If At First You're Not Believed, Lie, Lie Again
Proving the old adage, if your first lie isn't believed lie again and make it a whopper, NASA GISS announced another study proclaiming imminent climate catastrophe. This time it's the US Southwest and the scourge is not just drought, it's Megadrought! The report predicts that decades-long droughts are likely to ravage the US Southwest and Great Plains within the next century. “This drying could be worse than any other in the past 1,000 years, including a 'megadrought' seven centuries ago that helped drive an ancient civilization to collapse,” wails Nature online. But just how did the researchers come to this conclusion and what evidence do they base their predictions on? As it turns out the whole thing is a house of cards.
As global warming dumps feet of snow on Central & Eastern US and parts of Europe, followed by bitter cold temperatures, these are dark days for boosters of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), which nowadays goes by the less obviously false “climate change.” What to do to distract the more than a billion and a half people in the Northern Hemisphere from the coldest winter in decades? Why phoney up some new calamity that will happen “real soon now.” What could be better when faced with mountains of snow than a drought? Always happy to provide fuel to stoke the AGW fires, GISS, the NASA department dedicated to climate fraud, had published a new “study” that predicts the incipient fall of human civilization by way of Megadrought.
A screed, published on February 12th in Science Advances, is heralded as among the first to compare the climate record of the deep past with long-term predictions climate warming. Quickly picked up by the usual suspect media sources, climate alarmists jumped on the story like a dog on a bone. “'Megadroughts' Will Bake the Plains, Southwest for Decades!” screamed NBC online. “Future US megadroughts set to be the worst in 1,000 years,” declares Nature online.
“Nearly every year is going to be dry toward the end of the 21st century compared to what we think of as normal conditions now,” said study lead author Benjamin Cook, a NASA atmospheric scientist. “We're going to have to think about a much drier future in western North America.” There's more than an 80 percent chance that much of the central and western United States will have a 35-year-or-longer “megadrought” later this century, said study co-author Toby Ault of Cornell University. Scary stuff indeed.
According to a news release from NASA itself: “Natural droughts like the 1930s Dust Bowl and the current drought in the Southwest have historically lasted maybe a decade or a little less,” said Ben Cook, climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City, and lead author of the study. “What these results are saying is we're going to get a drought similar to those events, but it is probably going to last at least 30 to 35 years.” They even produced a short video to pimp their findings.
“What I think really stands out in the paper is the consistency between different metrics of soil moisture and the findings across all the different climate models,” said Kevin Anchukaitis, a climate scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, who was not involved in the study. “It is rare to see all signs pointing so unwaveringly toward the same result, in this case a highly elevated risk of future megadroughts in the United States.”
Sounds like it's time to head for wetter pastures, America. But wait a minute. Just what led these climate boffins to their extreme conclusions? NASA itself says:
The scientists analyzed a drought severity index and two soil moisture data sets from 17 climate models that were run for both emissions scenarios. The high emissions scenario projects the equivalent of an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 1,370 parts per million (ppm) by 2100, while the moderate emissions scenario projects the equivalent of 650 ppm by 2100. Currently, the atmosphere contains 400 ppm of CO2.
That's right. The Megadrought prediction is based on the output of existing climate models, the same models that have not been able to accurately predict the change in global temperatures for the past 18+ years. Despite a recent attempt to stand up for their models' accuracy (see “Forcing, feedback and internal variability in global temperature trends”) the fact remains—the models failed to predict climate change.
In fact, quite a row has happened regarding the Nature paper claiming that the models are not flawed despite their apparent failure to predict the global warming pause. For example, this conclusion has been challenged by independent climate scientist Nic Lewis, who told reportingclimatescience.com that the methodology of the Nature paper was “not valid mathematically and not valid statistically.”
Lewis has set out his criticisms in a highly technical and mathematical article posted on the Climate Audit blog site run by climate skeptic Steve McIntyre. Lewis argues that the methods described in the paper use “circular logic” and wrote: “I was slightly taken aback by the paper, as I would have expected either one of the authors or a peer reviewer to have spotted the major flaws in its methodology”. Here is an excerpt from the online article:
Some statistical flaws are self evident. Marotzke’s analysis treats the 75 model runs as being independent, but they are not. Only 18 models are analysed, and only one set of predictor variables is used per model. The difference between temperature simulations from each individual run by a model with multiple runs and the run-ensemble mean for that model is accordingly noise that one could not expect to be explained by the regression. The use of all the individual runs invalidates the simple statistical model used and the error estimates derived from it... Uncertainty in the values of the parameters α and κ and in the forcing time series is also ignored. As I show later, uncertainty in κ, at least, is large. And in equation (1) α and κ appear only in terms of their sum. Allowing a separate predictor variable for each of them may result in part of the internal variability being misallocated.
Lewis's primary objection is that the values used for two key quantities in the modeled equations—sensitivity of the climate and the rate of heat uptake by the climate—were themselves generated by computer climate models. Those models perform calculations using the same two variables. Lewis writes: “This circularity fundamentally invalidates the regression model assumptions. Accordingly, reliance should not be placed on any of the results in the Nature paper.”
The result is a statistical house of cards, models stacked on top of models none rooted in reality. Statisticians back up Lewis' objections. Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University and Professor Roman Mureika of the University of New Brunswick, now retired, both regard the statistical methods in Marotzke’s paper as fatally flawed. Hughes in particular had some pithy comments about the Marotzke and Forster paper:
The statistical methods used in the paper are so bad as to merit use in a class on how not to do applied statistics.
All this paper demonstrates is that climate scientists should take some basic courses in statistics and Nature should get some competent referees.
Lewis' final conclusion on the Marotzke and Forster paper that supposedly exonerated the wonky climate models: “The paper is methodologically unsound and provides spurious results. No useful, valid inferences can be drawn from it. I believe that the authors should withdraw the paper.” That's science speak for “your paper is a load of bollocks.”
What this means is that the scary megadrought paper is built on the same crappy models that have been embarrassing climate scientists for the past three decades. Furthermore, a new model built on top of old inaccurate models can not help but be inaccurate itself. Quite simply, new science built on bad science is just more bad science. The new US Congress is looking for places to trim the budget, might we suggest a good place to start would be defunding NASA's GISS organization.
Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.
Could someone please inform the IPCC that there is an inch of global warming in my driveway?