IPCC Models Fail to Accurately Predict Climate Change

David Eisenberg
Friday, June 29, 2007

In a recent article posted on "Climate Feedback," a blog hosted by Nature Reports: Climate Change, Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) — and one of the advisory scientists of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — has some interesting things to say about General Climate Models (GCM).

According to Dr. Trenberth, IPCC climate projections (also called General Climate Models [GCM]):

Do not consider many things like the recovery of the ozone layer, for instance, or observed trends in forcing agents…. None of the models used by IPCC is initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models corresponds even remotely to the current observed climate.

The state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models. There is neither an El Niño sequence nor any Pacific Decadal Oscillation that replicates the recent past; yet these are critical modes of variability that affect Pacific rim countries and beyond. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, that may depend on the thermohaline circulation and thus ocean currents in the Atlantic, is not set up to match today's state, but it is a critical component of the Atlantic hurricanes and it undoubtedly affects forecasts for the next decade from Brazil to Europe. Moreover, the starting climate state in several of the models may depart significantly from the real climate owing to model errors. I postulate that regional climate change is impossible to deal with properly unless the models are initialized.

GCMs "assume linearity," says Trenberth, which "works for global forced variations, but cannot work for many aspects of climate, especially those related to water cycle ... the science is not done because we do not have reliable or regional predictions of climate."

Trenberth also claims that the IPCC does not make predictions, only proposes scenarios. This point is lost on the American popular press, which has not reported the above discussion, as the unproved fear of "global warming" among Americans becomes ever stronger.

Congress has a lot on its plate right now, including the war on terrorism, immigration, Social Security reform, health care, and the AMT tax — to name just a few issues. Why, then, is Congress wasting time on what should be an non-issue: carbon dioxide emissions and auto fuel efficiency?

Global warming is the focus of at least seven bills in Congress, none of which have much of a chance in passing, according to Reuters. So far, the U.S. has spent about $50 billion since 1990 on climate research. But none of that research has demonstrated a human-cause climate trend, let alone a dangerous one. Yet Congress seems determined to fix what isn't broken.

For example, by mandating increased use of ethanol, Congress is condemning us to use a less efficient fuel. Consumer Reports found that E85 ethanol fuel delivered 27 percent lower mileage compared to gasoline — and at a greater cost. The Congressional Budget Office found that raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards would cost drivers $2.4 billion a year. And they have yet to figure the increase in the cost of food from corn products diverted to make E85.

As always, government bureaucracy is no match for the free market in efficiently determining human needs and in sensibly balancing economic and social costs.

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