Another Blow! Two New Studies Show Climate Models Have “Large Deficits” …Running “Too Hot”

Climate sensitivity and the warming pattern

By Die kalte Sonne
(German text translated/edited by P Gosselin)

In March 2018, we reported on a paper that derived the sensitivity of our climate system with the best data available. Lewis/Curry (2018) reached the result: 1.3 °C for doubling of the CO2 in the atmosphere with a rise (Transient Climate Response), long-term equilibrium (ECS) of 1.7 °C (see Table 3 of the paper).

The numbers hardly react sensitively to the choice of (larger) time windows, they fluctuate very little, whether one evaluates 1870…2016 or 1930…2016. There has been a whole series of precursor studies also from other authors who also arrived near these quite small values. Also papers examining historical periods (last glacial maximum to pre-industrial) do not contradict these low figures.

So the much more dramatic sensitivity estimates, especially from GCM model considerations (for General Circulation Models), — 1.86 °C for TCR and 3°C for ECS — are not applicable? “It’s not that simple,” some activists insist because then the low sensitivity of the Earth’s climate would not necessitate urgent action to reduce greenhouse gases.

So how can we save the GCMs from empiricism with their worrisome projections? A key argument so far is this: models predict a different spatial distribution of ocean warming than what we observe:


Fig.3: The warming patterns derived by models (top) and the observed patterns. Of particular importance is the fact that the CMIP5 models indicate a rather uniform warming of the tropical Pacific as a result of the (mainly man-made) forcing (hence the model-mean), but the observations show a significantly stronger warming of the western tropical Pacific compared to the eastern one.  The images were generated with the KNMI Climate Explorer.

So it could well be, activists say, that the deviation are just a “whim of nature”, an internal variability, and after the end of this rather random episode, the warming becomes much stronger on a global scale on accordance to the models. There is talk of “trajectories” which were and will be possible, and the observations strongly deviate negatively because they are a random one of the possible warming patterns. In short: “What we have observed so far is not the real reality, but it will certainly get much worse. Believe the climate models!”

2 new papers

Here we present two current papers that provide explanation. To start: The observations of the warming rate are correct, the deviating patterns of the climate models are caused by their inadequacies and these patterns will not change.

In Dong et al (2019), the authors show that if the convective regions with many clouds in the western Pacific warm up more strongly than those with hardly any convection in the eastern Pacific, the overall global warming is much less pronounced.

Let’s take a look at the clouds in the tropical Pacific:

Fig. 4: The convection(CAPE Index) over the tropical Pacific. The west-east gradient can be seen clearly. Source.

Convection in the western tropical Pacific leads to an increased heat radiation into space, which means that the warming there can be reduced much more effectively than would be possible with a stronger warming of the eastern Pacific with less convection, see Fig. 4.

The paper finds:

For the west Pacific patch, warming is communicated to the upper troposphere, which warms the whole troposphere across all latitudes, causing a large increase in outgoing radiation at the TOA. Furthermore, the patch of warming locally decreases tropospheric stability, measured here as estimated inversion strength (EIS), but increases EIS remotely over tropical marine low clouds regions, yielding an increase in global low cloud cover (LCC) which enhances the global SW reflection….The results first highlight the radiative response to surface warming in tropical ascent regions as the dominant control of global TOA radiation change both in the past and in the future. …This surface warming pattern yields a strong global outgoing radiative response at TOA that can efficiently damp the surface heating, therefore producing a very negative global feedback.”

It is therefore a clear physical mechanism that leads to the observed stronger warming of the tropical West Pacific leading to lower global sensitivities (= stronger negative global feedback).

The second paper, Seager et al (2019), deals with the same phenomenon and concludes that the observed pattern is not random, but a direct result of forcing. It states:

The main features of observed tropical Pacific climate change over past decades are consistent with a response to rising CO2, according to fundamental atmosphere and ocean physics….However, the strength of the tropical Pacific influence on global climate implies that past and future trends will diverge from those simulated by coupled climate models that, due to their cold tongue bias (ein Streifen kühleren Wassers in Äquatornähe des Ostpazifiks, d.A.), misrepresent the response of the tropical Pacific to rising CO2.”

Climate models have such large deficits in the depiction of events in the tropical Pacific that they are globally incorrect in determining the response to the forcing (see Fig. 3) and systematically overestimate the sensitivity to the forcing (according to Seager et al, and Dong et al).

So will we read anything about this in the media? A possible headline might be: “Climate models calculate the future too hot! Don’t hold your breath.

PlayStation climatology

We eagerly await to see whether the results of these two important studies will even be included in the IPCC’s forthcoming progress report. Here hundreds of pages dealing with model projections would have to be critically revised. One more reason for us to trust empiricism and “PlayStation climatology”.

But what is to become of the “panic” which Fridays for Future wishes to impose on us? Policymaking is hot because the models are too hot. Which scientists have the courage to be responsible and to enlighten FFF and policymaking?

6 responses to “Another Blow! Two New Studies Show Climate Models Have “Large Deficits” …Running “Too Hot””

  1. Kurt in Switzerland

    Cut to the chase: there IS NO observed long-term increase in sea level rise rate!
    This is a necessary condition for continued ‘faith’ in the so-called “inexorable evidence” for human-caused warming.

    Nil acceleration = nil scientific rigor.

    The atmospheric temperature increase over the past 160 y is neither ‘unprecedented’ nor ‘dangerous’, let alone ‘irreversible’.

    What a. bunch of clueless ‘tossers’…

  2. tom0mason

    ““It’s not that simple,” some activists insist because then the low sensitivity of the Earth’s climate would not necessitate urgent action to reduce greenhouse gases.”

    The basis for the whole cAGW lie.
    It’s all about politics not science.
    All about cAGW dumbasses wanting their version of social equity, deindustrialization, and a command economy (mediated by the World Bank and the UN) regardless of cost to individuals.

    The climate models are just a moth-eaten fig-leaf of pseudoscience hiding the UN’s naked ambitions to become the One World Government, a government by decree and pseudoscience.

  3. pochas94

    The easterly trades of course cause warm water to pile up in the western pacific. I have seen this called the pacific warm pool. And logically the warm pool will have more intense convection and higher OLR. That the models miss this is really a sign that the models cannot deal with ocean circulation or convection.

  4. tom0mason

    Arrhenius was a chemist, not a climate scientist, he never properly understood radiative cooling or warming. In his day heat/cold physics that he was steeped in was that encompassed in Caloric Theory. …

    The caloric theory is an obsolete scientific theory that heat consists of a self-repellent fluid called caloric that flows from hotter bodies to colder bodies. Caloric was also thought of as a weightless gas that could pass in and out of pores in solids and liquids. The “caloric theory” was superseded by the mid-19th century in favor of the mechanical theory of heat, but nevertheless persisted in some scientific literature—particularly in more popular treatments—until the end of the 19th century.[1]

    Arrhenius’s 100+ year supposition and guess at how much CO2 could warm the atmosphere has never been validated or properly tested, certainly his mathematics of the issue was grossly in error, as pointed out by such people as Professor Knut Angstrom in 1901 with his empirical investigations of CO2, water vapor, IR and heat absorption.

    Which brings us to why is it so difficult to grasp this simple fact —
    Cloud cover/albedo changes are a far more plausible physical driver of climate variations than the fictitious CO2 “radiative forcing”, which is ONLY a model-generated quantity and not observed in reality. And clouds do NOT change in response to warming, climate warms in response to a decrease of global cloud cover/albedo.

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  6. tom0mason

    As Mr Trenberth said —

    As one of the top climate scientists in the world, Kevin Trenberth said in journal Nature (“Predictions of Climate”) about climate models in 2007:

    None of the models used by the IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate. In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice and soil moisture has no relationship to the obsered state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models. There is neither an El Nino sequence nor any Pacific Decadal Oscillation that replicates the recent past; yet these are critical modes of variability that affect Pacific rim countries and beyond. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, that may depend on the thermohaline circulation and thus oceanic currents in the Atlantic, is not set up to match today’s state, but it is a critical component of the Atlantic hurricanes and it undoubtedly affects forest for the next decade from Brazil to Europe. Moreover, the starting climate state in serveral of the models may depart significantly from the real climate owing to model errors. I postulate that regional climate change is impossible to deal with properly unless the models are initialized.

    Therefore the problem of overcoming this shortcoming, and facing up to initializing climate models means not only obtaining sufficiently reliable observations of all aspects of the climate system, but also overcoming model biases. So this is a major challenge.

    From via Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. twitter feed.

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