IPCC Lead Author Says Climate Models Are Failing

IPCC Lead Author Says Climate Models Are Failing
July 13, 2013

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)

United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author Hans von Storch told Der Spiegel that climate models are having a difficult time replicating the lack of global warming during the past 15 years.

“So far, no one has been able to provide a compelling answer to why climate change seems to be taking a break," said Storch.

Storch said the models say the planet should be warming much more than it has.

"According to most climate models, we should have seen temperatures rise by around 0.25 degrees Celsius (0.45 degrees Fahrenheit) over the past 10 years. That hasn't happened. In fact, the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) -- a value very close to zero," Storch told Der Spiegel. "This is a serious scientific problem that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will have to confront when it presents its next Assessment Report late next year.

98 Percent of Models Wrong
IPCC may have to revise its climate models to reflect real-world climate conditions, Storch noted.

"At my institute, we analyzed how often such a 15-year stagnation in global warming occurred in the simulations. The answer was: in under 2 percent of all the times we ran the simulation. In other words, over 98 percent of forecasts show CO2 emissions as high as we have had in recent years leading to more of a temperature increase," Storch told the magazine.

"If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations," he explained.

Rewards of Scientific Method
“Hans von Storch is simply doing what all real scientists do: examine the most recently available data and use it to guide your path to conclusions,” meteorologist Anthony Watts, proprietor of the popular WattsUpWithThat.com climate science website, told Environment & Climate News.

“The nature of science is to go where the data tells you to go, not to go where you believe you should, and that is what von Storch is doing as a scientist,” Watts explained. “Meanwhile, those who go in the direction they believe they should go—or are told to go—are continuing on like lemmings marching to the sea, blissfully unaware that the road of science has a U-turn sign up ahead. The belief-system pileup at the U-turn will be something to behold.”

“The latest admission regarding the failure of IPCC's climate models in accounting for the stasis in the global temperature trend for the past 15 years is really no surprise,” Cambridge, Massachusetts climate scientist Willie Soon said. “It is merely professor Hans von Storch reporting the scientific evidence in an honest manner. The IPCC climate models have a long history of predicting too much warming, and Storch’s observations show that is still the case.

“There is a strong disconnect between carbon dioxide emissions and global temperatures. The evidence for this is every day becoming more difficult to deny,” Soon added.

James M. Taylor (jtaylor@heartland.org) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

Internet Info:

“Climate Expert von Storch: Why Is Global Warming Stagnating?” Der Spiegel, June 20, 2013, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-hans-von-storch-on-problems-with-climate-change-models-a-906721.html

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)