Issues & Insights

Those Ugly Climate Models

The narrative that man is cooking his planet like an overdone Thanksgiving turkey has survived only because the media have propped it up. But we’re confident that eventually the story will collapse. The evidence does not favor the climate alarmists.

A most-recent example that should help tilt the scales back toward sanity: Researchers have found that warming in the Arctic Ocean is not a recent event that coincides with post-war industrial acceleration and the growth of automobile ownership. It began at the outset of the previous century.

According to a University of Cambridge study, the warming arrived “decades earlier than records suggest,” and is “due to warmer water flowing into the delicate polar ecosystem from the Atlantic Ocean,” says Science Daily

“The results, reported in the journal Science Advances, provide the first historical perspective on Atlantification of the Arctic Ocean and reveal a connection with the North Atlantic that is much stronger than previously thought.”

In other words, there are climate and environmental influences that still aren’t fully understood.

Yet all we hear is that we have to trust the scientists, who have reached a consensus that man’s fossil-fuel burning habit is bringing planetary disaster. No dissent from this declaration is permitted. Those who refuse to pledge allegiance to the accepted story are branded as undesirables.

This is where we are in 2021, and where we’ve been for a couple of decades – in the world of climate studies, junk science has overtaken honest and open inquiry.

While tremendously consequential, the Arctic findings themselves are only part of the story. What they imply is important, too. Researchers concluded “that their results also expose a possible flaw in climate models, because they do not reproduce this early Atlantification at the beginning of the last century,” says Science Daily.

Possible? There’s much to suggest that the models the world is expected to bow to have missed the mark by a wide margin.

“When the history of climate modeling comes to be written in some distant future, the major story may well be how the easy, computable answer turned out to be the wrong one, resulting in overestimated warming and false scares from the enhanced (man-made) greenhouse effect,” Robert L. Bradley Jr. wrote a few months ago for the American Institute for Economic Research.

Bradley bases his observation on comments made by Steven Koonin, not a Republican operative nor corporate shill but a Massachusetts Institute of Technology- and CalTech-educated physicist and Obama appointee, who has said that because results produced by models “generally don’t much look like the climate system we observe, modelers then adjust (‘tune’) these parameters to get a better match with some features of the real climate system.”

The buried truth is the models are off nearly a half degree Celsius. Those employed by the United Nations indicate mean global temperature should have increased by 1.5 degrees since 1850, yet “best estimates show” the rise has been just over a single degree.

Simply put, “climate models overheat.”

Economist David R. Henderson and visiting Hoover Institution fellow Charles L. Hooper say that because “we have virtually no ability to run controlled experiments, such as raising and lowering CO2 levels in the atmosphere and measuring the resulting change in temperatures,” researchers “build elaborate computer models that use physics to calculate how energy flows into, through, and out of our planet’s land, water, and atmosphere.”

The models, therefore, “have serious limitations that drastically limit their value in making predictions and in guiding policy.” The data that are fed into them are so lacking in value that we should be skeptical of anything they spit out.

Reality will ultimately catch up to the climate hyperbole. And soon, we hope. The media and the politicians and activists whipping up and perpetuating fear are in line for a reckoning.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • When I was young and attending college I was a Chemistry major. One of the courses I had to take was Professional Ethics. (I have since noticed that few colleges even offer this course any more.) The reason why we had to take this course was because of the responsibility we were assuming as a chemist. It was thought that all chemists from the B.S. to Ph.D. level would be working with ideas and data that would be difficult for the lay person to understand so we had an ethical duty to report our results and our knowledge in a manner that would not deceive. The course also addressed other issues such as plagiarism, fabrication of data, etc.

    It would seem that many today either never took this course or have long since forgotten about it. From the very first “hockey stick” graph that married data from two sources in an unforgivable way to project a certain result to the public that likely did not exist, to the hiding of data and/or computer code used for analyses, to the censoring of other scientists who dare to have a differing opinion, it would appear that one does not need any knowledge of science to determine that all of this is a scam. All one has to do is look at the ethics of those involved and the scam becomes obvious.

  • Back in the days of Climategate “Kevin Trenberth a government NASA/NOAA/GISS employee wrote in one of the Climategate emails:
    “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

  • I’ve noticed that the temperature raw data is routinely adjusted upwards over the last 20 years. Could this be due to fact that the raw data doesn’t fit the models and therefore the warming narrative. These models should run backwards as well as forwards to ensure a history match but it my understanding that the modellers just smooth over the little ice age as well as the Medieval warming. I’ll start believing in the models when I can grow wheat in Greenland and sail from Baffin Bay to north Siberia and not encounter any ice.

    • In 2007 NASA/GISS, after providing incorrect temperature data for six years 2000-2006, showed the following:
      * Only 3 of the top 10 warmest years occurred in the past 10 years (1998, 1999, 2006)
      * Out of the top 10 warmest years half occurred before 1940
      * The years 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004 were cooler than the year 1900
      * 1996, just two years before what Al Gore called the hottest year in the history of the planet, was actually cooler than average.
      * 1921 was the third warmest year in recorded history (behind 1934 and 1998).
      Today none of the 1920-30s are in the top ten list.
      No doubt NASA is continuing to adjust both past and current temperatures.

  • “But we’re confident that eventually the story will collapse.”

    sigh. I’ve been hearing critics like you say that for 20 years. I wish you were right, but It won’t happen. The same media megaphone that caused this hysteria in the first place will not allow it to die. Ever. Remember, this is the same crowd that says black conservatives are white supremacists and men in dresses are actual women. Will it be so hard for them to keep shouting that the weather is getting worse?

  • IPCC Third Assessment Report
    Chapter 14
    Last paragraph:

    “In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    This information was not included in the Summary Report for Policymakers given to the press and public.

    If the climate is indeed a coupled non-linear chaotic system (who can doubt the IPCC) then there is no rational or scientific basis to make a definitive statement about a future state of the climate.

    At this point the coupled non-linear chaotic nature of the climate makes scientific observations academically interesting but individually they have no relevance in predicting the future state of the climate. The climate is a system which means the relationships among these observations are what is important not the observations themselves.

    All the public discourse regarding the future state of the climate has been based on the false premise that the current climate models are predicting the future state of the climate when in fact the models are merely projecting these states.

    Predictions are the purview of science. Model projections can only agree with predictions when the models duplicate the real world which the IPCC states is impossible to do.

    To base public policy on an unknowable future state of a system defies common sense. However, too much money and political power is at stake for the Central Planners to do otherwise.

    • How does the nitwit IPCC have any credibility when they posit the oxymoronic existence of a chaotic system?

  • Science has been corrupted by endowments with political agendas. Grants are awarded to researchers who “prove” climate change, not to those who question it. The media follows along and sensationalizes it for affect. Politicians pretend it’s a crisis for votes.

  • Catholic teaching 101 for members of Congress, whether Catholic or not, but that does include Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden, our President.

    “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word will not.” Jesus

    “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Revelation 21

    Also look up the worst year in history: 536 AD

    18 months without the sun, due to a de facto nuclear winter caused by a huge volcanic eruption, the earth failed to produce vegetation, food for people, food for the animals of the armies. Nutrition and immunity waned, and the Black Plague followed.

    I don’t know about you, but If I were NP, I would not be too sure about legislation containing the always volatile climate and more so acts of God

  • At least two peer reviewed studies (NASA 2009 and PNAS 2011) found post 1970 Arctic warming was caused by US Clean Air Acts of 1970, 1977 and 1990 which drastically removed cooling sulfates from Northern Hemisphere….“Decreasing concentrations of sulphate aerosols and increasing concentrations of black carbon have substantially contributed to rapid Arctic warming during the past three decades.” “Over the past three decades, the United States and European countries have passed a series of laws that have reduced sulfate emissions by 50 percent. While improving air quality and aiding public health, the result has been less atmospheric cooling from sulfates.”…4/8/2009, “Aerosols May Drive a Significant Portion of Arctic Warming,“…July 19, 2011 PNAS study in “Conclusion” notes post 1970 warming “is driven by efforts to reduce air pollution in general and acid deposition in particular, which cause sulfur emissions to decline.” 7/19/2011, “Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998–2008,”…April 8, 2009, “Half of recent arctic warming may not be due to greenhouse gases,“ Houston Chronicle, Eric Berger…“According to a new report, half of the recent Arctic warming is not due to greenhouse gases, but rather clean air policies.
    That’s the conclusion of two scientists in a new Nature Geoscience paper (see abstract), which is more deeply outlined in this NASA news release…I probably don’t need to tell you the implications of this study. For one, if the results are validated, the notion that global warming is causing an accelerating, headlong retreat of the Arctic sea ice and driving the polar bear to imminent death … well, these notions just aren’t wholly correct anymore.”…(includes excellent graph)

  • This editorial is a good start but I want to add some basic thoughts about “climate change” that should be incorporated in the next editorial:

    Climate science is the study of present and past climates, trying to explain what causes the climate to change. Data are collected and analyzed. The older data are less accurate than recent data. There are many unanswered questions remaining, including the exact effects of adding man made CO2 to the atmosphere. It is expected to cause some amount of warming, quantity unknown, but there are too many variables that affect the climate to know exactly what CO2 does.

    “Climate change” is not science.
    It is always wrong predictions of a coming climate crisis that I trace back to oceanographer Roger Revelle in 1957 — 64 years of predicting a crisis that has not arrived. There are no data for this prediction simply because there are no data for the future. To make the prediction more believable, complex computer programs were created to make the same prediction. Computers, of course, predict whatever their programmers want to predict. For the past 40 years the average climate model has predicted roughly double the warming rate than has happened. No improvement in accuracy in the past 40 years. The model that over predicts warming the least — the Russian IMN model — gets no special attention. It is obvious that accurate predictions are not a goal, And without accurate predictions, computer models are nothing more than computer games used to scare people.

    The actual global warming in the past 45 years has been mild and harmless. the mpst warming was in the Northern colder half of the Northern Hemisphere, mainly during the coldest six months of the year, and mainly at night. Think of warmer winter nights in Siberia. That is good news, not a climate emergency. A single global average temperature, that not one person lives in, hides those important details

    • Or clouds? Or NON-adjusted temperature data? Or the FACT that the Ice cores do not reflect their preconceived conclusions?

  • When I was in college, back in 1993, I did a study and found that when Mount St. Helens blew in 1980, it released more pollutants into the air than the *entire* Industrialized World up until that time. To blame climate change on primarily human action is to be either misinformed, ignorant… or pushing an anti-human agenda against the evidence.

  • The Climate Models are only as honest and as accurate as those who create and design them and when it comes to Gore and Greenpeace their not at all accurate

  • The climate cult has an inculcated obsession with CO2 because it draws attention away from all the real pollution that is going on that matters. The industries who pollute air, sea, fresh water, and land with smog, trash, and mining run-off have invested billions into buying off the “environmental movement” to become climate cult shills to the completely irrelevant issue of CO2 at the expense of real environmentalism. Just like race hustling, environmental hustling is about causing political problems until you get paid to go away.

  • What a lot of people don’t understand about computer models is they produce the results that they are programmed to produce. Any assumptions the programmer makes will be reflected in the results. That is to say computer models are subject to confirmation bias. If you think that adding CO2 produces warming then you will program the model to reflect that.

    • See my second comment above about NASA correcting past highs made cooler and current temperatures made warmer ergo global warming now climate change.

    • If 16 of the last 20 years were hot, why has no model been presented which was validated by accurately predicting the last 10 years? The answer is that the abysmal results were buried by corrupt, woke ‘scientists’. Either that or the ‘scientists’ were ignorant of scientific methods.

  • Validating models when experimentation is not feasible is not a new issue. A common solution is to hold back a subsample of the latest data and compare the model predictions to the data. “Tuning” models to improve their fit is unacceptable. It reduces the model to being an unverified theory, nothing more.

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