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« A little gem | Main | Thoughts on Naomi Klein »
Friday
Dec112015

More problems for the climate models

As I noted in my Spectator piece yesterday, the Met Office is really, really desperate to attribute floods and rainfall to global warming, particularly at this time of year when they can usually rely on taking advantage of a bit of human misery.

Unfortunately, some toad at the Lawrence Livermore laboratories in the US has rather gone and pooped the party by publishing a paper that shows that climate models are overestimating growth in rainfall (report here).

Lawrence Livermore researchers and collaborators have found that most climate models overestimate the increase in global precipitation due to climate change.

Specifically, the team looked at 25 models and found they underestimate the increase in absorption of sunlight by water vapor as the atmosphere becomes moister, and therefore overestimate increases in global precipitation.

The team found global precipitation increase per degree of global warming at the end of the 21st century may be about 40 percent smaller than what the models, on average, currently predict.

They are not the first to notice how bad climate models are, but it's good to be reminded of these things, particularly when there's rain - and the odd chief scientist - in the air.

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Reader Comments (11)

Has anybody found anything that the climate models get right - apart from when hind-casting?

Dec 11, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

they underestimate the increase in absorption of sunlight by water vapor as the atmosphere becomes moister, and therefore overestimate increases in global precipitation.
And yet the models still over-estimate the tropical hotspot.

Isn't it clear that the models are more than wrong in proportion.
They are wrong in concept.

Dec 11, 2015 at 11:46 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Interestingly the results are almost the same as those reported by Stevens&Mauritsen earlier this year, which blamed the models' overestimation of precipitation on the iris effect. Funny thing thing is, they cite S&M but they don't actually use the iris term or cite Lindzen - wanting to avoid controversy I guess.
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v8/n5/full/ngeo2414.html

Dec 11, 2015 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlberto Zaragoza Comendador

What I don't understand is what the environment minister meant the other day when she said "Storm Desmond was consistent with climate change". I'd like someone to tell me what sort of rain event in Cumbria would not be consistent with climate change.

Dec 11, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterson of mulder

I think people here are missing the real purpose of climate models. They are lobbying tools. I recall the run up to Copenhagen in 2009, that climate models predicted the Washington DC tidal basin and the Potomac River would suffer more severe flooding than other places in the world. A year prior to that, the climate models were predicting much more severe storms in the American Heartland and southern states controlled by Republican Senators. And then in TODAY's New York Times, climate models have been run to tell the recalcitrant Chinese are being told all their major cities will flood. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/12/11/world/asia/Chinas-Coastal-Cities-Underwater.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news I guess this is something climate models and the Nobel peace prize now have in common.

Dec 11, 2015 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

Off-topic - but I note that the climate talks in Paris have 'stalled'...

Various nations have retreated behind their 'red lines' - and metaphorically folded their arms....

Quel surpris....!

Dec 11, 2015 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

"Storm Desmond was consistent with climate change"

Much better voices than mine have observed that (in this case) "Storm Desmond" is far more consistent with "Divine Wrath".

An explication that has been accepted in almost all cultures, for many thousands of years.

Perhaps the Thermoggedonists should play about on their X-Boxes to see how many virgins need to be pushed into the nearest volcano?

If we were to take a revisionist definition of "virgins" to mean those who have very little oil in their lamps (normal "virgins" being in short supply, thanks to the antics of the Salafists), we should be able to round up as many as are required, from the serried ranks of NGOs, politicians, journos etc..

Dec 11, 2015 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

"Storm Desmond was consistent with climate change"

Seriously, what isn't?

Dec 11, 2015 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

"... as the atmosphere becomes moister, ..."

Apparently it is an assumption of cAGW that the atmosphere shall become moister. The fact will have to be shown first. What happens then can be documented.
So far, the water vapor in the atmosphere has not shown an increase consistent with the hypothesis of global warming. That's my take-away from reading โ€“ maybe I just haven't found the right stuff. Not recent, but here is a statement through 2012:
Guest post by Ken Gregory, Friends of Science on WUWT March 2013
Clive Best had one in January 2013: Trends in Atmospheric Water Vapour

Dec 11, 2015 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn F. Hultquist

I'd like someone to tell me what sort of rain event in Cumbria would not be consistent with climate change.

Mmmh ... very, very extremely moderate? Strikingly average? A very, very normally distributed event (p ยป 0.9)

I'm sure we reached peak idiot, didn't we? Yes?

Dec 12, 2015 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterwert

According to me we should not interrupt anything that nature has reserved for itself. Recent flood in Chennai, India has proved it right. I hope mankind will understand it soon.

Dec 15, 2015 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterYLOD

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