Roy Spencer’s Commentary

Watts Up With That has a great commentary from Roy Spencer regarding the paper he presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.  Roy’s research leads him to the conclusion that clouds, on balance, help cool the earth (“negative” feedback).  The computer models indicate that clouds are “positive” feedback.  I found these comments of Roy’s to be most interesting:

But most of the talks presented followed the recipe that has become all too common in recent years: analyze the output of climate models that predict substantial global warming, and simply assume the models are somewhere near correct.
There seems to be great reluctance to consider the possibility that these computerized prophets of doom, which have required so many scientists and so much money and so many years to develop, could be wrong. I come along with an extremely simple climate model that explains the behavior of the satellite data in details that are beyond even what has been done with the complex climate models…and then the more complex models are STILL believed because…well…they’re more complex.
Besides, since my simple model would predict very little manmade global warming, it must be wrong. 

The IPCC’s case is built largely on computer models and those models, since the 1990′s, have had a history of forecasting too much warming.  So, it is not surprising that Roy’s results differ from the climate models.

The meteorological “guts” of these models are essentially the same as the ones that assist meteorologists in making day-to-day weather forecasts and they are wrong a significant amount of the time.  This is the single biggest reason why meteorologists are often among the strongest skeptics of global warming.   We accept model imperfection because we live with their limitations every day.  However, to the theoreticians, the models = gospel.

UPDATE:  If you wish to read a just-published (caution: technical) article about the discrepancy between the models and the earth’s heat content, go to Roger Pielke, Sr.’s article on the subject.

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