Sunday, July 31, 2011

Global Warming Models Fail Crucial Test Against Data

Climate models make too hot forecasts of global warming
Data from NASA's Terra satellite shows that when the climate warms, Earth's atmosphere is apparently more efficient at releasing energy to space than models used to forecast climate change have been programmed to "believe."

The result is climate forecasts that are warming substantially faster than the atmosphere, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The previously unexplained differences between model-based forecasts of rapid global warming and meteorological data showing a slower rate of warming have been the source of often contentious debate and controversy for more than two decades.

In research published this week in the journal Remote Sensing, Spencer and UAHuntsville's Dr. Danny Braswell compared what a half dozen climate models say the atmosphere should do to satellite data showing what the atmosphere actually did during the 18 months before and after warming events between 2000 and 2011.

"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."

Not only does the atmosphere release more energy than previously thought, it starts releasing it earlier in a warming cycle. The models forecast that the climate should continue to absorb solar energy until a warming event peaks.

Instead, the satellite data shows the climate system starting to shed energy more than three months before the typical warming event reaches its peak.

"At the peak, satellites show energy being lost while climate models show energy still being gained," Spencer said. This is the first time scientists have looked at radiative balances during the months before and after these transient temperature peaks.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  All models are wrong.  The only question is by how much.  This research shows that global warming models fail to correctly predict how the earth handles heat, in a way that cause the models to over predict the amount of heat that stays on the earth in response to warming.  The solution to the quandary is to change the models to match the observation.  That will likely reduce the predicted sensitivity of climate to enriched CO2.  Many of us believe that the sensitivity of climate to CO2 has been exaggerated in climate models, and this is powerful vindication for that "hunch".

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