September 22, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

More Unknowns Found in Climate Change Models

(continued from yesterday)

More Unknowns with Potential Climate Impact

Historical climate fluctuations in Central Europe overestimated due to tree ring analysis: Present warming is extraordinary (Potsdam Institute, Denmark). This one comes out in favor of heightened temperature rise. Whichever side it lands on, it represents another significant correction to previous thinking.

Accuracy of El Niño simulation hones climate change estimates (University of Hawaii at Manoa). The copy of this press release on Science Daily has the title, “Fidelity of El Niño simulation matters for predicting future climate.” Earlier models wrongly assumed that the cycles were symmetric. This team found that they are asymmetric. Uncertainties are part and parcel of any model. The bigger the subject matter, the more the uncertainty. Climate is one of the most complex phenomena on Earth to model, to say nothing of projecting the model years or decades into the future. Whatever happened to the “butterfly effect”? In chaos theory, small perturbations can have major, unpredictable effects down the line, illustrated with the tale of a butterfly flapping its wings in California and causing a typhoon in China. Couldn’t global cooling be one outcome of a small tweak to a model? Who knows?

Correctly simulating El Niño and La Niña is crucial for projecting climate change in the tropics and beyond. More research needs to be conducted to reduce the biases in the interactions between wind and ocean so that climate models can generate El Niño — La Niña asymmetry realistically,” added Fei-Fei Jin, co-author and professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at UH Manoa.

“The high uncertainty in the intensity change of El Niño and La Niña in response to greenhouse warming is another remaining issue,” said Stuecker. “A better understanding of Earth’s natural climate swings such as El Niño and La Niña will result in reducing uncertainty in future climate change in the tropics and beyond.”

New mathematical method shows how climate change led to the fall of an ancient civilization (Rochester Institute of Technology). One fact that encourages skepticism of the consensus is that historical scientists admit freely that major climate swings occurred in the past with no contribution from humans. The Sahara used to have rivers and attractive habitats. American Indians abandoned cliff dwellings due to climate changes. The Indus Valley is another. Followers of the consensus admit these, but claim it’s accelerating faster than before. Nishant Malik at Rochester knows that the Indus civilization collapsed, but why? His models say it was climate change – if you can accept the uncertainties.

“Usually the data we get when analyzing paleoclimate is a short time series with noise and uncertainty in it,” said Malik. “As far as mathematics and climate is concerned, the tool we use very often in understanding climate and weather is dynamical systems. But dynamical systems theory is harder to apply to paleoclimate data. This new method can find transitions in the most challenging time series, including paleoclimate, which are short, have some amount of uncertainty and have noise in them.

Clouds play major roles in climate but are the “missing piece” in climate models.

Studying short-term cloud feedback to understand climate change in East Asia (Chinese Academy of Sciences, via As noted many times in our reports on climate models, one of the most difficult aspects to model is cloud cover. It is also potentially one of the most significant (see “Why clouds are the missing piece in the climate change puzzle” at The Conversation).

“Cloud radiative forcing in the East Asian monsoon region has unique characteristics, and the current deviation and uncertainty in simulating radiation budgets in East Asia are all related to its feedback, which greatly constrains our understanding of climate change in the region using climate models,” explained one of the researchers. But how accurately can a model that reduces uncertainty in one region reduce the global uncertainty? The team’s confidence seems to outrun its data, and reminds one of the “Blind Men and the Elephant” who each only saw one part of the picture, and all reached wrong conclusions.

Humans, not climate, have driven rapidly rising mammal extinction rate (University of Gothenburg). Here’s a case where climate had nothing to do with mammal extinction rates, this university says. Scientists have gone back and forth on this question for decades. Who’s right? There never seems to be a fixed consensus, just endless flip-flopping. How does anyone know? None of us were there. Maybe it was a combination of climate change and human activity.

Understanding the ‘deep-carbon cycle’ (Case Western Reserve University). If you thought climate science involved just the atmosphere, think again. Case Western researchers say climate change factors extend deep into the mantle, because carbon gets recycled there. Add this to the list of complications in figuring out climate change.

Scientists have long suspected that partially melted chunks of this carbon are broadly distributed throughout the Earth’s solid mantle.

What they haven’t fully understood is how far down into the mantle they might be found, or how the geologically slow movement of the material contributes to the carbon cycle at the surface, which is necessary for life itself.

High-fidelity record of Earth’s climate history puts current changes in context (University of California, Santa Cruz). Here’s a graphic to make critical thinkers sit up and take notice. UCSC’s new “high fidelity record” of climate history (see diagram full size with full caption in the article) goes back to the time of the dinosaurs. First, how do they know that? Secondly, it shows a “Hothouse / Warmhouse” period when the dinosaurs lived, that was much warmer than now, certainly not caused by humans. Third, it shows a steady cooling trend to the present, actually calling our time an “Icehouse” period! Everything we know and experience is still below that “Icehouse” level, up to the present day.

Past and future trends in global mean temperature spanning the last 66 million years, showing four distinctive climate states. See larger image in the article with caption. (Credit: Westerhold et al., CENOGRID)

Finally, all the projections of global warming are based on models projected into the future. That’s where all the scare talk is coming from: it’s all based on model projections, which (as we have seen from all the stories above), are filled with errors and uncertainties. In fact, two of the three projection curves keep us well under the “Coolhouse” level for the next 200 years. The most extreme projection would not reach Hothouse levels (as in the time of the dinosaurs) until year 2300, after all of us are long dead! This allows modelers to make uncertain projections—which could be way off—without any accountability.

Surely a picture is worth a thousand words!

Do you see why it is good to be skeptical of a consensus that keeps bragging that “the science is settled”? Now apply that same skepticism to what scientists say about natural selection, the origin of life and big bang theory.

This is God’s world. We need to be good stewards of His property while we walk the earth, but His master plan will prevail.

illustration courtesy Santa Clarita Magazine


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