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Ross McKittrick — Climate models fail reality test

Ross McKittrick — Financial Post — June 14, 2012

Computer models utterly fail to predict climate changes in regions

A few years ago a biologist I know looked at how climate change might affect the spread of a particular invasive insect species. He obtained climate-model projections for North America under standard greenhouse-gas scenarios from two modelling labs, and then tried to characterize how the insect habitat might change. To his surprise, he found very different results depending on which model was used. Even though both models were using the same input data, they made opposite predictions about regional climate patterns in North America.

This reminded me of a presentation I’d seen years earlier about predicted changes in U.S. rainfall patterns under global warming. The two models being used for a government report again made diametrically opposite predictions. In region after region, if one model predicted a tendency toward more flooding, the other tended to predict drying.

Just how good are climate models at predicting regional patterns of climate change? I had occasion to survey this literature as part of a recently completed research project on the subject. The simple summary is that, with few exceptions, climate models not only fail to do better than random numbers, in some cases they are actually worse.

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3 Comments on “Ross McKittrick — Climate models fail reality test”

  1. windmill June 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    What Q neglected to point out is that since 2002, Ross McKitrick, has been a paid spokesperson for ExxonMobil-backed think tanks such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and the Fraser Institute.

    Moreover, according to a detailed analysis by the blogger Deep Climate, McIntyre and McKitrick’s criticism of the Hockey Stick graph was aggressively promoted and disseminated by an echo chamber of think tanks and blogs, all of which had financial or ideological associations with fossil fuel industry funders.

    So, RM is not exactly an impartial source. But good enough apparently for this blog.

    • Donna Quixote June 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

      Funny that you mention ExxonMobil. Perhaps you are unaware that many big oil companies including BP and Shell actually OWN some of the largest wind companies. They use the ‘green’ shield to have access to millions of dollars in tax subsidies and credits. So by supporting wind, you are also supporting oil, which correct me if I’m wrong, is….ummmmm…..a fossil fuel.

    • Clyde June 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

      I’m assuming you can produce the cancelled cheques that Dr. McKittrick cashed from all these various think tanks you name. It’s funny to watch how McIntyre and McKitrick constantly dismantle statistically the hockey stick graph and amateur bloggers such as Deep Climate, Joe Romm et al try unsuccessfully to piece it back together. At least M and Mc show their work.

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