Archive by category | Kevin Trenberth

Global Warming and Forecasts of Climate Change

Posted by Olive Heffernan on behalf of Kevin Trenberth Given that human induced climate change is with us, a looming challenge is to predict just what the climate will be. To date, there are no such predictions although the projections given by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are often treated as such. The distinction is important. A paper presented at the International Forecasting Symposium in New York City in late June 2007 by J. Scott Armstrong and K. C. Green is highly critical of IPCC procedures and “forecasts” for not being based on “evidence based” procedures as outlined  … Read more

Atmospheric aerosols: correlation is not causation

Posted by Olive Heffernan on behalf of Kevin E. Trenberth Aerosols in the atmosphere have been hot topics in several recent climate studies but one wonders if the pollution has made not only the atmosphere murkier but also the scientific reasoning? In March a widely reported study in PNAS by Zhang et al. linked changes in storm tracks over the North Pacific to Asian pollution. In this case effects on radiative forcing by atmospheric aerosols supposedly increased deep convective clouds over the Pacific Ocean in winter, a finding based on long-term satellite cloud measurements (1984–2005). The blame was assigned to  … Read more

Predictions of climate

Posted by Oliver Morton on behalf of Kevin E. Trenberth

I have often seen references to predictions of future climate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), presumably through the IPCC assessments (the various chapters in the recently completedWorking Group I Fourth Assessment report ican be accessed through this listing). In fact, since the last report it is also often stated that the science is settled or done and now is the time for action.

In fact there are no predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been. The IPCC instead proffers “what if” projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios. There are a number of assumptions that go into these emissions scenarios. They are intended to cover a range of possible self consistent “story lines” that then provide decision makers with information about which paths might be more desirable. But they do not consider many things like the recovery of the ozone layer, for instance, or observed trends in forcing agents. There is no estimate, even probabilistically, as to the likelihood of any emissions scenario and no best guess.

Global climate change and hurricanes

Posted by Olive Heffernan on behalf of Kevin Trenberth The 2007 hurricane season is about to get officially underway. Never mind that nature has already provided the first named storm in the North Atlantic: Andrea. Several forecasts suggest that the 2007 season in the North Atlantic will be well above average. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are above normal and atmospheric conditions look likely to be favorable for tropical storm activity. In 2005, the record breaking year in the North Atlantic, record high SSTs in the critical region from 10 to 20 degrees N in the North Atlantic provided ample fuel  … Read more