By Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt
[Translated/edited by P. Gosselin]
Attempting midterm predictions
The Max-Planck Society publishes the magazine “Max Planck Forschung” on a regular basis. In its 1/2015 issue beginning on page 68 one finds the article: “…and now on the climate of tomorrow”. The German language article is also available (pdf here). The article starts:
How will the climate appear in 10 or 15 years? Scientists have been unable to provide a satisfactory answer to this question – mainly because random changes play a large role in such mid-term time-frames. A natural fluctuation is likely also the cause of temperatures barely increasing over the past 15 years. Jochem Marotzke of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg and his colleagues all over Germany are working intensively on a system that will deliver reliable prognoses for the coming years.”
In other words this is about the pause in warming since 1998 and the question of why none of the expensive climate models had correctly forecast the hiatus. Indeed this is a big problem, especially for the fraternity of the climate modellers, who in Germany are led by chief modeler Jochem Marotzke. His favorite excuse: “random changes”, which in his opinion are completely unpredictable. But that’s fatally wrong. His colleagues have long known better and have identified the 60-year ocean cycles as systematic climate drivers. See for example here, here, here, here.
Scrambling to explain faulty models
First of all the Max Planck Magazine thankfully does confirm what all temperature curves now clearly show, but what a few climate activists clearly refuse to believe:
Another resaon was a phenomenon that at the end of the past decade it was visible that there was a temperature plateau, and this continues to occupy climate scientists today. The global warming that was in high gear during the 1980s and 1990s now appears to have been making a pause since the start of the new millennium. The temperatures have been stagnating since about 1998, but at a high level.”
Jochem Marotzke has recognized that this cannot continue on. Awhile back he launched the Project MiKlip with the aim of making more reliable prognoses. In the Max Planck Forschung (MPF) magazine it is stated:
Today, almost 10 years later, the science regarding decadal climate prognoses has come a long way. From 2011 to mid 2015 the German Federal Ministry for Science has financed the project MiKlip (Midterm Climate Prognoses), that Jochem Marotzke initiated and now coordinates as its director. In the meantime the application for the second phase has been made.”
We’ve reported on the MiKlip project before. The main result from the initiative so far is hardly known to the media because it is just too inconvenient. See our article “Over the midterm the climate prognoses of the BMBF MiKlip Projects: North Atlantic will cool down by several tenths of a degree by 2020″. Using a Google search, the environmentally activist Süddeutsche Zeitung has yet to report on this amazing prognosis. Activist climate website “Klimaretter.info” naturally has not done so either. Thus we are very curious on whether the Max Planck Magazine is now perhaps able to talk openly about this. In the article’s title and introduction we see that this important information is absent. In England however, the University of Southampton recently came up with the same result but was much more transparent and proactive with the cooling finding. See our blog article “University of Southampton: Cooling ocean cycle will cause Atlantic to cool by half a degree Celsius over the coming decades, global warming hiatus continues and hurricanes will become less frequent“.
Max Planck Institute refuses to see ocean cycles
But instead of following the example from England, Marotzke continues to stick to his worn out chaos meme. MPF magazine writes:
Such forecasts however are still in the early stages. ‘There is still a lot of work that remains ahead of us,’ says the Hamburg-based scientist. Over the mid-term climate prognoses are burdened by a fundamental difficulty: the chaos of the climate system. As it is so with the weather, also the climate (the mean of weather) is also subject to natural fluctuations that more or less occur randomly. […] Climate scientists refer to these more or less random fluctuations as spontaneous or as internal variability. Due to such variations the global mean temperature can vary by 0.2 or 0.3°C from one year to the next. For scientists these variations are known as so-called ‘noise’ that superimpose the actual signal of global warming.”
Models’ hopelessly faulty assumptions
Here we would like to advise Marotzke: Try just once to apply the ocean cycles, like your colleagues in England are doing. Natural variability not only contains ‘noise’, but also quasi cyclic behavior that today are empirically well-known. However the sad truth is that climate models are unable to properly represent these known cycles. The problem is not with nature, rather it is in fact in the models. Also the weighting of the individual climate drivers is poorly understood. The IPCC table of radiative forcings for solar fluctuations has assigned a much too low value, one in fact that has absolutely nothing to do with the geological-empirically determined systematic impacts of the sun.
We suspect that Marotzke has painted himself into a corner and so has to continuously find excuses and ignore the ocean cycles that have been at play over the last 20 years, though many have long been aware of them (see our article: IPCC–cofounder Bert Bolin had all along been aware of the climatic role of ocean cycles).
Marotzke refuses to acknowledge low climate sensitivity
In the second part of the article the Max-Planck scientists discussed various possibilities as to why a warming pause happened. It was considered that the CO2 climate sensitivity may have been set much too high:
One possibility would be that the climate change drive in the models has been falsely assigned – i.e. the amount of radiative energy connected with a rise in atmospheric CO2 that gets trapped in the climate system or that gets reflected back out into space from aerosols. The values that the various models calculate for this magnitude vary widely. Another possibility is that the models over-estimate how sensitive the climate reacts to a rise in CO2. Some models assume that the global mean temperature will rise only 2°C from a doubling of CO2. Others assume that it will be more than 4.5°C warmer.”
But then a few lines later Marotzke and Co. abandon the possibility and return to their wild chaos theory. The MiKlip recognition of a cooling North Atlantic gets no mention at all. Instead the article concludes with a prognosis that anyone could have conjured up without millions in research money. Eventually someday the stupid temperature plateau will end. But as to when, no one really knows. An embarrassing conclusion. In the MPF magazine we read:
The temperature plateau is going to end sometime in the years ahead, as most scientists are convinced of this. It is likely that the warming of the earth’s surface will then progress even more quickly. At the latest when the trade winds blow over the Pacific more weakly the pause will be over.”
Other research groups here are clearer and more solid on this because they have a better grip on the unpopular ocean cycles than than the scientists in Hamburg do:
- BBC: Global warming slowdown ‘could last another decade’
- New paper in the Geophysical Research Letters: Ocean cycles will lead to a light cooling for the northern hemisphere over the coming 15 years.
- Judith Curry projects warming pause to continue until the 2030s: Hans von Storch requests a vote of no confidence in such a case for C02
- Japanese scientist postulates cooling beginning in 2015 and aging weather stations showing warm readings