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Scientists Say Climate Models “Fundamentally Wrong”

This will throw an inconvenient kink in the Al Gore “earth has a fever” pitch, won’t it?

Could the best climate models — the ones used to predict global warming — all be wrong?

Maybe so, says a new study published online today in the journal Nature Geoscience. The report found that only about half of the warming that occurred during a natural climate change 55 million years ago can be explained by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. What caused the remainder of the warming is a mystery.

“In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record,” says oceanographer Gerald Dickens, study co-author and professor of Earth Science at Rice University in Houston. “There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models.”

As someone said recently, science is skeptism, and this is science. This is science taking another look and admitting “something’s just not right” with the current warming theories. And the problem begins with thier climate models.

The explanation is found in the earth’s history:

During the warming period, known as the “Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum” (PETM), for unknown reasons, the amount of carbon in Earth’s atmosphere rose rapidly. This makes the PETM one of the best ancient climate analogues for present-day Earth.

As the levels of carbon increased, global surface temperatures also rose dramatically during the PETM. Average temperatures worldwide rose by around 13 degrees in the relatively short geological span of about 10,000 years.

The conclusion, Dickens said, is that something other than carbon dioxide caused much of this ancient warming. “Some feedback loop or other processes that aren’t accounted for in these models — the same ones used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for current best estimates of 21st century warming — caused a substantial portion of the warming that occurred during the PETM.”

One can only assume, if you want to go along with the oracle’s claims, that Fred Flintstone and his buddy Barney were driving their stonemobiles way to much.  Except Fred and Barney weren’t even around then

The point made by Dickens is a solid one. If your model can’t “model” the past given all you know about it, how in the world can anyone have any scientific confidence in its modeling of the future? Here we have a period of the earth’s history (55.8 million years ago) in which man hadn’t even shown up on the scene yet, but where temperatures rose fairly drastically, globally, in a relatively short time (20,000 years). Why?

We’ve been led to believe that increases CO2 are the root cause and man is the reason for the rise in C02. But PETM seems to dispel that theory doesn’t it?


Nice to see science beginning to exert itself again as it reexamines what has become a mostly faith-based exercise in fear-mongering. Now if the politicians would only catch up.


21 Responses to Scientists Say Climate Models “Fundamentally Wrong”

  • Been saying it for years.
    Still feel we should be pursuing certain strategies that make economic sense.  Like nuclear plants.  We’re considering getting a wind generator for our homestead.

  • Seriously this is a branch of science which can’t even predict what the weather will be like in 36 hours, the idea that a 20 year model would have any validity or non coincidental relation to reality is laughable.

  • The next few months will be interesting, as global warming alarmists race to enact any legislation they can before public opinion makes any further action impossible.  The PR battle is still in their favor IMO.  Last night I watched a History Channel show on “doomsday devices” and the number one doomsday device was… global warming.  They had a ‘researcher’ tell us that rising CO2 and methane levels were the cause of the continuing rise in temperatures, even though the show was almost certainly filmed after 1998, and global temperatures have hot risen in that time frame.

  • Anyone want to start a pool on whether Erb admits he’s been wrong all along?

    I’ll put my money on “When Hell’s a hockey rink.”

  • I have worked professinally as an environmental analyst and manager for the 13 years since I retired from the military. I work with environmental models constantly dealing with noise and air quality. There is one constant in the use of models and that is validation. If a model cannot be validated, it cannot be used and survive legal challenge. So without validation, a model is not used – period!

    How is a model validated? Subject it to tests that reflect reality. For a noise model, build a case and then run the model. Then compare the results with a series of actual recordings of the same scenario. If there is a discrepancy, go back to the drawing board and tweak the algorythm or the protocols of the model and do it again. Keep doing it until you can, within certain industry standards, consistently reflect the real world.

    Not one climate model in use today by any federal or international agency has been validated. How would you validate such a model? You can’t predict the future. But you can take the data available for a period of time, such as the PETM or 1900-1950, and then project what you already know, the period following the PETM and say the year 2000. Now look at the results of the model? Do they stack up to what really happened? If not, then the model will not stand up to legal challenge. They do not stack up.

    Concerning their own models, the 2007 IPCC Report (Chapter 8) discusses the limitations of the climate models: “Models continue to have significant limitations, such as in their representaion of clouds, which lead to uncertainties in the magnitude and timing, as well as regional details of predicted climate change.”

    Yet, even with these “significant limitations” the report continues to predict gloom and doom. As recently as March 2008, Yale researchers described finding the basic flaws within the IPCC climate models but when applying their “fix” they found even more erroneous results.

    And that is the state of the climate models in use today.

    • SSHIEL – “If a model cannot be validated, it cannot be used and survive legal challenge. So without validation, a model is not used – period!”

      One would think that even the dimmest bulb could grasp this simple fact. However, this (obviously) is far less about science and far more about politics and putting some dough in Algore’s pocket. “Who cares if the models aren’t completely accurate??? They’re predicting DOOMSDAY, I tell you! WE’VE GOTTA DO SOMETHING NOW!!!!”

      The global warming con artists and the morons who believe them claim that the skeptics (“deniers”) are all in the pay of “Big Oil” or have some other devious, malicious, wicked reason for opposing the “consensus” behind global warming. For the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that this accusation is absolutely true: the guys who say that global warming is BS are all oil men who want nothing more than to pollute the earth until even a cockroach couldn’t live on it. However, this would not change the TRUTH that the models just don’t work. Why, therefore, are we relying on them?

  • Note the authors of the study have PhD’s. I’ve been told a PhD is very important.

  • Note the authors of the study have PhD’s. I’ve been told a PhD is very important.

    Yes, they use the best paper and good paper is always important when you use the toilet.

  • “If your model can’t “model” the past given all you know about it, how in the world can anyone have any scientific confidence in its modeling of the future?”

    Wow have I ever asked AGW zealots that before or what!? Forty times if I’ve done it once, and none ever have an answer.

    Where’s the fool Lambert? Where’s Kev?

    Where’s their enthusiasm now?

    Most importantly, how do we stop the elected morons who believe this cr@p before they crater the economy for a generation?

    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

  • There is a simple obvious answer to this dilemma and the recent cooling trend.
    Many thanks to Al Gore’s sister

  • I’m not familiar with the actual inputs into the climate model, but there is a very interesting academic book that attempts to explain the abrupt increase in temperature about 55 million years ago (which killed most of the life on the planet), it’s called “Under A Green Sky – Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future”, by Peter D. Ward, Ph.D.
    Dr. Ward’s book attempts to construct possible causes to the large methane release that caused mass extinction.  From what I could tell, he tries to avoid political or ideological overtones on the current global warming debate.  Obviously, there was no man-made causes to global warming 55 million years ago, so this book doesn’t veer into prescribing solutions for climate change.  Interesting view of physical and climate science.

  • I think we might want to ensure success of Cap & Trade by coupling it with other proven consensus approaches to managing our environment from the past.  I think we should enhance the plan by inclusion of  virgin sacrifices thrown into the Grand Canyon from the Grand Canyon Skywalk to appease the climate gods.
    As proof there’s validity to this idea I would point out that cutting out hearts worked for the Aztecs for centuries!  I suspect the general consensus in what constituted the learned Aztec scientific community was that it was all that kept them from destruction by natural and supernatural forces.

  • with reports such as this one has to wonder if the planet is really warming.

    Once again, the bulk of temperatures comprising the present-day worldwide GISS average come from airports – in this case 554 airports, according to the NOAA metadata from the V2 station inventory. In the US, the ratio of airports to total stations continues to run very high, with 121 out of the 134 reporting stations being located at airports.

  • What the Nature Geoscience paper says, for anyone with critical reading skills, is that for a warming event millions of years ago, current models fon’t fit because half and not all the warming was associated with CO2.  The author states that there must be a feedback loop that causes more warming that is not included in the models.
    Thus, half of the warming was explained and there might be something that happens (perhaps release of methane hydrates or other GFG trapping gases) caused by the initial CO2 related warming.
    This sounds like  a warning, not a debunking of the CO2-Warmth relationship.  How anyone with critical reading skills can come away from and say “do nothing” is an appropriate response is, well, scary.

    • I believe the implications of the paper -for those with critical reading skills as well as critical thinking skills – as pertains to CO2-warmth relationship are quite interesting as well – CO2 rose at a much higher rate naturally without man being anywhere in the equation. So perhaps, based on that fact, ‘do nothing’ is entirely appropriate.

  • Can we replace the virgins with politicians…

    • Yes, and the possibility that any one of them is a member of  BOTH classes is nil.

  • Hear, hear!!
    And they would have to go smile and go along with the idea, or else be reviled as “anti-mother-Gaia”  (oh, the horror)!