Climate science has a problem, says a prominent climatologist, because models vastly over-predicted the amount of warming that would occur from increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Whether you look at satellite or surface temperature records, climate models predicted much more warming than has been observed on a global scale. Satellite records show no statistically significant global warming for the last 22 years and surface temperature readings show 40 percent less warming than the models predicted.
Patrick Michaels, a climate scientist with the libertarian Cato Institute, argues the disparity between the models and the actual temperature will severely undermine scientists’ credibility. unless they admit they were wrong about how carbon emissions would impact the temperature.
“The disparity [between the models and the temperature record] will grow and grow and grow and grow, until this profession, that I’m not happily a member of, says ‘we were wrong,’” Michaels told an audience at a Heritage Foundation event on the Social Cost of Carbon estimate concocted by the Obama administration.
“You cannot look at this picture and not admit a tragedy is occurring,” Michaels said, referring to the following chart showing the disparity between climate model predictions and satellite and balloon readings.
“This illustration is not just going to take down climate science, it’s going to take down people’s faith in science,” Michaels warned.
Michaels warning comes as the White House hosts a conference to discuss how global warming will worsen public health because of higher temperatures and increased extreme weather events. On Monday, the EPA published a study claiming that a global agreement to tackle global warming would reduce extreme weather and keep the country from catastrophic warming.
“Will the United States benefit from climate action? Absolutely,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement on the report’s release.
The Obama administration has tried taking the focus away from temperature increases to things like the possibility of increased public health risks and extreme weather events. But all of these impacts are predicted to come from increasing temperatures, and temperatures aren’t increasing like climate scientists have predicted.
Dr. Roy Spencer, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, has been converting satellite data into temperature readings for decades. His own data, and data from the Remote Sensing System satellite data set, shows about two decades with no warming. Spencer’s UAH satellite data now shows the world is in its 22nd year with no warming.
Spencer has also pointed out that while the surface temperature data show more warming than satellite data, it’s still way less than was predicted by most climate models. Warming is still even less than predicted when new temperature adjustments made by NOAA are included, Spencer said.
“But even with the highly controversial [NOAA] procedure applied to the data, the observed warming trend is still only about 60% of the average warming trend in the CMIP5 climate models for the global oceans (+0.18 C/decade for the models, +0.11 C/decade for the observations),” Spencer wrote on his blog. “This is true whether you compute trends for the entire period, or only since 1996, which is where the two temperature time series diverge more noticeably.”
Spencer says that 2015 is likely to be the hottest year on record because of the El Nino warming event occurring, but it’s not clear how much warmer this year will be than the last hottest year.
“We could have a record warm year, every year, but what really matters is just how much that warming is,” Spencer wrote. “If there was no natural variability, and we had perfect measurements, each successive year could be 0.01 C warmer than the prior year and thus be a new, record warm year…but would we really care?”
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