Needed: Accurate climate forecasts


By Paul Driessen and David R. Legates

President Obama’s agreement with China is about as credible as his “affordable care” pronouncements.

Pleistocene glaciers repeatedly buried almost half of the Northern Hemisphere under a mile of ice. The Medieval Warm Period (~950-1250 AD) enriched agriculture and civilizations across Asia and Europe, while the Little Ice Age that followed (~1350-1850) brought widespread famines and disasters.

The Dust Bowl upended lives and livelihoods for millions of Americans, while decades-long droughts vanquished once-thriving Anasazi and Mayan cultures, and flood and drought cycles repeatedly pounded African, Asian and Australian communities. Hurricanes and tornadoes have also battered states and countries throughout history, in numbers and intensities that have been impossible to pattern or predict.

ACCURATE FORECAST: The reality is, the effect that carbon dioxide is having on our weather patterns has been, and continues to be, grossly exaggerated.

But today we are supposed to believe climate variability is due to humans – and computer models can now forecast climate changes with amazing accuracy. These models and the alarmist scientists behind them say greenhouse gases will increasingly trigger more “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people, species and ecosystems,” as a recent UN report insists.

In reality, carbon dioxide’s effect on devastating weather patterns is greatly overstated. We are near a 30-year low in hurricane energy as measured by the ACE index of “accumulated cyclone energy.” Tropical cyclone and storm activity has not increased globally over that period.

As of November 18, it’s been 3,310 days since a Category 3-5 hurricane hit the U.S. mainland – by far the longest stretch since records began in 1900. This Atlantic hurricane season was the least active in 30 years.

Moreover, there has been no warming since 1995. Several recent winters have been among the coldest in centuries in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. The 2013-14 winter was one of the coldest and snowiest in memory for much of the United States and Canada – and the cold spell could continue.

Accurate climate forecasts one, five or ten years in advance would certainly enable us to prepare for, adapt to, and mitigate the effects of wild temperature swings, hurricanes, floods and droughts. Such forecasts, however, can never be even reasonably accurate under the climate change hypothesis that the IPCC, EPA and other agencies have adopted.

The reason is simple.

Today’s climate research defines carbon dioxide as the principal driving force in global climate change. Virtually no IPCC-cited models or studies reflect the powerful, interconnected natural forces that clearly caused past climate fluctuations – most notably, variations in the sun’s energy output.

They also largely ignore significant effects of urban and other land use changes, and major high-impact fluctuations like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (El Niño and La Niña) and North Atlantic Oscillation.

If we truly want reliable predictive capabilities, we must eliminate the obsession with carbon dioxide as the primary driver of climate change – and devote far more attention to studying all the powerful forces that have always driven climate change, the roles they play, and the complex interactions among them.

We also need to study variations in the sun’s energy output, winds high in the atmosphere, soil moisture, winter snow cover and volcanic eruptions, Weatherbell forecaster Joe D’Aleo emphasizes. Unusual features, like the warm water pool that developed during the super La Niña of 2010-2011, drifting into the Gulf of Alaska and causing the “polar vortex” that led to the cold, snowy winter of 2013-2014, must be taken into account, D’Aleo says.

“The potential for climate modeling mischief and false scares from incorrect climate model scenarios is tremendous,” says Colorado State University analyst Bill Gray, who has been studying and forecasting tropical cyclones for nearly 60 years.

Climate models are marred by “unrealistic model input physics” and “overly simplified and inadequate numerical techniques.” Circulation changes in the deep oceans by the decade and by the century “are very difficult to measure and are not yet well enough understood to be realistically included in the climate models,” Gray says.

NOAA, the British Meteorological Office and other government analysts have some of the world’s biggest and fastest computers – and yet their predictions – and thus the IPCC’s and EPA’s – are consistently and stupendously wrong. Modern computers simply make the “garbage in, garbage out” process faster.

Why does this go on? Follow the money.

Billions of dollars are doled out every year for “scientific studies” that supposedly link human-generated carbon dioxide to melting glaciers, dwindling frog populations and scores of other questionable assertions. Including “dangerous human-induced” climate change in research proposals greatly improves the likelihood of receiving grants.

American taxpayers alone provide $2.5 billion annually for this research. Universities and research institutions regularly take 40% or more off the top of their grants for project management and overhead. Studying natural factors or climate cycles might imperil this lucrative arrangement.

When Nebraska lawmakers budgeted $44,000 for a review of climate cycles and natural causes, state researchers said they would not be interested unless human influences were included. The “natural causes” proposal was ultimately scuttled in favor of yet another meaningless study of human influences.

Constant predictions of man-made climate disasters spur demands that developed countries pay billions in “reparation, adaptation and mitigation” to developing countries. At the same time, developed nations implement renewable energy and anti-hydrocarbon policies that drive up energy costs and kill jobs.

Worst of all, this climate mindset is imposed on impoverished countries told their development must come only through wind and solar power. Financial institutions increasingly refuse to provide grants or loans for electricity generation projects fueled by coal or natural gas.

Millions die every year because they do not have electricity to operate water purification facilities, refrigerators to keep food and medicine from spoiling, or stoves and heaters to replace wood and dung fires that cause rampant lung diseases. As Alex Epstein observes in his new book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels:

“If you’re living off the grid and can afford it, an installation with a battery that can power a few appliances might be better than the alternative (no energy or frequently returning to civilization for diesel fuel), but [such installations] are essentially useless in providing cheap, plentiful energy for 7 billion people – and to rely on them would be deadly.”

Careful, honest, accurate studies of natural factors will allow us to separate significant human influences from the powerful natural forces that have caused climate fluctuations throughout history. Only then will we begin to improve our ability to predict why, when, how and where Earth’s climate is likely to change in the future.

Congress should reduce CO2 funding and earmark funds for researching natural forces that drive climate change.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: To save the world from the save-the-Earth money machine. David R. Legates, PhD, CCM, is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, USA.