Global Temperature Prediction

As reported by Anthony Watts at his blog post at Watt’s Up With That, global surface temperatures plummeted in the month of January. All four major sources of temperature anomoly data reported sharp drops, averaging -0.6405C. It is also reported that the large contribution to this value is from Northern Hemisphere land temperatures showing a huge drop of 2.4C from last January.

Here is the monthly global surface temperature anomaly data from the UK Hadley Climate Research Unit illustrating the fall.

Our paper published in Bioscience Forecasting the Effects of Global Warming on Biodiversity called for more accurate forecasting of global warming in order to assess effects of global warming. However, current methods for forecasting have limitations not recognized by those concerned with impacts, policies, the media or the general public. In general, you could say that the confidence in the accuracy of forecasts of global warming is misguided.

Reliable ways to forecast rates of extinction, both in relation
to global warming and in general, still elude us.

One approach would be to identify the most reliable sources of prediction of global temperatures.

The interesting question is – Who best predicted this fall in temperatures?

Russian Astronomers?

In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov predicted the sun would soon peak, triggering a rapid decline in world temperatures. Only last month, the view was echoed by Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. who advised the world to “stock up on fur coats.” Sorokhtin, who calls man’s contribution to climate change “a drop in the bucket,” predicts the solar minimum to occur by the year 2040, with icy weather lasting till 2100 or beyond.

Or the IPCC Climate Modellers?

On the graph you will also see the now familiar temperature records from two satellite and two surface analyses. It seems pretty clear that the IPCC in 1990 over-forecast temperature increases, and this is confirmed by the most recent IPCC report (Figure TS.26), so it is not surprising.

The public credibility of spokespeople for climate model predictions in support of political action on climate change is endangered by such nonsensical and useless pronouncements as found in the Garnaut Climate Change Review Interim Report, stating

Developments in mainstream scientific opinion on the relationship between emissions
accumulations and climate outcomes, and the Review’s own work on future “business as
usual” global emissions, suggest the world is moving towards high risks of dangerous
climate change more rapidly than has generally been understood. This makes mitigation
more urgent and more costly.

Rather, common sense would suggest that a wait-and-see attitude might be a wiser approach, as the next few years should tell us conclusively whether there will be a major upset in the ‘mainstream scientific opinion’ on global warming via contradiction by the data.

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0 thoughts on “Global Temperature Prediction

  1. Dear David,

    Pleased to see your new postings. I have had similar thoughts recently after studying myself these data. My general opinion is different. It is pointless to ask who did the best prediction. The best we can do is to admit that climate is not deterministically predictable. (I mean for such long horizons as 30, 50, 100 or more years but the clarification is superfluous because climate by definition is a long-term average). Let us not trap ourselves into the IPCC logic, just replacing the IPCC prophets with new ones. Climate prophecy has a long history. In recent years, the global cooling myth that was prevailing in 1970s was replaced by the current global warming speculation, whose extent, intensification and almost global acceptance as a scientific truth indicate a regression of science. Let us not replace the current hypothesis with another one, which despite pointing to the opposite direction, lies on the same grounds: the myth of the deterministic predictability of climate.

  2. Dear David,

    Pleased to see your new postings. I have had similar thoughts recently after studying myself these data. My general opinion is different. It is pointless to ask who did the best prediction. The best we can do is to admit that climate is not deterministically predictable. (I mean for such long horizons as 30, 50, 100 or more years but the clarification is superfluous because climate by definition is a long-term average). Let us not trap ourselves into the IPCC logic, just replacing the IPCC prophets with new ones. Climate prophecy has a long history. In recent years, the global cooling myth that was prevailing in 1970s was replaced by the current global warming speculation, whose extent, intensification and almost global acceptance as a scientific truth indicate a regression of science. Let us not replace the current hypothesis with another one, which despite pointing to the opposite direction, lies on the same grounds: the myth of the deterministic predictability of climate.

  3. Demetris, Good to hear from you again! You quite correctly point out there is a third alternative: 1) predicting temperature rising, 2) predicting temperature falling, and 3) predicting temperature unpredictable! Thanks for the caution not to be fooled again.

    This blog is about trying to work through valid inferences, and showing how to use data to answer these questions with statistical tools. Often I see papers and reports about AGW and just wonder how so many exaggerated conclusions from unvalidated models get to be called science.

    So lately these posts have been sorting through some of the things that have been interesting in the global temperature trajectories. AGW proponents seem to suggest that solar causes of recent warming have been falsified, and CO2 causation somehow proven.

    Still, extensive cooling must falsify CO2 causation if it occurs with CO2 increase. And continued warming should falsify the solar theories. But how is your theory falsified, that deterministic predictability is a myth? Cheers

  4. Demetris, Good to hear from you again! You quite correctly point out there is a third alternative: 1) predicting temperature rising, 2) predicting temperature falling, and 3) predicting temperature unpredictable! Thanks for the caution not to be fooled again.

    This blog is about trying to work through valid inferences, and showing how to use data to answer these questions with statistical tools. Often I see papers and reports about AGW and just wonder how so many exaggerated conclusions from unvalidated models get to be called science.

    So lately these posts have been sorting through some of the things that have been interesting in the global temperature trajectories. AGW proponents seem to suggest that solar causes of recent warming have been falsified, and CO2 causation somehow proven.

    Still, extensive cooling must falsify CO2 causation if it occurs with CO2 increase. And continued warming should falsify the solar theories. But how is your theory falsified, that deterministic predictability is a myth? Cheers

  5. Good question, David. I think a single successful counter-hypothesis (one of the two you mention for instance or any other hypothesis that will correctly predict future climate) will automatically falsify my hypothesis that deterministic climate predictability is a myth. Until then, we can develop probabilistic approaches (see e.g. Koutsoyiannis, Efstratiadis and Georgakakos, Uncertainty assessment of future hydroclimatic predictions: A comparison of probabilistic and scenario-based approaches, Journal of Hydrometeorology, 8 (3), 261–281, 2007) which are safer, in the sense that they try to characterize the entire uncertainty rather than promising false certainties.

  6. Good question, David. I think a single successful counter-hypothesis (one of the two you mention for instance or any other hypothesis that will correctly predict future climate) will automatically falsify my hypothesis that deterministic climate predictability is a myth. Until then, we can develop probabilistic approaches (see e.g. Koutsoyiannis, Efstratiadis and Georgakakos, Uncertainty assessment of future hydroclimatic predictions: A comparison of probabilistic and scenario-based approaches, Journal of Hydrometeorology, 8 (3), 261–281, 2007) which are safer, in the sense that they try to characterize the entire uncertainty rather than promising false certainties.

  7. Presented here are the climate researcher’s comments on the latest data on global temperatures on which ALL other sources (including this forum) base their claims of cooling temperatures. Climate change skeptics should note carefully!

    Correction to “Recent Cooling of the Upper Ocean”
    Josh K. Willis, John M. Lyman, Gregory C. Johnson and John Gilson
    Revised and Resubmitted 10 July 2007 to Geophysical Research Letters

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
    NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way Bldg. 3,
    Seattle, Washington 98115-6349, U.S.A.
    JIMAR, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La
    Jolla, California

    Abstract. Two systematic biases have been discovered in the ocean temperature data used by Lyman et al. [2006]. These biases are both substantially larger than sampling errors estimated in Lyman et al. [2006], and appear to be the cause of the rapid cooling reported in that work.

    Index Terms. 4513 Decadal ocean variability; 1225 Global change from geodesy; 4215 Climate and interannual variability; 4262 Ocean observing systems; 1635 Oceans

    Keywords. global warming; heat content; climate change

    Most of the rapid decrease in globally integrated upper (0–750 m) ocean heat content anomalies (OHCA) between 2003 and 2005 reported by Lyman et al. [2006] appears to be an artifact resulting from the combination of two different instrument biases recently discovered in the in situ profile data. Although Lyman et al. [2006] carefully estimated sampling errors, they did not investigate potential biases among different instrument types. One such bias has been identified in a subset of Argo float profiles.

    This error will ultimately be corrected. However, until corrections have been made these data can be easily excluded from OHCA estimates (see http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/ for more details). Another bias was caused by eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT) data that are systematically warm compared to other instruments [Gouretski and Koltermann, 2007]. Both biases appear to have contributed equally to the spurious cooling.

    Acknowledgments. JML and GCJ were supported by the NOAA Climate Program Office and the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This research was carried out in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    PMEL contribution 3069. JIMAR Contribution 07-364.

    Reference List
    Gouretski V., K. P. Koltermann (2007), How much is the ocean really warming?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L01610, doi:10.1029/2006GL027834.
    Lyman, J. M., J. K. Willis, G. C. Johnson (2006), Recent Cooling in the Upper Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L18604, doi:10.1029/2006GL027033.

  8. Presented here are the climate researcher’s comments on the latest data on global temperatures on which ALL other sources (including this forum) base their claims of cooling temperatures. Climate change skeptics should note carefully!

    Correction to “Recent Cooling of the Upper Ocean”
    Josh K. Willis, John M. Lyman, Gregory C. Johnson and John Gilson
    Revised and Resubmitted 10 July 2007 to Geophysical Research Letters

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
    NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way Bldg. 3,
    Seattle, Washington 98115-6349, U.S.A.
    JIMAR, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La
    Jolla, California

    Abstract. Two systematic biases have been discovered in the ocean temperature data used by Lyman et al. [2006]. These biases are both substantially larger than sampling errors estimated in Lyman et al. [2006], and appear to be the cause of the rapid cooling reported in that work.

    Index Terms. 4513 Decadal ocean variability; 1225 Global change from geodesy; 4215 Climate and interannual variability; 4262 Ocean observing systems; 1635 Oceans

    Keywords. global warming; heat content; climate change

    Most of the rapid decrease in globally integrated upper (0–750 m) ocean heat content anomalies (OHCA) between 2003 and 2005 reported by Lyman et al. [2006] appears to be an artifact resulting from the combination of two different instrument biases recently discovered in the in situ profile data. Although Lyman et al. [2006] carefully estimated sampling errors, they did not investigate potential biases among different instrument types. One such bias has been identified in a subset of Argo float profiles.

    This error will ultimately be corrected. However, until corrections have been made these data can be easily excluded from OHCA estimates (see http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/ for more details). Another bias was caused by eXpendable BathyThermograph (XBT) data that are systematically warm compared to other instruments [Gouretski and Koltermann, 2007]. Both biases appear to have contributed equally to the spurious cooling.

    Acknowledgments. JML and GCJ were supported by the NOAA Climate Program Office and the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This research was carried out in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

    PMEL contribution 3069. JIMAR Contribution 07-364.

    Reference List
    Gouretski V., K. P. Koltermann (2007), How much is the ocean really warming?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L01610, doi:10.1029/2006GL027834.
    Lyman, J. M., J. K. Willis, G. C. Johnson (2006), Recent Cooling in the Upper Ocean, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L18604, doi:10.1029/2006GL027033.

  9. Probably a little out of my league , but do any of the calculations involved with predicting how the alleged global warming impact would have been affected due to the demise of the commmercial hemp industry . IE food , fuel , natural CO2 stability .I would be very interested to have any feedback .

  10. Probably a little out of my league , but do any of the calculations involved with predicting how the alleged global warming impact would have been affected due to the demise of the commmercial hemp industry . IE food , fuel , natural CO2 stability .I would be very interested to have any feedback .

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