And do you know that 100% of the climate computer models rely on it’s existence to initialize their data.
Remember the evidence is overwhelming, and deniers deny the evidence. But in Oct 2012, two atmospheric scientists were reporting, yet again, the models are wrong. Twenty years after we started looking for the fingerprint of the amplification required to make the CO2 theory of global warming work, it still isn’t there. Forgive me for harping on. It’s still The Most Major Flaw in climate models.
Never heard of “the Hot Spot”? See the first post on the hot spot argument. The models are wrong (but only by 400%!) See how climate scientists admit it’s important and missing. See how they stoop to changing color scales on graphs to pretend they’ve found it and ignore 28 million weather balloons. Or just read the summary with scientific references I wrote in May.
Background: The assumption that was wrong
Researchers made an assumption that water vapor would amplify the direct warming of extra CO2 from a small harmless amount to a large catastrophe. They started with the theory that relative humidity would stay constant in a warmer world and the thicker layer of water vapor would warm the world even more. Greenhouses gases in this instance means mainly water vapor; the assumption is that extra water vapor is heating up the upper troposphere (both by displacing colder drier air, and by condensing and releasing the latent heat absorbed in evaporation). It was predicted by James Hansen in 1984, is repeated by all the climate models and by the IPCC in AR4.
The graphs from this recent paper show once again that the models are wrong, the observations lie far outside most of the models. No matter how many ways they reassess the same data and rejig the models, they aren’t getting a match.
The problem in a nutshell: If they drop the assumptions about amplification by upper tropospheric water vapor, the models will match reality but they won’t predict a crisis.
The weather balloons produced the dramatic images showing just how “missing” the hot spot is. But people have been searching with satellites too. The satellites don’t have the vertical resolution of the weather balloons, because they measure large thick bands of sky. So while researchers won’t find the “hot spot” exactly with a satellite, they hope to find the right ratio of trends in the upper atmosphere compared to trends in lower bands. (More cynically, one might say they hope to get a vague fit to the models by using the less precise and more fuzzy satellite data rather than the higher resolution data from the weather balloons.)
Does this topic matter? These climate researchers think so:
Given the importance of both models and observations, it will be important to continue to investigate this discrepancy between models and observations.The representation of upper tropospheric warming in models is important to climate sensitivity and thus future projections of anthropogenic global warming.
In other words, the models can’t calculate climate sensitivity and future temperatures without getting this right. This is central.
In the words of the researchers: “… most atmospheric models exhibit excessive tropical upper tropospheric warming”.
In this graph, the vertical line up from 1.05 and 1.1 are the satellite measured ratios, show where the yellow bars (the model predictions) ought to be if they matched the satellites.