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IPCC spin translated – the leaked Synopsis admits 97% of models fail

Posted By Geoff Sherrington On December 10, 2013 @ 8:44 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Joint Post: Geoff Sherrington and JoNova

The IPCC Synthesis Report first order draft has been leaked (h/t Tallbloke) . It is part of the big Fifth Assessment report  see the parts already released here. The Synthesis Report supposedly summarizes the science. In the real world the topic du jour is the plateau, pause, or hiatus in warming which the IPCC can no longer ignore. Instead the masters of keyword phrases test new bounds in saying things that are technically correct, while not stating the bleeding obvious. Luckily we are here to help them. : -)

Translating IPCC-spin:

“The rate of warming of the observed global-mean surface temperature has been smaller over the past 15 years (1998-2012) than over the past 30 to 60 years (Figure SYR.1a; Box SYR.1) and is estimated to be around one-third to one-half of the trend over the period 1951–2012. Nevertheless, the decade of the 2000s has been the warmest in the instrumental record (Figure SYR.1a).”

Translated: Yes temperatures are not rising faster as we predicted, even though more CO2 was pumped out faster than ever. Let’s ignore that this shows the models were wrong, the important thing is to use the words “warmest” and “record” as often as possible.

“The radiative forcing of the climate system has continued to increase during the 2000s, as has its largest contributor, the atmospheric concentration of CO2. Consistent with this radiative forcing, the climate system has very likely continued to accumulate heat since 1998, and sea level has continued to rise. The radiative forcing of the climate system has been increasing to a lesser rate over the period 1998-2011 compared to 1984 to 1998 or 1951-2011, due to a negative forcing trend from volcanic eruptions and the downward phase of the solar cycle over 2000-2009. However, there is low confidence in quantifying the role of forcing trend in causing the surface-warming hiatus, because of uncertainty in the magnitude of the volcanic forcing trend and low confidence in the forcing trend due to tropospheric aerosol. {WG1 8.5; WG1 Box 9.2}”

Translated: Despite the fact that the rate of warming is slower than it was before, theoretically CO2 is warming us faster. This is a fatal contradiction, but we hope you won’t notice.  We will distract you by mentioning that the rate of increase in theoretical forcing has slowed in our estimates of volcanoes and solar stuff and hope this sounds like it sort of matches, and we know what we are talking about. But we do admit we really have no idea why the warming didn’t occur. Read between the lines — we know  CO2 is important because our models don’t work without it — but our models don’t work anyway, we don’t understand the other forcings.  The science is settled, except for the inconvenient, unpredictable bits that are not settled.  Give us your money.

“For the period 1998–2012, 111 of the 114 climate-model simulations show a surface-warming trend larger than the observations (Box SYR.1, Figure 1a). There is medium confidence that this difference between models and observations is to a substantial degree caused by unpredictable internal climate variability. Variability sometimes enhances and sometimes counteracts the long-term externally forced warming trend  (Figure Box SYR.1). Internal variability thus diminishes the relevance of short trends for long-term climate change. There are also possible contributions from inadequacies in the solar, volcanic, and aerosol forcings used by the models and, in some models, from too strong a response to increasing greenhouse gases and other anthropogenic factors. {WG1 2.4, 9.3, 9.4; 10.3, 11.2, 11.3, WG1 Box 9.2}

Translated: This is what 95% certainty looks like: 97% of our models are wrong. (See also here). We blame that on unpredictable stuff that goes on inside the climate. Maybe we are also incorrect on solar, volcanic and dust too.

“In summary, the observed recent surface-warming hiatus is attributable in roughly equal measure to a cooling contribution from internal variability and a reduced trend in external forcing (expert judgment, medium confidence). {WG1 8.5, Box 9.2}

Translated: This sentence looks quite confident because we are attributing the pause to something. Don’t look closely, it’s cooling from something we didn’t predict beforehand, still can’t predict now, and can’t measure, even if we could predict it. “Internal variability” is the new catch all term that covers all the things we don’t know. It’s is the multi-purpose-fudge for all occasions. We hope no one asks us if internal variability could have caused the warming before it caused the cooling.

Bonus: We like the words “expert judgment”. This makes us feel important.

“Footnote: The connection of the heat budget to equilibrium climate sensitivity, which is the long-term surface warming under an assumed doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration, arises because a warmer surface causes enhanced radiation to space, which counteracts the increase in Earth’s heat content. How much the radiation to space increases for a given increase in surface temperature, depends on the same feedback processes that determine equilibrium climate sensitivity.  

Translated: Feedback processes are the downfall of the whole scare, so we use the phrase only once and in a footnote on page 21 of a 92 page document (that right now has “Do Not Cite, Quote or Distribute” written on every page). We don’t expect any journalists to understand what this paragraph means, nor to ask about it, but if skeptics claim we deny that the feedbacks determine the end result we can point to this to show we are completely transparent.

A focus on classic IPCC catch-phrases:

“….. the decade of the 2000s has been the warmest in the instrumental record….. “

Translated: We can’t talk about the trend in the last 17 years, so this is a good  scary phrase to use instead. We won’t mention that the warming started 300 years ago, long before our emissions started rising. We also won’t mention that our instrumental records are pathetically short, and the world was hotter than now for most of the thousands of years since the Agricultural revolution. Who needs to know? We also won’t mention that many of the records depend entirely on our adjustments. All those old thermometers kept reading too high. We had to fix that. Strange how it took 70 years to “correct” those readings. (Measuring temperatures wasn’t too rigorous back in the days of the Atomic Bomb and Moon Landing, scientists couldn’t be expected to do something as complex as measuring air temperature accurately without a computer model.)

“….. its largest contributor, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 ….”. 

Translated: Co2 is the largest contributor because our broken models say so. Shame there is no accepted, replicated paper that gives a quantitative link between CO2 and atmospheric temperature. This is where we would mention that paper if we could find it. Instead we give a broad range of possibilities, and actually CO2 might have no effect, it has not been disproven. But we don’t need to spell that out.

“….. the climate system has very likely continued to accumulate heat since 1998…..

Translated: Actually we are not absolutely certain the climate system has continued to warm. This is our way of saying that it’s possible we’ve had no net warming at all since 1998.

“….. sea level has continued to rise …..”

Translated: Lots of things cause sea-level to rise, many of which have nothing to do with either global warming or CO2, but we won’t mention that. Nor will we mention that a lot of sea-level rise may be due to man-made adjustments of the satellite data. As long as we can smooth noisy data we can talk of how it is continuing to rise. Ten year smoothing can become twenty year smoothing can become 20,000 year smoothing if need be.

” ….. causes enhanced radiation to space, which counteracts the increase in Earth’s heat content ..…”

Translated: See Stefan, Boltzmann 1879.


Models meet reality

The reality is that near-surface temperatures as commonly shown on global temperature maps, have not changed significantly from 1997 to 2013. This pause was not predicted by existing climate models. Fail. Adjusted climate models are still running too hot compared to actual. Fail.

Thanks to skeptics, the IPCC is finally being forced to admit (in convoluted language) that their models don’t work because they don’t understand the climate.


Scores of models, millions of data-points, more CO2 emitted than ever before, and the models crash and burn. | Graph: John Christy. Data: KMNI.

See this post for more information on the failure of models.

The spin and PR will still fool any gullible journalist who wants to believe and the IPCC have left plenty of safe quotable quotes. Let’s try to help those journalists…

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