usage for energy? This is the secular direction of technology: it's not just a question of "Nature" being left behind but whether the UK will be too.

Jan 2, 2014 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterIanW

On twitter you asked who it was who said
"just because something appears in Nature doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong."
Apparently it was Carl Wunsch.

Jan 2, 2014 at 10:49 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Sherwood has form in being "creative". Jo Nova nailed him back in 2010.

http://joannenova.com.au/2010/07/sherwood-2008-where-you-can-find-a-hot-spot-at-zero-degrees/

Jan 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

Anyone who has looked out of an aircraft window will tell you that cloud tops are white, a very high albedo, so reflect energy back to space which reduces energy flux to the surface. This is a NEGATIVE feedback. Don't any of these climate alarmists understand that?

Jan 2, 2014 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

I think the warm-mongering classes are getting desperate. Like wounded animals.

Jan 2, 2014 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

How long will they hold on to the myth of CAGW? Well it did tske more than 30 years for the abandonment of Lysenkoism, so I guess we have a few more years of alarmism to go. Plenty of time for those who corrupted science to retire.

The similarity between Lysenkoism and CAGW is just simply astonishing.

Jan 2, 2014 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Sherwood is also the moron who claimed radiosonde thermometers are liars and calculation of wind speed sheer would reveal the hot spot in all its glory.
He'd be better suited as the Professor of Creative Writing.
Such is the state of Australian universities.

Jan 2, 2014 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

Of course clouds are important.
Try living in a cloudless desert where you fry in the day and freeze at night.
All schoolchildren know this.

Jan 2, 2014 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterLevelGaze

Sherwood [snip - manners] claimed radiosonde thermometers are liars and calculation of wind speed sheer would reveal the hot spot in all its glory.
He'd be better suited as the Professor of Creative Writing.
Such is the state of Australian universities.

Jan 2, 2014 at 11:20 AM | LevelGaze
============================================================
Such is the state of all "Western" universities. For example, up the road from me, Bristol Uni have employed a certain Stefan Lewandowski. Close them down - would we miss them?

Jan 2, 2014 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Monckley nails it over on WUWT.

Jan 2, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Climate scientists are giving computer modelling a bad name.

Come to think of it, they are giving science a bad name...

"Lots of warming" is the correct answer, so run the models until the right answer comes up and then you can see the relationships and values that are by definition the "right" ones because they give the correct result. Simple.

Jan 2, 2014 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

You're being unfair here, Bish.

Nature has got more t*ts on show than the Sunday Sport.

Jan 2, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterAngusPangus

Nature really has sunk to the level of the Sunday Sport.,...
Jan 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM KnR


Hey - who are you to denigrate this popular paper?

Jan 2, 2014 at 12:29 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"Robust tropospheric warming revealed by iteratively homogenized radiosonde data"

Jan 2, 2014 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

So the IPCC must not be questioned by skeptics, but can be ignored by those who sell alarmism.
Got it.

Jan 2, 2014 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

" the models that had the most realistic simulations of clouds had the least realistic representations of temperature changes.".....therefore higher temperatures will obtain.

- It completely and utterly boggles my mind that such obviously fallacious reasoning has made it through to supposedly "respectable" publications. Such reasoning would be an instant fail for an undergraduate essay.

Jan 2, 2014 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterKatabasis

'With one bound they were free...'

Jan 2, 2014 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

Well I for one am glad that we can rely on our glorious MO to publish a paper suggesting that the upper end models are wrong.

Our results indicate that for each RCP the upper end of the range of CMIP5 climate model projections is inconsistent with past warming.

Although published in Feb 2013 does this not indicate a serious problem if the Sherwood paper shows the opposite!

Jan 2, 2014 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

They make it up as they go along.

Jan 2, 2014 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

blockquote cite="Global average temperatures will rise at least 4°C by 2100..."

This means temperatures must increase by 4°C in the next 86 years or on average 0.47°C/decade. What was it during the 20th century, 0.08°C/decade?

How DO you make the block quote thing work?

Jan 2, 2014 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

How to be a climateer:
1. Ignore all observational evidence that says models are wrong everywhere not just with clouds.
2. Ignore that less clouds-error makes surface-temps-error greater by just blatantly inventing a non-existent 'growing body of evidence' that the hiatus is temporary - and hence ignorable.
3. Ignore the unphysical conclusion of more water vapour + more aerosols = less clouds.
4. Ignore the previous alarmist studies that unphysically concluded more clouds = more warming.
5. Repeat the mantra that 'models are not perfect' and ignore that they are not even vaguely adequate.
6. Denigrate skeptics who worry about silly things like observations, tests, physicality and plausibility.
7. Declare an emergency. Publish your climate porn in Science or Nature. Share hypocritical angst with the Guardian.
8. Job done...Ignorance is bliss...you are the new climate shaman in the papers for a while...your job is not so totally irrelevant after all.

Jan 2, 2014 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

In defense of Nature, here is an interesting (paywalled), relevant, paper making use of observations from the physical world: Afternoon rain more likely over drier soils..

It is discussed by Bob Tisdale in a new post at WUWT, which is titled "Questions Policymakers Should Be Asking Climate Scientists Who Receive Government Funding", but could equally well be titled

"Why models suck at predicting rain and other important things."

That may possibly be of interest to those who wish to model clouds, as I have observed a strong correlation between clouds and precipitation.

Jan 2, 2014 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered Commentermichaelhart

"This paper is so important that the scientists in Australia who wrote the paper produced a video about it"

Ah - so the act of producing a video proves the science? Or does producing a video make questionable science important? Or what?

Jan 2, 2014 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Maloney

Jeff, it needs to be inside the "angle brackets". I'm a naif, but simply cut and paste the tag from below the comment box. It must also be switched off again with a leading "/" inside the brackets of an otherwise identical paste. You can practice in the preview post.

Jan 2, 2014 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered Commentermichaelhart

As you say Andrew: "In other words, the models that had the most realistic simulations of clouds had the least realistic representations of temperature changes."

On Twitter I asked Richard Betts on New Year's Eve: " @richardabetts Are they actually saying that the climate models now diverging most from reality are the ones that we should rely on?

Richard's answer (fair enough I guess) was: "@DerrickByford Read the paper and find out!"

We have appeared to come to similar conclusions. Unless the actual paper says something very different from the summary, can they really be taken seriously?

Jan 2, 2014 at 3:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerrick Byford

Aerosul fudge, missing heat baking.
==========

Jan 2, 2014 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Jeff Norman
as michaelhart says you can copy and paste from below the text entry box. By using the Preview Post button and then the Make Changes button you can play around until you get what you need. What isn't obvious from below is that you need to close the tag so

<example>Some text with a special attribute</example>
would be a complete entry
<example>Some text with a special attribute
would not be correct and the attribute may continue for the rest of your text.

Hyperlinks will also work from the Preview which is a bonus. If it all goes to pot then ypu can start again.

Jan 2, 2014 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

This paper is so important that the scientists in Australia who wrote the paper produced a video about it.

I am old enough to remember when pop music became so important that performers started producing videos to go with them. It is funny how the music itself was not as memorable as that of the 60's when pop music was much better.

Perhaps some people will say that I am a just grumpy old man and that it is only a matter of time before some climate scientist produces a paper with a video that will be as great an international hit as Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Jan 2, 2014 at 3:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

"Global average temperatures will rise at least 4°C by 2100..."

I see (blind man... hammer... saw).

Thank you.

The >blockquote cite=""< had me perplexed.

Jan 2, 2014 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Norman

Roy, are you not familiar with James Hansen's take on Michael Jackson ?
"Fake it"

Jan 2, 2014 at 4:22 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"the models that had the most realistic simulations of clouds had the least realistic representations of temperature changes."

I believe the climate models are sillier than the theories set out in Sherlock to explain his faked death. That would make them really, really, really dumb.

Jan 2, 2014 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

If I've understood what was done correctly, this is an interesting conundrum for climate scientists to explore.

Unfortunately, climate scientists seem unwilling to explore the conundrums. For instance, asking why the polar ice caps are melting at an acclerating rate, but sea level rise measured by the satellites is constant. Or why sea level rise measured by the satellites is so much higher than other measures.

Jan 2, 2014 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

"Believing in 6 impossible things before breakfast and climate models." By Prof Christopher Essex
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvhipLNeda4
Happy New Year to "the few" in the UK. Never in the field of human politics has so much been owed by so many gullible idiots, to so few rationalists.

Jan 2, 2014 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterNick in Vancouver

BBC 6PM Narrative is really nu-truthing the Akademic Junket PR "problem".

Jan 2, 2014 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterAC1

John Marshall

You are correct in regarding low cloud as having a net cooling effect.

This is why Sherwood is expecting a reduction in low cloud to reduce its cooling eeffect.

Less cooling translates to more warming, hence the higher climate sensitivity.

Jan 2, 2014 at 6:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Maybe the tide is starting to turn in earnest with the New Year.

I read an article in the Telegraph a little earlier "World's Climate warming faster than feared, blah, blah, blah"

It's timed/dated 7.14pm 1st January, (last evening), and unless Discus is playing up it has had in the region of 5300 comments in less than 24 hours - surely a record by miles which must make even James Delingpole envious.

I can report with 97% confidence that not all those comments are complimentary ! ! !

Jan 2, 2014 at 6:36 PM | Registered CommentermikemUK

@JamesG- what a a perfect description of our Met. Orifice

How to be a climateer:
1. Ignore all observational evidence that says models are wrong everywhere not just with clouds.
2. Ignore that less clouds-error makes surface-temps-error greater by just blatantly inventing a non-existent 'growing body of evidence' that the hiatus is temporary - and hence ignorable.
3. Ignore the unphysical conclusion of more water vapour + more aerosols = less clouds.
4. Ignore the previous alarmist studies that unphysically concluded more clouds = more warming.
5. Repeat the mantra that 'models are not perfect' and ignore that they are not even vaguely adequate.
6. Denigrate skeptics who worry about silly things like observations, tests, physicality and plausibility.
7. Declare an emergency. Publish your climate porn in Science or Nature. Share hypocritical angst with the Guardian.
8. Job done...Ignorance is bliss...you are the new climate shaman in the papers for a while...your job is not so totally irrelevant after all.

Jan 2, 2014 at 7:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

I can't resist quoting:

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.

George Orwell really had these guys nailed.

Jan 2, 2014 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

Kevin Marshall,

Entropic Man will be along any second know to tell us des level rise is accelerating!

Regards

Mailman

Jan 2, 2014 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

> This is why Sherwood is expecting a reduction in low cloud to reduce its cooling eeffect.

Would this be low cloud in Winter or Summer, day or night, in the Torrid, Temperate or Frigid zones? Because these are all factors which will impact whether a change is a net positive or a net negative effect.and the scale of the effect.

Jan 2, 2014 at 9:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

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