Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Special: Why Long-Range Climate Models May Not Be Correct

By now, I am sure you have seen the climate models spelling an extremely warm world in the next few decades. I was thinking about this prospect and realized that these models may have forgotten a few crucial pieces to this puzzle.

DISCLAIMER: Because I did not make or run any climate models, I cannot say for sure if the factors listed below were taken into account. For informative purposes, I will assume that the following factors were not taken into account.

Changes in CO2 Emissions to Come
I have a feeling that the long range climate models were run with no change to future CO2 productions. While it is plausible that CO2 emissions will increase in the future as third-world countries gain further access to technology, the first-world countries have been, and will continue, to enhance recycling efforts and more fuel-efficient cars. Effectively, should these CO2-cutting proposals work, it may come down to the global temperature not rising as fast. If we're lucky, it may not rise at all for a while.

Sun Hibernation
As I have discussed recently, the sun is forecast to move into a period of hibernation over the next several decades. As illustrated in the chart to the right, the latest sunspot cycle maxes out at a weak 50 or so before going back down into an even weaker state. This cycle, known as Cycle 24, appears to be the last solar cycle before we dip into an extended solar hibernation, during which the Earth may very well cool. It is unknown what exact effects this will have on weather, but the idea of a general cool down appears likely.

Long Range
One must remember that these long range models are the same as everyday models, like the GFS. The only difference between the two is that the climate model is fitted for only a few specific parameters, and it goes out several decades.
That does not eliminate the error potential that regular forecasting models have. Who says that these climate models are perfect and accurate 40 years away from now? One must remember- that is 40 years. Not a few days- 40 years. If this were run on a regular model, you might as well trash that model.
What i'm saying is that just because climate models are long range does not, in any way, exclude them from a wide error margin.



Anonymous said...

lol CO2 isn't even the cause of the warming. CO2 values have had a massive increase in the past ten years, with little to no change in temps :P

Maineman said...

We need to remember that over thousands of years the earth has warmed and cooled and that it has it's own cycle. I wouldn't rely on any long range projections.

Andrew said...

Anonymous: I am not taking a stance on global warming, but there is an increase in temperatures in coordination with CO2 increases. It could be a coincidence or not. I prefer not to say what I think- I want to wait until the sun cools down.

Maineman: Exactly my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

@ Andrew: prove it. There is nothing that suggests that our CO2 emissions have an impact on temperatures.

WeatherDude said...

@ Anonymous he said could be coincidence. However I do agree there is no proof, and the Earth does go through warm and cool phases.

Andrew said...

Anonymous: I do agree that the Earth goes through warm and cool phases- a report was published recently that showed Europe had gone through a very warm period not too long ago.
Here is a great site for graphs concerning temperature, CO2 and the sun.

Anonymous said...

Climate change is a toughie. I don't buy it because it's exploited for political agendas and profit like Mr. Gore. It's interesting to research but not interesting enough to research to elect politicians and spend taxpayer money. It should be COMPLETELY independant research.

I'd rather hear about how climate change can exist rather than the hypotheticals when full blown. Sick about hearing Hurricane Katrina, Joplin, and April 27, 2011 being the possible links. The fastest, more efficient, and most unavoidable ways to climate change are impact events, gamma-ray bursts, and super volcanic eruptions.

Climate change can occur whether we like it or not. Just ask the dinosaurs.

It's good you took interest Andrew because I can't even read about such a topic. The crops are baked out here in Plains but I know it's just a weather pattern. I want the pattern to switch...hopefully by fall

ERN WX said...

Perfect statement, Anonymous 3. Climate change is natural and we are not going to become a burning ball of fire. Bigger government won't save the planet. Politicians need to let meteorologists handle this. And the media needs to report BOTH sides of the story. This is SCIENCE NOT POLITICS. Meteorologists have a hard enough time doing their jobs already.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely ERN! Climate change has been happening since the birth of the planet. There is not very much to do to fix it.

Let's be more concerned about how over-polluting affects us by direct consumption of polluted air, water, and food. Forget about how pollution affects the earth directly when the earth daily belches out tons of greenhouse pollutants anyway from volcanism and even lightning.

The earth is polluting me with this drought!