A UK Met Office study that predicted temperatures would rise by up to half a degree centigrade over the past 10 years faces ridicule after it was revealed that temperatures actually dropped over that period.
The peer-reviewed study by Doug M. Smith et al, entitled “Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model” – and which featured in the journal Science – also incorrectly predicted that several years over the past decade would see record heat.
The paper says:
“…predict further warming during the coming decade, with the year 2014 predicted to be 0.30° ± 0.21°C [5 to 95% confidence interval (CI)] warmer than the observed value for 2004. Furthermore, at least half of the years after 2009 are predicted to be warmer than 1998, the warmest year currently on record.”
However, now we are able to analyse the data on how temperatures really changed, we can see that there was actually a cooling of 0.014 degrees over the past 10 years, which is below even the lowest estimate.
Also, not a single year was warmer than 1998, despite the paper predicting that at least three years would be.
The above chart (credit: Kalte Sonne) shows the Met Office’s observed data (thin grey line) with the Smith et al predictions (red and blue lines) and the real trend (thick black line) overlaid. We can clearly see that not only does to real trend fall well outside the range of Smith et al’s predictions, it actually drops slightly.
Writing for the German climate blog Die Kalte Sonne, scientist Frank Bosse says that the Smith et al study failed to take into account known ocean cycles and other natural factors.
Smith has since written another paper, taking more factors into account, but Bosse writes that the range of uncertainty in it makes it “more or less useless”.
In a translation by NoTricksZone, Bosse concludes:
“As long as man is unable to determine with the needed precision the role natural variability plays in our observed climate, calculating the impact of greenhouse gases will remain prophecy. Do you feel guilty that you are still using incandescent light bulbs? Don’t fret over it!”