Climate model abuse

Roger Pielke Sr. reviews another very important new paper showing the abuse of models.

In the opinion of the editor Kundzewicz (who has served prominently on the IPCC), climate models were only designed to provide a broad assessment of the response of the global climate system to greenhouse gas (GHG) forcings, and to serve as the basis for devising a set of GHG emissions policies. They were not designed for regional adaptation studies.

To expect more from these models is simply unrealistic, at least for direct application to regional water management problems. The Anagnostopoulos et al conclusions negate the value of spending so much money on regional climate predictions decades into the future, for example on the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative and the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence.

Kundzewicz distances the professionals from such efforts:

They are not climate sceptics, but are sceptical of the claims of some climatologists and hydroclimatologists that these models are well suited for water management applications.

Hydrologists and water management professionals (hydrological and hydraulic engineers) have entered the scientific debate in force, because the GCMs are being advocated for purposes they were not designed for, i.e. watershed vulnerability assessments and infrastructure design.

As I showed in Critique of the DECR this is not a matter of opinion, but a matter that can be decided by applying basic validation tests in each instance. To the detriment of the field, tests that would justify the use of the models do not seem to be applied, or if they are they are not being made available. Such testing is regarded as good and standard practise elsewhere.

The recent surge of these sorts of papers suggests I am not the only one to think it is time for the field to pay the piper.


0 thoughts on “Climate model abuse

  1. So I guess that you’ll be happy to let the planet’s energy budget change and expect to see no effects.

    And pretty ironic for sceptics that their beloved PDO index is now contaminated with AGW – as are many other indices.

    Investigating the possibility of a human component
    in various pacific decadal oscillation indices
    Ce´line Bonfils • Benjamin D. Santer Clim Dyn
    DOI 10.1007/s00382-010-0920-1

    And also pretty ironic that the find of the century in SE Australia from SEACI being STRi hasn’t even gotten a murmur. So little interest in REAL science.

    Contributions again from sceptics = zero.

    • I dont have any problem with noting “that caution should be exercised in using PDO indices for statistical removal of “natural variability” effects from observational datasets.” Particularly when you are dealing with a 60 yr periodicity in a 150 year record, and a process that is not really cyclical anyway. Hardly negates the view that natural variation accounts for a large part of recent warming. I think there are many articles in this area.


  2. The SEACI is agitprop; “temperatures have been rising, 2007 is the hottest year”; ha! Read Ken Stewart’s analysis of Australian temperature. And rainfall in WA is declining because there is more snow in cooling Eastern Antarctica which is due to AGW; don’t tell Steig.

    As for PDO having an AGW footprint; the Yeti strikes again! But alas its only big Ben without shoes:

    • Reminds me of the “Weakening of the Walker” scare — remember that? Its seems to me unreliable to be looking to atmospheric cycles, when their nature is to change. Even if they were pushed — it seems to me they are likely to revert. The most obvious and conventional explanation for rainfall decline is deforestation, but its no longer trendy it seems. The folks in SEACI don’t even consider it, as far as I can see, preferring the Crisis du Jour.

      • I gave luke your Watts power point which as you know considered land use and deforestation’s impact on rainfall but nothing meaningful was exchanged; so much for the barter system.

      • You hand me an insult and expect something for it? I would have thought I had increased your collection considerably over the years.

      • The rapidity of the response indicates how much Cohenite has sold his soul. Totally disingenuous. Why would someone make something up as complex as this. But that what’s you’d expect from a total denier.

        So now local effects can stop the oceanic SST forcing of climate. For heavens sake wake up to yourself. This La Nina must be a figment of our imagination.

        A first rate response would be “well isn’t that interesting”. Tell me more. But by now you are so immersed in denialist drongoism you’ll say anything on a whim. Like your libellous 10 worst papers adventure. Discussion is rather pointless isn’t it.

        Tell us Cohenite – what experiment would you undertake to work out the contribution of land use change. This should be good.

      • Lay off the denier refrain luke. You have been parading the new Santer paper around as though it contains something profound; this is old territory covered by Vecchi and Meehl among others, that major climate patterns have been infiltrated by AGW. You may care to consider the new condensation paper which is analysed at Jeff Id’s. The exchange between the lead author of the paper, Anastassia Makarieva, and Gavin Schmidt at items 93-94 is revealing; the complaint is that this condensation effect is trivial and at worse covered by the models at least indirectly since they use ‘real’ temperature and rainfall data; ignoring the problematic nature of that ‘real’ data, Makarieva says this:

        “We are discussing the effect precipitation produces on surface air pressure and what types of gradients are generated. In particular, we show that precipitation in the tropics produces pressure gradients of sufficient magnitude to drive the Hadley cell. We assert that this effect of precipitation on pressure gradients has never been discussed in the meteorological theory. Actually we speak a lot of this in the paper”

        This doesn’t sound trivial. David may care to link to his Walker paper [which is no longer up] for a treatment of whether the climate patterns are unusual. In any event what Schmidt says at 94 is interesting:

        “pure condensation (without removal of mass) (i.e. to form a cloud) does not affect the pressure directly. It does affect the temperature and the density via latent heat and equation of state effects.”

        I would suggest that there and with the condensation effect you have ample explanation as to why there is no THS as predicted by AGW. It also explains why Santer’s thesis is flawed.

      • Cohenite – you are really shitting me. You really have just gone over into being a drunken sceptic pugilist swinging at everything. So SEACI set out to investigate autumn rainfall decline over southern SE Australia (so pullease don’t be a wanker and put up an entire MDB rainfall time series) – this is really hard task – it’s in the autumn ENSO predictability gap time period – and it seems they now have a high candidate where obs, stats and modelling have come together. Given you don’t actually do any climate forecasting work it wouldn’t occur to a dude like you to see if any of your indices were becoming compromised.

        The SW WA work uncovered SAM and natural variability as the cause. The Law Dome work shows how big this departure is.

        Lots of work on El Nino morphing into Modoki mode. IOD changing. PDO now compromised and maybe even moved.

        At some point you’re going to have to wake up that there is a bloody huge amount of phenomena change. Why – might be AGW – or might be “just something else”.

        A sensible question for you would be – if AGW was having an influence how would one attempt to unravel it.

        But no – we have this game of you trotting out petty objections and putting logs on the road as a “comment”. Pullease ! (Go and do some work!)

      • Spring is increasing too – winter stable. Never mind, we know its going to fall eventually ’cause the models say so.

        Oh and where is the AGW El Nino that is resetting the baseline – Power and Smith?

        I can’t check the stats on everything, but whenever skeptics do the claims are exaggerated. It doesn’t build confidence and it’s not the mark of serious scientists to be searching for patterns in tea leaves. They should be quantifying heat flows.

      • Very unimpressive – a whole state of the art analysis dismissed with a hand wave – no wonder they just laugh at you guys.

      • They laughed at me too when I criticized BIOCLIM, and then developed one of the most successful methods in the field. By all objective tests BIOCLIM, HSI’s (Habitat Suitability Indices) turn out to be the least accurate of all niche modelling methods because they are not strict about validation and modelling physical quantities.

      • Its very easy to match the pattern of rainfall decrease against the patterns of landuse and the meteorological patterns of interest and see which are more significant. I see the pattern of rainfall deficit is all down the eastern seaboard, as well as the SE and SW, so landuse is probably more explanatory than phenomena in the SE and SW only.

      • Come on – so the current simple example of a La Nina shows how ocean processes swamp 2nd order land effects. And ENSO so elegantly shows how an ocean processes move rainfall patterns longitudinally.

        You have summarily dismissed a very elegant study of obs, stats, mechanism, and modelled replication (STRi) with a handwave.

        So unconvincing and naughty too – the poor old fogies on the Watts pensioner scaring tour lapped the land use ruse up – just like the ppm and ppb on the same graph with the methane. I stopped listening at that point.

      • You say La Nina is a counter example to land cover effects, but if
        land cover clearing reduces all rainfall events by a given proportion,
        say 10%, as has been shown in studies going way back, then that’s
        independent of changes in the frequency and nature of rainfall events.

        I took another look at the study and couldn’t find even a mention of
        land cover effects. So what’s to do when research apparently ignores
        a bulk of research in favor of the crisis du jour? Write letters,
        complain, publish papers that get ignored.

        The State of the Climate Report graph with caption “Atmospheric Carbon
        Dioxide (parts per million) and Methane (parts per billion)” puts both
        on the same graph, so I dont understand your objection. The complaint
        by Quirk and McCrann was that inconvienient data was omitted from a
        subsequent graph at a smaller time scale, making the point that they
        need to be more evenhanded and objective in their reporting.

    • Nice short 2010 paper. Though it looks to me like “no significantly different from zero” is more accurate. I wonder, could there still be an imbalance, but its not getting into the ocean.

      “In summary, we find that estimates of the recent
      (2003–2008) OHC rates of change are preponderantly
      negative. This does not support the existence of either a
      large positive radiative imbalance or a “missing energy.” ”

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