Skillful (so far) Thirty year Climate Forecast

Written by Dr Norman Page (PhD - Geology)

 

Three-year Update and Latest Cooling Estimate

1. Original Forecast  v Reality.

In the last few months there have been numerous discussions on the WUWT site and amongst establishment scientists questioning the validity of climate models as a source of useful predictions about future temperature trends.Notably, the UK  Met Office has reported on “The Recent Pause in Global Warming” for which they have no good explanation.
 
The fact is that, as will be discussed later, their models are incorrectly structured and the modelling approach is inherently useless for making  predictions. A much better approach is to recognise and project forward quasi-cyclic quasi-repetitive patterns in the temperature, oceanic systems and solar driver data as was done in the 30 year forecast reviewed here.
 
Here are extracts from the original (6/18/10) 30 Year Forecast and the 2012 update which readers can check against the last 3 years of data and their own experience.
 
6/18/10:

“The geologic record shows clearly that the sun is the main climate driver. The Milankovitch multi-millennial orbital cycles in NH insolation are firmly established in the record as are the Schwab and deVries cycles. Other millennial and decadal variations in solar activity are present in the record. TSI is not the only or even the best indicator of solar activity – variations in EUV radiation and the GCR flux (via cloud formation and earth’s albedo) seem to be more important on decadal and centennial scales.
 
Earth’s climate is the result of complex resonances between all these solar cycles with the lunar declination cycles and endogenous earth processes.
At this time the sun has entered a quiet phase with a dramatic drop in solar magnetic field strength since 2004. This suggests the likelihood of a cooling phase on earth with Solar Cycles 21, 22 ,23 equivalent to Solar Cycles 2,3,4, and the delayed Cycle 24 comparable with Cycle 5 so that a Dalton type minimum is probable.” …………………………
“There will be a steeper temperature gradient from the tropics to the poles so that violent thunderstorms with associated flooding and tornadoes will be more frequent in the USA, At the same time the jet stream will swing more sharply North – South thus local weather in the Northern hemisphere in particular will be generally more variable with occasional more northerly heat waves and more southerly unusually cold snaps. In the USA hurricanes may strike the east coast with greater frequency in summer and storm related blizzards more common in winter.
 
The southern continents will be generally cooler with more frequent droughts and frost and snow in winter, Arctic and Antarctic sea ice may react differentially to an average global cooling. We might expect sea ice to increase in the Antarctic but in the NH the Arctic Oscillation while bringing cooler temperatures further south may also occasionaly bring warmer air into the Arctic with possible relative loss of sea ice in that area during those years.”
 
Here is an excerpt from the 2 year update posted on this site http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com. Then on 7/19/12:
 
“The original Forecast was posted on 6/18/2010. Two more years of Termperature, Ocean Current patterns, and Solar, and “weather” data have considerably confirmed and strengthened the original forecast….
In brief – NOAA – HCN – SSTs show that warming peaked in 2003 and there has now been no net warming since 1997 – 15 years with no net warming and CO2 up 8.2%.
 
Since 2003 the global temperature trend is slightly negative. The PDO remains in its negative phase while the solar magnetic field strength continues an inexorable decline ,which is looking more and more likely to be a precursor of a Maunder type minimum. Sunspot data and the relatively high GCR count for this stage in solar cycle 24 confirm the secular change in solar activity relative to the previous century. Meanwhile the weather patterns – particularly in the US and Europe – have been as forecast in the earlier post.”
The general conclusions of the original post are confirmed.
 
All the recent empirical data – especially the negative phase of the PDO  and the continued decline in the Solar magnetic field strength  now ( July 2012) suggest  that once solar cycle 24 starts its decline  in 2014-15  we will see an acceleration of the current slight cooling trend and that this trend  might well last for 25 -30 years. Beyond then we do not know enough at this time to make useful predictions”Readers might note that I think of the thirty year forecast as starting from the warming peak in 2003.
Since June of 2012 the data now (7/25/13) further confirms the continuation of the main forecast temperature trend and also the decline in solar activity relative to earlier twentieth century solar cycles. (see Figs 1 and 2)

 
For reasons discussed in several earlier posts I use the SST data as the best metric for climate change and the Oulu neutron count as the most useful proxy measure of solar activity.
Page fig 1
We have now had an eleven year cooling trend during which CO2 has continued to rise steadily – about 19 ppm in total.
 
The unprecedentedly high neutron count (GCR and solar activity proxy) as the Solar Cycle 24 maximum is approached compared with earlier cycles and the unprecedented count peak  durimg the 23/24 minimum in late 2009  are the  main indicators suggesting  the continuation and possible deepening of the cooling trend in the coming decades.In addition the Livingston and Penn solar data point in the direction of the possible approach of a Maunder Minimum.
Fig 2
Page fig 2
2.How Not to Do and How to Do  Climate Science.
During the last twelve months I have laid out,  in a series of posts, a review of the basic climate data and of methods used in climate prediction and from these have developed a simple transparent forecast of future cooling. For details see the pertinent posts listed below:
7/19/12    30 Year Climate Forecast -2 year Update
10/30/12   Hurricane Sandy-Extreme Events and Global Cooling
11/18/12  Global Cooling Climate and Weather Forecasting
1/22/13    Global Cooling Timing and Amount
2/18/13    Its the Sun Stupid – the Minor Significance of CO2
4/2/13      Global Cooling Methods and Testable Decadal Predictions.
5/14/13    Climate Forecasting for Britains Seven Alarmist Scientists and for UK Politicians.The most important points are summarised below.
 
a) Total Collapse of the IPCC – Met Office Modelling Approach – How Not To Do Climate Science.
The inadequacy, not to say inanity, of the climate models can be seen by simple inspection of the following Figure 2-20 from the AR4 WG1 report.
Fig.3
Page fig 3
The only natural forcing is TSI and everything else is classed as anthropogenic. The glaring deficiency of this model structure is immediately obvious. Under natural should come such things as e.g. Milankovitch Orbital Cycles, Lunar related tidal effects on ocean currents,Earths geomagnetic field strength and all the Solar Activity data time series – eg Solar Magnetic Sield strength, TSI ,SSNs ,GCRs, (effect on aerosols,clouds and albedo) CHs, MCEs, EUV variations, and associated ozone variations and Forbush events. Unless the range and causes of natural variation are known within reasonably narrow limits it is simply not possible to calculate the effect of anthropogenic CO2 on climate.
The results of this gross error of scientific judgement, not to say lack of simple common sense, is seen in the growing discrepancy between global temperature trends and the model projections  – see  this example from Spencer.
Fig 4
Page fig 4
This disconnect has been acknowledged by the establishment science community which is now busy suggesting various epicycle like theories as to where the “missing” heat went.Some say its in the oceans (Trenberth) some say its due to Chinese aerosols (Hansen) but the all main actors still persist in the view that it will appear Lazarus like at some unspecified future time. This is like the Jehovah’s witnesses recalculating the end of the world each time a specified doomsday passes.
In Britain, the gulf between the Met Office expectations for the last several years and the actual string of cold and snowy winters and wet summers which has occurred has made the Met Office a laughing stock-to the point of recently holding a meeting of 25 “experts” to try to figure out where they went wrong. The answer is simple.
 
Their climate models are incorrectly structured because they are based on three irrational and false assumptions. First, that CO2 is the main climate driver; second, that in calculating climate sensitivity the GHE due to water vapour should be added to that of CO2 as a feed back effect and; third, that the GHE of water vapour is always positive. As to the last point the feedbacks cannot be positive otherwise we wouldn’t be here to talk about it.
Temperature drives both CO2 and water vapour independently. The whole CAGW – GHG scare is based on the obvious fallacy of putting the effect before the cause. As a simple (not exact) analogy controlling CO2 levels to control temperature is like trying to lower the temperature of an electric hot plate under a boiling pan of water by capturing and sequestering the steam coming off the top.
 
A corollory to this idea is that the whole idea of a simple climate sensitivity to CO2 is nonsense and the sensitivity equation has no physical meaning unless you already know what the natural controls on energy inputs are already i.e. the extent of the natural variability.
Furthermore the modelling approach is inherently of no value for predicting future temperature with any calculable certainty because of the difficulty of specifying the initial conditions of a large number of variables with sufficient precision prior to multiple iterations. There is no way of knowing whether the outputs after the parameterisation of the multiple inputs merely hide compensating errors in the system as a whole. The IPCC AR4 WG1 science section actually acknowledges this fact.
 
Section IPCC AR4 WG1 8.6 deals with forcings, feedbacks and climate sensitivity. The conclusions are in section 8.6.4 which deals with the reliability of the projections. It concludes:
“Moreover it is not yet clear which tests are critical for constraining the future projections,consequently a set of model metrics that might be used to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and climate sensitivity has yet to be developed”
What could be clearer. The IPCC in 2007 said itself that we don’t even know what metrics to put into the models to test their reliability i.e. we don’t know what future temperatures will be and we can’t calculate the climate sensitivity to CO2.This also begs a further question of what mere assumptions went into the “plausible” models to be tested anyway. 
In summary the projections of the IPCC – Met office models and all the impact studies which derive from them are based on specifically structurally flawed and inherently useless models. They deserve no place in any serious discussion of future climate trends and represent an enormous waste of time and money.
 
As a basis for public policy their forecasts are grossly in error  and therefore worse than useless.
 
b) A Simple Rational Approach to Climate Forecasting based on Common Sense and Quasi Repetitive-Quasi Cyclic Patterns.
 
How then can we predict the future of a constantly changing climate? When, about ten years ago, I began to look into the CAGW – CO2 based scare, some simple observations immediately presented themselves. These seem to have escaped the notice of the Climate Establishment. ( See my website Post 5/14/13 Climate Forecasting for Britains Seven Alarmist Scientists and for UK Politicians.)
a) Night is colder than day;
b) Winter is colder than summer;
c) It is cooler in the shade and  under clouds than in the sun;
d) Temperatures vary more widely in deserts and hot humid days are more uncomfortable than dry hot days – humidity (enthalpy) might be an important factor. We use Sun Screen against UV rays – can this be a clue?
e) Being a Geologist I knew that the various Milankovitch cycles were seen repeatedly in the Geologic record and were the main climate drivers controlling the Quaternary Ice Ages;
f) I also considered whether the current climate was unusually hot or cold. Some modest knowledge of history brought to mind frost fairs on the Thames and the Little Ice Age and the Maunder Minimum without sunspots during the 17th century . The 300 years of Viking settlements in Greenland during the Medieval Warm Period and viniculture in Britain suggested a warmer world in earlier times than at present while the colder Dark Ages separate the MWP from the Roman Climate optimum;
g) I noted that CO2 was about 0.0375% of the Atmosphere and thought ,correctly as it turns out, that it was highly unlikely that such a little tail should wag such a big dog.
I concluded, as might any person of reasonable common sense and average intelligence given these simple observations,  that solar activity and our orbital relations to the sun were the main climate drivers.
 
More specific temperature drivers were the number of hours of sunshine,the amount of cloud cover, the humidity and the height of the sun in the sky at midday and at Midsummer. It seemed that the present day was likely not much or very little outside the range of climate variability for the last 2000 years and that no government action or policy was required or would be useful with regard to postulated anthropogenic CO2 driven climate change.
 
These conclusions based on about 15 minutes of anyone’s considered thought are, at once much nearer the truth and certainly would be much more useful as a Guide to Policymakers than the output of the millions of man hours of time and effort that have been spent on IPCC – Met Office models and the Global Warming impact studies  and the emission control policies based on them.
 
The IPCC  and Met Office “team” realised correctly that in order to predict the future they needed a good record of past temperatures – certainly over at least the last 2000 years or so and as much further back as proxy data would allow. Also in order to scare the public and drive policy it was necessary to show that current warm temperatures were out of the range of previous measurements. First they had to do away with Lamb’s (and the real world’s) Medieval Warming Period which appeared in the first IPCC report. In 1998 and 1999 Dr Michael Mann produced the infamous” Hockey Stick” graph so beloved and exploited by Al Gore.
 
The establishment modelling community, most politicians and  MSM implicitly or explicitly still appear conceptually locked in to the original Mannian graph, although he himself has moved on to a limited extent.
 
A large amount of extremely valuable work has been done in gathering proxy temperature data in the last 15 years. Links to some of the most relevant papers are provided at:
http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2013/01/global-cooling-timing-and-amountnh.html
 
One method of investigationg climate change  is to perfom spectral and wavelet analysis on the  temperature and any possibly useful driver associated time series to find any quasi-cyclic quasi-repetitive patterns which can be projected forwards – but it is not even that difficult. 
It turns out, on reflection perhaps not surprisingly, that simple inspection of the temperature and ocean system data is sufficient to detect useful quasi-periodicities which probably embrace the greater part of the changing climate signal.
 
Furthermore, although it is obviously ultimately highly scientifically desirable, it is not necessary to understand exactly how the system works to be able to make useful forecasts.
 
For decadal scale variations an approximate 60-year cycle, which seems to correlate temperatures and the PDO is well established in the temperature data and in the record of the PDO.
 
Page fig 5
Easterbrook says:
“The recent shift from PDO warm mode to cool mode is similar to the shift that occurred in the mid-1940′s and resulted in 30 years of global cooling (Fig. 4). The global warming from ~1915 to ~1945 was also brought on by a mode shift in the PDO (Fig. 4). Every indication points to continuation of the PDO patterns of the past century and global cooling for the next 30 years (Fig. 4). Thus, the global warming the Earth has experienced since 1977 appears to be over.”
 
For multidecadal and centennial predictions we need to know where we are relative to the appriximately millenial cycle seen in the ice core and proxy temperature reconstructions.
 
Fig 6 . Gisp2 Temps and Epica CO2.
Page fig 6
The millenial spacing of the temperature peaks over the last 2000 years is clearly seen in the Gisp2 ice core data Fig 6. Incidentally, the CAGW fraternity might note that this Figure also indicates the total disconnect between the general trends of CO2 and Temperature over the last 8000 years.
For forecasting purposes it is perfectly reasonable to assume from Figures 5, 6 and 7 as a conservative working hypothesis that the temperature peak at about 2003 was a peak in both the 60 year and the Millennial cycles and estimate the future cooling trend on that basis.
If the millennial trend is about to repeat, a view of what is ahead is provided by looking at the  temperature trend over the past thousand years. A review of candidate proxy data reconstructions and the written record of climate during that time suggests that at this time the most useful  reconstruction is that of Christiansen and Ljungqvist 2012 (Fig 5)
http://www.clim-past.net/8/765/2012/cp-8-765-2012.pdf
 Fig 7
Page fig 7
The shape of the curve of Fig 7(Fig 5) from 1000 – the present should replace the Mann-IPCC hockey stick in the public conciousness as the icon for climate change and a guide to the future.
The simplest assumption for temperature trends to be expected following the current peak is that the downslope to about 2650 AD may well look like the general downslope from 1000 to1650. Naturally, predictions beyond the 30 years which coincides with a PDO declining temperature trend would be increasingly more speculative.
Using the HADSST 3 Global data as a more detaled mirror image template for the coming centuury   (Fig 8) produces the following estimates.
Fig 8
Page fig 8
The rising trend peaks out at 2003-5 Fig2. A rise occurred from 1975 – 2003-5. We might therefore look for a similar cooling from 2005 to 2035 The average peak temperature has an Hadsst 3 anomaly of about +0.38.
 
The rise from 1975 was from about -0.15 to +0.38 = +0.53 and thus we might look for a similar decline in global SSTs temperatures to – 0.15 by 2035. This would coincide well with the current 30 year cooling phase of the PDO. More speculatively we might similarly estimate a recovery to + 0.1 by about 2060 followed by further global cooling to – 0.5 by 2100 – equivalent to the 1910 temperature.
 
These numbers apply to the 5 year moving average- the range in variability can be seen in Fig 7. These forecasts and trends are generally consistent with the broad trends in the Oulu neutron count since 1964 -see Fig2 above. It seems that there is likely a +/- 12 year lag between the neutron count and the SST data, see Fig3 in Usoskin et al.
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2005ESASP.560…19U
 
The decline in the count minima from solar cycles 20 -22 ie from 1969 – 1991 corresponds roughly to the temperature rise from the early 1980s to the 2003-5 temperature peak. It also matches well with the increase in the count of hours of sunshine during the same period dicussed by Wang et al.
http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/12/9581/2012/acp-12-9581-2012.pdf
which may well represent an open phase of the iris effect.
The relatively higher counts at the cycle 23 and especially the cycle 24 neutron minima troughs (solar cycle SSN peaks) suggest a continuing downtrend in temperatures to at least 2024.
There was a secular change in the related Ap index in 2004-5 which could presage a sharp temperature drop in about 2016-17. The Oulu data show an increase in the neutron count also in 2004- 5 which might indicate the same thing and which is already built in to the system.
Furthermore it is clear that the cosmic ray intensity time series reflected in the 10Be data is the best proxy for “solar activity “and that this correlates meaningfully with temperature-see Fig 3 CD from Steinhilber http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/03/30/1118965109.full.pdf
 

Fig 9
Page fig 9
To summarize: Using the 60 and 1000 year quasi repetitive patterns in conjunction with the solar data leads straightforwardly to the following reasonable predictions for Global SSTs:
 
1. Continued modest cooling until a more significant temperature drop at about 2016-17
2. Possible unusual cold snap 2021-22
3. Built in cooling trend until at least 2024
4. Temperature Hadsst3 moving average anomaly 2035 – 0.15
5.Temperature Hadsst3 moving average anomaly 2100 – 0.5
6 General Conclusion – by 2100 all the 20th century temperature rise will have been reversed,
7. By 2650 earth could possibly be back to the depths of the little ice age.
8. The effect of increasing CO2 emissions will be minor but beneficial – they may slightly ameliorate the forecast cooling and more CO2 would help maintain crop yields .
9. Warning: 
The Solar Cycles 2,3,4 correlation with cycles 21,22,23 would suggest that a Dalton minimum could be imminent. The Livingston and Penn Solar data indicate that a faster drop to the Maunder Minimum Little Ice Age temperatures might even be on the horizon. If either of these actually occur there would be a much more rapid and economically disruptive cooling than that forecast above which may turn out to be a best case scenario.

How confident should one be in these above predictions? The pattern method doesn’t lend itself easily to statistical measures. However statistical calculations only provide an apparent rigor for the uninitiated and in relation to the IPCC climate models are entirely misleading because they make no allowance for the structural uncertainties in the model set up.
 
This is where scientific judgment comes in – some people are better at pattern recognition and meaningful correlation than others. A past record of successful forecasting such as indicated above is a useful but not infallible measure. In this case I am reasonably sure – say 65/35 for about 20 years ahead. Beyond that certainty drops rapidly.
 
I am sure,however, that it will prove closer to reality than anything put out by the IPCC, Met Office or the NASA group. In any case this is a Bayesian type forecast- in that it can easily be amended on an ongoing basis as the Temperature and Solar data accumulate.
 
Read more from Dr Norman Page at climatesense-norpag.blogspot.co.uk

 

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Comments (5)

  • Avatar

    Flash

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    @Doug C and other readers

    Loschmidt was correct, and the last 140 years of climate science is built on literally thin air!

    The lapse rate is pretty-much entirely defined by gravity … modified by H2O and its phase-changes. CO2 has no effect at all on lapse rate … but as you point out accelerates the rate at which the equilbrium lapse rate can form.

    It does however have an impact on global warming … up to a point.

    The lapse rate determines the temperature difference between surface and troposphere, but does not determine the temperature of the surface in the first place.

    To see the impact, just look at the radiation from the four key layers:
    – Surface
    – Troposphere [H2O, CO2, O3]
    – Tropopause [CO2, O3]
    – Ozone [O3]

    See diagram here …
    http://www.barrettbellamyclimate.com/page20.htm

    If you were to increase the size of the Tropopause, CO2 ‘window’ slightly and reduce the Surface IR ‘window’ then you do get a slight increase in the temperatures at all levels.

    But this is only looking at the overall energy output at slightly different temperature levels.

    The lapse rates remain the same though, everything just moves slightly to maintain the same overall energy output.

    However the effect is miniscule. If you look at the emission spectrum of Venus (which is mostly 100% CO2) the window is only about 33 wavenumbers bigger … which would make about 0.65K difference to surface temps. A mere doubling of next to nothing would have little impact at all.

    F.

  • Avatar

    jsullivan

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    Geran, I’m with you in regard to #8. The latest empirical evidence points to CO2 being only a coolant. But as there is so little of it in the atmosphere (0.04%) it is beyond current ability to measure.

  • Avatar

    D o u g  C

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    SKEPTICAL SCIENCE BLUNDERS

    Yes Geran, and the reason CO2 has no warming effect (actually minuscule cooling) is because the gravito-thermal effect is a reality. This is the one argument for which Skeptical Science has no answer. This is what we have just “learnt” from a team member …

    Following on from #126658 it appears that SkS team member Neal J. King made a huge error in assuming any molecules would run out of kinetic energy when they are moving upwards between collisions. In my four molecule thought experiment #126576 we are talking about a distance averaging the mean free path of air molecules between collisions. That’s about 68 nanometres! Even in a whole kilometre air molecules only lose about 3% to 5% of their kinetic energy because that’s how much the temperature drops.

    So may I suggest that Neal J. King goes back to his Skeptical Science Team to work up a better “answer” to the trillion dollar question (which many will be asking when my book comes out) what’s wrong with the Loschmidt gravito-thermal effect theory, which eliminates any need for explaining things with GH radiative forcing?

  • Avatar

    geran

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    I probably agree with more than 90% of what you are saying/predicting. The only thing that bothers me is prediction 8. The last few years science has shown that CO2 has NO effect on temps. It’s a minor point, but should you revise point “8” to reflect the new science?

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