Predictions by climate models are flawed, says invited speaker at Sandia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Richard Lindzen, a global warming skeptic, told about 70 Sandia researchers in June that too much is being made of climate change by researchers seeking government funding. He said their data and their methods did not support their claims.

“Despite concerns over the last decades with the greenhouse process, they oversimplify the effect,” he said. “Simply cranking up CO2 [carbon dioxide] (as the culprit) is not the answer” to what causes climate change.

In an effort to shed light on the wide spectrum of thought regarding the causes and extent of changes in Earth’s climate, Sandia National Laboratories has invited experts from a wide variety of perspectives to present their views in the Climate Change and National Security Speaker Series.

Lindzen, the ninth speaker in Sandia’s Climate Change and National Security Speaker Series, is Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology in MIT’s department of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and is the lead author of Chapter 7 (“Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks”) of the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Third Assessment Report. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.

For 30 years, climate scientists have been “locked into a simple-minded identification of climate with greenhouse-gas level. … That climate should be the function of a single parameter (like CO2) has always seemed implausible. Yet an obsessive focus on such an obvious oversimplification has likely set back progress by decades,” Lindzen said.

For major climates of the past, other factors were more important than carbon dioxide. Orbital variations have been shown to quantitatively account for the cycles of glaciations of the past 700,000 years, he said, and the elimination of the arctic inversion, when the polar caps were ice-free, “is likely to have been more important than CO2 for the warm episode during the Eocene 50 million years ago.”

There is little evidence that changes in climate are producing extreme weather events, he said. “Even the IPCC says there is little if any evidence of this. In fact, there are important physical reasons for doubting such anticipations.”

Lindzen’s views run counter to those of almost all major professional societies. For example, the American Physical Society statement of Nov. 18, 2007, read, “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.” But he doesn’t feel they are necessarily right. “Why did the American Physical Society take a position?” he asked his audience. “Why did they find it compelling? They never answered.”

Speaking methodically with flashes of humor — “I always feel that when the conversation turns to weather, people are bored.” — he said a basic problem with current computer climate models that show disastrous increases in temperature is that relatively small increases in atmospheric gases lead to large changes in temperatures in the models.

But, he said, “predictions based on high (climate) sensitivity ran well ahead of observations.”

Real-world observations do not support IPCC models, he said: “We’ve already seen almost the equivalent of a doubling of CO2 (in radiative forcing) and that has produced very little warming.”

2 responses to “Predictions by climate models are flawed, says invited speaker at Sandia

  1. This is like National Geographic giving time to someone from the Flat Earth Society. It gives the impresson of fairness, but it’s actually impeding necessary action.

  2. re: Harold Lloyd – Dr Lindzen has never been rebutted in any of his positions. He has been saying that the global temperatures will not increase at the rate predicted by the increasing CO2 levels using the curent models which overestimate the effect of the CO2 level. He has been saying this for over a decade, and guess what, he was correct. Despite the reports of record high temperatures, even the top AGW cheerleaders have had to admit that the increases over the last decade have been far less than predicted which completely destroys the value of the models. There is mounting evidence that CO2 is a lagging factor to gradual earth warming and not the driving force for global warming. When this is finally proven, we will look back at the efforts to sequester a harmless gas that makes up a tiny fraction of the atmosphere and cry about the billions or even trillions of dollars wasted on a scientific theory with horribly weak scientific support. A decade ago i thought Dr Lindzen made more sense than anyone in the debate, and with the last decade’s temperature results, it just confirms my support.

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