All the blogosphere is abuzz with Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector. I don’t have much to say that JA hasn’t already said. But that isn’t going to stop me saying it.

Firstly they’ve done something very odd with the reference model data in fig 4. The std IPCC projections would be right on their obs verification (which stops in 1998 for some bizarre reason) and their “forecast” would be even more obviously an outlier. I assume that the black line on fig 4 must be their own model. Looking again, I’m really rather baffled how this can possibly be anything useful, because their model so obviously goes wrong after 1995.

Secondly, the Torygraph quotes them as saying Noel Keenlyside of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, Kiel, Germany, said: “The IPCC would predict a 0.3°C warming over the next decade. Our prediction is that there will be no warming until 2015 but it will pick up after that.” No, thats not what the IPCC “predicts”, and no, no-warming is not what your own model predicts. Just look at your own figure 4, you dolt. It quite clearly shows warming from 2005 to 2015.

Maybe we should read their own press release, entitled “Improved climate predictions suggest a reduced warming trend during the next 10 years” to which the obvious rejoinder is “in what sense, improved?” – in the sense that it got them into Nature? They say To date climate change projections, as published in the last IPCC report, only considered changes in future atmospheric composition. This strategy is appropriate for long-term changes in climate such as predictions for the end of the century. However, in order to predict short-term developments over the next decade, models need additional information on natural climate variations, in particular associated with ocean currents

Whats weird here is there total lack of reference to Smith et al. Or maybe it isn’t so surprising. Smith et al have already done what they’ve done, except better. Mind you, it was published in Science, and the me-too effect may account for why this has got into Nature. Presumably the passing reference to assimilating ocean currents justifies their novelty; otherwsie they would have mentioned SSTs.

They go on The improved predictions suggest that global warming will weaken slightly during the following 10 years but their own figure 4 shows no such thing! (but its better than the no-warming-till-2015 junk that the lead author is quoted as saying). Connect the dots from 2005-2015 and you end up with 0.2 oC/decade, which is fairly standard. Maybe the annual data shows different, but they don’t show that. Why are people lapping this stuff up without even comparing the words to the figures?

Conclusion: this appears to be a mildly interesting study, which may have some slight novelty although not much. But it looks to me like the obvious model flaws mean that it doesn’t tell you anything useful about the real world, and it shouldn’t be getting the publicity that it is.

[Update: well, it made R4 at 10 o'clock. They had that David King on. Sigh. Fairly clear that he'd read the press release but not the paper, and fell into the obvious holes -W]

Comments

  1. #1 Eli Rabett
    2008/05/01

    Interestingly this appears to be a first step in the direction that the IPCC is recommending for short term (out to 2035) high resolution (read regional) scenario construction. You gotta fall a lot before you learn to walk.

    [Oh absolutely. I'm not criticising this for its science. Merely for its PR -W]

  2. #2 Steve Bloom
    2008/05/01

    AFAICT the near-term cooling prediction is only possible if one assumes that all of a sudden climate will begin tracking their model results (even though, as you point out, those results don’t look so good when compared with recent observations). Such a sudden drop calls for a really good explanation, and the authors don’t seem to provide one.

  3. #3 Adam
    2008/05/01

    As I mentioned on JA’s blog, the main difference between the black and green lines is the timing of the steep trend – the black line did it up to 1998, while the green line does it from 2010. It just doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. But than I can’t see the whole paper, just the figures and abstract.

    Locally it seems to do a lot better (see Fig3) which may be of more use?

  4. #4 Jon
    2008/05/01

    But than I can’t see the whole paper, just the figures and abstract.

    Although I’m loathe to drive traffic to his site, Watts has hosted the paper in question for those that don’t have access.

  5. #5 Eli Rabett
    2008/05/01

    Jon, thanks for keeping Pielke’s feet to the fire. One of his favorite tricks is to keep switching sources as his statements based on the current one are shot down. Then, of course, he whines when it is pointed out that he is being disingenuous.

  6. #6 Steve Bloom
    2008/05/02

    See now, Eli, there you’ve gone and misunderstood him *again*.

  7. #7 Ben Lankamp
    2008/05/02

    The Nature figure subscript says that ‘each point represents a ten-year centred mean’, so the 2000 value would actually be the mean over ~1995-2005. Which makes their cut-off year not-so bizarre given the 5-year steps, though why one might choose to display a centred mean in such a way -is- bizarre. I agree with the rest of the issues raised over this article, though.

  8. #8 Adam
    2008/05/02

    Thanks Jon.

    BTW it’s interesting to note how many people don’t understand what an ensemble is. I wonder how many of the IPCC model runs had cooling for the next year or so (and thus predict lower temperature than this article forecasts)?

  9. #9 John McCormick
    2008/05/02

    Eli:

    you said of Roger Pilke, Jr.:

    [One of his favorite tricks is to keep switching sources as his statements based on the current one are shot down. Then, of course, he whines when it is pointed out that he is being disingenuous.]

    Roger writes the way Pat Michaels thinks: uses his rep (not his academic training) to quickly and repeatedly throw obtuse interpretations up on the wall in the hope some will stick in the minds of fence-sitters.

    Jon succeeded in cornering Roger the dodger.

    John McCormick

  10. #10 Jon
    2008/05/02

    Eli:

    Jon, thanks for keeping Pielke’s feet to the fire. One of his favorite tricks is to keep switching sources as his statements based on the current one are shot down. Then, of course, he whines when it is pointed out that he is being disingenuous.

    We should hook him up to a turbine and see how many stabilization wedges we can get just from his spin. :)

    Adam:

    I wonder how many of the IPCC model runs had cooling for the next year or so

    AR4 WG1 Figure 10.5 (cropped and kinda small, better viewed zoomed in on the actual document) shows a few, and those are averages themselves. How is it possible that someone in Pielke’s position doesn’t even understand what monotonically means?

  11. #11 Adam
    2008/05/02

    Hi Jon, thanks again, it’s been a few months since I read that bit and had forgotten what that figure showed. Thing is although it shows the endsemble nature, it’s a bit difficult to see how many are doing what in the early years (which is not a criticism of the figure as it’s not the point of it). Is there a “zoomed” in version of say, the A1B one (compare with the Nature article) anywhere?

  12. #12 Jon
    2008/05/02

    Adam:

    Is there a “zoomed” in version of say, the A1B one (compare with the Nature article) anywhere?

    Here is a zoomed in slice of A1B of recent years, but you should look at the Figure in the actual IPCC report (WG1 Chapter 10) that I linked to upthread to be able to get as much detail as possible.

  13. #13 ice
    2008/05/02

    reading the paper, i’m also confused by fig.4 – in particular by the fact that “points are 10-years centered means”, i agree with comment by B.lankamp (last obs point in 99).
    The way i get it, the green point in 2005 is the global mean T° for 2000-2010 (for the initialized forecast run started in 2000), the point in 2010 the global mean for 2005-2015 (run started in 2005). These two means seem roughly equal. Maybe it is what the lead author means when he says :” there will be no warming until 2015″ (since the three last points on the dotted part of the lines are just an extension of the 2005 run, thus different from the rest of the line..). But it would be the same for the black line, then… don’t know.

  14. #14 Adam
    2008/05/02

    Thanks Jon,…it wasn’t quite what I was after, but it plus some re-reading was close enough.

  15. #15 Eli Rabett
    2008/05/02

    Jon, don’t let Roger’s whining play you. He is an expert in playing the victim bully

    The only ways to deal with it are to a) ignore it, b) tell him to stop whining, that’s your opinion, and if he wants to change it he should behave himself and c) to whine back.

    Eli, of course chose b) and is now banned in Boulder, toujour gai.

    However, more substantively, what you are watching is a card trick. Of course there are many base predictions/assumptions of climate science/modeling that could be falsified, for example, with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations the stratosphere will cool, CO2 concentrations will increase when there are increases in other forcings (Milankovitch cycles), etc. Pielke is trying to force you to look at a single card.

  16. #16 Alf
    2008/05/03

    So the forecast centered around 2010, is the 2005-2015 mean. It was forecast from the 2005 initial conditions, presumably close to the actual 2005 observations. And the last observation point, 1999, is the mean of 1994-2004. So the forecast is a cooling wrt the previous 10 years of observations. I’m probably wrong, hindcast plots always do my head in!

    It looks like the two previous hindcasts/forecasts predict little if any change… but of course observed temperatures have increased since 1994.

    Is the reason for the holding back of the temperatures due to the THC being spun up in the SST relaxed runs after the 1980s, and when unconstrained from the SSTs the model is trying to relax back to a more reasonable THC?

    I also see that the BBC is almost doing a “Great Global Warming Swindle”. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7376301.stm#map Has some points been “added” to the figure?

  17. #17 Larry Solomotl
    2008/05/03

    Congratulations to being the #2 world’s most influential propagandist after Al Gore!

    http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=490337

    [I won't be content until I get to #1 -W]

  18. #18 Jon
    2008/05/03

    Jon, don’t let Roger’s whining play you. He is an expert in playing the victim bully

    The only ways to deal with it are to a) ignore it, b) tell him to stop whining, that’s your opinion, and if he wants to change it he should behave himself and c) to whine back.

    I sensed that I was about to be banned. A spoonful of sugar is the approach that I am taking. ;)

  19. Congratulations to being the #2 world’s most influential propagandist after Al Gore!

    Is the National Post so failed that it has to resort to spamming links to its articles? I guess the free market of ideas is (sort of) working after all, haha.

    = =

    Anyway, that means the total number of bona fide peer-reviewed papers predicting global cooling is… 3? (Rasool and Schneider, Zhen-Shan and Xian, and now Keenlyside et al. And the predictions only hold under unrealistic conditions.)

    That’s some overwhelming support for Global Cooling Alarmism indeed.

  20. #20 cce
    2008/05/03

    Re: the distinguished National Post

    I think Singer’s most “dazzling achievement” is his ability to obsfucate the science of acid rain, ozone destruction, the dangers of second hand smoke, and global warming. Not an insignificant contribution for a single “scientist,” which clearly makes him the hero of ideologically pure and factually deficient publications.

    [Singers good days were when I were a lad, but I think he was a fair scientist then. Not now, of course -W]

    Pieser “convincingly refuted Oreskes’ study” only if you consider a single review article (not peer reviewed, and therefore not included in the Oreskes servery) in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists trade journal (AAPG Bulletin) to be “refutation.” Then the number of skeptical papers in the sample rises to 1 out of 929 from 0 of 928.

  21. #21 cce
    2008/05/03

    I’m not sure how I turned “survey” into “servery”