JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Fasullo and Trenberth find spurious success, make headlines, but still the models crash

It’s worse than we thought — again….

Fusulo and Trenberth scored headlines around the world recently with a new paper that suggested that a few models got the relative humidity right in some tropical spots, and they also happened to be the models that predicted the hottest global outcomes.

John Christie pointed out that the models with the highest climate sensitivity are also the ones which are the worst at predicting future temperatures.

But there is more to this. It is a likely a case of twenty models predicting 40 parameters, and you can take your pick of the permutations and combinations which give one or two models a “success” here and there on one or two factors. But in the end, as Richard Courtney says, all the models are different so only one model can possibly be The Right One for the whole atmosphere, and quite likely they are all wrong.

In this case, they are still all wrong. The hot spot is still missing, and the region below it with which they scored some success is not that important.

The words hot spot and humidity over the tropics lead many commentators to think this was something to do [...]

Dessler 2010: How to call vast amounts of data “spurious”

This is part of the big PR game of publishing “papers.”

In the climate models, the critical hot spot is supposed to occur because (specific) humidity rises in the upper troposphere about 10km above the tropics. The weather balloons clearly show that temperatures are not rising as predicted, so it was not altogether surprising that when Garth Paltridge analyzed weather balloon results for humidity, and found that humidity was not rising as predicted either.

Indeed, he found specific humidity was falling, which was the opposite of what all the major climate models predicted and posed yet a another problem for the theory that a carbon-caused disaster is coming. He had a great deal of trouble getting published in the first place, but once he finally did get published and skeptics were starting to quote “Paltridge 2009″, clearly, Team AGW needed an answer.  “Dessler 2010″ is transparently supposed to be that answer.

To start by putting things into perspective, lets consider just how “spuriously” small, patchy and insubstantial the radiosonde measurements have been. According to NOAA The integrated Global Radiosonde Archive contains more than 28 million soundings, from roughly 1250 stations.

Worldwide radiosonde stations (NOAA)

… Or how about the [...]