Whoops! Study shows huge basic errors found in CMIP5 climate models

Posted: March 10, 2015 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

I wonder if we should take a closer look at this paper to try to work out if this is cockup or coverup. Are these incorrect zenith angles a fudge to cover some other model deficiency for example?

Watts Up With That?

Earth’s_Energy_Budget_Incoming_Solar_Radiation_NASA Incoming solar radiation at the Top of the Atmosphere (TOA)

It was just yesterday that we highlighted this unrealistic claim from CMIP5 models: Laughable modeling study claims: in the middle of ‘the pause’, ‘climate is starting to change faster’. Now it seems that there is a major flaw in how the CMIP5 models treat incoming solar radiation, causing up to 30 Watts per square meter of spurious variations. To give you an idea of just how much of an error that is, the radiative forcing claimed to exist from carbon dioxide increases is said to be about 1.68 watts per square meter, a value about 18 times smaller than the error in the CMIP5 models!

The HockeySchtick writes:

New paper finds large calculation errors of solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere in climate models

A new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters finds astonishingly large…

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  1. Doug Proctor says:

    As I commented on WUWT, what counts is the effect on model outcome. At least at the level of whole Earth energy balance.

    The continued range in IPCC scenarios report to report demonstrates large errors vis a vis actual outcome is not a concern to the players or the policies. Perhaps this issue will “kill” a top scenario – one we should have eliminated already. I suspect the net effect is immaterial to the narrative. Unfortunately.

  2. Derek Alker says:

    The solar averaging errors are both vertical and horizontal, because they are modeling flat bottomed boxes…

  3. Wayne Job says:

    The surprise for me is not the errors but that it took so long for some one to find them.

  4. hunter says:

    The climate obsessed do not care how wrong their models or data are. They care about their obsession with CO2.

  5. “…the radiative forcing claimed to exist from carbon dioxide increases is said to be about 1.68 watts per square meter…”

    (1) The net radiative imbalance as estimated by NASA scientists is much less than this figure. Even James Hansen estimated only 0.85 Wm-2.

    Hansen et al. (2011) Earth’s energy imbalance and implications, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 13421-13449, 2011). URL:


    (2) Stephens et al. cited the figure of 0.6 W-m2 and pointed out that:

    “For the decade considered, the average imbalance is 0.6 = 340.2 – 239.7 – 99.9 Wm-2 when these TOA fluxes are constrained to the best estimate ocean heat content (OHC) observations since 2005 (refs). This small imbalance is over two orders of magnitude smaller than the individual components that define it and smaller than the error of each individual flux. The combined uncertainty on the net TOA flux determined from CERES is ±4 Wm-2 (95% confidence) due largely to instrument calibration errors (refs). Thus the sum of current satellite-derived fluxes cannot determine the net TOA radiation imbalance with the accuracy needed to track such small imbalances associated with forced climate change.”

    Graeme L. Stephens et al, An update on Earth’s energy balance in light of the latest global observations. Nature Geoscience Vol. 5 October 2012

    URL: http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~tristan/publications/2012_EBupdate_stephens_ngeo1580.pdf

    (3) The estimate of 0.6 Wm-2 was updated by Loeb and others in 2012 to 0.5 Wm-2.

    Norman G. Loeb, John M. Lyman, Gregory C. Johnson, Richard P. Allan, David R. Doelling,Takmeng Wong, Brian J. Soden and Graeme L. Stephens. Observed changes in top-of-the-atmosphere radiation and upper-ocean heating consistent within uncertainty. Nature Geoscience Vol 5 February 2012

    URL: http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~sgs02rpa/PAPERS/Loeb12NG.pdf

  6. tallbloke says:

    Fred C: “Thus the sum of current satellite-derived fluxes cannot determine the net TOA radiation imbalance with the accuracy needed to track such small imbalances associated with forced climate change.”

    Thanks Fred, nice quote.

  7. dscott says:

    The point of any liberal assertion is to sow chaos among the disagreers until they expend sufficient time and energy to debunk the assertion as a falsehood and then when so revealed to be a falsehood they (liberals) have already spun 10 more assertions to advance their agenda. It is the lack of cynicism (rubes, dolts, gullible, naive) in the hearer that is the issue, not the line of argument. If you want to put to rest the climate change hoax then you have to direct your efforts at toughening up the public by repeatedly reviewing the ever growing list of lies told by the greedy profiteering liberal elites who gain from the hoax. You have to cultivate cynicism if you wish to battle a liar, where the hearer starts with the default that what they are hearing is a falsehood until proven otherwise. Right now most normal people take the default position that they are being told the truth until proven otherwise, this is why lies are so pervasive and persuasive.

    Secondly, isn’t there an implied assumption here on absorption rates for the atmosphere vs the ground that the mix of UV, infrared, and the middle spectrums are fixed? Each component of the atmosphere absorbs a different selective wave length of energy. Water vapor, oxygen, nitrogen and trace amounts of CO2 have very specific energy adsorption affinities. So if the total TSI falling upon the earth is heavy laden percentage wise with Infrared then only certain components are going to heat up greater than the others. This is important because the amount of each component to the whole determines the overall total absorption result. IF the mix of wave lengths in the TSI favor the heating of CO2, a trace gas, it would in fact result in a cooling of the planet because the 99.9% of the other gases would not be absorbing that heat but would reflect it back into space due to the angle of incidence (think of a game of billiards).