Judith Curry explains inherent flaws of computer models

Oceans leave computer predictions no chance

A paper by Judith Curry explains inherent flaws of computer models
predicting future climate change (GWPF, Feb. 2017)

Post February 28, 2017

Not the ocean dimension and system is primarily to blame for flawed climate models but science, which does not recognizing that they have far too few data, even worst, not even been able to acknowledge that the ocean is the ultimate key to understand and protect climate from human influence.

Figure 2

 A previous post appraised the clear language by Dr. Judith Curry in a BBC radio- interview on climate science’s inability and unwillingness to explain the warm-up 1910-1940 and cooling 1940 to 1970.  Few days ago the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) released her 30 page long paper “CLIMATE MODELS for the layman”.  The paper emphasizes: The IPCC does not have convincing explanations for previous 30-year periods in the 20th century, notably the warming from 1910 to 1940 and the grand hiatus of 1940–1975”. We addressed the matter HERE.  Nevertheless the paper’s deficiency is its ignorance of ocean matters, while the little that is said, shows a far too narrow view.

 At page 8 the paragraph ‘chaos and natural internal climate variability’ mention as external forcing solar variations, volcanic eruptions or changes in atmospheric composition such as an increase in carbon dioxide, but not the oceans. They are merely addressed with reference to El Niño/La Niña, and as internal processes within the climate system (internal variability). That indicates gross ignorance. The El Niño phenomenon is only an extreme small fraction of the ocean dimension and within the ocean system, as each square-meter at the sea surface and any cubic-meter at any ocean-depth play a comparable role all over the world.

 In so far we recommend reading Guest essay by Mike Jonas at WUWT on ocean heat, which explains the intake on a daily basis, whereby solar energy is absorbed into the top fraction of a millimetre of the ocean then mixes (conducts and convects) into the top 5-10m only, and nearly all of it stays in just the top (see Fig. 2).

On the other hand Mike Jones is wrong if he subsequently assumes that during every subsequent night, all heat is lost, back into the atmosphere. This assumption ignores that immediately after any heat intake, the warmed-up water is part of the horizontal and vertical sea current system and furthermore may be pushed down by sea waves (~ 3 Bft.+) or propeller driven vessels (or other human activities) to much greater depths. For example, a hurricane can push water from the sea surface layer down to about 50 meters. From there the water moves on, and the heat may only released back to the atmosphere after several days or many years. In this way international shipping presumably has significantly contributed to the global warming since the late 20th Century. Climate models must fail if not feed correspondingly.  

Climate Models For The Layman: http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2017/02/Curry-2017.pdf

GWPF Press Release: http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=c920274f2a364603849bbb505&id=513ddf56cb

WUWT – Mike Jones : https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/02/18/stokes-and-the-somehow-theory-of-ocean-heat/

4 comments to Judith Curry explains inherent flaws of computer models

  • Thomas Walton  says:

    Radiation from the sun is not absorbed by a tiny layer at the surface of the ocean. The radiation from visible light is absorbed by the layer of water through which light passes. So if you can see for 10 feet into the ocean, then the top 10 feet of the ocean is involved in absorbing the energy in the visible spectum.

  • Jellena  says:

    Easy to catch that we should know much more about the sea surface layer on sun intake as explained by Mike Jonas with helpful links.

  • Ron Clutz  says:

    Thanks for those interesting graphs, which are new to me. I am not sure how to interpret the schematic of temperature distribution. How does it happen that so much difference in temps appears at the 500 meter level? And why does the temperature not increase nearer to the surface? Evaporation?

    • admin  says:

      Indeed it is an interesting subject and one is largely lost to find good explanations. For example a Wikipedia graph is showing a tropical ocean thermocline (depth vs. temperature), with a rapid change between 100 and 1000 meters; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermocline#/media/File:THERMOCLINE.png
      The important message however is that a very thin warm surface layer is lying above a huge water body of just 4°C. The relative ‘stability’ of the surface layer is primarily a matter of temperature and salinity, but not in our reach to explain it in detail. Climate models will continue to fail if not based on better ocean understanding and a huge ocean observation system. Thanks Ron for your questions.

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