Modeling for global warming: Never mind!
posted at 5:30 pm on July 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
While Congress debates a cap-and-tax proposal that will kneecap the American economy and drive jobs overseas, the so-called scientific consensus for global warming took a shot to the solar plexus. USA Today reports on a new study that calls into question the entire basis for the modeling that drives the “greenhouse gas” theory of climate change. In fact, its co-author says that climate change modeling is “fundamentally wrong” and that carbon alone did not drive the the rapid warming of the Earth 55 million years ago (via Yid with Lid):
Could the best climate models — the ones used to predict global warming — all be wrong?
Maybe so, says a new study published online today in the journal Nature Geoscience. The report found that only about half of the warming that occurred during a natural climate change 55 million years ago can be explained by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. What caused the remainder of the warming is a mystery.
“In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record,” says oceanographer Gerald Dickens, study co-author and professor of Earth Science at Rice University in Houston. “There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models.” …
The conclusion, Dickens said, is that something other than carbon dioxide caused much of this ancient warming. “Some feedback loop or other processes that aren’t accounted for in these models — the same ones used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for current best estimates of 21st century warming — caused a substantial portion of the warming that occurred during the PETM [Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum].”
The climate models use the PETM as a major source of data for their modeling. The predictions of disaster come from the rapid warming seen in that period, applied to today’s data. If the models assigned too much reliance on carbon emissions as a cause, then their predictions for future temperature increases become completely unreliable. Since anthropogenic global warming has to this point only occurred in the models, that would be a huge problem for the global-warming industry.
The purported link between warmer temperatures and carbon emissions has been proven wrong just from the temperatures over the last ten years. In 1998, temperatures peaked, and have declined since. The level of carbon emissions hasn’t decreased to any significant extent, which hysterics like Prince Charles note when they claim that the Earth only has 96 months left before disaster strikes. Actual scientists would look at those data points and presume that any linkage between carbon emissions and temperature increases would be flimsy indeed.
Thankfully, some actual scientists have finally begun doing actual science, rather than political hackery in pursuit of government funding. Maybe the best way to prevent anthropogenic global warming is to destroy the only environment where it takes place — in the flawed models used by hysterics.
Update: Anthony Watts noted this yesterday. The comments section there is enlightening, especially this comment:
So, geologic record says…
70% increase in Atmospheric Carbon…
…with a 7 degree C temperature rise.
Today we have a 33% increase in Atmospheric Carbon…
…with a ~1 degree C temperature rise…?
This is clearly “worse/faster than expected.”
Unless the global warmists are arguing a logarithmic effect for carbon, that also seems to spike the notion that carbon is driving warming. In fact, as many of the commenters note, it’s probably a warming cycle that tends to release more carbon naturally, rather than the other way around. This comment in particular hits that nail on the head:
everyone assumed that CO2 was driving temperature in the vostok cores until they examined them on a decadal level and realized that in every glaciation, temperature started rising 6-1200 years before CO2 did.
increased CO2 is a RESULT of a warmer world. this is very well understood chemistry. heat water and it can hold less dissolved CO2. so when the world warms, oceans outgas. note that mistaking an effect for a cause can ofter look like positive feedback.
THAT is the real problem with the current models. they assume that CO2 drives climate in a meaningful way. this has NEVER been proven or even demonstrated. CO2 is a lagging variable to temperature on any reasonable timescale. the mid troposphere (where the greenhouse effect takes place) has warmed less than the surface in direct contradiction to all of the predictions of these GCM’s. the “fingerprint” that was expected has been shown to be absent by both satellites and radiosondes.
Be sure to read through them all.