Climate Models vs Real World Data

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The anti-energy policies of the greens, and by extension of the democrats, depend in large measure on the accuracy/validity of the various climate models. I have stated my opinion several times already that these models are crap.

If the models cannot be relied on to give realistic predictions of future global warming, then the politicians intent on outlawing CO2 through outlawing the use of fossil fuels rightly would be laughed at and voted out of office.

The only way to tell if the models have any validity is to compare the model output to real world observation – look at the data.

I have shown several comparison pieces, including ones where the data (most recently) show that the current global temperature is dead flat over the last 18 years 3 months (using satellite data rather than the continuously adjusted land weather stations).

Today, I read another comparison of model output compared to ocean surface data. Since the oceans make up around 70% of the surface of the Earth, how well the models do at simulating what the oceans actually do is quite important. I have attached the beginning of the article, by Bob Tisdale, below, with a link to the full article.

Bob shows in his lengthy post that the models don’t do a good job of:

  • Forecasting the ocean as a whole
  • Forecasting the oceans by latitude
  • Forecasting the oceans by ocean basin

He also goes into detail, with numerous links to his other studies, what the natural processes are which cause the actual temperature fluctuations. The models fail mainly because, since these natural processes are so difficult to model, the modelers don’t even try to include these natural processes, such as ENSO (El Nino / Southern Oscillation) or the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation).

One other point to consider in the models’ inability to model the real world observations is that the modelers, for simplicity, assume that climate is a Linear Process. Essentially, they say that, if you get a global temperature rise from X amount of CO2, then twice as much CO2 will give you twice the temperature rise.

The problem is that climate is not a Linear Process – it is a Chaotic System! It includes “Emergent Processes” such as I wrote about regarding the Earth Thermostat mechanism of clouds. (The models don’t include clouds because they’re too difficult to model.)

Now, on to Bob Tisdale’s piece, Alarmists Bizarrely Claim “Just What AGW Predicts About the Record High Global Sea Surface Temperatures in 2014

This post is the annual model-data comparison of satellite-era sea surface temperatures. (For the most-recent longer-term model-data comparison of sea surface temperature data, see the post IPCC Still Delusional about Carbon Dioxide.) We’re taking a slightly new direction by presenting sea surface temperatures (modeled and observed) in absolute form, not anomalies, in the time-series graphs. Sea surface temperature anomalies are still used, however, for the trend maps and for the graphs showing trends on a zonal-mean (latitude-average) basis.

The initial reason for the switch to absolute sea surface temperatures was the unwarranted complaints about the model-data comparison I’ve been presenting recently, in which the models and data are shifted so that the trend lines intersect at zero in the first month of the time-series graph. See Figure 1. As you will soon discover, I’m being kind to the modelers with that graph.

Figure 1

Figure 1

But the use of sea surface temperatures instead of anomalies point to addition problems with the models as you will soon discover.

I’ve also included a note at the end of this post regarding the misinformation about sea surface temperature datasets being spread by the queen of the trolls…guess who?

The title of the post includes a quote from a well-known alarmist…and sometimes troll at my blog ClimateObservations. (See the comment here.) Of course, all predictions of global warming are based on climate models. As we’ve illustrated and discussed numerous times in recent years, climate model simulations of sea surface temperatures are far from reality. That is, they’re modeling the surface temperatures of a virtual planet but those surface temperatures have no similarities to Earth…no similarities at all to (1) the actual warming and cooling rates, (2) the patterns of those trends, and (3), as you’ll discover in this post, the absolute temperatures. It would be nice if climate modeling agencies might try to simulate the surface temperatures of this planet, not some other one. That way, their models might have some value. Right now, they don’t serve any purpose…other than to illustrate how poorly they simulate Earth’s climate.

To that end, I’m going to repeat the opening of last year’s model-data comparison of sea surface temperature anomalies Maybe the IPCC’s Modelers Should Try to Simulate Earth’s Oceans.

The climate models stored in the CMIP5 archive are supposed to be simulations of Earth’s climate, but the simulated sea surface temperatures of the models used by the IPCC for their 5th Assessment Report are definitely not of this planet. 70% of the Earth is covered by oceans, seas and lakes. Because the models show no skill at being able to simulate the rates of warming and cooling of the surfaces of the global oceans over the past 32+ years, and because the models show no skill at being able to reproduce the spatial patterns of that warming and cooling, all of which drive temperature and precipitation patterns on land, any and all projections of future climate are based on modeled worlds that have no similarity to the real world. In other words, the projections are meaningless.


The sea surface temperature dataset being used in this post is NOAA’s Optimum Interpolation (OI) Sea Surface Temperature (SST) v2 (aka Reynolds OI.v2). We’re using it because (1) it is the longest running satellite-enhanced sea surface temperature dataset available, (2) its satellite data are bias adjusted based on temperature measurements from ship inlets and from buoys (both moored and drifting), and (3), most importantly, NOAA’s Reynolds OI.v2 data have been called “a good estimate of the truth”. See Smith



One thought on “Climate Models vs Real World Data

  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I think I
    would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!


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