February 16, 2007, 5:00 am News


My greatest success as an "expert reviewer" to the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I (WGI) Science Reports was with the first draft of the 1995 Report.

There was a Chapter entitled "Validation of Climate Models"

I commented that this was incorrect. No Climate Model has ever been "validated" in the sense understood by computer engineers, and the Chapter included no discussion on how it should be done, let alone any of the necessary procedure, on any model.

They ageed with me. They changed the words "Validation", or "Validate" to "Evaluation" or "evaluate" no less than fifty times, throughout the Chapter. They have done so ever since. The word "validate" or "validation" does not appear anywhere in their Reports, and, notably, in the recently issued "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis: Summary for Policymakers"

One of the major objects of science is to simulate observable phenomena with a mathematical representation which can not only provide an explanation for the phenomena, buit also make it possible to predict future behaviour.

This task has a long history.  "Stonehenge Decoded" by Gerald S Hawkins shows how before 1600 BC it was possible to build a system which would enable prediction of the movements of the sun and moon.

Ptolemy in the second century AD published the "Almagest" which predicted the movements of the planets with a system of "epicycles". Newton and Galileo replaced this with a better, simplified theory, and Eistein with a refined version. Nobody would even have heard of these people if there was not abundant positive evidence that their predictions actually work. Without them, we could never have sent rockets to the moon.

Let me spell out what is needed for "validation", the procedure without which no mathematical representation, or computer model, could possibly be capable of future prediction.

First, the model must be capable of simulation of past behaviour to a satisfactory level of accuracy. Computer models of the climate have usually failed to do this. Indeed, their only attempt has been on the so-called "global surface temperature anomaly record":which I showed, in my last Newsletter, to be subject to huge, unknown biases and inaccuracy because it is based on unrepresenrative and statistically flawed data. The claimed successful simulation of this flawed record could only be made by leaving out both consideration of these inaccuracies, and also one of the main "natural"  contributors to the temperature record, the recently more frequent sudden warming peaks caused by the El Niño ocean oscillation behaviour.

The models are  unable to simulate almost everything else.

They cannot explain why there has been no "warming" for the past eight years, even when measured by the unsatisfactory "surface record".

They cannot explain why there has been no warming at all on the Arctic continent.

They cannot explain why methane concentrations in the atmosphere are falling instead of rising. They even devote learned papers trying to find out why this behaviour is "anomalous".

A recent study by  Douglass et al 2006 Geophysical Reserarch Letters 33 L19711 on the climatic effects of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo showed that it could only be expalined by a model iwith very low figures for "climate sensitivity" the basic parameter of the models.

The models therefore fail at the first requirement for "validation". They cannot reliably simulate past climate behaviour.

Suppose for one moment that Newton and Einstein had never lived and they were launching a rocket to the moon from Cape Kennedy. They ask the people who prepared the computer programme to guide the rocket "How reliable is it" Imagine if the reply was ' Our boys think it it is very likey to hit the moon, but we have no idea where"

We are taking all sort of drastic measures to damage our future energy policies based entirely on just such an "opinion" of partisan "experts".

The second important necessity for validation is successful  predictioin of future behaviour under a variety of conditions to a satisfactory and measurable level of accuracy.

There has not been even a single attempt to meet this requirement for any computer model of the climate. They do not even discuss how it might be done.

The models are therefore worthless and should be discarded until validation has actually happened.

But why is it that so many people, not only Prime Ministers, US Presidential  Candidates, Senior Economists, but also senior scientists and even winners of Nobel Prizes, seem to be convinced that those providing models have even MADE predictions, let alone provide a measures of their reliability.

It is even claimed that a large majority of scientists involved in climate research accept these false assumptions, and this claim might even be true.

Since the IPCC have accepted that no model has ever been validated, they have also accepted that they are unable to make predictions and they have never done so after  the First Report (1990) The word "prediction" never appears anywhere in the recent IPCC Reports. The only thing the models can do is to provide "projections".  This word implies that the  figure obtained is purely a result of assuming that the data, parameters and equations in the model represent reality: but there is no evidence that they actually do.

How have they succeeded in fooling the world?

The answer is, that they have devised a whole series of tricky procedures designed to cover up the truth, and give the impression to casual readers and  all but the intensive critic (which I claim to be) that they really have overcome the absence of validation, and provided definite figures which some people can pretend to be "predictions", and even provide what seems at first sight to be some measure of accuracy.

Their main tool is to pretend that they can replace scientific evidence with the opinions of "experts". The "experts" in this case are people who are mainly financed by Governments who promote the certainty of the greenhouse idea. I would not wish for a moment to suggest that these scientists could possibly be other than impartial, or that they could be influenced by pressure from their employers, even when they represent them at international conferences. But, all the same, most of them know that there might be undesi\rable consequences if any of them failed to endorse the value of models.

At this point let me say that the idea that  scientific opinions can be influenced by employers is not just a myth. In my long scientifc career such pressure was applied to myself on several occasions, and on one of them, I was dismissed.when I resisted,

Because of the opinions I express in this newsletter I am sometimes accused of being influenced by mythical employers, For example Professor Neil Curtis, formerly from Victoria University of Wellington, and currently Patron of the New Zealand Association of Scientists, has accused me of being in the pay of oil companies. Vanessa Atkins, Greenpeace representative in New Zealand, says I am paid by Exxon, and the same accusation has been made recently on the "Real Climate" website.

I have never been employed by any oil company, or received finance from one. Campaigning for truth in climate science is not exactly financially rewarding.  I might  tell you about two of  my  recent contributions.

Last Year, I was invited to the Beijing Climate Center as a Visiting Scholar. I was welcomed by the Director General and I gave three well attended lectures. They paid my fare and accommodation Yet the Senior scientist there is Co-Chair if Working Group I resposible for the 2007 IPCC Report about to be issued.

The people in Beijing appear to be willing to listen to different points of view on climate change, but  in New Zealand I could never be invited to address a meeting sponsored by NIWA, and Victoria University of Wellington now seems out of bounds. The Wellington Branch of the Royal Society .replies with an excuse. But I must admit I have recently address the Ohariu Branch of the Univesity of the Third Age, two Wellington Rotary Clubs, and a "Freedom Summit" Conference

Another recent source of income has been two book reviews in the Christchurch "Press"  In the first I came down heavily on "The Weathermakers" by Tim Flannery, currently "Australian of the Year". He is a biologist with no knowledge of physics, since he thinks the greenhous efffect is caused by the heating of trace gases by the sun, instead of the more orthodox theory that they are heated from radiation by the earth. His only credit is that he demolishes the "hydrogen economy" because it ends up emitting more greenhouse gases than before. But that seems also to be true of "biofuels" so perhaps it does not matter

But. I digress. The "opinions" of the IPCC "experts" are graded in levels of "likeliness", and they are given spurious "probability" levels which bear no relationship to probability that most scientists recognise.

Besides the completely uncertain nature of the "projections" of climate models it is imposasible to provide a measure of their possible acuracy or reliabity. If there were such measures it would be possible to grade the models in order of success. Since this cannot be done all the models are given equal credence. They even hold occasional meetings to try and avoid too much difference between models, since too wide a "projection" might  destroy the  impression of plausibility.

It means also that the IPCC never has the embarassing task of telling any model maker that his model has a "failure" mark, since they have no way of marking them.The result is that the models are a free for all and the more extreme the "projections" are,  the better some polticians or activists like them, and the better the chances for future funds. Many of the models can give low or even negative figures if you fit the right parameters, but the fate of those who have tried this is best not revealed.

Having managed to provided a half-way plausible "estimate" for a a model output, they then had to find a  procedure to provide accuracy estimates of this figure, beyond that of the levels of "likelihood"

They do this by combining a restrictive choice of models with a restrictive choice of "emissions scenarios". Both of these are chosen so as to give a "range" of outcomes acceptable to the Governments who pay them. They carefully avoid outcomes that are too high ar too low. The "range" is then presented as if it were a scientific nmeasure of the accuracy of the combined model/scenario package.

The "scenarios" themselves are supposed to provide a range of plausible assumptions of what could happen to climate in the next hundred years.They do not have the confidence, however to carry out any checks to find out whether the assumptions are confirmed by what actually happens. This means they have no way of grading their plausibility. The scenarios are thus regarded as equally plausible, but like the animals in Orwells's "Aniumal Farm" some scenarios are  more equally plausible than others.

My paper  Gray, V R 1998  "The IPCC future projections: are they plausible"Climate Research   10  155-162 showed that the earlier scenarios were not plausible, and Chapter 7 of my book "The Greenhouse Delusion: A Critique of 'Clmate Change 2001" showed that the 2001 scenarios are also not plausible. They could not even get right the figures for the year 2000. So they cannot even predict the past.

Several senior economists have criticised the economic forecasting methods used by the IPCC, but with little response. One of these David Henderson, former Head of the Economics and Statistics Department of the OECD is addressing two meetings in Wellington next week, which I will be attending.

The First Draft of the 2001 IPCC Report had a "projection" graph for temperatures by the year 2100 which gave a maximum temperature rise of 4ºC. This figure must evidently have been considered  to be not high enough, because the second draft, and the final one, had a figure of 5.8ºC which had been achieved by inventing an extra  extreme "scenario". A1F1.

The latest "Climate Change 2007: Summary for Policymakers" gives the "projected" "Best Estimates" and spurious "ranges" for six different "scenarios". The most extreme one, which is still A1F1. gives a "Best Estimate" figure for a "projected" temperature rise by 2100 of  4.0ºC, with a "range" of 2.4ºC to 6.4ºC. You can bet your bottom dollar that the only figures anyone will quote is the 6.4ºC. All the rest, which go down to 1.1ºC, will be ignored.

The world is in the grip of "climate change"  hysteria. Today"s BBC News gave an interview with the Mayor of  San Francisco who is walking to work instead of taking the car. Next, perhaps, he will give up walking as well so that he exhales less carbon dioxide.

Down here in New Zealand they are so keen to get us to use public transport that they are scouring the museums to find 30s style railway carriages to put back into service to cope with the demand, and bus drivers currently have to ask passengers where the bus is supposed to go.

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