Climate models get energy balance wrong

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (July 26, 2011) — Data from NASA’s Terra satellite show that when the climate warms, Earth’s atmosphere is apparently more efficient at releasing energy to space than models used to forecast climate change have been programmed to “believe.”

The result is climate forecasts that are warming substantially faster than the atmosphere, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

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6 Thoughts on “Climate models get energy balance wrong

  1. Richard C (NZ) on August 1, 2011 at 10:43 pm said:

    Not going down too well in certain quarters oddly. I though they would have been very relieved to know what the glitch was. Now they’ll be able to fix these embarrassments among others:-

    Why Are OHC Observations (0-700m) Diverging From GISS Projections?

    New Paper Illustrates Another Failure Of The IPCC Mullti-Decadal Global Model Predictions – “On the Warming In The Tropical Upper Troposphere: Models Versus Observations” By Fu Et Al 2011

    My personal favourite is from Pielke Snr:-

    2011 Update Of The Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions

    The observed best estimates of the heating and the Hansen et al prediction in Joules in the upper 700m of the ocean are given below:

    OBSERVED BEST ESTIMATE OF ACCUMULATION Of JOULES [assuming a baseline of zero at the end of 2002].

    2003 ~0 Joules
    2004 ~0 Joules
    2005 ~0 Joules
    2006 ~0 Joules
    2007 ~0 Joules
    2008 ~0 Joules
    2009 ~0 Joules
    2010 ~0 Joules
    2011 ~0 Joules through May 2011
    2012 —–

    HANSEN PREDICTION OF The ACCUMULATION OF JOULES [ at a rate of 0.60 Watts per meter squared] assuming a baseline of zero at the end of 2002] [corrected 6/13/2011 from input from Bob Tilsdale].

    2003 ~0.67* 10** 22 Joules
    2004 ~1.34* 10** 22 Joules
    2005 ~2.01 * 10** 22 Joules
    2006 ~2.68 * 10** 22 Joules
    2007 ~3.35 * 10** 22 Joules
    2008 ~4.02 * 10** 22 Joules
    2009 ~4.69 * 10** 22 Joules
    2010 ~5.36 * 10** 22 Joules
    2011 ~6.03* 10** 22 Joules
    2012 ~6.70* 10** 22 Joules

    Thus, according to the GISS model predictions, there should have been approximately 5.36 * 10**22 Joules more heat in the upper 700 meters of the global ocean at the end of 2010 than were present at the beginning of 2003.

    For the observations to come into agreement with the GISS model prediction by the end of 2012, for example, there would have to be an accumulation 6.7 * 10** 22 Joules of heat over just the next 1 1/2 years. This requires a heating rate over the next 1 1/2 years into the upper 700 meters of the ocean corresponding to a radiative imbalance of ~4 Watts per square meter.


  2. Mike Palin on August 3, 2011 at 7:29 pm said:

    For an alternative view of Spencer’s paper, check out this RealClimate post by our own Kevin Trenberth:

    By the way, Spencer’s paper appeared in an open-access journal based in China titled “Remote Sensing” that started in 2009. That journal is not listed at the ISI Web of Knowledge so there is no way to check its impact factor which is a standard for those of us in the world of academia.

  3. Mike, I had a look at the RC link and on the3rd line I found this statement

    and blogs on climate denier web sites

    My policy is to hit the back button every time is see the word “denier” It indicates to me that the author is a political activist and not a scientist.

  4. Mike Palin on August 4, 2011 at 2:07 am said:

    In this case, your assumption would be mistaken. It is an interesting analysis.

  5. Richard C (NZ) on August 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm said:

    For an alternative view of the RealClimate post by Team member Kevin Trenberth:on Spencer’s paper [and Braswell’s], check out this post by the co-author:-

    Rise of the 1st Law Deniers

    And this post by the same:-

    Fallout from Our Paper: The Empire Strikes Back

  6. Richard C (NZ) on August 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm said:

    Can we characterize the net flux situation as the empirical measurements of Spencer-Braswell 2010/11 (Fig 2 2011) and Knox-Douglass 2010 (Fig 1) versus stuff that Trenberth, Fasullo and Dessler made up?

    Also see:-

    The Saturated Greenhouse Effect

    AGW Busted, basically.

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