November 6, 2006

The Arctic Precipitation Conundrum

Filed under: Arctic, Polar, Precipitation

The Arctic region has become a bit of an epicenter of the global warming debate. Snow and ice cover are touted as effective monitors of large-scale climate change, the greatest warming in recent decades is said to have occurred over portions of the Arctic, and climate models predict that the region will experience some of the most significant warming in the future. Throw-in the idea that melting snow and ice increases the input of fresh water to the Arctic and northern Atlantic Oceans, which alters the oceanic thermohaline circulation, which changes the global climate further, and you can understand why the global warming crusade gets dreamy-eyed when thinking of the cold northern latitudes. The truth of the matter is that there have been many contradictions to the doomsday scenarios associated with the Arctic region – enough to champion a movie sequel “Day After Tomorrow 2: Hold the Phone!”

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November 2, 2006

Messy Models

The global warming scare comes largely, if not exclusively, from the outputs of numerical climate models. Some of the models are relatively simple in their design while other climate models are among the most sophisticated computer programs ever built. When the concentration of greenhouse gases is increased numerically, almost all models of climate show an increase in global temperature with the most warming occurring in the Northern Hemisphere’s highest latitudes. Predictions involving precipitation, drought, hurricanes, floods, changes in climate variability, and all the rest vary considerably from model to model. Many greenhouse advocates treat the 2 ×CO2 model simulations as predictions for the future with little regard for shortcomings in the way the models numerically represent the 1,000s of complex processes at work in the climate system.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate (IPCC) change warns in their Summary for Policymakers “models cannot yet simulate all aspects of climate (e.g., they still cannot account fully for the observed trend in the surface-troposphere temperature difference since 1979) and there a particular uncertainties associated with clouds and their interaction with radiation and aerosols.” Two articles have appeared in the scientific literature recently that further expose the weaknesses in the model simulations.

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