Scientists Go After The Media For Highlighting A Study Showing IPCC Climate Models Were Wrong

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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A climate model expert told The Washington Post there would be “extra eyes really scrutinizing” a new study claiming climate models predicted more global warming than has been observed this century.

And he was right.

Climate scientists have rushed to criticize a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, which found that less warming in the early 20th Century suggests it’s slightly easier — though still difficult — to meet to goals of the Paris accord.

One would think climate scientists, especially those alarmed about warming, would see this as positive, but prominent researchers were quick to express their skepticism of results questioning the integrity of climate models.

Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann told Seeker he was “rather skeptical” of the research. Mann doubted meeting the Paris accord goal of keeping future warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times was impossible without “highly speculative negative emissions technology.”

University of Reading climate scientist Ed Hawkins said media headlines “have misinterpreted” the new study that questioned models relied on by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Hawkins contributed to the IPCC’s major 2013 climate report.

“A recent study by Medhaug et al. analysed the issue of how the models have performed against recent observations at length and largely reconciled the issue,” Hawkins wrote in a blog post.

“An overly simplistic comparison of simulated global temperatures and observations might suggest that the models were warming too much, but this would be wrong for a number of reasons,” Hawkins wrote.

Berkeley Earth climate scientist Zeke Hausfather said the models matched observed global temperatures “quite well.”

Study authors, however, contend the models and observations diverged in the past two decades during what’s been called the “hiatus” — a period of roughly 15 years with little to no rise in global average temperature.

“We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations,” study co-author Myles Allen, a geosystem scientist at the University of Oxford, told The Times on Monday.

“The models end up with a warming which is larger than the observed warming for the current emissions. … So, therefore, they derive a budget which is much lower,” study co-author Pierre Friedlingstein of the University of Exeter said, according to The Washington Post.

The study seemed to confirm claims made by scientists skeptical of catastrophic man-made global warming claims that models were showing more warming than actual observations.

For example, Cato Institute scientists Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger have noted the climate models have been over-hyping warming for decades.

Climate scientist John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville has shown climate models show 2.5 times more warming in the bulk atmosphere than has been observed.

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