The peer-reviewed paper was authored by Doug M. Smith and colleagues under the title: “Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model“.
Using sophisticated methods, the target of the paper was to forecast the temperature development from 2004 to 2014 while taking the internal variability into account.
The claims made in Smith’s study are loud and clear (my emphasis):
…predict further warming during the coming decade, with the year 2014 predicted to be 0.30° ± 0.21°C [5 to 95% confidence interval (CI)] warmer than the observed value for 2004. Furthermore, at least half of the years after 2009 are predicted to be warmer than 1998, the warmest year currently on record.“
The first chart shows their forecast:
Figure 1: Decadal forecast by Smith et al. (2007) for 2004 to 2014 (Source: Figure 4 of the a.m. paper).
Now that it’s 2014 and the observed data are in, we can compare to see how Smith et al did with their forecast. Boy, did they fail!
The following chart shows the actual result of the Smith et al forecast, showing the real observations since 1998:
Figure 2: Observed temperature development as to the MetOffice’s own data HadCRUT4 compared to the claims made in the Smith et al paper. The lower black line shows the linear trend of the observed results. The blue-gray lines show the confidence range of the forecast. The red line shows the linear trend of Smith et al. Chart modified from DkS.
Clearly we see that the Met Office observations show a cooling of 0.014°C over the 2004-2014 decade and is below even the forecast lower confidence limit. Moreover not a single year was warmer than 1998, despite having predicted at least three would be warmer.
According to Bosse, when the 2007 chart was published it was supposed to act as another nail in the coffin for global warming skeptics. The chart was even adopted by a German report titled: “Future information for the government.” Bosse writes:
Here one reads that ‘good decadal forecasts for policymaking and economy are very useful’ (page 6) … as long as they are ignored, one might add.”
Bosse calls the chart a fiasco because it falsely advised policymaking. Bosse adds:
Until today, since the first IPCC report of 1990, they have not made any progress when it comes to the central theme of climate prognoses: How many degrees Celsius of warming results from a doubling of Co2 concentration?”
Bosse writes that the 2007 Smith et al forecast failed neither to take known ocean cycles nor natural factors sufficiently into account and writes that the climate sensitivity value assumed by the IPCC must be reduced.
Now that 2007 is some years behind us, even Smith et al have realized their forecast was overinflated and so they produced a new paper which appeared last year. The latest by Smith has taken natural variability more into account and he is much more careful with prophecy-making. Still, the range of uncertainty the new paper offers makes it “more or less useless”, Bosse writes.
Figure 3: Latest forecast by Smith et al for global temperature until 2022 (Figure 8 of the aforementioned paper)
As long as man is unable to determine with the needed precision the role natural variability plays in our observed climate, calculating the impact of greenhouse gases will remain prophecy. Do you feel guilty that you are still using incandescent light bulbs? Don’t fret over it!
We’ll be revisiting Smith’s newest forecast in about 5 years time. In the meantime we have to ask ourselves if these people will ever learn. Science can take only so much damage.