Yellow Science…Renowned Climate Modeller Now Claims Temperature Stagnation Is Actually Evidence Of Warming!

Lately climate scientists have been telling us that cold weather is now evidence of warming, hard winters and big snowstorms, too.

Well, it turns out that the current global temperature stagnation is also now strong evidence of global warming. At least that’s what climate modeller Prof. Reto Knutti writes at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich blogsite in a piece titled: “Climate is (not) taking a break”, where he twists himself into a complex pretzel to explain why there’s been a global temperature stagnation. Hey, our models actually predicted it!


Prof. Knutti leads the Climate Physics group at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Zurich. It focuses on climate modeling. See his publications here. Photo credit: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich; Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science.

In his blog article he starts by claiming that the stagnant temperature of the last 15 years: “…is nothing unusual: Also during the 20th century there were periods of stagnation, and even cooling. Even climate models show such behaviour – also for the future. So they do not contradict the long-term global temperatures.”

It wasn’t long ago that climate scientists were claiming things were “worse then we thought” and that the climate was careening out of control. Now that the climate is not changing at all, they are suddenly saying they aren’t surprised at all, and are even starting to claim their models had projected it.

Knutti even takes it a step further. In his piece he even tries to have us believe that the stagnation is actually evidence of warming! You see, from dozens of models, he managed to find one or two that foresee periods of stagnation interrupting the overall warming. He writes:

Not surprised…

Since the beginning of the 1970s, the global temperature has risen strongly. However in the last 10-15 years the trend has flattened out considerably. Depending on the year used as a starting point, the trend is practically zero. This is what temperature curves from the different institutes show. Even when there are some slight variations between the curves, they all show the same pattern [1].

The fact that the global temperature rise has stagnated does not contradict long-term climate change. To the contrary: Also in the future we have to anticipate short periods of stagnation or cooling. In principle, the science is not surprised by this finding. This is because such short-term temperature behavior also occurs in climate models (see chart). And that, by the way, in the same models that postulate an anthropogenic temperature increase over the long term.”

I placed the emphasis on “To the contrary” because it tells us that Knutti is claiming that because there is a stagnation today, and the models said there would be, the longterm-warming trend for the next 100 years has to be right. Such is the science of a climate modeller.

Here’s the chart he refers to, along with the text below it:


“Global temperature change in simulations from climate models from CMIP5 for the historical period (gray) and for various scenarios. Each line depicts a simulation. The observed data are depicted in black. As an example, one simulation, marked yellow, shows especially strong warming until the year 2000 and then followed by a period without warming over 20 years.”

Because the yellow model has it right, it has to mean that the modelled warming is correct – Knutti is suggesting. This is as preposterous as science could ever get. From dozens of models, he cherry-picks the one or two that support what he wants to believe.

One scientist has pointed out to me that there’s even a model that doesn’t show any warming until 2050. He wrote in an e-mail: “There is even one model curve which has hardly any warming until 2050. That must be their fall-back rescue anchor. If temperatures in 2050 are like today’s, then they will still claim they were right.”

So what’s the cause of the current stagnation?

Knutti proposes a variety of explanations: “Aerosols or also land-use. Then there are natural factors, like volcanos erupting or solar activity and internal fluctuations (weather). They all vary – and with it the annual temperature increase.”

Knutti also adds that the sun and El Nino phenomenon perhaps play a role in the stagnation. About temperature stagnations he even says: “They are to some extent a type of extreme event of the future.” And thus are evidence of climate change?

Of course, we don’t think for a minute Knutti himself actually believes the rubbish he is spewing above, i.e. stagnation supports the CO2 warming theory. At the end of his essay he even makes a confession, and opens the door to the possibility CO2 may be completely exaggerated:

It could be that the temperature reacts less strongly to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere than assumed (over-estimated climate sensitivity). Or to put it in another way: The climate models may be over-estimating the warming. The global temperature of the last 10-20 years is pointing in that direction, however it is precisely the models with the higher senitivity that are simulating the mean climate the best.”

PS: Here’s a chart of CMIP5, h/t a reader. Where’s the predicted stagnation?



38 responses to “Yellow Science…Renowned Climate Modeller Now Claims Temperature Stagnation Is Actually Evidence Of Warming!”

  1. Bernd Felsche

    Looks like he spent winter in the barn, learning to grasp at straws.

    I suspect that he didn’t even bother to test any of his myriad hypotheses before publication. Not even the core one that “CO2 contributes significantly to global warming”.

    We don’t even have a continuous temperature record for surface air temperatures for what is deemed to be a “climate cycle” by WMO; yet people like the “good” professor are off chasing their fantasies in the virtual realities of computer models.

    Maybe he should look to see a virtual salary via a virtual grant from the virtual world that fits his models.

    1. Mindert Eiting

      No, no, Doctor Knutti is right. With Gaia on his couch, he knows that she is in love with him. She only pretends that she is cool. She can not yet show him all her heat but it’s precisely her coolness proving that she is hot.

      1. Brian G Valentine

        Why whould she want Reto as her lover?

        Why would anybody?

        Most people would find Reto a creep

  2. stephen richards

    that the stagnant temperature of the last 15 years: “…is nothing unusual: Also during the 20th century there were periods of stagnation, and even cooling. Even climate models show such behaviour – also for the future. Even so, they do not contradict the long-term global temperatures

    They are very careful not to say:
    “that the stagnant temperature of the last 15 years: were forecast by our models”. Watch the pea. What they are saying is that if they hindcast or forward cast the model show periods (no length specified) of no or low trend temperature rise.

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  4. Mike

    Professor nutty?

    Thats the best laugh I’ve had all week.

  5. BobW in NC

    These people never give up, do they?

    I wonder what Richard Feynman would say? Oh, wait…maybe, “Essentially, we hold scientific concepts (or parts of concepts) to be right until such time as the data no longer supports the hypothesis.”

    And, if Prof. Knutti doesn’t get that, maybe, ““The first principle [of science] is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”

    OK, Prof. Knutti, you persist, so how about this? “Everything we hold to be true in science is tested in the same way…No matter how smart a person is, no matter how elegant their hypothesis, if it does not agree with experimentation, it is wrong…”

    WRONG!!! Now do you get it?

  6. Brian G Valentine

    I won’t be satisfied with this explanation untill I read some of John Schellnhuber’s pseudo-scientific “chaos” jargon thrown around to expalin it

    1. DirkH

      Did Schellnhuber mention chaos? He should better not.

      Chaos is a mathematically well-defined term. A chaotic system is one where the deviation between a simulation of finite resolution and the real system grows exponentially over time. Note that this is even true when the simulation is perfect insofar as it models all mechanisms working in the real system – climate models do not even do that.

      1. Bernd Felsche

        Some of the climate model code that I’ve seen arbitrarily fudges (rounds) the computations back to the nominal precision.

        They didn’t even bother to only round to digits beyond plausible precision; which is what I did in structural analysis so that the chaotic (pseudo-random) inaccuracies of iterative calculations would not grow to dominate the result.

        1. Brian G Valentine

          They give it a fancy name – they call it “flux matching.”

          It means that when numerical inaccuracies accumulate in time dependent simulations grow out of bounds (so the output is meaningless), they stop the simulation, and start from (known or predicted) initial conditions once again.

          I haven’t investigated Knutti’s thoughts or musings on “deniers.” (I’m afraid to look)

  7. Rich

    I hate the expression, “the science.” It’s a cheap trick to detach conclusions from the fallible people who make them while leaving the authority of science attached. Yes, yes, I know language changes and develops but I still hate it.

    But now, God save us, we have, “In principle, the science is not surprised by this finding.” Show me a surprised science apart from a surprised scientist.

    What next? Science’s theory of General Relativity? Mr and Mrs Science go for a picnic?


  8. Brian G Valentine

    Unfortunately there are many of such people out there these days.

    If Reto had been Arnold Sommerfeld’s graduate stdent, for example, and exhibited similar “thought” processes – Reto would have been right out the door.

    There’s no quality control any more.

  9. MostlyHarmless

    A good scientist is one who has the ability to think “outside the box”. What will the modellers do when observations soon move “outside the box” – the extreme lower envelope of all the “projections”? Time for a rethink “outside the box” maybe, to reconsider attempting to model a chaotic stochastic system, which is fundamentally impossible?

    1. Mindert Eiting

      Type II error: projection is true but the data did not ‘cooperate’ by chance. They have all the information to compute for each projection the Type II error rate, given the Type I error rate and the data. If the former is less than the latter, the projection is falsified (outside the box). This is what good scientists would do.

  10. Dave in Canmore

    Good Doctor, how do you spell non-falsifiable?

  11. Simon Cooper

    Pick the yellow one out of the myriad multicoloured strands? Cherrypicking par excellence. And just before this bomb of pseudoscientific bulls**t explodes, switch to the blue wire. Phew!

    Has he noticed that none of his pretty lines bear much relation to the black line, which is the nearest climate alarmists can get to actual reality without averting their eyes?

    Why does the yellow line crash in the early 2030s? Is it predicting a huge volcanic eruption? I didn’t know climate models were so geologically prescient.

    Program your PC software with an upwardly-biased random walk! Save hundreds of millions on computerised astrology!

  12. Orwell2013

    @ Pierre

    thank you for this important contribution.

    It’s even worse than you might think: Knutti and the ETH blog have startet to block all critical posts on the subject. No chance to come through.

    What would be common practice in China or North Korea, is rather disconcerting for a swiss federal institute … obviously they try to keep the swiss and the european public in a state of ignorance about the scientific debate going on in US and UK.

    Just try to ask Knutti what he thinks about Steve Jewson’s and Nick Lewis’ destruction of his and the IPCC’s statistical methods – on RealClimate (believe it or not) … a true whopper, widely ignored by most climate blogs.

    Read comments n° 88, 89, 90 …

  13. David Appell

    If global warming has stopped, why are the oceans continuing to warm?
    How, exactly, does this happen?

  14. Johnny Honda

    Knutti is famous here in Switzerland as a total climate clown, I think this guy has no clue what scientific thinking is.

    The mentioned blogsite is a scandal itself. It is funded with taxpayer money, but if you make a critic comment in their comment section, they will delete it.

    1. David Appell

      Really? A professor at ETH is a clown? And who the hell are you to make such a judgement?

      1. DirkH

        Well, David, MIT has an employee called Noam Chomsky… and MIT is surely a prestigious university… it does happen.

      2. Johnny Honda

        Who I am? Someone who also studied at the ETH and read lots of the garbage he wrote. He and his demented college Prof. Ragaller put shame on the reowned institution of ETH with all their deranged ridiculous junk science.
        If you think the title of professor saves you from total garbage science and total lack of common sense then you lived under a stone until now.

  15. Daniel

    Reto Knutti does not claim the stagnation is evidence for global warming. to claim so is a blatant lie.
    why would you spread such a lie? it hurts your movement more than it hurts the AGW proponents. Which side are you really on?

  16. John Marshall

    Nutty Knutty.
    Damn models, don’t these people ever look at reality?
    If a model relies on the GHG theory to produce a result it is NOT proof that the GHG theory is true only that the model is poorly constructed.

  17. Richard Evans

    The fact they have one model that shows considerable warming and another that shows zero warming by 2050 just proves they have no idea how the climate works. If you look up “chaotic systems” you’ll see that tiny mistakes in the initial input means that even perfect models will give you wildly inaccurate results, and no-one is daring to claim these models are anything like perfect.

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  19. stephen richards

    Ignore the pratt apple. He has nothing to contribute and the more you react the more he continues. Not worth the effort.

  20. Robert of Ottawa

    Nutty professor more like it.

  21. Rosco

    Since when does calculating the temperature that one quarter of the solar constant mean anything?

    How is it possible that we have ignored the efficiencies available to power generation through the “heat trapping” abilities of less than one gram of CO2 per cubic metre ??

    Are we dumb ??

    Imagine the efficiency boosts available to power stations through simply collecting the magic gas and shielding the boilers with its magic backradiating powers ??

    Climate science tells usthe “backradiation” heating potential is equivalent to double the input potential.

    Engineers are culpably negligent for not incorporating all this “settled science” into the design of thermal power plants and reducing their carbon footprints !

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha !

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