As each day passes, predictions made by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) look stranger and stranger. Temperature predictions made by the IPCC have been …at least so far….WRONG. Spectacularly wrong.
The IPCC uses carbon emissions scenarios to predict world temperatures centuries into the future. How are they doing so far? Not so good. Let’s take a peak at some charts. Emissions are very high (because of huge increases in China and India) as this chart demonstrates:
Emissions are currently running very near the IPCC top estimate (A1F1). Now lets look at the actual temperature data predicted by the IPCC for the Scenarios in this chart courtesy of the IPCC:
The orange band represents the possible outcomes using all the IPCC scenarios in the AR4 report. We have been below the IPCC predicted rate almost every year since their last assessment was prepared in 2007.
This chart begins in 1990 with the IPCC First Assessment of climate (FAR) and the shows changes over time as the Second (SAR), Third (TAR) and Fourth (AR4) assessments were made. AR4 is the current assessment. The assessment release date is shown along the X Axis. AR4 was released in September of 2007 using data that was prepared in 2005.
Observed data is plotted in black. The most recent data shown on this chart is 2011. Statistically 2012 was a bit warmer than 2011. So far, 2013 has continued the cooling trend that began late in 2012. All temperature data since 2011 has been below the bottom of the predicted range while carbon emissions have remained high, setting new records every year.
I find the Y axis labeling particularly entertaining. Cooling in 1992, probably caused by the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption, skewed all the data. 1990 is supposed to be the baseline year and yet it is labeled as a 0.28 degree C anomaly. Why did they do that?
In 2013 the range of likely values the IPCC predicted in 2007 (the orange on the chart) is from about 0.57 to 0.84 degree C above the baseline set in 1992.
That range of values included all emission scenarios and current carbon dioxide data would indicate a probable value near the top of the IPCC range.
So just how far off is the IPCC?
I suppose that depends on which temperature data you choose. The two primary sources of worldwide surface data (NASA and East Anglia University) do not precisely agree. And their data changes over time in unpredictable ways. Until recently East Anglia had 1998 much warmer than it is in current data. NASA insists 2010 is the warmest year, while East Anglia likes 1998 and 2005 better. Satellite data sets show 1998 to be the clear winner.
I like Satellite data, so I’ll use the UAH Satellite data set. Here’s the current data:
The average temperature for 1990 was very close to the 0.0 degree C line on the chart. We are currently less than 0.1 degree C above that value. The IPCC expected a value about 0.4 degree C higher than it is today for the A1F1 scenario. And they are predicting further warming. It needs to be 0.5 degree C warmer than it is today by 2015 and another 0.3 degree C warmer than that by 2025.
If this were a prediction for 50 or 100 or 500 years from now, being 0.4 degree C off would not be surprising…but 0.4 degress is a lot to be off just 6 years after publication. The IPCC predicted big changes that didn’t show up.
So far at least ….the IPCC has been wrong. Their predictions have been wild high. Could normal climate variation be masking global warming? Sure….but the IPCC prediction set is supposed to be taking that into account.
Stay tuned…if it doesn’t warm soon the international purse strings that fund the IPCC might just dry up…if politicians are actually looking at the data being presented.