Lamar Smith’s Show Trial for Climate Models

It’s that time of the month again, and the needle on Alice F.’s wetware alternative facts detector blasted through the end stops again yesterday. As a result I felt compelled to inform assorted planetary politicians that Alice had detected that trouble was brewing:

Alice’s little grey cells started twitching with the following announcement from ex Prof. Judith Curry:

Her suspicions were confirmed when a quick search of the usual suspects revealed this announcement by the Global Warming Policy Foundation:

From the associated “press release”:

A report on the State of the Climate in 2016 which is based exclusively on observations rather than climate models is published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Another one of the usual suspects, Anthony Watts, blogged about the GWPF report this afternoon:

Compiled by Dr Ole Humlum, Professor of Physical Geography at the University Centre in Svalbard (Norway), the new climate survey is in sharp contrast to the habitual alarmism of other reports that are mainly based on computer modelling and climate predictions.

Prof Humlum said: “There is little doubt that we are living in a warm period. However, there is also little doubt that current climate change is not abnormal and not outside the range of natural variations that might be expected.

As this slideshow of learned (and not so learned!) comments on Twitter reveals, the WUWT and GWPF’s claims leave an awful lot to be desired:


In particular Dr Ole Humlum’s “white paper” is not “based exclusively on observations rather than climate models” nor is it “The World’s first” such “State of the Climate Survey”. As Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama in Huntsville pointed out on Watts Up With That:

Ummm… I believe the Bulletin of the AMS (BAMS) annual State of the Climate report is also observation-based…been around many years.

Victor Venema of the University of Bonn pointed out on Twitter that:

and Mark McCarthy of the UK Met Office added that:

All in all there’s several “alternative facts” in just the headline and opening paragraph of the GWPF’s press release, which doesn’t augur well for the contents of the report itself. We feel sure that Lamar Smith and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will nonetheless be pleased to see this report become public shortly before their planned hearing on March 29th entitled “Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method“:

We also feel sure they were pleased to view the contents of another recent “white paper” published under the GWPF banner. The author was ex Professor Judith Curry, and the title was “Climate Models for the Layman“. Lamar Smith et al. certainly seem to qualify as laymen, and Judith’s conclusion that:

There is growing evidence that climate models are running too hot and that climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide is at the lower end of the range provided by the IPCC.

will no doubt be grist to their climate science bashing mill next Wednesday. Unfortunately that conclusion is yet another “alternative fact” according to the non laymen.

This report, however, does little to help public understanding; well, unless the goal is to confuse public understanding of climate models so as to undermine our ability to make informed decisions. If this is the goal, this report might be quite effective.

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