Posted 10 December 2012

A reader of our website sent us a link to a paper from the Victoria University of Wellington, NZ, which claimed that IPCC climate "predictions" have been proved accurate. We sent him a copy of the Open Letter to UN Secretary General, to which he responded " Thanks, but I'll take the results of a university study over open letters to the UN. Now if you could find me a similar university study the refutes the predictions made in the first IPCC report, you'd have my attention."

Read on for what we sent him in reply:

Firstly, you should know that IPCC has never made a "prediction". All their reports are careful to use terms like "projections" and "scenarios".

Here are a few references to go with:

Researchers tested a 19 climate models to see if they could hindcast the recent Sahel drought (Lau, K.M., Shen, S.S.P., Kim, K.-M. and Wang, H. 2006. A multimodel study of the twentieth-century simulations of Sahel drought from the 1970s to 1990s, Journal of Geophysical Research 111: 10.1029/2005JD006281). Seven models hindcast less rain or drought, eight hindcast increased rainfall, and four showed no change.

“The current generation of GCMs have shown serious gaps and systematic deficiencies in calculating both regional and global changes for many variables such as temperature, precipitation, cloud properties and important oceanic variables, including oceanic circulation, pattern of sea surface temperature, as well as sea surface elevation (sealevel) and bottom pressure (Palmer, 2001; Pielke, 2001; Soon et al., 2001; Munk, 2002; Schneider, E.K., 2002; van der Veen, 2002; Huang and Jin, 2002; Davey et al., 2002).” See details of these references in: Soon, W and Baliunas, 2003. Global warming. Progress in Physical Geography 27(3), 448–455.

Also see:

Roe, G.H. and Baker, M.B., Science. Why Is Climate Sensitivity So Unpredictable? 26 October 2007, Vol. 318 no. 5850 pp. 629-632, DOI: 10.1126/science.1144735

Allen, M.R. David J. Frame, 2007.  Call off the quest. Science 26 October 2007, Vol. 318 no. 5850 pp. 582-583. DOI: 10.1126/science.1149988

Douglass, D.H., Christy, J.R., Pearson, B.D. and Singer, S.F., 2007. A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions. International Journal of Climatology. DOI: 10.1012/joc.1651

Held, I. 2005. The gap between simulation and understanding in climate modeling. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Scarfetta, N., 2007. Testing an astronomically-based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model versus the IPCC general circulation climate models. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2011.12.005

Further links:

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