Having written about one failed prediction, I was prompted to investigate another. This time it's from Nicola Scafetta from 2012. He wrote an article at WUWT (archived here), which was based on a paper he had published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics. As with Girma Orssenga, Nicola's model has failed. It's failed even more spectacularly than Girma's did.
Nicola likes to look for patterns. He sees shapes he likes and turns them into waves. He calls his updated prediction a widget, though I don't believe it is. At least I can't find it anywhere. It's just a chart. Nicola wrote:
The proposed astronomically-based empirical model represents an alternative methodology to reconstruct and forecast climate changes (on a global scale, at the moment) which is alternative to the analytical methodology implemented in the IPCC general circulation models. All IPCC models are proven in my paper to fail to reconstruct all decadal and multidecadal cycles observed in the temperature since 1850.He doesn't seem to have provided any evidence that the IPCC models have failed, either at WUWT or in his paper. He doesn't seem to know much about general circulation models, because underneath his "widget" he wrote:
As the figure shows, the temperature for Jan/2012 was 0.218 oC, which is a cooling respect to the Dec/2011 temperature, and which is about 0.5 oC below the average IPCC projection value (the central thin curve in the middle of the green area). Note that this is a very significant discrepancy between the data and the IPCC projection.I say he doesn't understand climate models because he seems to have expected the monthly mean global surface temperature to keep going up. He clearly doesn't understand that climate scientists know that from month to month the surface temperature will fluctuate. The climate models he talks about are for long term projections. They aren't to be used to monitor month to month variability, or year to year variability.
As I said, Nicola's climate model isn't based in physics. It's based on astrology or something. He referred to a previous article at WUWT (archived here) where he explains:
we have argued that the global instrumental surface temperature records, which are available since 1850 with some confidence, suggest that the climate system is resonating and/or synchronized to numerous astronomical oscillations found in the solar activity, in the heliospheric oscillations due to planetary movements and in the lunar cycles.So our climate is controlled by the sun, the moon and far flung planets of Jupiter and Saturn. Let's see how his predictions have shaped up.
The most prominent cycles that can be detected in the global surface temperature records have periods of about 9.1 year, 10-11 years, about 20 year and about 60 years. The 9.1 year cycle appears to be linked to a Soli/Lunar tidal cycles, as I also show in the paper, while the other three cycles appear to be solar/planetary cycles ultimately related to the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. Other cycles, at all time scales, are present but ignored in the present paper.
Nicola did add in his earlier article:
Perhaps, the model I proposed in just another illusion, we do not know yet for sure. What can be done is to continue and improve our research and possibly add month after month new temperature dots to the graph to see how the proposed forecast performs...
So let's do that. But first, here is Nicola's updated "widget", as at March 2012:
Nicola's prediction is that the global mean surface temperature will follow the black wavy line and stay within the blue line more or less. At least that's how I understand it. His green envelope is where he sees the IPCC modeled projections lying. I don't know where he got that, and apparently Dana Nuccitelli thinks it wrong. The red curve is HadCRUT3. I haven't checked if it's accurate or not.
As I did with Girma's drawings, I've overlayed HadCRUT4 over Nicola's chart (remember Nicola was working with HadCRUT3). You can see the result below. (Yes, I did align everything properly. You can check the data for yourself.)
I don't but I will. Some time ago Anthony Watts decided to do a bit of spring clean and he threw Nicola to the wolves. I've never figured out why. Nicola is a polite science denier, unlike many of Anthony's fans. And his ideas aren't really any wackier than the least nutty of Anthony's guests, or Anthony himself.
From the WUWT comments
Again about the only differences between 2012 and now were that there were more people commenting back in those days, plus there were more people pushing back against the rampant denial and conspiracy theorising. Those two things are probably related. Any pro-science comments generate scores of flames from the dim deniers.
Leif Svalgaard, being a solar physicist, was bound to show up, the more so because Nicola mentioned him in his article. Leif quoted Nicola, and wrote:
March 11, 2012 at 8:36 pm
Of course, in addition to twist numerous facts, Leif has also never acknowledged in his comments the huge discrepancy between the data and the IPCC projection which is evident in the widget.
True to form, let me note that IPCC being wrong does not mean that you are right. As far as I can see, your ‘prediction’ has already failed. Of course, as you point out, you do not predict the actual detailed changes. In effect you are saying that you predict no changes at all for a long time to come. Any deviation from that ‘prediction’ is just irrelevant detail.
steven mosher piped up, too:
March 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm
Scafetta’s calculation of the model means is wrong.
Edim decides that Nicola's projections are running hot, and figured it would cool, a lot, way back to the 1961 to 1990 mean:
March 11, 2012 at 10:05 pm
Nicola, I will say it again: your yellow curve (lower average limit) is to high. Solar cycles 23 and 24 are too long (weak) for the anomaly to stay that warm. HadCRUT3 will be at zero anomaly until 2020.
Doug Proctor made a prediction for last year, 2015. His bluster is impossible to misinterpret:
March 11, 2012 at 10:54 pm
In 2015 the disconnect between a “moderate” IPCC projection and Scarfetta prediction will be 0.25 to 0.30 C. The global temperature will not have risen for 15 years. For a “settled” science and “certain” outcome, these facts should be terminal: CAGW is moving forward only because it is “fact”, not theory. We need to act, not understand.
If Hansen and Gore have to admit that nature, not man, has dominated the since 2000, without dropping their meme of C02, then their rhetoric must become more shrill. Like the Harold Camping of 2011, they must rise to a bluster that is impossible to misinterpret. We need to encourage them to tear their hair and clutch their chests as the days pass.
Scarfetta suggests that after 2015 the global temperatures will drop. All hail the fall! Not because I wish the temperatures to drop, because dropping temperatures are generally not good, but because there is a size limit to what even the noble gullible can swallow.
And, by the way, a moderate temp drop will only bring us back to 1965. I don’t think that 1965 was a bad time climate-wise. Of course, GISS records might tell me that we had a mini-ice-age in 1965, and I forget because I am stupid.
Monckton of Brenchley added his two bob's worth. The potty peer is pompously backing Nicola Scafetta against the IPCC:
March 12, 2012 at 8:24 amWell would you?
Nicola Scafetta, whom I had the pleasure of meeting when we both made presentations at the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s climate science conference in Santa Fe late last year, has been very patient in answering the baseless, impolitely-expressed, and to a large extent fabricated criticisms of those who have inexpertly and inappropriately attempted to dismantle his careful work.
He began running his forecast in the year 2000. Twelve years later, it is surely blindingly obvious that his projection has proven very considerably closer to observed reality than those of the IPCC, which – as almost always – is demonstrated to have erred monstrously in the direction of exaggerating the imagined effect of CO2 on global temperature.
I have long suspected – but have lacked the knowhow to demonstrate – that deducting the 60-year ocean-oscillation cycles would allow some estimate of the true warming component from CO2 to be derived. Dr. Scafetta puts this anthropogenic warming component at 0.9 C/century, or perhaps less, compared with the 2.8 C/century imagined by the IPCC.
On this ground alone, his work is valuable. It implies a climate sensitivity about one-third of the IPCC’s 3.3 C per CO2 doubling. If he continues to be correct for another decade, even the intolerant IPCC, which seems at present hell-bent on persisting with its extremist projections notwithstanding the mounting evidence that they are prodigiously overblown, will have to rethink its position fundamentally, if it has not been swept away by then. Congratulations and many thanks to Dr. Scafetta for so patiently, politely, and thoroughly exposing the grievous defects in his ill-intentioned critics’ arguments.
If you were punting on how much the planet would warm over the next decade, would you bet the farm on Dr. Scafetta’s forecast, or on that of the IPCC?
Or perhaps you'd back day traders' projections, like Alan
March 12, 2012 at 9:14 amNow that might not be as silly as it sounds. Human behaviour is indeed what has caused global warming, and there'll probably come a time when human behaviour will stop it :)
To all interested in cyclical phenomena… As a chartist, here’s what may seem a silly question but has been burning me for quite some time now: has anyone tried using well-established technical indicators and oscillators that we use in *finance*, such as momentum, relative strength indicator (RSI), moving average convergence/divergence (MACD), etc., with different triggers and time frames, in order to test-model the temperatures? Don’t laugh, those oscillators reflect human behaviour in the financial markets, which is also natural and also cyclical.
Wayne2 is one of many people who quibbled with Nicola over his use of statistics:
March 12, 2012 at 10:00 am
@Nicola Scafetta: You said in your article: “By the way, contrary to the claim of sckepticalscience, in statistics it is 1-sigma envelope width that is used; not 2-sigma or 3-sigma.” This is incorrect and is very basic, so it calls into question everything you say.
In your reply to my pointing this out (along with others), you say, “To be validated a proposed model needs to have an error bar smaller than the amplitude of the detectable data patterns.” Which seems to be correct.
Why not eliminate the incorrect sentence in your article? It’s incorrect as stated, and it does not state what your actual (correct) point is. It’s lose-lose: those with any amount of statistical experience will immediately assume you don’t even know the basics, and it isn’t what you really meant to say anyhow.
NZ Willy fakes being a "scientist" and writes:
March 12, 2012 at 10:57 amDikran Marsupial and Dana Nuccitelli made several contributions. Those were the days, before Anthony Watts banned everyone who was anyone. Dikran Marsupial wrote how Nicola was mixing up monthly and annual means and error bars:
As a scientist, I just want to say that Leif Svalgaard’s summary is spot on, provided the null hypothesis is that of unchanging temperature. But the likes of Trenberth and Hansen would have it that warming should be the new null hypothesis, so Scafetta’s prediction is an effective rejoinder to that.
March 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm (excerpt)
@Snowlover123 “However, Dr. Scafetta CLEARLY demonstrates that the mean has fallen OUT of the IPCC forecast range.”
No, Dr Scafetta have shown that the MONTHLY observations, not “the mean” have fallen out of the 1 sigma error bars for ANNUAL data. Monthly averaged data have a higher variance than annually averaged data, so the true 1-sigma error bars for monthly data would be wider than those shown. ...KR added some too. My oh my. I can see why people used to read WUWT. There used to be some quality people making quality comments. KR was spot on back in 2012. The trend since 1970 is 0.17C/decade.
March 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm
Nicola Scafetta – “The(y) fail the long term changes as well, do not worry.”
Actually, they do not: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-4-1-2.html
“In any case, people are not interested in what will happen next century, they want to know what will happen in the next 10-30 years. If the models fail this time span they are useless.”
10 years? There will likely be ~0.17 C anthropogenic warming per decade, with short term variability due to ENSO, solar cycles, and volcanic aerosols being larger in scale than the anthropogenic contribution. 30 year? The same, with ~0.17 C/decade warming clearly discernible against the other climate variations that have no long term trend.
If you want short term predictions of ENSO, go to the ENSO models (initial value predictions, akin to weather forecasts) – although they’re quite frankly not very good yet. Solar is more predictable, but for volcanic activity you’re better off flipping coins.
That’s the whole idea of discussing climate, as opposed to weather or variations – the long term outlook, the trends.
“Which arrogant list of points!” – I’ve seen far worse in peer review comments. And you have not actually addressed any of the points that I made.
Sorry about that. I got a bit carried away. I didn't realise that there used to be science contributors at WUWT. The comments from scientists and science lovers above aren't typical of the thread, needless to say - but there are a lot more like them. These days you'll be lucky to see a WUWT thread that has any contribution of value. There are a few people who still make the effort, a small number who Anthony Watts has yet to ban, but nothing like what you'll see in that 2012 discussion.
There are way too many comments for me to bother with - 401 would you believe. Does Anthony yearn for this glorious past? Perhaps he is happy enough now that all that is left at WUWT is the detritus of the detritus, with the occasional ray of sunshine in a rational comment from Nick Stokes.
From the HotWhopper archives
- Anthony Watts throws Nicola Scafetta to the wolves - March 2014
- WUWT failed predictions: Girma Orssengo, PhD 2011 with boundaries and cycles - February 2016
- Denier weirdness: a collection of alarmist predictions from WUWT and elsewhere - July 2013
- An economist should know better, maybe ...but what about Anthony Watts? - May 2013