How good are the world’s dozens of climate models? The answer seems to be, getting better all of the time, but still not that good.
On June 15th and 16th the papers were filled with stories noting that recent observations indicate that the sun could be entering a prolonged period of inactivity – an extended period without sunspots. If correct, this could shove the world in the direction of cooler temperatures – some 0.3 Celsius or a little over a half a degree Fahrenheit lower. Some have speculated whether this possible slowdown, or even a long cessation of sunspot activity, indicates a return of the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year sunspot drought seen from 1645-1715 – and if so, what does it mean for warming.
According scientists commenting on these findings, not much. It would not mean, they argue, a return to a little ice age with glaciers expanding, worsening winters, and reduced crop production. Indeed, they argue that it will only mean a modest reduction in expected future warming due to human activities.
This may prove to be true, however, the problem is, they have little evidence for this assertion one way or the other. Predictions of future climate change driven by human greenhouse gas emissions (primarily) from energy use are based almost entirely on climate models – and none (that is zero) of the dozens of climate models anticipated this change in solar activity. Modelers don’t understand the sun well and can’t really account for its activity, yet it is the biggest influence on our climate. Indeed, the most recent report of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that climate scientists have little understanding of a majority of the factors that affect temperature.
In addition, the scientists who have observed the recent lull in activity, which they believe presages a longer period of low or no sunspots, in response to questions concerning their findings and predictions freely admit that their discovery was “highly unusual and unexpected,” that they can’t say whether a period like the Maunder minimum is forthcoming and what it means for temperature and that “. . . the connections between solar activity and climate are still very poorly understood. . .”
Since none of the models anticipated the change in solar activity and since those scientists most involved in pushing the idea that humans are causing catastrophic warming admit that they don’t really understand how or the degree to which the sun’s activity influences temperature, one is left to wonder what confidence we can give their claims that the earth is experiencing a dangerous warming due to human greenhouse gas emissions – especially since, as actually measured by satellites and ground based thermometers there has been no measurable warming on average for over a decade, despite the fact that greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase globally.
Warming alarmists’ motto seems to be “In the face of ignorance and uncertainty, and demonstrable failures in our predictions and methods, we will cling to our beliefs and predict the worst.” Sounds like a bad religious doctrine, not science, to me.