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How Well Do Our Climate Models Match Our Observations? 560

Posted by timothy
from the models-meta-models-and-mega-ultra-super-models dept.
bunratty writes "According to recent articles by Roy Spencer and John Christy, our climate models have done a poor job of predicting warming due to humans burning fossil fuels. They claim that we've observed only a fraction of the warming they predict. But when I look at the source they claim to use, the State of the Climate in 2012, I see that it shows a warming of 0.7 degrees Celsius worldwide since 1980, close to the 0.8 degrees Celsius warming predicted by the climate models. Take a look at the data for yourself. How well do our predictions match our observations?"
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How Well Do Our Climate Models Match Our Observations?

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  • I've always wanted someone to explain to me why 0.7C matters. I know its a measure of average global temperatures. But still, isn't that a very minor fluctuation?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Since it only needs 2C to drop and you get an ice age starting, I fail to see how you can claim 0.7C a minor fluctuation and wonder how it would matter.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:54AM (#46295635)

        Well, no, it doesn't just need a 2C drop to get an ice age. It needs a continuous temperature shift of 2C or more in higher-latitude temperate regions without any significant actions to remove the snow. After a couple years of that remaining true, the increased snow cover will become self-sustaining until acted on by a sufficient contrary change of some kind. Then you get an ice age.

        Dramatic climate changes don't work off the global average temperature, they work off regional interactions across large enough scales to become resistant to the minor fluctuations.

        • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:31PM (#46297613) Homepage

          On a global scale, indeed: 0.7C is a small variation. The Earth has had larger variations before, and this is not unusual on a geological scale (although to be fair, its happening at a faster time scale than most of the climate changes in the past.)
          However, 0.7C pretty much validates the models. If the anthropogenic greenhouse effect is not real, you need three things:
          (1) You need to find an explain an explanation for why the radiative forcing does not increase temperature
          (2) You need to find a hitherto-unknown effect that is causing the warming that we measure, and
          (3) You need to find an explanation for why the amplifier that amplifies effect (2) to be large enough to increase the temperature doesn't also amplify the greenhouse effect. (and, contrawise, you need to explain why whatever effect it is that cancels out the greenhouse effect, (1), does not also cancel out effect (2).)

          While 0.7C may be small, you should also note that we are continuing to put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

          • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @07:04PM (#46300371)

            If you want to assert the anthropogenic greenhouse effect is both real, and dangerous, the burden of proof is on the affirmative to come up with a necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement which rules out natural climate change as the reason for observed temperatures.

            0.7C doesn't validate a non-falsifiable model, even if that's close to what the model predicted. Even astrologists make predictions, but astrology isn't science.

            • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @07:23PM (#46300511) Homepage

              If you want to assert the anthropogenic greenhouse effect is both real, and dangerous, the burden of proof is on the affirmative to come up with a necessary and sufficient falsifiable hypothesis statement which rules out natural climate change as the reason for observed temperatures.

              OK. My prediction is that if you aim an infrared spectrometer at the sky, you will see downwelling infrared radiation from the CO2 spectrum.

              This prediction is falsified if you don't see downwelling infrared radiation.

              Hey, we see it! I win. Carbon dioxide actually does re-radiate absorbed thermal infrared. The greenhouse effect is real.

              This was done over a century ago, by the way. The greenhouse effect has been known for a long time. Good thing, too; the Earth would be frozen if it didn't exist.

      • by Dishevel (1105119)
        and since that has happened many times in the past I fail to see what the fuck we think we are going to do about it.
    • by InsertCleverUsername (950130) <slashdot@rrusson ... il.fm minus poet> on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:44AM (#46295513) Homepage Journal

      As the old song goes, little things mean a lot. You couldn't see the difference between a little botulin toxin and a lethal dose without a microscope. And I'm sure you wouldn't notice a 0.7 C difference between one room in your house and another, but multiply that amount of energy to a global scale and it starts to add up. Consider what climatologist James Hansen said about the current rate of increase in global warming: “(it's) equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year. That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day.”

      • The Hiroshima fireball was 370 metres (1,200 ft) in diameter, with a surface temperature of 6,000 C.

        The surface area of the Earth is 510 million square kilometers.

        It seems to me that 400,000 of these could raise the surface temperature of the earth quite a bit. That's 24,000,000,000 square meters of the surface experiencing a 1 degree temperature raise. 40,000 square kilometers experiencing some 300 meter high heat wave of 1 degree too hot per day. In 13 days, the entire earth's surface has raised by 1

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          My god. By 2012 the average summer temperature in Baltimore would be 155F.

          Ah don't worry, we already hit 250C here this past summer. Pretty sure I saw car tires melting in the parking lots...and people bursting into flames. But we've fixed that problem, with this glorious Canadian invention called..."winter."

    • by x6060 (672364) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:49AM (#46295585)

      Or the fact that we are still coming off of an Ice Age that lasted for more than 100,000 years, and ended less than 10,000 years ago (Or the little Ice Age that ended in 1850). Several models predict that the average temperature at the END of the last Ice Age was 15-20C lower than today.

      Is global warming happening? Yes. Is the human race a contributing factor? Probably to some degree. Is the human race the only cause? No.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by i kan reed (749298)

        Natural forcing actually add up to negative changes in temperatures(though at so small a value they wouldn't even show up on a graph of temperature forcing).

      • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:59AM (#46295691)

        No scientist says humans are the only cause. There are other forcings, positive and negative. The very likely (95%-100%) in the IPCC is to the contention that "most" of the rise in temperature is caused by human forcings. Not "all".

        • Climate Sensitivity (Score:4, Informative)

          by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @07:03PM (#46300351) Journal
          The IPCC's attribution graph [wikipedia.org] shows the various natural and man made radiative forcing's. Without mankind's influence, most climate models predict a very slight cooling for the 20th century. Feedbacks are far more difficult to quantify however using archaeological evidence their magnitude can be inferred. Climatologists use this information to calculate a metric called climate sensitivity [wikipedia.org], this number has hardly changed since it was first derived in the 1970's. A lot of people think the IPCC is exaggerating, observation has shown that their predictions are on the conservative side (in particular the rate of melt at the north pole), cautious conservatism is what one would expect when a couple of thousand experts agree with each other.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        While there is non human fluctuation in CO2, currently humans put out for 32 Gigatonnes of CO2 per year. Far exceeding the amount can go through the carbon cycle in a year.
        CO2 traps IR.
        Clearly, the current rising trend is due to humans.
        Without the excess CO2 we have been emiting, we would not be experiencing the current temperature rise.

      • by jopsen (885607) <jopsen@gmail.com> on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:30PM (#46295933) Homepage

        Or the fact that we are still coming off of an Ice Age that lasted for more than 100,000 years, and ended less than 10,000 years ago (Or the little Ice Age that ended in 1850). Several models predict that the average temperature at the END of the last Ice Age was 15-20C lower than today.

        So over 10k years temperature raised 20C, that is (20 / 10000) * 10 = 0.02C per decade, very far from 0.7 / 3 = 0.23 per decade that we see now.
        I don't have sources from your numbers, and it's probably safe to assume that the rate of temperature change isn't constant either... So maybe we shouldn't try to model this at all, my calculations above are certainly as ignorant and non-sense as your postulation of numbers...

        Is global warming happening? Yes. Is the human race a contributing factor? Probably to some degree. Is the human race the only cause? No.

        True, there are many factors that affect the environment, but non other does it with the same speed as humans.
        Global warning is primarily man-made, it's a real problem, that's the scientific consensus. And I'm fairly sure that most people on slashdot as just as qualified to discuss the scientific consensus around global warming, as soccer moms are qualified to discuss the merits and "dangers" of vaccinations.

      • by CaptainLard (1902452) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:33PM (#46295983)

        Or the fact that we are still coming off of an Ice Age that lasted for more than 100,000 years, and ended less than 10,000 years ago (Or the little Ice Age that ended in 1850). Several models predict that the average temperature at the END of the last Ice Age was 15-20C lower than today.

        Is global warming happening? Yes. Is the human race a contributing factor? Probably to some degree. Is the human race the only cause? No.

        I like this game.

        Do humans have the capability to mitigate their contribution to warming? Yes. Does any other warming phenomenon? No
        Do humans care if these warming effects drastically disrupt the climate that our current society has adapted to so well? Yes. Does anything else? No.

        Also a quick note, 20C over 10000 years is .002C/year. .7C over 30 years is .023C/year

        • by Layzej (1976930) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:59PM (#46296331)

          Also a quick note, 20C over 10000 years is .002C/year. .7C over 30 years is .023C/year

          Also worth noting is that the global temperatures didn't change 20C. The last glacial maximum was only 3C to 5C cooler than the present (http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch6s6-es.html). The height of the current interglacial period occurred about 8000 years ago. Since then temperatures have been dropping (up until recently).

      • by riverat1 (1048260)

        The temperature difference (on a global scale) between the last ice age and the current interglacial was 4-7C, not your 15-20C.

        The human race is not the only source of climate forcings but lately the effects of the known natural forcings would point to a slight cooling trend but it's been warming so it's probably fair to say humans are responsible for more than 100% of the warming.

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      The difference between the depths of the Little Ice Age and the mid-20th century is only about 1.0C and look at how much of a difference that makes.

  • Their heat map has China as much cooler, yet they are one of the world's largest contributors to greenhouse gases.

  • by Kohath (38547) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:35AM (#46295413)

    It's pretty easy to "predict" temperature trends in years that have already gone by.

    • Yes global warming predictions were made in the 1970s.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:06PM (#46295753)

      When it comes to modeling, "predicting" old data is actually an invaluable technique for developing useful models. For instance, if you're working with machine learning algorithms, it's typical to segregate your data into a training set and a test set (sometimes an additional validation set as well). The training set is used to teach the machine learning algorithms, thus establishing a model. You then take that model and run it over the test set to see how well it matches.

      Put differently, rather than creating a model from all of the old data (which, as you said, is trivial and not really that impressive), you put yourself in the shoes of a 1970s scientist and try to use the data from only up to that point to create a model that will work for the next 40 years. You then get to fast forward 40 years and see how you did. If you didn't get it right, you go back and try again.

  • Predictive Power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by simonbp (412489) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:36AM (#46295415) Homepage

    That's because you are looking at climate models calibrated against that data that you are comparing to. Circular logic.

    If you look at the predictions from past IPCC reports, very few of their predicted temperature profiles match the later observed conditions. That is a failure of the models' predictive power. That doesn't mean there isn't warming, just that the Earth's climate is a more complex system than can be accurately simulated with modern computing hardware.

    • by SoupGuru (723634)

      Maybe you could help us out by showing us where we can find predictions from past IPCC reports.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      That is false.
      WARNING: I have read many previous reports so you citation have better be rock solid*.

      *Rock Solid was my porn name!

    • Re:Predictive Power (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bunratty (545641) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:54AM (#46295629)
      Following your advice, I looked at the overview from the first IPCC report [www.ipcc.ch], and in section 2 it lists one prediction as about a 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature between the time of that report (1990) and 2025. It's not 2025 yet, but based on an observed warming of about 0.16 degree Celsius per decade, we should see a warming of about 0.8 degrees Celsius between 1990 and 2025. It falls a bit short of one full degree, but the prediction was literally "about 1 degree Celsius," and 0.8 degrees Celsius is in fact about 1 degree Celsius.
      • by EvilSS (557649) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:08PM (#46295767)

        0.8 degrees Celsius is in fact about 1 degree Celsius.

        Well, +/- 20%

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Check your math--1990-2025 is 35 years, or 3.5 decades. At 0.16 degree C per decade, that's 0.56, not 0.8. And it's a lot harder to argue that 0.56 is "about 1"; most people would say that it's "about one half".

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:46PM (#46296171) Homepage

      Actually predictions of the amount of warming have been pretty accurate, what was unexpected was that the atmosphere stopped warming so much and instead a lot of the energy went into the oceans. Sceptics make a lot of the recent "pause" in warming, but actually there is no pause when you remember to consider the oceans as well as the atmosphere.

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:38AM (#46295435) Homepage
    Spencer has contributed specific work in peer reviewed journals that is part of the scientific discussion, but his overall opinion on climate change is motivated more by his own religion than anything else. He's both sympathetic to intelligent design and signed a statement which said among other things ""Earth and its ecosystems – created by God's intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence – are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Spencer_(scientist)#Climate_change [wikipedia.org] Essentially he believes that climate change isn't happening because his religion won't let him. Note how that statement wasn't even just about climate, but about ecosystems as a whole. Christy doesn't seem to have that same sort of underlying motivation and might make more sense to pay attention to, but in this context, the vast majority of experts disagree with both of them, and when dealing with complicated scientific issues, using expert consensus is a useful heuristic, that's before we get to the serious issue that not only is the expert consensus clear, it is a consensus about some very bad results, not just a consensus about an issue which doesn't have substantial impact.
    • Very little if any of Spencer's attitude on AGW ever makes it to his published work. He's the Michael Behe of climatology.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Spencer has contributed specific work in peer reviewed journals that is part of the scientific discussion, but his overall opinion on climate change is motivated more by his own religion than anything else. He's both sympathetic to intelligent design and signed a statement which said among other things ""Earth and its ecosystems – created by God's intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence – are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Spencer_(scientist)#Climate_change [wikipedia.org] Essentially he believes that climate change isn't happening because his religion won't let him. Note how that statement wasn't even just about climate, but about ecosystems as a whole. Christy doesn't seem to have that same sort of underlying motivation and might make more sense to pay attention to, but in this context, the vast majority of experts disagree with both of them, and when dealing with complicated scientific issues, using expert consensus is a useful heuristic, that's before we get to the serious issue that not only is the expert consensus clear, it is a consensus about some very bad results, not just a consensus about an issue which doesn't have substantial impact.

      As opposed to climate change being a religion unto itself

      Guess you must have missed this from TFA:

      Messrs. McNider and Christy are professors of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and fellows of the American Meteorological Society. Mr. Christy was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.

      Got anything to say about Mr. Christy?

      No?

      Take your ad hominem tripe elsewhere.

    • Using your comments. We should also cancel out avid atheists too then? I'd be curious to see if there are any REAL people in the middle when it comes to scientists in either way. In same same vein, we should cancel out studies by scientist who get paid to do studies by any person, organization or government that wants to prove global warming is man made. Try to find some real neutrality by honestly curious scientist, I'm wondering if you really could.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:38AM (#46295439) Journal

    A more interesting question is why Spencer never publishes any of his alleged massive critiques of AGW in peer reviewed journals. He seems to be quick to a check from the Koch Brothers and various other pro-oil interests, but oddly never seems to actually publish these resounding rebuttals in any kind of scientific venue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cold fjord (826450)

      A more interesting question is why Spencer never publishes any of his alleged massive critiques of AGW in peer reviewed journals.

      There is a known problem there.

      THICK ATMOSPHERE [news.com.au] and Climategate and Scientific Journal Chicanery [reason.com]

      Climate researcher and IPCC co-author Eduardo Zorita calls for Warmergate plumbers Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf to be barred from the IPCC process and muses on the “very troubling professional behavior” evident in those leaked emails:

      I may confirm what has been written in other places: research in some areas of climate science has been and is full of machination, conspiracies, and collusion, as any reader can interpret from the CRU-files

      I am also aware that in this thick atmosphere – and I am not speaking of greenhouse gases now – editors, reviewers and authors of alternative studies, analysis, interpretations, even based on the same data we have at our disposal, have been bullied and subtly blackmailed. In this atmosphere, Ph D students are often tempted to tweak their data so as to fit the ‘politically correct picture’.

      Climategate's Michael Mann Channels His Inner Palpatine [forbes.com]

      The Climategate emails reveal that when the scientist-activists saw skeptical scientists successfully calling public attention to such evidence, they went on a vicious attack, pulling strings to pressure universities and science journals to fire or blackball the skeptical scientists for presenting their competing theories and evidence. The Climategate emails also show Mann as one of the most aggressive warriors in the battle to publicly disparage and ruin the careers of scientists who disagree with his views on global warming.

      For example, upset that Harvard University researchers were successfully arguing that solar variance rather than carbon dioxide emissions are the most likely primary cause of recent global temperature fluctuations, Mann sent out an email seeking to coordinate action to pressure Harvard to rebuke or discipline the researchers. “If someone has close ties w/ any individuals there [at Harvard] who might be in a position to actually get some action taken on this, I’d highly encourage pursuing this,” writes Mann to fellow scientist-activists.

      The Climategate emails also reveal Mann recruiting investigative journalists to dig up dirt on scientist Steve McIntyre, who had called into questions Mann’s scientific theories.

      There is plenty more if you dig into that instead of conspiracy theories about the "Koch brothers."

  • Garbage in... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:41AM (#46295483) Homepage Journal
    That is a perfect example on how to misalign graphs to make them match your agenda [hotwhopper.com]. He should be jailed for that.
  • An invitation to speculate and draw our own conclusions based on a model that everyone will pick apart?

    Bring in some pre-conceived ideas from Slashdot readers and we have a real festive discussion ahead of us today! Popcorn time.

    I'm taking wagers on how many posts this one gets within the next 2 days. My computer model puts the number at about 535.
  • I'm sure this will be an intelligent discussion since we have so many people visiting here who are solid scientific thinkers, are experts in the field and will be able to intelligently discuss the nuances of this subject. I doubt we will see personal bias. I'm sure the discussion will be well reasoned and without hyperbole.
    I personally don't feel I have to check back on the discussion since I have already made up my mind.
      (for the impaired)

  • The Worst Offender (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KermodeBear (738243) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:50AM (#46295591) Homepage

    I can't speak to the accuracy of historic weather data or modern weather models, but I can say this:

    Global Warming / Climate Change (pick one, please) alarmists do themselves an incredible amount of damage when they do the following:

    1. Grossly exaggerate predictions and base everything on the worst case they can find.
    2. Manipulate charts to make changes look far more significant than they really are.
    3. Instantly ridicule anyone who disagrees with them on anything, even if that disagreement is valid.

    Let's say for the sake of argument that all of the predictions from these weather models are 100% accurate, all of the research and data is correct, and that the climate is indeed warming because of CO2 emissions, and that the climate will warm 5 Celsius degrees in the next 200 years. Let's pretend that the science is completely perfect.

    Even if all of that is true, you will find a lot of people who won't even bother listening because they remember crazy predictions like "New York city will be underwater in 20 years! [forbes.com]" and "We're all going to be cannibals! Cannibals, I say!" [newsbusters.org]

    Do you see why so many people don't listen to those who are trying to push human-caused climate change?

    Politics needs to be taken out of the equation. Completely. Everything needs to be 100% transparent. The science needs to be broken down in ways the average person can understand. Even if that happens, it will be decades before the damage the global warming alarmists have caused can be reversed.

    • by Grantbridge (1377621) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:58AM (#46295681)
      How long do you think it'll take for you to bleed to death if I shoot you with a pistol? Its not an easy problem to predict. You don't know precisely where you will be shot, if the bullet will go straight through or lodge in bone, or ricochet. You don't know how long your blood will take to clot. You can be pretty sure that, left unattended, you will die from being shot. But predicting exactly how long you will have is rather hard. CO2 levels cause global warming by basic physics, just as a greenhouse is warmer inside than outside. You trap the heat in, but let the visible light through. What the exact consequences of a certain CO2 level are is hard to say preciously, but if CO2 levels keep going up and up and up you can be sure that the polar ice caps are going to melt and sealevels are going to rise dramatically. Precisely when this will happen is as hard to predict as how long it'll take you to bleed out from a gunshot wound, but you wouldn't argue that because its hard to determine how long you have, it's not worth trying to avoid getting shot!
      • "CO2 levels cause global warming by basic physics, just as a greenhouse is warmer inside than outside"

        Complete and total crap.

        1. CO2 levels are a response to past warming 800 to 1000 years ago, as all of the ice core records testify
        2. Greenhouses do not warm via the "atmospheric greenhouse effect" of suppressing radiation but by suppressing convection, an effect demonstrated a hundred years ago.

        If you want to invoke basic physics, then you first have to learn basic physics

    • The science is there, and published. People have explained global warming in simple but reasonably accurate terms. Raw data is available.

      Now, if you have a suggestion as to how to prevent people from going off the deep end (on either side) I'd love to know about it.

  • One small problem... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cirby (2599) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:54AM (#46295631)

    The State of the Climate 2012 paper is... get this... from two years ago. After they had to start "adjusting" their models to reflect reality.

    When you look at the actual historical AGW models, we're below their "optimistic" model (the one where we cut CO2 drastically over the last couple of decades - which didn't happen). And a good 0.2 C below their "probable" models.

    If you're looking at predictions, go back and look at the climate models from the late 1980s and early 1990s. They're off, by a ridiculous amount.

    Out of 90 models (yes, ninety), a grand total of TWO managed to predict the current temperature.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @11:58AM (#46295677)

    Spencer's scientific views are being affected by his religious beliefs. He is a signatory to a document called An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming, which holds that Earth was created by "God's intelligent design" and that ecosystems are therefore "robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting". Whatever you might think of this, it is definitely not a scientific statement. Basically, he refuses to accept, for religious reasons, that humans can have an effect on the Earth's climate – in his theology, only God can do that.

    Spencer is also a major proponent of the "intelligent design" scam. And both he and John Christy are based out of Alabama, one of the most backward and scientifically illiterate states in the U.S.

  • by riverat1 (1048260) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:00PM (#46295699)

    For several years Gavin Schmidt, one of the principals of the NASA/GISS Model/E climate model, has been doing a comparison of model output to observations. There isn't an update for 2013 yet but the comparison through 2012 is available here. [realclimate.org]

    • by stymy (1223496)
      The error bars on some of those graphs are so monstrously large it would be almost impossible for the real data to fall outside that range (in the first one, the margin of error for the forecast grows to a range of almost 0 degrees to 1). Anything with that much error has no real predictive value whatsoever.
  • by Onymous Hero (910664) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:02PM (#46295721)
    Where does the 0.7C warming since 1980 figure come from exactly? I make it roughly 0.7F (note: FAHRENHEIT) from 1980 until the last point in 2012. That's an anomaly of around 0.4C, which seems to tie in with the graph on the R Spencer page.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:05PM (#46295741)

    Look back before that, the period from 1950-1974 (approximately). How well do the models match there?

    Cherry picking is bad science. You have to look at the whole record from the start of the Industrial Age... and the models haven't been particularly good.

    That's not an anti anthropogenic global warming statement, by the way. It's a "science is hard and you can't understand a subject after ten minutes of reading" statement.

  • by g01d4 (888748) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @12:30PM (#46295929)
    I only bothered w/the McNider & Christy article. Do they fix the physics of any of the models? No. Do they put forward their own model? No. Do they have any scientific explanation for changes in weather patterns:

    Shouldn't modelers be more humble and open to saying that perhaps the Arctic warming is due to something we don't understand?

  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @01:35PM (#46296855)

    From the article [climate.gov];

    Since 1976, every year including 2012 has had an annual temperature above the long-term average. Including the 2012 temperature, the rate of warming is 0.06C (0.11F) per decade since 1880 and a more rapid 0.16C (0.28F) per decade since 1970, according to the 2012 annual report from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

    Take look at the graph [climate.gov] they are referring to. Between 1880 and 2010 there is a change of 1.43 F giving a per decade increase of .11F. But wait, that is not the whole picture. It ignores the period between 1880 and 1910 when global temperatures were decreasing. If you look at the increase since 1910 you get 2F over ten decades which is .2F per decade. It also ignores the time between 1910 and 1940 where the temperature changed 1.1F or 0.37F/decade. Compared with the time between 1910 and 1940 global warming is slowing.
    To me it looks like they are picking data that agrees with their conclusion.

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