Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest MeWe

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

Confidence in climate forecasts

Posted on 4 August 2010 by Kevin Judd

Guest post by Kevin Judd

Climate scientists are telling us that the earth's average temperature is going to rise 2 to 3 degrees over the next 50 to 100 years. How do they make this prediction? And why are they confident their prediction will be correct? Climate scientists make this prediction using a climate model. So what is a climate model?

Perhaps you have seen, or even had a ride on, one of those model stream-trains. These are miniature working replicas of real steam-engines. Climate models are the same; they are a working replica of the earth, only instead being made of rock and water and other materials, they are made from mathematical equations.

These mathematical models are the basis of science and technology. There are models for how microwave ovens work; models for car engines and power stations; models for jet-aircraft. Models allow scientists and engineers to build things that have never been built before, by testing how they will work before they are made. Models were used to build the rockets that took astronauts to the moon and back safely. Models allows scientists to predict complex things like the weather.

These models make correct predictions because they are based on general scientific principles, often referred as "Laws", like the law of gravity. General scientific principles are important because they connect phenomena that are not obviously connected. For example, the principles of microwave ovens are related to the greenhouse effect. The principles of car engines and power stations are related to how the earth will warm up. The principles of aircraft are related to winds, storms, and ocean currents.

This interconnectedness gives scientific models great power. If the general principles of climate models were wrong, scientists would have known long ago: microwave ovens wouldn't work, aircraft wouldn't fly, weather couldn't be forecast.

Based on general principles alone climate scientists have every reason to be confident in their predictions, because the principles have been well tested. Furthermore, the climate models of twenty years ago accurately forecast temperature rises over the last 20 years. This successful prediction further validates the general principles, and gives us confidence in climate models. Add to this that the climate models of today are much better than 20 years ago.

Of course there will always be some uncertainty about how the details of climate change will play out, but there is no doubt on the basic story that the earth's average temperature is going to rise 2 to 3 degrees over the next 50 to 100 years. Anyone who says otherwise, either does not understand how science works, or is being deliberately misleading.

In my next segment I'll consider what the consequences of this warming will be.

NOTE: this post is also being "climatecast" by Kevin Judd on RTR-FM 92.1 around 11.30 AM WAST today. You can listen to a streaming broadcast of RTR-FM online via http://www.rtrfm.com.au/listen.

0 0

Printable Version  |  Link to this page

Comments

Prev  1  2  

Comments 51 to 98 out of 98:

  1. Argus at 21:21 PM on 6 August, 2010 I don't think there's much merit in your argument Argus, and if Kevin's top post is a little simplistic (but note that the communication of science at varying levels of "simplicity" is a current topic of discussion here), then your's is unhelpfully simplistic (not to mention wrong) in the other direction! For your description of how models are constructed and used is quite incorrect. Models are parameterized according to known physics, and isn't adjusted to fit reality in the manner you suggest. It would be foolish indeed to do so (although on consideration, there might be good reasons for testing this under some circumstances). The value of doing good quality models and comparing these to reality is they increase our understanding and really help to focus on specific empirical measurements. So, for example, when ideas of water vapour response to atmospheric warming conflicted with models, one could focus on addressing real world water vapour data to assess the discrepencies. Now we know that water vapor is behaving pretty much as expected from models. Likewise a long-standing discrepancy between models and satellite measures of tropospheric warming stimulated a focus on addressing real world measurements and the apparent confusions were resolved pretty much in favour of the models. Computational models are astonishingly useful in most areas of science.
    0 0
  2. angusmac at 02:43 AM on 5 August, 2010 I agree with the comments (27) made by Chris on the Hansen 2006 paper about the 1988 model. Hansen points out the original model used a higher climate sensitivity than the currently accepted estimates, and therefore the original model is likely to slightly overestimate temperature trends. Even so, your “update” seems a little biased in that you omit the station data which Hansen includes, (and justifies inclusion) based on what the model is actually modeling. I have updated again with rolling 12 month values for the latest GISS data. As others have pointed out we should not be misled (either way) by short term variations (eg 1993 or 1997). We should also remember that adding appropriate error bars will make the question of divergence academic, at least for the moment.
    0 0
  3. Argus @ 49 "As proven by angusmac (#20), these climate 'forecasts' over-predict global temperatures when compared with observed temperatures. I am guessing there is a purpose behind this." Actually Angusmac provided a graph without sufficient explanation, which was provided by Chris @ 27 - I expect climate science has moved on a bit since 1988. Still pretty good work by Jim Hansen, considering what was known at that time. And I hardly think we know for a fact that models "over predict" global temperatures.
    0 0
  4. doug_bostrom (#46): not really indicative of any problem w/scientific understanding I used to believe that, but then I have seen the f-word used so often by otherwise knowledgeable people, I am now inclined to think those using it have really lost its real-world meaning. chris (#50): No, nobody thinks they have a crystal ball, but (too) many people talk to the general public as if they did! I confess I am always amazed at how much I agree with Schmidt on this point. And especially about society’s expectations. Perish the thought there would be a +3C increase by the year 20XX apart from a 1C drop due to a series of volcanic eruptions, with the resulting 2C hailed a victory for humanity's efforts and politicians' especially (come to think, if you look at the Copenhagen Accord cloosely, it's worded ambiguously enough...) And for the record, yes, I am all for the use of climate models, even if like with string theory, I do think there's been too much focus on them and them alone. Like secret dossiers for journalists, climate models make a climatologist's life easier, maybe too much so.
    0 0
  5. Ned#42, #43 It seems to me that the +2.1W/sq.m of WV and ice albedo feedback, and the aerosol, cloud and direct albedo currently showing in Dr Trenberth's balance are the places to illuminate with Eqans we can all understand.
    0 0
  6. Chris #44 Of course the climate 'sensitivity' refers to surface warming. The crux of the AGW theory is that CO2GHG forcing and positive WV feedbacks will cause an enhanced T1-T2 differential across the atmospheric column from the surface to the level in the atmosphere where the temperature averages around 255degK. This is approx the S-B radiating temperature of the earth.
    0 0
  7. #38 scaddenp at 14:49 PM on 5 August, 2010 I would say GHG increase should increase entropy - the earth has become more efficient at converting high entropy photons to low entropy photons. I see. But what do models say?
    0 0
  8. In my previous comment I emphasised the change made by the IPCC to its AR2 WG1 Chapter 5 “Climate Model Evaluation” when replacing “prediction” with “projection”. It is worthwhile considering the important distinction between these two words, clarified in a definition buried in AR3 Appendix I - Glossary. “Projection (generic) 
A projection is a potential future evolution of a quantity or set of quantities, often computed with the aid of a model. Projections are distinguished from predictions in order to emphasise that projections involve assumptions concerning, e.g., future socio-economic and technological developments that may or may not be realised, and are therefore subject to substantial uncertainty. See also Climate projection; Climate prediction.” “Climate projection: 
A projection of the response of the climate system to emission or concentration scenarios of greenhouse gases and aerosols, or radiative forcing scenarios, often based upon simulations by climate models. Climate projections are distinguished from climate predictions in order to emphasise that climate projections depend upon the emission/concentration/ radiative forcing scenario used, which are based on assumptions, concerning, e.g., future socio-economic and technological developments, that may or may not be realised, and are therefore subject to substantial uncertainty.” Climate prediction: 
A climate prediction or climate forecast is the result of an attempt to produce a most likely description or estimate of the actual evolution of the climate in the future, e.g. at seasonal, interannual or long-term time scales. See also: Climate projection and Climate (change) scenario. As I indicated previously, these distinctions, although conveniently overlooked by supporters of The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis, are by no means trivial. On the contrary, they are fundamental to the debate. As far as projecting changing global climates are concerned the most important words providing that clarification are “assumptions .. subject to substantial uncertainty ..” particularly in relation to uncertainty and assumptions about radiative forcing. Kevin Judd underplays this high level of uncertainty and the associated highly dubious assumptions made by supporters of The Hypothesis. He says “Of course there will always be some doubt and uncertainty about how the details of climate change will play out, but there is no doubt on the basic story that the earth's average temperature is going to rise 2 to 3 degrees over the next 50 to 100 years. Anyone who says otherwise, either does not understand how science works, or is being deliberately misleading..” He is wrong. Those projections of 2-3C rise in mean global temperature are pure conjecture. As Professor Barry Brook (Note 1), Sir Hubert Wilkins professor of climate change at Adelaide University said over a year ago, “There are a lot of uncertainties in science, and it is indeed likely that the current consensus on some points of climate science is wrong, or at least sufficiently uncertain that we don’t know anything much useful about processes or drivers” (Note 2 – please read the whole paragraph for the full context). It is that poor scientific understanding of global climate processes and drivers that forces supporters of The Hypothesis to speculate about future trends and other agenda unrelated to climate change that causes them to speculate about a catastrophic trend. Those Implications by Kevin Judd (is this Professor Kevin Judd of the University of Western Australia?) that today’s computer models are able to predict global climate change are totally misleading. Because of those unfounded assumptions made as a result of the significant uncertainties in the underlying sciences upon which the models are based, any attempts at predicting global climates are little better than fortune telling through gazing into crystal balls. John Cook’s lead article on the “How reliable are climate models?” thread says that sceptics argue “Models are unreliable .. “. This understates what many skeptics say, which is that climate models are incapable of predicting global climates. Specious claims are repeatedly made by supporters of The Hypohesis about the ability of climate models to predict global climates. In a plethora of comments on that thread the claim is made that this is substantiated by mean global temperature change predictions attempted by Dr. James Hansen in 1988. In these, one of the three scenarios produced results that show some alignment with claimed global temperature changes to 2000. The fact that this alignment disappears for the period 2000-2010 is conveniently overlooked. Because of the enormous scientific uncertainties about global climate processes and drivers, no climate model can be considered capable of predicting anything relating to global climates until it has reliably predicted global temperature trends over the accepted minimum period of 30 years. This test run would have to be undertaken under strict control procedures monitored by independent validation professionals before sceptics would accept that the models are reliable. Until that has happened climate models have no more validity that the fortune teller’s crystal ball. NOTES: 1) see http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/barry.brook 2) see http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/23/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/ Best regards, Pete Ridley.
    0 0
  9. chris at 21:42 PM on 6 August, 2010: So you really believe that a climate model is just a "working replica of the earth" - only it is made from "mathematical equations" instead of "rock and water and other materials"? Just like the "model stream-trains ... are miniature working replicas of real steam-engines"? I am not that easily convinced! I certainly have no personal experience whatsoever of making computer models of the climate, but I have the equivalent of a master's degree in (what in my country is called) technical physics, and I have worked for 25 years as a computer programmer. So I know a bit about how make a program work - you put in what you know, or think you know, for a starter, then test it, compare it to the real world, make some changes, test, change again, etc. Of course the model is based on "known physics" somewhere. I did mention that in my comment. But there must also be a lot of empirical parameters and variables put into it, in order to make its output agree with climate history. And when you achieve that, you are resonably satisfied. In the post How reliable are climate models? a big deal is made out of the fact that the models "successfully reproduce the past". Of course they do. That is what they were made to do. But predicting the future is another matter. To make a really accurate climate model of the earth and its biosphere, in its setting in the solar system, is not like making a model of a microwave oven or a power station. It is immensely harder than that. I imagine it would be almost as hard as making a model of how the human race will evolve during the next million years. We have the physical and chemical laws, we know about natural selection etc, we know our DNA, we can make our model fit the changes of the past million years, but then what?
    0 0
  10. I'm curious to know what Argus is really arguing about. W/reference to model predictions versus observations, Argus said: [dubious proof omitted] these climate 'forecasts' over-predict global temperatures when compared with observed temperatures. I am guessing there is a purpose behind this. What purpose do you believe that to be, Argus? I ask because this has a lot of bearing on the topic of this post. Quite a large body of research tells us that a given person's confidence in and ability to integrate new information is often dictated not by the quality of that information but instead how it comports with their beliefs about things not directly related but which instead may be affected by actions indicated by the new information. In this case you're harboring some misunderstandings about models that happen to allow you to dismiss them as having no utility in helping us to decide whether to change our actions. Your remark about "purpose behind this" sounds superficially like an irrational buttressing of your misconceptions about models. That's why I'm wondering about the specifics of the "purpose" you see in errors of models.
    0 0
  11. Pete Ridley at 02:23 AM on 7 August, 2010 Try to keep it short Pete. (I'll also try to follow my own advice). I think data and objectivity is fundamental to the debate rather than semantics and hyperbolics. "Because of those unfounded assumptions made as a result of the significant uncertainties in the underlying sciences upon which the models are based, any attempts at predicting global climates are little better than fortune telling through gazing into crystal balls" Please be explicit and specific, with science based references rather than opinions (or those of others).
    0 0
  12. Pete Ridley @58 -"Until that has happened climate models have no more validity that the fortune teller’s crystal ball." So crystal balls predicted planetary features such as stratospheric cooling, the polar ice asymmetry and oceanic stratification too?.
    0 0
  13. Whilst the IPCC confines itself to tracking 20 something climate models there are countless other climate models from which they could have chosen. All of the modelers have access to the same range of data available as inputs, as well as, hopefully, the same knowledge of "known" physics as well as "unknown" physics, the big one of course being clouds, feedback in particular. Given that the output of most models differ to varying degrees, there are obviously variations in the assumptions being made by the modelers as to the combination of inputs and the relative importance, or weighting, each of the parameters are given in the equations that the model constitutes. The fact that each model differs somewhat is indicative that there is still a large degree of uncertainty and a wide range of opinions as to how all the known physics relates to the real world, and what all the collected data really means. Perhaps one of the models does accurately track the past and the present, and accurately project into the future, but which one? Only one can be absolutely right, but by being right it then invalidates many of the assumptions made in all of the other models. The only other alternative is that none are right. Given that the physics of cloud feedback is still an extremely large unknown, it is just as likely that a model that incorporates negative feedback into the equations has as much chance of being right as those which model positive feedback, given it is not known physics, but opinion only that is the determining factor in the face of such unknown physics.
    0 0
  14. JohnD inadvertently presents an argument indicating the reasonably good utility of models we use. Outputs cluster reasonably well around a pattern of similar conclusions. The notion that variance among exact features of various model outputs is a mark of wholesale failure is actually diagnostic of misunderstanding on JohnD's part. Hypothesizing a myriad of other models does not serve as a functional argument indicating we should ignore the congruence among the models we actually do use. "Absolutely right" of course is not the metric used to determine if models are useful. Thus I think JohnD's endorsement of models is accidentally on the mark. Clouds are a bit of a wildcard but progress is in fact being made in that department and meanwhile folks with more expertise than JohnD (or myself) don't seem paralyzed by the fear that they're going to overturn current thinking. Helps to remember, the folks doing the science are way more circumspect than us in the peanut gallery.
    0 0
  15. johnd wrote : "Whilst the IPCC confines itself to tracking 20 something climate models there are countless other climate models from which they could have chosen." "Perhaps one of the models does accurately track the past and the present, and accurately project into the future, but which one? Only one can be absolutely right, but by being right it then invalidates many of the assumptions made in all of the other models. The only other alternative is that none are right." You should read what the IPCC actually do with the output of the models : Ensembles of models represent a new resource for studying the range of plausible climate responses to a given forcing. Such ensembles can be generated either by collecting results from a range of models from different modelling centres (‘multi-model ensembles’ as described above), or by generating multiple model versions within a particular model structure, by varying internal model parameters within plausible ranges (‘perturbed physics ensembles’). In order to identify errors that are systematic across models, the mean of fields available in the [Multi-Model Data set], referred to here as the ‘multi-model mean field’, will often be shown. The multi-model mean field results are augmented by results from individual models available as Supplementary Material (see Figures S8.1 to S8.15). The multi-model averaging serves to filter out biases of individual models and only retains errors that are generally pervasive. There is some evidence that the multi-model mean field is often in better agreement with observations than any of the fields simulated by the individual models. Ch 8, Climate Models and Their Evaluation The use of ensembles of AOGCMs developed at different modelling centres has become established in climate prediction/ projection on both seasonal-to-interannual and centennial time scales. To the extent that simulation errors in different AOGCMs are independent, the mean of the ensemble can be expected to outperform individual ensemble members, thus providing an improved ‘best estimate’ forecast. 10.5.4.1 The Multi-Model Ensemble Approach And, looking at the number of countries that were involved, it's difficult to see how many other models they could have looked at or used. Do you have any suggestions ?
    0 0
  16. doug_bostrom at 09:43 AM, a couple of points should be considered. One is that climate modeling, though based on known physics and accumulated data is reduced to combining a number of interacting mathematical equations that is supposed to represent real world conditions, and then project them forward. As many tutors of mathematics will possibly agree, when the expertise of the students (modelers) is examined, it is not whether or not the class as a whole arrived at similar conclusions that matters, but who within that class made all valid assumptions and got the calculations into the correct relationship that determines the validity of the overall equation and the overall result so determined. A number of incorrect assumptions that may end up balancing each other out does not validate each of the processes, but that is what is being asked of us by taking the combined output of a number of different models as being a valid conclusion. Another point is that whilst mathematics is a precise science when dealing with absolute values, when real world data is introduced, the values come attached with varying degrees of margins of error. When such values are being used to establish trends, the margins of error are going to be magnified, increasing the further forward the projections are being made to the point the margin of error makes the projection useless. Therefore it is incumbent upon the modelers to ensure that their inputs and assumptions are free from such errors. Given various models assume different values and inputs, rather than giving more confidence that the science is settled, it only confirms the division that exists. Once we see that the number of models tracked by the IPCC being reduced as the assumptions being made in each are either validated, and so must be incorporated into all other models, or proved invalid so rendering the model itself invalid, then perhaps we can see greater confidence in climate models justified. As I watch the football each week, Aussie rules that is, I am reminded often that the team whose game plan is correct, and whose goal kicking is very precise with very few misses, are at times overrun by an opposition with a muddled game plan and atrocious goal kicking, but one that wins the game because the sheer weight of errors in kicking for goal still resulted in sufficient minor scores to scrape a win. Knowing some such footballers from my schooldays, they had as much trouble explaining how they may have inadvertently produced the right result in maths examinations as they have explaining how they happened to muddle their way to a win on the field.
    0 0
  17. JMurphy at 10:55 AM, whilst the example I have linked to is focused more on seasonal outlooks, and at the moment the results are unusually reasonably well aligned, a check back through the recent archives will demonstrate just how much variation different GCM models can produce in their results. Over a period of time most observers will focus more closely on the results of one model rather than the combined results which more often to not becomes meaningless, especially when the range of results amongst all the models are wide. Personally I believe the experimental coupled GCM from SINTEX JMA of Japan is the most accurate, more so then the combined results of the ensembles. About 3 years ago it went completely against ALL other models that were predicting an imminent and large La-Nina and was the only one to have gotten it right. Modelled Climate and Ocean Predictions on page 2
    0 0
  18. JohnD, you might want to take a look at what happens w/GCMs when they're challenged w/absurd perturbations such as instantaneous removal of all Antarctic sea ice. What you'll find is that without other simultaneous "knobbing" the effects of such perturbations are transient within a relatively brief time. For instance in the case of Antarctic ice being vanished by a "deus ex machina" the ice returns as of course it ought to do without for instance a massive load of C02 being dumped into atmosphere at the time of removal. This is what's expected from a faithful simulation and is a powerful hint as to how well the models adhere to reality. Stick w/clouds if you want to make a serious case about model limitations, that's my inexpert advice.
    0 0
  19. doug_bostrom (at 04:32 AM on 7 August, 2010): "What purpose do you believe that to be, Argus?" First, let me say that I am skeptic towards climate models for the same reasons as the signatures Pete Ridley (at 02:23 AM on 7 August, 2010) and johnd (at 11:35 AM on 7 August, 2010), as manifested in their recent comments. They are just expressing themselves far better than I am. "These models make correct predictions because they are based on general scientific principles", Kevin Judd claims about weather modelling programs. Correct predictions - that is quite a statement! And he seems to imply that climate models are just as correct, because "otherwise microwave ovens wouldn't work, aircraft wouldn't fly". He is obviously trying to inject 'confidence in climate forecasts' into the listeners to FM 92.1 (and the readers of this post), by making climate models seem as simple and reliable as "model stream-trains". -- Is it working out? Not for me, but according to doug_bostrom this is only because I am "harboring some misunderstandings about models". As for the question about purpose, I will first give a few examples. Whenever the future of our climate is presented in media, there is too often a tendency to exaggerate: '... warned the world that non-linearities in the ocean-atmosphere system could lead to a whopping 5 meter or more sea level rise over this century' - 'a 5 degree to 8 degree rise in global temperature in the next 100 years, expected by many scientists …' - '… the likelihood of [the glaciers in the Himalaya] disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high'. I think the purpose behind the use of exaggerated news, is to wake up the masses, alert them so that they will start living more ecologically, and possibly influence their politicians to act sooner (and more forcibly). The alarming predictions are usually based on well chosen climate models, so I think they are influenced by the same purpose. A model that over-predicts global temperatures a bit, or shows a steeper curve, is more useful in this context. Unfortunately, alarming figures and exaggerated predictions do not work well anymore, I think. The public is becoming more skeptic for each new alarming report. I doubt that the purpose of informing the people (which is a good purpose) is served best in this way. New proselytes could possibly be won over more effectively with other methods than serving them half-truths.
    0 0
  20. Thanks, Argus. It's notable that your post w/the remarks about "purpose" was discussing scientific research but as you further describe your feelings it turns out your concerns are about what you see as a tone problem in popular media and what you believe is an agenda pursued by the media to drive political action. That's not an argument about science. Your conclusions about popular opinion are also quite interesting. If you look around for scientifically conducted research into public opinion, you'll find that your perceptions put you in a small minority of persons that while varying by year in proportionality appears to show little if any trend.
    0 0
  21. Argus at 02:58 AM on 7 August, 2010 ”So you really believe that a climate model is just a "working replica of the earth" - only it is made from "mathematical equations" instead of "rock and water and other materials"?... No, of course not. A climate model is designed to simulate energy flows within the climate system. It doesn’t have to simulate “rock and water and other materials”. On the other hand a model could include rock weathering by parameterizing a huge amount of physics and chemistry on silicate weathering, and the relevant properties of water (ocean thermocline; mixing between ocean layers and other aspects of ocean heat transport; ocean surface evaporation; latent heat transfer and so on) can all be parameterized according to empirical physics. ”In the post How reliable are climate models? a big deal is made out of the fact that the models "successfully reproduce the past". Of course they do. That is what they were made to do. But predicting the future is another matter.” There is an element of the Monty Python “what did the Romans ever do for us” about your complaint! “Wot ‘ave models ever predicted...... except (i) the moistening of the troposphere at a time when at least one prominent “skeptic” was asserting that the upper troposphere would dry in a warming world; (ii) tropospheric warming during a long period when erroneous tropospheric measures were indicating the opposite (models predicted correctly again); (iii) northern polar amplification of global warming including a significantly delayed Antarctic response (model predictions from the 1980’s); the extent of warming in response to enhanced greenhouse forcing (models from the 1890’s; from 1975 and Hansen’s projection from the 1980’s discussed earlier); that tropospheric warming would be accompanied by stratospheric cooling and the increased altitude of the tropopause (models from 1980s); enhanced nighttime warming over daytime warming and enhanced winter warming over summer warming (Arrhenius predicted this in the 1890’s!); etc. etc. …..apart from that wot ‘ave models ever predicted!” The reason that models have been rather successful in predicting the Earth response to enhanced greenhouse forcing is that the issue is largely one of addressing the amount and distribution of energy in the climate system. There is a massive amount of well-characterized physics with which to parameterize models (the blackbody Earth temperature, the Earth’s albedo, the origin and magnitude of the greenhouse effect, and the fact that the earth temperature response linearly to logarithmic changes in [CO2] were already known and understood in the 19th century). And as I’ve said before there is a wealth of empirical and theoretical data that informs us that the Earth responds with a surface warming between 2 and 4.5 oC per doubling of [CO2]. In effect this can be considered a highly predictive (all else being equal!) model for projecting future temperatures in response to various CO2 emission scenarios. Global circulation models might be considered to be continuous embellishments of this basic energy relationship. They don’t actually have to be that complicated! It’s not obvious that they actually give us much more info about global warming per se than can be gleaned from the climate sensitivity, but of course (as I’ve said before too!) they allow testing of future projections and a focus on differences between model predictions and real world measurements [which so far have largely been settled in favour of the models (see my Monty Python sketch just above)]. ”I imagine it would be almost as hard as making a model of how the human race will evolve during the next million years.” (referring to how hard it might be to make an accurate climate model of the Earth). I wouldn't say so Argus. Physical models parameterized with well-characterized physics can do a good job of simulating relevant elements of physical systems. Since evolution is fundamentally based on stochastic variability (random mutations in heritable DNA), coupled with interactions at the somatic scale (e.g. mate-selection) under the influence of environmental “natural”-selection, buffeted by non-predictable stochastic (car accidents; fatal illnesses; non-reproduction) and contingent events (war, famine, tsunami’s, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods and all the other nasties that can decimate populations unfairly), evolution is inherently non-predictable. ..weather's difficult too...climate not so difficult broadly speaking. n.b. be sure to click on the Monty Python sketch link!
    0 0
  22. Another retrospective of Hansen's model of 22 years ago, and some expert remarks on the utility of models in general: Skill and uncertainty in climate models From the abstract of the paper analyzing Hansen's model: Analyses of skill are widely used for assessing weather predictions, but the time scale and lack of validation data mean that it is not generally possible to investigate the predictive skill of today's climate models on the multidecadal time scale. The predictions made with early climate models can, however, be analyzed, and here we show that one such forecast did have skill. It seems reasonable to expect that predictions based on today's more advanced models will be at least as skillful. In general, assessments of predictions based on today's climate models should use Bayesian methods, in which the inevitable subjective decisions are made explicit. For the AR4, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recommended the Bayesian paradigm for making estimates of uncertainty and probabilistic statements, and here we analyze the way in which uncertainty was actually addressed in the report. Analysis of the ensemble of general circulation models (GCMs) used in the last IPCC report suggests there is little evidence to support the popular notion that the multimodel ensemble is underdispersive, which would imply that the spread of the ensemble may be a reasonable starting point for estimating uncertainty. It is important that the field of uncertainty estimation is developed in order that the best use is made of current scientific knowledge in making predictions of future climate. At the same time, it is only by better understanding the processes and inclusion of these processes in the models, the best estimates of future climate will be closer to the truth. Here's how Hansen's model looks in retrospective tested against the null hypothesis: Forecast of Hansen et al.2 (blue line) evaluated against observational data (black). Twenty-year trends of forecast and observations are indicated with thick lines, as is the null hypothesis of zero trend (red). So we see that 22 years ago it was possible to construct a model that would predict behavior of the the Earth climate system w/some fidelity, no need for backwards-looking tweaking or the like. 12 years later, from 2000, we have another sample including more model runs to look at: From Intercomparison of Present and Future Climates Simulated by Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere GCMs As Hargreaves remarks, it's hard to imagine models are becoming worse over time. It's also possible to see that so-called "wide variances" between different models and different model instantiations don't have much to tell us about the fundamental utility of models because while such variances do indeed emerge decades into various model runs those models still tell us the same basic story, the planet will continue warming up. "Just models," of course, but observational evidence seems to largely coincide w/model output as we can see from Hansen's very early example. Quibble over wiggles, we can still do that of course.
    0 0
  23. johnd wrote : "Personally I believe the experimental coupled GCM from SINTEX JMA of Japan is the most accurate, more so then the combined results of the ensembles. About 3 years ago it went completely against ALL other models that were predicting an imminent and large La-Nina and was the only one to have gotten it right." johnd, the link you provided was for June 2010, showing the SINTEX JMA agreeing with most of the other models. Do you have a link to the result three years ago, which you were so impressed by ?
    0 0
  24. Doug (Bostrom) hit the nail right on the head with his "that's my inexpert advice". Most of us here are offering our inexpert opinions and advice for free and there is a saying “Free advice is worth what you pay for it”. The climate models are structured from scientific hypotheses that are based upon dubious statistical manipulations, unsound assumptions and estimates used as a poor substitutes for a proper understanding about global climate processes and drivers. Rather than paying much attention to inexpert opinions I prefer to listen to the advice of those with some expertise in the subject, such as Professor Hans von Storch, of the University of Hamburg’s Meteorological Institute. Although he is a supporter of The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis, he is honest about the scientific uncertainty upon which it is based. In his 2009 paper “On Adaptation – a secondary concern?” (Note 1) von Storch says such thing as:- “.. How fast can climate change when only natural causes are operating? This rate may be described by a probability distribution .. (which) .. must be estimated from the limited evidence provided by the observational data base of the past 150 years and by indirect “proxy data”. It is not possible to prove that the estimation is “right”; we can only show that it is consistent with the little knowledge we have. I personally believe that our estimates are approximately correct – but I have to admit that I may be wrong with that assessment”. “Commonly accepted knowledge is that no more than one third of the warming of the past hundred years can be explained by increased solar output; the remaining two thirds can be explained only by the effect of elevated greenhouse gas concentrations, i.e., the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. There is a caveat, .. the quality of estimating the magnitude of naturally caused variability is a key issue in this exercise. This magnitude is not known but must be estimated. Accepting its estimated value is a matter of trust. If somebody believes that the estimate is inadequate because of the limited data base, then I can not disprove this assertion. The same is true for my belief that the data base is good enough to allow a reasonable educated guess of this quantity – possible opponents are not able to prove that I am wrong. This controversy has nothing to do with incapable scientists but with the fact that the data available to us are limited. The problem can be solved only by either waiting for a long period of extra time .. or by accepting claims such as realism of contemporary climate models”. I shouldn’t need to explain the significance of those comments but for any who need a hint, look for words like “limited evidence”, “belief”, “may be wrong”, Contributors here may find his blog Die Klimazwiebel (Note 2) enlightening but it will only help those with an open mind. I wonder who will be the first one here to cast doubts about Professor Storch’s pedigree. Andrew Gelman, Professor of Statistics and Political Science and Director of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia University, uses that “Free advice .. ” as the title of one of his threads. Following up on this led me to an associate of his, Seth Roberts, professor emeritus of psychology at UC Berkeley. In his article “Physicists Disagree about Climate Change” (Note 3) he quotes opposing opinions on The Hypothesis from two physicist friends. Gelman then goes on to say “At risk of sounding v smug, my views have changed only a little. I already thought the consensus was more fragile than it appeared. That’s just a general truth about modern science. I was already skeptical of climate models because I knew how easily modellers fool themselves. I began to believe the consensus was not just fragile but wrong when I heard the story of the Yamal tree ring data — the long refusal to supply the raw data and, when the researcher’s hand was forced and the data finally supplied, the way it contradicted the claims that had been made. Climategate didn’t vastly change what I thought; it provided more evidence for ideas I already had .. ”. I love that bit about modellers fooling themselves. – enjoy. NOTES: 1) see http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/pdf/BadHonnef_0805-adaptation.pdf 2) see http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com/2010/08/sustainable-science.html 3) see http://www.wellsphere.com/general-medicine-article/physicists-disagree-about-climate-change/909357 Best regards, Pete Ridley
    0 0
  25. Argus, in my inexpert opinion the reason that the media prefers scare stories to reality is that it attracts more of the available audience, hence more funding for the most scary media release. I also opine that the politicians and others who promote the most scary projections of those models do so not out of concern for global climate change but for other vested interests but this is not the forum for such debate. You may be interested in taking a look at my “Global political Shenanigans” blog (http://globalpoliticalshenanigans.blogspot.com/). Doug, I’d be interested to know which “ .. scientifically conducted research into public opinion .. ” you are depending upon to support your view that Argus’s perceptions put him “ .. in a small minority of persons .. ”. The public opinion polls that I have seen recently show a clear trend toward scepticism among the general public about The Hypothesis. Best regards, Pete Ridley
    0 0
  26. See this as an example, Peter, w/methods properly explained. There's a pretty large gulf between simple opinion polling and carefully constructed elicitation. I'd suggest if you see a trend in skepticism, you should be equally amenable to the notion that today's weather in Russia is confirmation of climate change. :-)
    0 0
  27. By the way, that's a interesting continuum from expertise to dilettante you cite there, Peter. I thought you were keen to rely on experts but here we rattle to a conclusion based on purloined emails and something that turned out to be a fake, synthetic scandal? Hardly a strong scientific case for exaggerating uncertainty, all in all.
    0 0
  28. Pete Ridley at 06:59 AM on 8 August, 2010 Since the evidence for skill of climate models is an extant fact (see e.g. Doug's post above and the link to Julia Hargreaves article), one isn't impressed by poorly-informed assertion ("The climate models are structured from scientific hypotheses that are based upon dubious statistical manipulations, unsound...."). A useful approach to science involves a rational and honest consideration of the evidence. Your he said this...he said that construction to support your opinion isn't very interesting. You select one element from von Storch's article that you like but dismiss the fact that von Storch presents strong arguments for the nature of anthropogenic global warming, and expresses concerns about future consequences (he obviously doesn't consider anthropogenic global warming a "hypothesis"). We're left wonder at what point your apparent reliance on expert sources starts and finishes...in the end it seems like you make dainty selctions based on your opinion! evidence is always preferable to opinion Pete!
    0 0
  29. Pete Ridley at 06:59 AM on 8 August, 2010 It is indeed interesting to re-read von Storch. JMurphy and Chris have already highlighted some pertinent quotes from this article elsewhere, but here's another which may give you pause for thought on your comments on climate modeling: “in popular debates sometimes the argument is voiced that since it is impossible to predict the weather of the next season it would be impossible to assess changes in a few years or even decades of years. All attempts to predict climate would therefore be doomed. However, these attempts are not doomed, –contemporary climate models are indeed capable of envisaging possible future climate”. Of course there are caveats, models give us possible scenarios, worst case/best case. Von Storch does not seem optimistic about our ability to achieve best case.
    0 0
  30. Pete Ridley at 06:59 AM on 8 August, 2010 "Doug (Bostrom) hit the nail right on the head with his "that's my inexpert advice". Most of us here are offering our inexpert opinions and advice for free and there is a saying “Free advice is worth what you pay for it”." Doug is showing a certain amount of humility. In truth Doug is both rather well informed and more importantly (we've learned from our experience here) honest and informative. There are many posters here with strong backgrounds in the physical sciences that can address the scientific evidence with insight and understanding and are able to communicate this. So this site is a very good forum for gaining understanding of the science (if one chooses to be informed of course). Careful not to make the mistake of thinking that any old stuff one posts is of equal value (the pretence that everything might be dragged down to a low "common denominator" can be a conceit for those with deficient arguments!). I expect pretty much everyone that reads these threads is able to recognise honest attempts to present relevant evidence, summarise the science, perhaps to question this, and engage in an informed exchange of ideas....
    0 0
  31. Joohnd at 67: The specific prediction of an El Nino (or La Nina) is weather and not related to long term climate forcasting. The climate modelers do not claim the ability to forcast these reliably. You need to produce an example of a long range climate model in action, not a weather model.
    0 0
  32. In my comment #74 I inadvertently said in the penultimate paragraph “Gelman then goes on to say .. ”. This should have been “Roberts then ….”. Sorry if I misled anyone. Doug, ref. comment #76, thanks for that link to a very interesting poll of Americans. The most important point about that poll, as for any, is the original questions. I did consider responding to those questions in the way that I think I would have if I’d been included and leave it to you to place me in the appropriate category but this is not the forum. My guess is that I’d be placed in the “concerned” category. If you want to follow this up then let me know via this one and I’ll start a thread on my Global Political Shenanigans blog. I’m puzzled as to why you, despite your acknowledged lack of expertise in the subject (comment #68), “ .. should be equally amenable to the notion that today's weather in Russia is confirmation of climate change .. .”. I would expect you to be aware that abnormal weather events occurring in parts of the world, such as hot spells in central Russia give no indication of global climate change (the topic of this blog I believe). After all, the Russians were experiencing similar conditions “ .. in 1919, 1920, 1936, 1938 and 1972 .. ” (Note 1) so they’ve seen it all before – that’s weather for you. If you have a particular interest in global weather conditions then you may be interested in looking at the Cola Weather and Climate Data site (Note 2). “As you can see, the temperature outlook for the next two weeks for the areas just north and east of the Black Sea is bad to say the least” (Note 3) . but I do like the official disclaimer. “COLA and IGES make no guarantees about and bear no responsibility or liability concerning the accuracy or timeliness of the images being published on these web pages. .. The underlying data are the direct product of the various operational forecast models run by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, National Weather Service, NOAA and are supplied without interpretation or correction” – and that’s just about forecasting weather, never mind climate change forecasts (don’t forget that the UK Met Office uses the same model for both). We can all expect the cost of a loaf of bread to rocket as a consequence of this weather event. Of course, Yahoo Green has a different take on this (Note 4). Peter (Hogarth) “envisaging possible future climate” is significantly different to predicting them. NOTES: 1) see http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/73341/ 2) see http://wxmaps.org/ 3) see http://www.thepoultrysite.com/poultrynews/20637/cme-russian-heatwave-may-spark-wheat-crisis 4) see http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20100802/wl_time/08599200808100 Best regards, Pete Ridley
    0 0
  33. Chris, if you don’t find my comment interesting then you don’t have to read them, do you? I wholeheartedly agree with you that “evidence is always preferable to opinion”. If there was convincing evidence I don’t see why von Storch would have considered it necessary to say “I have to admit that I may be wrong with that assessment”. I respectfully suggest that you re-read what I quoted but try doing so a little more slowly and you may see my point about uncertainty more cl
    0 0
  34. My previous comment lost a little at the end so I repost the last bit. I respectfully suggest that you re-read what I quoted but try doing so a little more slowly and you may see my point about uncertainty more clearly. Of course there is a possibility that you don’t wish to recognise that significant uncertainty exists about global climate processes and drivers. Some people stick to their beliefs no matter what the evidence.
    0 0
  35. Pete, what did I say? I think your imagination is getting ahead of you. :-)
    0 0
  36. Pete Ridley wrote : "Some people stick to their beliefs no matter what the evidence." Having read your last few comments here, and your lack of detail (e.g. "scientific hypotheses that are based upon dubious statistical manipulations, unsound assumptions and estimates used as a poor substitutes for a proper understanding about global climate processes and drivers" - are you able to provide more detail and examples), I can only agree with you. And you are also typical of the so-called skeptics in that you prefer one expert above all the others. Why is that ? Does von Storch give you exactly what you want, whereas everyone else doesn't ? And you are typical in that you put words into others' mouths, e.g. "you don’t wish to recognise that significant uncertainty exists about global climate processes and drivers" (to Chris). Can you point out where ?
    0 0
  37. What would be useful on discussion of the climate models, would be an analysis of the many "predictions" the models actually got right. As well as never ending rhetoric about uncertainty (yes, we know!), the skeptics tend to focus mainly on global temperature, however the models are more sophisticated than that. They have correctly predicted features such as stratospheric cooling, polar amplification, global sea ice asymmetry, intensification of the hydrological cycle, that the Arctic would warm faster in winter than summer and that (counter intuitively) the Arctic sea ice extent would exhibit greater reductions in summer than winter. I do wonder what "predictions" will manifest themselves in the future?. Maybe this one?
    0 0
  38. doug_bostrom at 03:56 AM on 8 August, 2010 Doug, I fail to see how my belief that alarmist reports and are counter-productive, can identify me as belonging to ''a small minority of persons that […] appears to show little if any trend''. I did not know that opinion surveys were undertaken that examine common folk's views on what types of propaganda are best suited for informing the public about climate matters. If this is what you meant? If you were instead referring to my view that the 'public is becoming more skeptic', and your claim is that this view places me in a group of some kind, I am equally surprised that such surveys are conducted. The report about the Six Americas, does little too enlighten me here. If I read it correctly, the diagram on page 9 says that the two groups with the 'highest belief in global warming' have both diminished by 5 percent units in 1 ½ years. They seem to have migrated to 'cautious' or even to 'dismissive'. Maybe this was because they were fed up with scare stories?
    0 0
  39. 'and are' should read 'are'. Sorry.
    0 0
  40. Pete Ridley @82 "The underlying data are the direct product of the various operational forecast models run by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, National Weather Service, NOAA and are supplied without interpretation or correction” – and that’s just about forecasting weather, never mind climate change forecasts (don’t forget that the UK Met Office uses the same model for both)" Pete - there are those who understand that predicting climate change is very different (and actually easier) than predicting the weather, and there are those who don't accept that fact, as it is inconvenient. Shall we mark you down in the latter camp?
    0 0
  41. Argus, research indicates that at the end of the day you will probably continue to believe whatever makes you feel best. Your conclusion regarding the data you viewed could be viewed as confirmation of what the authors discovered, in an indirect way. I can point out the repetition of that research over a span of time covering various events that may sway public opinion and what seems to be the relative durability of the composition of various groups despite that, but that's unlikely to change whatever interpretation of the survey you may produce that comforts you. What appears to work best for you is the perception that "skepticism" is on the rise despite being shown data that does not demonstrate a trend. Not to say that everybody is not susceptible to the same phenomenon, most of us are. But other scientific evidence-- the plethora of research results on climate change-- strongly suggests some people have cemented opinions in congruence with facts, others do not. This is a key problem in making progress on this issue. Enough people have beliefs and values producing counterfactual perceptions of the world that we're having a problem dealing with this pollutant C02.
    0 0
  42. Argus, watch out with those slips, you’ll have Doug suggesting that “ .. your imagination is getting ahead of you. .. “. Doug, looking further into those Asian weather extremes it’s interesting to note that concurrently there are floods in China, Pakistan, etc. Russia had serious droughts/famine in 1891/92, 1921/22, , 1936, 1938, 1946 and 1972. Is it a coincidence that China had serious flooding in the years between 1917-22, 1936-38, 1945/46 and 1974. The 2006 paper “The variation of floods in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and its teleconnection with El Ni˜no events” (Note 1) suggests otherwise. There is a relevant summary of “The Most Deadly 100 Natural Disasters of the 20th Century” (Note 2) which includes droughts and floods in that region. Such events as we are experiencing now are nothing new and there is no convincing evidence that they had anything to do with our use of fossil fuels. There is a 2007 Russian paper “Dynamics of severe atmospheric droughts in European Russia” (Note 3) -unfortunately payment is required) which says “Dynamics of extreme droughts in the 20th century is derived from the meteorological station data. The tendency of drought occurrence in 1991–2000, 2041–2050, and 2091–2100 is obtained from the MGO (Main Geophysical Observatory) regional climate model (RCM). A catalog of severe atmospheric droughts of different intensity is made based on the observations for 1936–2000 and modeling results for 1991–2000. The comparison of the observational and model data has shown that the MGO RCM simulates well the frequency of severe atmospheric droughts”. I couldn’t find any reference to human-made climate change in the small extract made available so wonder if anyone here has more information about that model. I was out with my grand children today in beautiful sun-shine, under a shady tree looking out over a park and suddenly remembered that I had been doing that very thing in the summer of 1980. On reflection I realised that in my experience the local climate hasn’t changed in any significant manner over the past 30 years. I recall a harsh winter in 78/79, followed by a hot spring/summer in 1979. In 2009/10 we had a harsh winter and now, in 2010 we are enjoying a hot summer and I’m looking at the same vegetation as 30 years ago. This is in spite of Hansen’s 1988 model projections and the warnings by Wally Broecker in his 1975 paper “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” in which he is claimed to have said "[...] .. the present cooling trend will, within a decade or so, give way to a pronounced warming induced by carbon dioxide". My suspicion is that there are plenty other septuagenarians around the globe who have similar experiences. While checking out information on past weather events I came across another interesting site run by Marine Biologist Dr. Gary Sharp (Note 4) which includes a list including such events going back much further than the Disaster Centre list. It’s a fun read - enjoy. Perhaps the real culprit causing those global weather events that are being misinterpreted as human-made global climate change is El Ni˜no and not our use of fossil fuels. NOTES: 1) see http://www.adv-geosci.net/6/201/2006/adgeo-6-201-2006.pdf 2) see http://www.disastercenter.com/disaster/TOP100K.html 3) see http://www.springerlink.com/content/q272845556530204/ 4) see http://sharpgary.org/2005_Onward.html Best regards, Pete Ridley
    0 0
    Moderator Response: See the argument It’s El Niño. For good measure, check out It’s Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
  43. Pete you'll have to stay the dark by yourself, or at least short of my company. I can't join you. I can only suggest you set some sort of internal metric where you might reevaluate your conclusion and then keep an eye out for additional weather phenomena exceeding any recorded in the instrumental record. I'll describe a little bit the continuum in my own mind. If I see a record-breaking temperature in a given city, it means nothing. If I see a spate of exceptionally hot days in a given city, that too means nothing. If I see a spate of record breaking temperatures in a given city, that's a little bit attention-getting. If I see an extended spate of weather in a given city breaking historical records, it's notable but can't be used as the basis for any conclusions. If I see multiple cities in multiple countries breaking historical records, that's noteworthy but still can't be used as a open-shut case for making claims about climate short of other evidence. If I see all of the above plus other phenomena such as historically unprecedented floods in a number of locations, my eyebrows start to go up. I still can't form any conclusion, but these things need to be integrated into what I know of what we're doing to the atmosphere. They comport with global temperature increases as well as a host of other phenomena. Such events can't really be ignored, for after all, what if the same pattern emerges again in 5 years? Should I ignore it then? When would I pay attention? So this year is a data point, a notable one. National heat records set in 2010 Belarus recorded its hottest temperature in its history on August 6, 2010, when the mercury hit 38.7°C (101.7°F) in Gorky. The previous record was 38.0°C (100.4°F) set at Vasiliyevichy on Aug. 20, 1946. Ukraine tied its record for hottest temperature in its history when the mercury hit 41.3°C (106.3°F) at Lukhansk on August 1, 2010. Ukraine also reached 41.3°C on July 20 and 21, 2007, at Voznesensk. Cyprus recorded its hottest temperature in its history on August 1, 2010 when the mercury hit 46.6°C (115.9°F) at Lefconica. The old record for Cyprus was 44.4°C (111.9°F) at Lefkosia in August 1956. An older record of 46.6°C from July 1888 was reported from Nicosia, but is of questionable reliability. Finland recorded its hottest temperature on July 29, 2010, when the mercury hit 99°F (37.2°C) at Joensuu. The old (undisputed) record was 95°F (35°C) at Jyvaskyla on July 9, 1914. Qatar had its hottest temperature in history on July 14, 2010, when the mercury hit 50.4°C (122.7°F) at Doha Airport. Russia had its hottest temperature in history on July 11, when the mercury rose to 44.0°C (111.2°F) in Yashkul, Kalmykia Republic, in the European portion of Russia near the Kazakhstan border. The previous hottest temperature in Russia (not including the former Soviet republics) was the 43.8°C (110.8°F) reading measured at Alexander Gaj, Kalmykia Republic, on August 6, 1940. The remarkable heat in Russia this year has not been limited just to the European portion of the country--the Asian portion of Russia also recorded its hottest temperature in history this year, a 42.7°C (108.9°F) reading at Kara, in the Chita Republic on June 24. The 42.3°C (108.1°F) reading on June 25 at Belogorsk, near the Amur River border with China, also beat the old record for the Asian portion of Russia. The previous record for the Asian portion of Russia was 41.7°C (107.1°F) at Aksha on July 21, 2004. Sudan recorded its hottest temperature in its history on June 25 when the mercury rose to 49.6°C (121.3°F) at Dongola. The previous record was 49.5°C (121.1°F) set in July 1987 in Aba Hamed. Niger tied its record for hottest day in history on June 22, 2010, when the temperature reached 47.1°C (116.8°F) at Bilma. That record stood for just one day, as Bilma broke the record again on June 23, when the mercury topped out at 48.2°C (118.8°F). The previous record was 47.1°C on May 24, 1998, also at Bilma. Saudi Arabia had its hottest temperature ever on June 22, 2010, with a reading of 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. The previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F), at Abqaiq, date unknown. The record heat was accompanied by a sandstorm, which caused eight power plants to go offline, resulting in blackouts to several Saudi cities. Chad had its hottest day in history on June 22, 2010, when the temperature reached 47.6°C (117.7°F) at Faya. The previous record was 47.4°C (117.3°F) at Faya on June 3 and June 9, 1961. Kuwait recorded its hottest temperature in history on June 15 in Abdaly, according to the Kuwait Met office. The mercury hit 52.6°C (126.7°F). Kuwait's previous all-time hottest temperature was 51.9°C (125.4°F), on July 27,2007, at Abdaly. Temperatures reached 51°C (123.8°F) in the capital of Kuwait City on June 15, 2010. Iraq had its hottest day in history on June 14, 2010, when the mercury hit 52.0°C (125.6°F) in Basra. Iraq's previous record was 51.7°C (125.1°F) set August 8, 1937, in Ash Shu'aybah. Pakistan had its hottest temperature in history on May 26, when the mercury hit an astonishing 53.5°C (128.3°F) at the town of MohenjuDaro, according to the Pakistani Meteorological Department. While this temperature reading must be reviewed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) for authenticity, not only is the 128.3°F reading the hottest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan, it is the hottest reliably measured temperature ever recorded on the continent of Asia. Myanmar (Burma) had its hottest temperature in its recorded history on May 12, when the mercury hit 47°C (116.6°F) in Myinmu, according to the Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology. Myanmar's previous hottest temperature was 45.8°C (114.4°F) at Minbu, Magwe division on May 9, 1998. According to Chris Burt, author of the authoritative weather records book Extreme Weather, the 47°C measured this year is the hottest temperature in Southeast Asia history. Ascention Island (St. Helena, a U.K. Territory) had its hottest temperature in history on March 25, 2010, when the mercury hit 34.9°C (94.8°C) at Georgetown. The previous record was 34.0°C (93.2°F) at Georgetown in April 2003, exact day unknown. The Solomon Islands had their hottest temperature in history on February 1, 2010, when the mercury hit 36.1°C (97°F) at Lata Nendo (Ndeni). The previous record for Solomon Islands was 35.6°C (96.0°F) at Honaiara, date unknown. Colombia had its hottest temperature in history on January 24, 2010, when Puerto Salgar hit 42.3°C (108°F). The previous record was 42.0°C (107.6°F) at El Salto in March 1988 (exact day unknown). National cold records set in 2010 One nation has set a record for its coldest temperature in history in 2010. Guinea had its coldest temperature in history in January 9, 2010, when the mercury hit 1.4°C (34.5°F) at Mali-ville in the Labe region. Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog
    0 0
  44. Doug, Are you holding the position that no events, facts or education can change people's deepset beliefs? I understand the pessimism due to the facts on the ground right now (ie folks like Pete Ridley exist) - but isn't that to harsh a judgement? Don't you think some notable percentage can be swayed by logic, facts and reality?
    0 0
  45. No, actually thoughtfull, I don't believe that (heh!). Research strongly suggests that there are some strong internal psychological barriers to acceptance and integration of information producing uncomfortable feelings w/regard to personal behavior as well as ideological perceptions of the world. I think it's useful to consider this information if we're trying to stick w/talking about climate research and how it affects public policy from a scientific perspective. Leaving aside known commercial considerations, the reaction of many contrarians to climate research is mysterious on its face. This inexplicable resistance often ends up being dumped into a bucket of empty speculation about "stupidity" or "ignorance" or even malicious intent. No research supports such thinking. Research suggests that contrarian attitudes are best predicted in the absence of any other information by political and ideological thinking, that such counterfactual worldviews do not correlate as well with education or other personal attributes. Not to say this correlation is 1:1, just that it's quite statistically significant. My belief is that the same person who will go to the mat denying commonly accepted and even ancient and quite scientifically uncontroversial research findings in a public forum and will even use invective etc. in doing so would willingly volunteer altruistic acts in a different setting. There's nothing separating us other than we might be tested in our civility if we bump into our beliefs or things that touch on our beliefs in conversation. Anecdotal evidence from climate discussion threads seems to support this notion.
    0 0
  46. Thanks Doug, I am not really accusing you of being a pessimist in this regard. But as you have looked at the intractability of the skeptics/deniers - what thoughts do you have on moving a given skeptic towards rationality? I have not yet found a formula that works. Ideology seems to trump reality every time. BTW - WV Quine wrote an amazing prescient book on this subject (in 1978!) called The Web of Belief. It is dense but I whole-heartedly recommend it to you. http://www.amazon.com/Web-Belief-W-V-Quine/dp/0075536099
    0 0
  47. Moderator, ref. comment 92, I think that you may have overlooked the relebvant topic in my comment – weather events not global warming. Doug, ref. comment #93, perhaps there is a fundamental flaw in that series of “facts” you presented in your “continuum” (you do like that word don’t you). In every case bar two of your “National heat records set in 2010” you claim each had its/they “ .. hottest temperature in its history .. ” or words to that effect. Can you spot the error? Perhaps “ .. your imagination is getting ahead of you .. ” (see #85). Perhaps you and “actually thoughtful” might like to have a look at my comment #162 on the “What do you get when you put 100 climate scientists in a room?”. Best regards, Pete Ridley
    0 0
  48. I do absolutely depend on the world "continuum," Pete. The number line really works for me. I can't play your word game regarding heat records because you're a little too obscure with your rules. In any case, those are not my claims, they're readings passed along by a meteorologist.
    0 0
  49. Pete Ridley, I absolutely concur that if Spencer were in a room with 99 climate scientists not afraid to face the results of their work, he would end up red-faced (and embarrassed). Now perhaps I am obtuse, but I have no idea what error you are finding in comparing a country's national heat records to the hottest temperature in that nation's history. Would you care to simply state your point, or do you prefer riddles? Or is it irksome that your points, once established, are fairly quickly refuted? Pete if you have some evidence for your stance by all means share it. Randomly posting diatribes (well documented, to be sure) that don't inform the debate seems pointless to me. As near as I can tell, the original poster's point that we can assume 2 or 3 degrees of warming over the next 50-100 years remains unchallenged by your comments. If you seek to challenge that, I would expect to see some evidence that CO2 is not changing the earth's equilibrium temperature (and of course the explanation for what is changing the equilibrium) or the negative (ie cooling) feedback that the climate researchers have missed. To date you have us trying to figure out your riddles and sending us on wild goose chases to your content-light posts weeks ago about whether Roy Spencer will be embarrassed or not in a room full of real climate scientists!
    0 0
  50. I myself can't say what might work, actually thougtfull. Simply bludgeoning people with clean facts clearly does not work. Analogies only seem to work if they're deployed in a dialog with receptivity in play. Another disturbing finding is that repeating corrections over and over again to people who can't fit that new information into their system tends to harden misconceptions. This suggests that simply droning on and on in the same way is not only pointless but actively counterproductive. How to fit this information into communications efforts? This is a subject of study itself. I don't have the expertise to offer practical advice for others to use. I've heard of "Web of Belief" but have not read it, will now scurry off to find out more. Thanks!
    0 0

Prev  1  2  

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.



The Consensus Project Website

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)


© Copyright 2020 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us