“It Isn’t The Size That Matters, It Is How You Use It”

I rode my bike up to NCAR yesterday (like I do every day) where scientists are hard at work protecting us from global warming. Tonight, Dr. Richard Loft will be speaking about “The Limits Of Modeling Our Planet.”

Rich is a computer scientist, and I used to work with him to accelerate NCAR’s weather and climate models. He is always working to find ways to speed up NCAR’s computing capabilities. Tonight I will get the chance to point out that no matter how fast the hardware is, the limits of climate modeling are the quality of the software.

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33 Responses to “It Isn’t The Size That Matters, It Is How You Use It”

  1. feathers says:

    So, how did it go?

  2. Psalmon says:

    “…how Smartphones, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the cloud are forcing scientists to rethink their approach to modeling and prediction…”

    MY Smartphone affects how they model the atmosphere???

    What if they wrote this for another profession:

    “…how Smartphones, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the cloud are forcing financial analysts to rethink their approach to modeling and prediction…”

    So maybe my Smartphone could change how someone values acquiring a company.

    Wow. I never knew my Smartphone could have such an impact on the laws of physics or maybe even financial transactions.

    • Robertv says:

      Remember that ALL your (digital) life has to be stored by those in power which consumes enormous quantities of energy. (so don’t worry about facebook because government is 1000x worse and you have NO privacy left).
      And one of the biggest questions in climate sensitivity has been the role of low-level the cloud cover.

    • Colorado Wellington says:

      Heh. How about this:

      “…how Smartphones, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the cloud are forcing Fortune 100 CFOs to rethink their approach to generally accepted accounting principles, financial reporting and regulatory compliance …”

  3. arn says:

    You can not get a great steak out of the cadaver of an old bull who died from mad cow disease.

    But one can still try to sell it as haute cuisine.
    That’s how climate science works.

  4. Gator says:

    For NCAR, the “scientists at work” sign would be more appropriate if the middle finger was deployed on that hand

  5. Ice Age 2050 says:

    Tony, I hope you told them like it is. Also, I have a question. Is it free to attend the climate conferences in Omaha as well as NCAR?

  6. Kent Clizbe says:


    While listening to a weather forecast yesterday, a huge logical conundrum (for CO2 obsessed “climate modelers”) jumped up and presented itself.

    The weather lady made this comment: “With the cloud cover that rolled in yesterday, our overnight temperatures jumped by 10 degrees!”

    Well. We live in a Chicken-Little world where we’re ready to shut down modern industry and transportation (by banning exhaust containing CO2) on the possibility that action might slow a future 2 degree rise in temperature.

    But we pretend that H20 vapor raising the temperature overnight by 10 degrees is no problem?

    So, the question that jumps out logically is: If CO2 is such an efficient, and dangerous, trapper of heat, why don’t our weather forecasters measure and report on the local CO2 level as part of their forecast? Why isn’t the CO2 level considered in weather forecasting?

    Clearly CO2 is the obsession for “climate” forecasts/predictions, or whatever they call their sophistry today.

    Wouldn’t it make sense that this logical conundrum be addressed by the modelers?

    • feathers says:

      I love the way Kent Clizbe thinks

    • tonyheller says:

      Maximum temperatures have plummeted in the US as CO2 has increased. Although there probably isn’t any correlation, weather forecasters could probably use CO2 as an anti-correlation of temperature.

      • Anon says:


        Have you seen this? Scroll down for the Feedback calculations.


        Apparently they neglect the feedback from the “emission temperature” and therefore the IPCC Charney Sensitivity is incorrect. Which explains a lot!

        Its analogous to an electric feedback loop diagram:

        • Gator says:

          The IPCC is incorrect? How long has this been going on?

        • Rud Istvan says:

          Anon, there is a series of now four posts on Monckton’s careful reanalysis of Bode. Please read all four, plus at least some of the more germaine comments. Monckton himself indicated my comments on his second and third posts were helpful. In fact, his third post ends by quoting one of my comments to his second post.
          A bit more technical than TH analysis of temperature and ice records and contemporary historical information. But Monckton is correct even if his final ECS as a bit low based on three other lines of reasoning. Suspect the ‘true’ ECS value is something between 1.45 and 1.65. All three additional lines of reasoning provided in my comments.

          As for why the climate models run hot and produce ECS about twice this value range, see guest posts at WUWT ‘The Trouble with Climate Models’ and ‘Why Models Run Hot’.

          • Anon says:

            Thanks Rud, will look!

          • richard verney says:

            Suspect the ‘true’ ECS value is something between 1.45 and 1.65.

            Given that there are multiple lines of evidence suggesting that the temperature in the NH today is no warmer than the temperature in the late 1930s/early 1940s, a better estimate for ECS would be between 0 and 1.

    • Robertv says:

      New friends

      French President Emmanuel Macron: “I am sure one day the United States will come back and join the Paris climate agreement.”


      Big ovation

  7. Gator says:

    This assessment is a review of the common AGW argument on the carbon dioxide increasing the potential of the water vapor for absorbing and emitting IR radiation as a consequence of the overlapping absorption/emission spectral bands. I have determined the total emissivity of a mixture of gases containing 5% of water vapor and 0.039% of carbon dioxide in all spectral bands where their absorptivities/emissivities overlap. The result of these calculations is that the carbon dioxide attenuates the total absorptivity/emissivity of the water vapor, working like a coolant, not a warmer of the atmosphere and the surface.


    • Rud Istvan says:

      Except the average atmospheric water vapor content is a shade under 2%, not 5. So even if the calculations are correct (I didn’t bother to check) the conclusion is irrelevant for our present climate circumstances.

      • Gator says:

        You will have to do better than that Rud.

        • Rud Istvan says:

          Of course. In the tropics. Sometimes. But not over the Sahara, the poles, and so on. The slightly less than 2% is the WMO global average. And for AGW, the global part counts.

          • Gator says:

            Right. And at the equator CO2 can act as a coolant, where it is needed most. And this is only one paper that makes such a claim.

      • Drake says:

        Both temperature and water vapor are not “average” in our planetary climate. They are dynamic and continuously variable both temporally and spatially. The use of averages (and averages of averages) is one of the most misleading concepts in climate science.

      • richard verney says:

        The point is that water vapour is greatest over the oceans, and the oceans cover approximately 70% of the planet’s surface and they contain an order of magnitude more energy than that contained in the atmosphere. We live on a water world and it is understanding the water world which is critical.

        One of the most important aspects of the radiant GHE is understanding the role of DWLWIR over the oceans, given that about 90% of all DWLWIR is fully absorbed in just a few microns of the ocean, and the energy flux at that section is upwards such that DWLWIR has no easy way of heating the oceans. If it does anything it would appear to power evaporation which leads to a cooling of the ocean skin.

  8. AZ1971 says:

    It’s always been about the model, not the computing speed. It’s why the acronym “GIGO” exists, and has, ever since the beginnings of computer science.

  9. Does anyone at this modeling mendacity tank ever mention Johnny Von Neumann’s work on modeling, specifically the feasibility of such modeling? Brief mention in Turing’s Cathedral has it the man concluded such vanities were a waste of time no matter what the hardware or software. Surely SOMEBODY noticed and refuted that before begging the IRS to rob us all to subsidize Millerite Cassandras, no?

    • tonyheller says:

      “With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.”
      – Johnny Von Neumann’s

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