Climate computer models programmed to find global warming

Much of today's environmental public policy is based on junk science

March 11, 2013

Stephen MurgatroydEDMONTON, AB, Mar. 11, 2013/ Troy Media/ – Several leading warmists – including Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, James Hansen of NASA, and the Met Office – now:

1)    admit that mean global temperatures have not risen since 1997 and that the warming trend has stalled

2)    accept that there was only a modest temperature rise in the 20th century, a continuation of the warming trend that began 200 years ago as the world naturally emerged from those centuries of cooling known as the Little Ice Age, and

3)    concede that the 0.5C rise between 1976 and 1998 was no greater than the 0.5C rise between 1910 and 1940 (with 35 years of cooling between them, so that the net rise in the past century has been only 0.8C).

But this hasn’t stopped them from suggesting that the end is still nigh and that we have only months to act to reduce CO2 emissions to prevent catastrophic global warming beyond the 2C ‘threshold’ picked to signal doom.

So if it isn’t the actual evidence driving their continued concern, what is it?

They are relying on the virtual science – computer models that point to continued warming and the need to be alarmed at the rate of CO2 emissions – to support their warmist view.

Yet some 700 scientists in 400 different institutions in 40 countries in peer reviewed papers disagree. They point out that the medieval warm period was much warmer than at present.

Computer models, after all, depend on the data and analysis framework programmed into them. Currently, none of the models in use to replicate the climate for the last 100 years can do so. A paper published in January in the Journal of Climate finds that climate models have little to no ability to provide skillful forecasts of global surface temperatures on timescales of a decade or more. According to the author, Matthew Newman (University of Colorado), “these results suggest that current coupled model decadal forecasts may not yet have much skill beyond that captured by multivariate red noise.” In plain English: not much better than a table of random numbers.

A paper published last December in the Journal of Geophysical Research compares observations of wind speeds over China from 1971 to 2005 to the results from nine IPCC AR5 climate models for the same period and finds that all nine models show a “substantial positive bias,” i.e. a substantial exaggeration, of wind speeds. The paper adds to many other peer-reviewed papers demonstrating that IPCC climate models greatly exaggerate extreme weather, cyclone activity, wind storms, droughts, and floods. (Read The Hockey Shtick)

Also last December, several scientists reported in the American Meteorological Society’s peer-reviewed Journal of Climate that they:

‘. . . examined the annual cycle and trends in Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) for 18 Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 models that were run with historical forcing for the 1850s to 2005. Many of the models have an annual SIE cycle that differs markedly from that observed over the last 30 years. The majority of models have too small a SIE at the minimum in February, while several of the models have less than two thirds of the observed SIE at the September maximum. In contrast to the satellite data, which exhibits a slight increase in SIE, the mean SIE of the models over 1979 – 2005 shows a decrease in each month, with the greatest multi-model mean percentage monthly decline of 13.6 per cent dec-1 in February and the greatest absolute loss of ice of -0.40 × 106 km2 dec-1 in September. The models have very large differences in SIE over 1860 – 2005. Most of the control runs have statistically significant trends in SIE over their full time span and all the models have a negative trend in SIE since the mid-19th Century. The negative SIE trends in most of the model runs over 1979 – 2005 are a continuation of an earlier decline, suggesting that the processes responsible for the observed increase over the last 30 years are not being simulated correctly.’ (my emphasis).

I could go on. There are hundreds of critiques of these models, including some from those responsible for them. Gary Strand, a software engineer at the federally-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), admitted climate model software ‘doesn’t meet the best standards available’. In a comment he posted on the website Climate Audit, he said: ‘as a software engineer, I know that climate model software doesn’t meet the best standards available. We’ve made quite a lot of progress, but we’ve still quite a ways to go,’ (July 5, 2009). NASA’s GISS model E is written on some of the worst FORTRAN coding ever seen and it is a challenge to even get running. NASA GISTEMP is even worse. Yet governments around the world have legislation and regulations enacted or under consideration based on model output from these kind of poor systems.

It is these models that are driving the agenda for climate change warmists, not the evidence from direct observations, with one notable exception made by some scientists: that extreme weather events are increasing as climate warms. At the opening of the 18 annual United Nations climate summit held in Doha, Qatar, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres urged governments around the world to ‘do something about’ extreme weather. ‘We have had severe climate and weather events all over the world and everyone is beginning to understand that is exactly the future we are going to be looking about if they don’t do something about it,’ she said. Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore summed up this view when he wrote: ‘Every night on the news now, practically, is like a nature hike through the book of Revelations’.

The difficulty here is that this is not the view of scientists, like Roger Pielke Jr of Colorado, whose work is dedicated to the study of extreme weather events. This area of science has been his life’s work and he makes clear that the consensus of science is that extreme weather events are not connected to climate change and also that their incidence is, in fact, in decline. While noting that the models say something different (because they are programmed to do so), the observations would suggest that the extreme weather events globally are not as frequent or as severe as they have been in the past.

So here is the issue: do we want to make public policy on the basis of flawed and generally wrong models or do we want a policy that is based on more traditional forms of scientific practice?

This column is FREE to use on your websites or in your publications. However, Troy Media, with a link to its web site, MUST be credited.

38 Responses to "Climate computer models programmed to find global warming"

  1. wilbert1755   March 14, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    The History of
    Computer models is that not Once did the CCMs predictions has ever been able to
    match the observed DATA:  meaning is, what
    is happening around the world is what has been happening around the world before ,like NAS said CCMs are only simulations.

  2. wilbert1755   March 14, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    TomDayton If the Computer Models are so accurate why are they not use to predict  what will happen to the Stock market in the future? we could make Billions.  How about the future lotteries or future Gold Price ? So far the only thing CCM have done accurately is predicting the past.NAS ? They admit they do not understand how the planet works  and How the oceans affect the climate but they still go ahead make prediction and built CCMs and all with pre conceived data..If you program a Models to show that CO2 cause catastrophic warming ..then one should not be surprise once turned on that the result will be ” CO2 cause warming” .

  3. TomDayton   March 14, 2013 at 11:38 am

    Murgatroyd’s and commenter wilbert1755 are utterly wrong about climate models being programmed to find global warming. Wilbert1755 is utterly wrong about climate models not including evaporation, clouds, and the rest of the plethora of factors he listed.  For a concise overview of what climate models are, watch the set of short videos by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences:
    For more depth, get ahold of David Archer’s book “Understanding the Forecast.” If you don’t want to borrow or buy his book, you can watch his University of Chicago class lectures for free (you can even download them to watch offline):

  4. wilbert1755   March 14, 2013 at 7:33 am

    TomDaytonand Like Gavin S said ” “These codes are what they are – the result of 30 years and more
    effort by dozens of different scientists (note, not professional
    software engineers), around a dozen different software platforms and a
    transition from punch-cards of Fortran 66, to fortran 95 on massively
    parallel systems. […] No complex code can ever be proven ‘true’ (let
    alone demonstrated to be bug free). Thus publications reporting GCM
    results can only be suggestive.” – Gavin Schmidt,” Why is that? to many parameters are missing..  like Clouds, Convection, Cosmic Rays, Eastern Boundary Regions of the Oceans, El Nino, Evaporation, Macroturbulence, Mountain Range Circulation, Multi-Decadal Variability, Near-Surface Temperatures at Night, Precipitation,Regional Climate Change, Seasonal Variability, Spatial Variations in Geothermal Heat,Solar Radiation in the Atmosphere.  etc. How can we not question CCM results?

  5. wilbert1755   March 14, 2013 at 7:01 am

    TomDayton wilbert1755  Again we have pre conceive science. The result is known before the studies , To be a valid researcher you must have a clean slate to begin with. Archer does not and I fail to see how Gavin and Jim H . can help …To many strings to pull.

  6. TomDayton   March 13, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    wilbert1755, non-computerized models are the vast majority of models in science.  Especially before computers were invented, but even since then.  For just two examples in climatology that you can construct and run yourself (with a hand calculator if you want to save time, or just with a pencil), see Tamino’s “Not Computer Models” (–you’ll have to copy and paste that whole long link into your browser’s address field instead of just clicking the portion that is highlighted here.  Then read its followup “Once is Not Enough” (  For more examples, borrow or buy the short textbook by David Archer, “Understanding the Forecast”:

  7. wilbert1755   March 13, 2013 at 7:39 am

    TomDayton handjive ..What does a Non-computerized model look like?

  8. wilbert1755   March 13, 2013 at 7:34 am

    TomDayton wilbert1755 No Cook Interpret the Now discredited Peer review process , Thank you IPCC, and then  pass on his pre- conceive understanding  of the reports to less understanding followers who in turn pass that lesser understanding on different web sites. A sure way to detect if someone is a scientist who understand climatology is when they use the word ” DENIERS” real scientist do not attempt to discredit their critiques with vile name calling ,they welcome them..

  9. TomDayton   March 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    A really brief description of the history of climate science, including a great graphic, is here:

  10. TomDayton   March 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    all of science and engineering–theories, computerized models,
    noncomputerized models, the whole lot–always is incomplete. In every
    field. I guess you never ride in an airplane, because the models with
    which airplanes are designed are incomplete and in many ways wrong.  You
    also don’t ride in cars.  Or take medication.  Or have surgeries.  Or
    use a computer….
    The only
    question that matters for practical application of science is whether
    the projections are good enough for the purpose to which they are put.
    As has been empirically demonstrated for over a hundred years, the
    climatological science (and its models) are accurate far more than
    enough to tell us we are experiencing bad consequences of global
    warming, and those consequences will get worse.
    Your mention
    of the CERN cloud experiment reveals you have not bothered to read the
    original scientific literature on it–including that by the experiment’s
    own scientists whose papers you are referring to!  Links to that
    literature can be found here, among other places:

  11. TomDayton   March 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

    wilbert1755:  No, John Cook’s opinions don’t count any more than mine, because we are not climatologists (though we do have science degrees in fields related to climatology).  John’s site Skeptical Science merely conveniently summarizes peer-reviewed scientific publications.  You should decide for yourself by reading those scientific publications. Most of them are accessible simply by clicking links in the Skeptical Science posts.

  12. steveoffutt   March 12, 2013 at 6:51 am

    “the end is still neigh”  (sic)
    Mr. Murgatroyd is “neighing” like a horse, ignoring the enormous reams of data that support the views of every reputable scientific organization on the planet (for a list see here:
    Shoot, even the Vatican has made a strong statement for taking action to
    mitigate climate change.)
     The 2007 IPCC report looked at 29,000 data series, and over 90% of them were consistent with global warming.
    Also, warming has not stalled.  Ocean heat content, which is the largest heat sink by far, has continued to rise steadily, even over the last few years (  Double cherry picking one particular data series starting with a cherry picked date that is not even long enough ago to shake out natural variability is misleading at best.
     (The word I believe your were seeking is “nigh.”)

  13. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    A good overview of the many lines of evidence that converge to support our knowledge of the existence of human-caused global warming and its increasing severity in the future, is a series of videos by the U.S. National Academies of Science:

  14. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Although I link to Skeptical Science a lot, that is merely for convenience.  Every major point in Skeptical Science is backed up with peer reviewed scientific publications, which are cited and usually linked to in each Skeptical Science article.  So you don’t have to take the Skeptical Science authors’ words at face value!  Go read the scientific papers yourself, and make up your own mind!

  15. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Murgatroyd claimed that climatologists “3) concede that the 0.5C rise between 1976 and 1998 was no greater than the
    0.5C rise between 1910 and 1940 (with 35 years of cooling between them,
    so that the net rise in the past century has been only 0.8C).”  Murgatroyd implied that the cooling in the mid century shows that global warming is baloney.

    In fact, that cooling was due to reflective aerosols from human industrial emissions plus some volcanoes.  That reflective cooling forcing temporarily offset the warming forcing of greenhouse gas emissions.  But when the aerosols settled out (which they do quickly), that cooling offset vanished, and the warming forcing from the greenhouse gases that had been accumulating that whole time manifested.  See

  16. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Murgatroyd overblew the implications of a paper describing inaccuracies in some (not all) climate models’ projections of Antarctic *sea* (not land) ice extent.  This paper is not nearly the first to note that discrepancy.  Scientists are *not* totally mystified by the increase in Antarctic sea ice extent.  Inaccuracies in the models (and their underlying scientific theories) of Antarctic sea ice extent do *not* necessarily reflect inaccuracies in other aspects of even those same models!  Climate models have done an excellent job of projecting global temperature, sea level rise, humidity, precipitation patterns, ….  (For example,  Scientists are well on their way to understanding the reasons for the Antarctic sea ice extent increase, and eventually will have had enough time to incorporate that new understanding into the models’ portions that deal with that:   For more details, see

  17. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Murgatroyd incorrectly claims that computerized climate models are the sole basis for climatologists’ projections of global warming.  Here is just one example of a purely statistical trend as a forecast–not because that’s how forecasts are done, but just to show you that you don’t need a fancy computer model to forecast the truly fundamental trends:
    But climatologists do not merely extrapolate statistical trends in observations.  Instead they rely on empirical observations–many of them experimental–to construct theories of physics, and apply those theories to project future observations (via “models”). But those models only recently have been computerized, and the computerization merely fine tunes the projections the fundamentals of which do *not* require computers.  The theories, non-computerized models, and resulting projections in the 1800s up halfway through the 20th century were pretty accurate, but certainly did not use computers!  For examples, see the Pierrehumbert AGU lecture I linked to below (  For a detailed history, see historian of science’s Spencer Weart’s Discovery of Global Warming (  For examples of non-computerized models you can calculate yourself (by hand if you insist, but more sensibly with a hand calculator), see Tamino’s “Not Computer Models” ( and its followup “Once is Not Enough” (

  18. handjive   March 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    The computer climate models are incomplete and so, wrong:
    The discovery of a fourth source of deep water, which plays a plays a key role in global water circulation and the transport of carbon dioxide to the deepest layers of the ocean, is critical to our understanding of Antarctica’s contribution to global ocean circulation, and will improve modelling of its response to climate change.
    The discovery of a fourth source is like “finding a new component in the engine,” he says.
    Until recently only three sources of the deep waters were known – the Weddell and Ross seas and off the Adelie Coast.
    [ ]
    Climate computer models also DO NOT correctly model clouds:
    The best they can do on this point is to simulate the net effect of all the clouds or aerosols in a grid box, a process known as “parameterization.”
    The Cern Cloud experiment makes all computer models redundant:
    Again, computer climate models are incomplete.
    And, anyone linking non-Skeptical science should be aware they delete & alter after the facts to push propaganda. Screen shots of before & after shenanigans at this link:

  19. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Murgatroyd might be quoting Pielke correctly, but Pielke is wildly incorrect in saying “the consensus of science is that extreme weather events are not
    connected to climate change and also that their incidence is, in fact,
    in decline.”  The evidence (and predictions) differ with different kinds of weather events and different locations, and are more nuanced and uncertain than are the evidence and predictions about temperature.  For example, the number of hurricanes probably will not increase, and the average severity might not increase, but probably the number of the most severe hurricanes will increase.  But certainly humidity will increase, with a speedup of the global water cycle, fewer snow events in areas that currently are only marginally cold enough to snow, but more extreme snowstorms when that extra water vapor is made cold enough to snow (  A good layman’s overview of extreme weather’s relationship to climate change was written by Scientific American, though it is almost two years old now:

  20. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Murgatroyd’s claim that climate models are coded so poorly that they cannot be relied upon, obviously is bogus since the climate models predict quite well (  “Quite well” means well enough to be useful for the purposes to which they are put.  No software is perfect (not even software for controlling spacecraft), but good software is good enough for the purposes it is put to.  Determining whether software is sufficiently good is a process called verification and validation (V&V).  Climate models do go through V&V.  The type of V&V must be appropriate to the type of software and the contexts of its construction and use.  The same is true of V&V of climate models, as Steve Easterbrook explained:

  21. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    An outstanding summary of successes and failures of climatologists was presented by Ray Pierrehumbert at the Fall 2012 AGU meeting. You can watch it on YouTube:    If you’ve no patience for video, you can read a summary by Steve Easterbrook:

  22. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Forecasting climate versus weather is explained more by Steve Easterbrook here:

  23. TreeBanker   March 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    DavidNutzuki This obviously satire. I don’t really like to use political perspective because it’s such a slippery slope but… John McCain was very public about his belief in AGW until his party beat it out of him.
    Occasionally I wonder about how many conservatives secretly know that AGW is very real, but can’t say anything about it for fear of being ostracized by their contemporaries.

  24. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Murgatroyd is incorrect in his claim that the Medieval Warm Period was globally warmer than today (  He provides no citation to back up his false claim that that false claim is supported by 700 scientists in 400 institutions in 40 countries.

  25. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Murgatroyd…well, let’s be generous and say “misinterpreted” <a href=”,d.aWc&cad=rja”>Newman’s paper</a> when Murgatroyd wrote “A paper published in January in the Journal of Climate finds that
    climate models have little to no ability to provide skillful forecasts
    of global surface temperatures on timescales of a decade or more.”  In fact, that paper discussed “decadal” forecasts, which are predictions of <a href=””><b>up to</b></a> a decade ahead–<b>not</b> a decade “or longer.”  <b>Climate</b> models successfully predict over periods of about 30 years or more, because that’s the definition of “climate,” because shorter periods involve lots of noise (“weather”)–noise that cancels itself out over periods of 30 years or longer.  <a href=””>Poor ability to predict weather does not imply poor ability to predict climate.</a>  Over those periods, <a href=””>climate models have done an excellent job.</a>

  26. TreeBanker   March 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    As the science of looking back at past climate history continues to improve, it becomes clearer and clearer that human activity has altered the climate. 
    As the science continues to improve even the most highly regarded, outspoken, skeptical scientists like Richard Muller have come to agree that we humans are altering the climate by pumping greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere.
    As the science continues to improve writers of articles like these are having to dig deeper into the records to find quotes they can take out of context to support their denial. The first few paragraphs of this article can be paraphrased to say: “Even though these scientists say this … And they still believe human activity is changing the climate… I think they’re wrong.”
    The Reality is: The models do a good job of simulating past climate change, and they are a reliable guide to the future.

  27. JerryLandrum   March 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I’m for policy based on scientific consensus that we need to rapidly reduce CO23 emissions.

  28. TomDayton   March 11, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Murgatroyd’s claim “2)… a continuation of the warming trend that began 200 years ago as the
    world naturally emerged from those centuries of cooling known as the
    Little Ice Age,” is incorrect.  Although the natural forcings that caused the Little Ice Age did reverse to bring the temperature up to where it was before the Little Ice Age, the temperature since then has risen far above that pre-Little-Ice-Age value (  But far more importantly, the Little Ice Age and the rise afterward did not occur by magic, but due to specific natural forcings such as high volcanic activity and low solar radiation.  Those and other natural forcings clearly cannot account for *all* the temperature rise since at least the 1850s.  Instead, the human forcings (known based on solid knowledge of physics stretching back into the 1850s) unambiguously account for the vast majority of the warming since at least 1960, and for a substantial portion of the warming from the 1850s to 1960:

  29. Bob Strayer   March 11, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Models are tuned by hind casting. If a model shows skill reproducing past climate when given historical forcings, it has skill projecting climate based on estimated future forcing scenarios.

  30. KristinPene   March 11, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Climate models are thoroughly tested before they’re considered reliable and have a great track record. Moreover, they’ve tended to be conservative in their projections, meaning that temperatures and sea levels are increasing more quickly than what models said would occur.

  31. Bob Strayer   March 11, 2013 at 11:14 am

    DavidNutzuki “Prove me wrong.” Or, in other words. “Tell me something I cannot deny!”

  32. Troy Media   March 11, 2013 at 10:36 am

    From the Editor:
    Please ensure that your comments are your own and not copied from someone else.

  33. ChintChary   March 11, 2013 at 10:25 am

    The models do a good job of simulating past climate change, and they are a reliable guide to the future.

  34. bridoc   March 11, 2013 at 9:57 am

    “mean global temperatures have not risen since 1997 and that the warming trend has stalled” – Are you kidding me? If mean global temperatures have not risen since 1997, explain to me how ALL 10 of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since 1997. Every single one. That certainly doesn’t sound like stalling to me (Facts: 
    And you are lying about scientists agreeing with you. They don’t. There is overwhelming consensus that we are causing climate change (Facts:
    Oh, and on the models B.S.:

  35. cinderloubug   March 11, 2013 at 9:50 am

    The models do a good job of simulating past climate change, and they are a reliable guide to the future.

  36. gomezjunco   March 11, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Even though the evidence is clear, climate computer models are a great way of simulating past climate change, and we can easily monitor future trends with them.

  37. beardedarmenian   March 11, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Anytime I see the word “warmist” in print, I cringe. Anyone who uses it is misinformed and in denial of reality. This guys is a hack. Nothing he says should be taken seriously. He is distorting facts. That 1997 statistic is a favorite of those that want to cherry pick science to fit their own fossil fuel supporting agenda:
    The models he mentions above do a good job of simulating past climate change, and they are a reliable guide to the future.

  38. DavidNutzuki   March 11, 2013 at 7:46 am

    We former climate change believers who now know that climate crisis was exaggerated find it amusing watching you remaining fear mongers try so hard and be so determined to believe in this misery for our children. Now who’s the neocon again here? Bush didn’t condemn my kids to the greenhouse gas ovens but YOU did.
    Not one IPCC warning ever said it would happen, only “might” happen. Prove me wrong.