Study: ‘Huge discrepancies’ between global climate predictions and hard data

Global warming may occur more slowly and correct itself more quickly than computer models have been predicting, a new study says.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing by Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, reports the atmosphere may shed heat much more quickly than previously thought — a potentially serious problem for the computer models used to predict global climate trends.

For his study, Spencer compared a half dozen climate model predictions with actual satellite data during an 18-month period 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 in a University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

In addition, the study reports that the atmosphere begins to shed heat earlier in the warming process than predicted. A major part of current global climate theory holds that CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere, resulting in more cloud cover and more heat — a positive feedback cycle.

Spencer’s analysis of satellite data shows the climate system starting to shed heat more than three months before the typical warming event reaches its peak. (RELATED: Polar bear climate change scientist under investigation for ‘integrity issues’)

Gavin Schmidt, a NASA Goddard climatologist, acknowledged the discrepancy between predictions and satellite data in an interview with LiveScience.

“What this mismatch is due to — data processing, errors in the data or real problems in the models — is completely unclear,” he said.

However, Schmidt continued: “Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data, but rather the paleoclimate record.”

Other scientists assailed the study for alleged flaws in its methodology. “I cannot believe it got published,” said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, in the same LiveScience article.

But the study has found a warm reception among those critical of global warming science.

“The study illustrates how much scientists still need to learn about how our climate behaves, particularly how much heat carbon dioxide may or may not be trapping,” said James Taylor, a senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute. “When something so central has been so erroneously predicted, this tells us we have a long way to go before we can claim any future climate predictions are ‘settled science.’ “

  • Accipiter Ursio

    well, possible there discrepancies  between Predictions and hard data, but hard data is one thing and facts are another, and the facts are: The weather is changing. And not for the best, You just have to look up, It is right in front of our eyes. I’m Portuguese. It baffles me that the US is taking a severe pounding  in the hurricane season, and there are still people who prefer to dug their heads in the sand ?  Do they still believe  the Easter bunny exists ?

    • guest

      The weather has been changing a lot in the past. There is plenty of historical evidence of that. Did you know that Greenland was once much warmer place than it is today? And did you know the sun’s actvity has a lot to do with warming up our weather? More sun spots seem to result in warmer climate.
      And the fact is that if predictions are based on wrong assumptions, the outcome is not correct. For example, if it is still not clear how the atmosphere actually handels all these gases, how can anybody get the correct result in simulation programs? Its like I am trying to guess your body weight by looking at what you eat. What I don’t know is your gender, age, exercise regime, your height, your diseases etc. I would never get the right answer without knowing more true facts about you.

    • guest

      The US is not “taking a severe pounding in the hurricane season”.  In fact, hurricanes have been abnormally mild since the year Katrina and Rita hit, and even those hurricanes were not the strongest ever to hit the US.  These are just normal weather variations and not proof or disproof of GW.