There follows a guest post by journalist Chris Morrison looking at a recent paper by the physicist Nicola Scafetta. It suggests that the main climate models used to predict rising global temperatures aren’t fit for purpose.
A devastating indictment of the accuracy of climate models is contained in a paper just published by the highly credentialed Physicist Nicola Scafetta from the University of Naples. Professor Scafetta analysed 38 of the main models and found that most had over-estimated global warming over the last 40 years and many of them should be “dismissed and not used by policymakers”.
But the majority still are. In the absence of conclusive proof that humans are causing all or most global warming, the science is deemed to be settled almost entirely on the basis of forecasts from models that have never been correct. And of course this lies at the heart of a drive to so-called net zero and the removal from human use of the one cheap and efficient fuel we all rely on to sustain a comfortable, healthy, modern lifestyle – namely, fossil fuel.
At the heart of the climate model problem is determining the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS). This is defined in climate science as the increase in the global mean surface temperature that follows a doubling of atmospheric CO2. Nobody knows what this figure is – the science for this crucial piece of the jigsaw is missing, unsettled you may say. So guesses are made and they usually range from 1C to as high as 6C. Models that use a higher figure invariably run hot and Professor Scafetta has proved them to be the least accurate in their forecasts.
Scafetta demonstrates this clearly in the graph (below). The thick green line is the actual average global temperature and all the other lines are the models’ projections. The red lines show the models that put the temperature at 6C. Interestingly, the models started to go haywire at a time when global warming was gaining political traction and debate on the science started to be discouraged. Perish the thought, of course, that the two are in any way related. Scafetta also goes into great detail about the performance of models in all latitudes and concludes “significant model data discrepancies are still observed over extended world regions for all models”.
Many scientists are highly sceptical about climate models. The reason the hypothesis that humans cause all or most global warming is unproven is that the atmosphere is too chaotic a place to pin the blame for warming (and cooling) on our meagre contribution to CO2 emissions, which accounts for about 3% of the total each year. Professor Scafetta points to the influence of the sun and other scientists look at the role of orbits, the moon, ocean currents, naturally occurring weather oscillations, volcanoes – the list is almost endless. We have little idea about the role of other greenhouse gases such as water vapour, which accounts for 6% of the atmosphere, and the way they all react with each other to increase, or decrease, their ability to trap heat.
More detailed research into this by Professor William Happer at Princeton has led him to conclude that a very low ECS, suggesting gentle if any warming, occurs when CO2 rises above the current atmospheric level of 420 parts per million. Far from being harmful, the extra CO2 is highly beneficial for plant growth and food. Slightly warmer temperatures can also be desirable. Homo Sapiens started in the tropics and only ventured out when the ice age started to lift – we like being warm and far more people die of the cold than the heat.
Failing to discuss the science behind climate change and simply blaming it all on humans is not science, it is anti-science, leading to faith-based green ideology. A plea for a more scientific approach was made two years ago by Professor Scaffeta along with a group of over 70 Italian scientists, including many distinguished academics, in a direct plea to Italian politicians. They stated that the human responsibility for climate change observed in the last century was “unjustifiably exaggerated and catastrophic predictions are not realistic”. Signatories of the letter included Antonino Zichichi, Professor emeritus of Physics and the discoverer of nuclear antimatter, and Renato Angelo Ricci, also an emeritus Professor of Physics and former President of the Italian Society of Physics. In total it was signed by 48 science professors. Needless to say it went unreported in the mainstream media at the time
The scientists said that climate models do not reproduce the observed natural variability of the climate of the past, notably the Medieval warm period and the hot Roman period, noted to be warmer than the present “despite the CO2 concentrations being lower than the current”. Of course, models are not alone in downplaying the balmy climate in medieval times. The IPCC produced its infamous hockey stick in 2001 to emphasise recent warming, but it disappeared quickly when the Climategate emails were published eight years later.
The Italian scientists were also of the opinion that the ECS is “considerably lower” than that estimated by the IPCC models. “The advanced alarmist forecasts, therefore, are not credible since they are based on models whose results contradict the experimental data,” they wrote. Natural variability, they said, “explains a substantial part of global warming observed since 1850″. Catastrophic predictions “are not realistic”.
And finally they have a swipe at the so-called 97% ‘settled’ consensus, a mad-up figure recently inflated to 99%. “In fact there is a remarkable variability of opinions among specialists – climatologists, meteorologists, geologists, geophysicists, astrophysicists – many of whom recognise an important natural contribution to global warming observed from the pre-industrial period and even from the post-war period to today.”
One minute to midnight to save the world, proclaimed Boris Johnson at COP26. Perhaps he forgot to put his clocks back last weekend.