Re: [asa] FW: Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Sun Mar 02 2008 - 17:47:43 EST

Just because there is denialist misinformation out there doesn't mean
there is not accurate forecasts. The following compares the forecast
against actuality for the last three months. There was a La Nina event
and lo and behold the computer models predicted it. Given the large
mesh sizes needed for climate models the local effects are
surprisingly accurate for 90 days out.

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfs_verif/images/200712glbT2m.gif

This was the forecast for El Nino/La Nina on 7 December 2007:

  La Niņa is expected to continue into Northern Hemisphere spring 2008.

La Niņa reached moderate strength during November 2007, with below-
average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) extending from 160E to the
South American coast (Fig. 1). All of the Niņo region indices remained
cooler than 1.0oC (Fig. 2), with the most substantial cooling
occurring in the Niņo-4 region located in the central equatorial
Pacific Ocean (150W-160E and 5N-5S). The upper-ocean heat content
(average temperatures in the upper 300 m of the ocean) in the central
and east-central equatorial Pacific remained below average (Fig.3),
with temperatures ranging from 2oC to 5oC below average at thermocline
depth (Fig. 4). Consistent with these oceanic conditions, low-level
easterly winds and upper-level westerly winds strengthened across the
central equatorial Pacific, convection remained suppressed throughout
the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, and an area of enhanced
convection covered the far western Pacific. Collectively, these
oceanic and atmospheric conditions reflect La Niņa.

The recent SST forecasts (dynamical and statistical models) for the
Niņo 3.4 region indicate a continuation of La Niņa into Northern
Hemisphere spring 2008 (Fig. 5). Over half of the models indicate a
moderate-to-strong La Niņa through February, followed by a gradual
weakening thereafter. Current atmospheric and oceanic conditions and
recent trends are consistent with the model forecasts.

Expected La Niņa impacts during December-February include a
continuation of above-average precipitation over Indonesia and below-
average precipitation over the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.
For the contiguous United States, potential impacts include above-
average precipitation in the Northern Rockies, the Pacific Northwest,
the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and parts of the Great Lakes region.
Below-average precipitation is expected across the South, particularly
in the southwestern and southeastern states.

This discussion is a consolidated effort of NOAA and its funded
institutions. Oceanic and atmospheric conditions are updated weekly on
the Climate Prediction Center web site (El Niņo/La Niņa Current
Conditions and Expert Discussions). Forecasts for the evolution of El
Niņo/La Niņa are updated monthly in the Forecast Forum section of
CPC's Climate Diagnostics Bulletin. The next ENSO Diagnostics
Discussion is scheduled for 10 January 2008. To receive an e-mail
notification when the monthly ENSO Diagnostic Discussions are
released, please send an e-mail message to: ncep.list.enso-update@noaa.gov
.

Different kinds of models have different levels of accuracy. Average
global temperature, really good. Local temperature, so so. Ice melt
rate, not so good. Because of the latter inaccuracy the ice melt
effects were not included in this go round of the IPCC reports. This
was abused by the denialists to claim the prediction of ice melt went
down from report to report. We do have a good idea of how much total
ice melt there will be when we hit equilibrium. The question is how
fast we get there. So, we have a good idea of the temperature rise and
we have a good idea of the equilibrium ice melt but just not how long
it takes.

The failure to distinguish different kinds of models from each other
turns the following:

A poorly modeled effect (rate of but not total ice melt) of a well
modeled cause (anthropogenic climate change)

into:

A poorly modeled cause (anthropogenic climate change)

On Mar 2, 2008, at 7:45 AM, Randy Isaac wrote:

> I think we're pretty well in agreement. I'm certainly not arguing
> that current climate models are precise. It's more an issue of what
> is the range of conclusions one can draw from these models, taking
> into account the current status of their reliability? It is not
> right, as the strident GW deniers would have it, to reject the core
> concept of GW. It is right to recognize that the models may have
> missed elements. As your note points out, it is also possible that
> the models have underestimated the impact of anthropogenic warming.
> It seems to me that both (1) and (2) are the correct answers and are
> not mutually exclusive.
>
> Randy
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Don Winterstein
> To: wdwllace@sympatico.ca
> Cc: asa
> Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2008 2:30 AM
> Subject: Re: [asa] FW: Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global
> Cooling
>
> One more thing: I've been reading that the ice melt in the northern
> polar regions is substantially greater than models predict. If this
> is true, it means (1) we should therefore be more diligent than ever
> about curtailing GHG emissions or (2) there's something wrong with
> the models. Scientists should pick (2) every time.
>
> Don
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Don Winterstein
> To: wdwllace@sympatico.ca
> Cc: asa
> Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2008 11:14 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] FW: Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global
> Cooling
>
> No climate model will predict the weather for any month. One monthly
> fluctuation says nothing about climate.
>
> Rich earlier explained the unusual weather not as a random
> fluctuation but a deviation due to a combination of a solar minimum
> with La Nina. Both of those phenomena have periods of many years in
> the one case and many months in the other, so presumably they would
> affect climate. Therefore, if the models can accommodate such
> phenomena--and they certainly should be able to--then they should
> have been able to predict January's temperature drop. (I could live
> with big error bars.) AND if said drop resulted from such
> phenomena, it's now strange that temperatures should have returned
> so soon to last year's values (see Rich's post of 2-29 @ 1:04 pm)!
> This sequence of events raises questions of its own.
>
> Skepticism of models is no longer an excuse for being a GW skeptic.
>
> I'm not a GW skeptic, but I continue to be a model skeptic.
> Evidence that temperatures have been rising is clear enough, and the
> dramatic effects in northern polar regions and glaciers around the
> world have been pretty obvious. I'd say it should also be fairly
> obvious that at least a significant part of the current atmospheric
> CO2 has come from the burning of fossil fuels. The only thing not
> obvious about this would be relative quantities.
>
> One question I have is whether the models may be overemphasizing the
> effects of this CO2. The 8-07 issue of Scientific American contains
> an article that presents a strong case that GW is anthropogenic, but
> its chart that shows relative radiative forcing has huge error bars
> on "Aerosols: effect on clouds," and "Aerosols: reflection of
> sunlight." So, OK, those are two known and possibly major sources
> of model error.
>
> Why I as a former Earth scientist am skeptical of ALL Earth science
> models is that our own modeling time and again turned up sources of
> error that we hadn't thought of or couldn't have known about ahead
> of time. I don't believe climate scientists fully understand Earth
> (I don't think anyone does), so I suspect their models have
> comparable deficiencies.
>
> We exploration geophysicists would never have known about the errors
> in our models without testing them, because we could often (in fact,
> almost always, if we worked at it) get beautiful fits to existing
> data. But despite beautiful fits we found by actual testing that
> our models were sometimes wrong--by actually drilling holes to see
> what was there. To my knowledge this kind of real-world, real-time
> testing is what's missing from the climatologists' models. I could
> perhaps start to believe their models if they would lay their
> reputations on the line by predicting significant things that
> everyone could monitor. Without successful tests I don't see how my
> skepticism of their models can diminish.
>
> ...Even if you are skeptical about anthropogenic causes of
> GW, ...many of the remediations in any
> sensible scheme are shared with reducing use of oil/energy and with
> reducing pollution in cities.
>
> There's at least a good chance that the gross predictions from the
> climate models are roughly valid, and because of that I support any
> effort that can limit GHG emissions without stressing the economy
> and causing problems of its own. The 3-10-08 issue of Business Week
> has a neat chart on p 13 showing how a large number of remedial
> actions would actually have economic benefits. If that's true, I'd
> support them all, and maybe even then some. There are things we
> probably should have been doing all along, anyway.
>
> Don
>
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Dave Wallace
> Cc: asa@calvin.edu
> Sent: Friday, February 29, 2008 6:48 AM
> Subject: Re: [asa] FW: Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global
> Cooling
>
> Randy Isaac wrote:
> > Don,
> > This is a good time to remind everyone of the difference between
> > climate and weather. No climate model will predict the weather for
> any
> > month. One monthly fluctuation says nothing about climate.
> > You say you don't trust any global climate model. I recently
> > summarized the oceanic data that showed rather convincingly
> independent
> > from any of the global climate models that we have an anthropogenic
> > source of doubling of atmospheric carbon and that the equilibrium
> global
> > temperature is about 3C warmer than we have it today. Skepticism of
> > models is no longer an excuse for being a GW skeptic.
> >
>
> Randy
>
> OK I think most of us agree that a month's average weather is not
> climate. My question is how long a period is required before the
> average would be considered to be climate? One season (3mths), a
> year,
> five years, ten years?
>
> Did you post the summary on oceanic data? I looked for it over the
> last
> few months and did not find anything.
>
> I assume in your last sentence that you mean:
>
> "Skepticism of models is no longer an excuse for being a skeptic
> that GW
> is mainly caused by anthropogenic effects."
>
> GW can be detected simply by looking at climate records and is totally
> independent of the models. The models only have to do with
> determining
> the cause(s).
>
> Don
>
> As I have argued before on the list, even if you are skeptical about
> anthropogenic causes of GW, that many of the remediations in any
> sensible scheme are shared with reducing use of oil/energy and with
> reducing pollution in cities.
>
> Dave W (CSCA)
>
>
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Received on Sun Mar 2 17:49:17 2008

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