Interesting Quote On Climate Model Prediction Skill By Steven Sherwood Of The University of New South Wales

There is a news article in Cosmos by Oliver Chan titled

No snow, more drought, climate report warns

The article starts off with the text

“Australia’s climate could shift dramatically with five times as many droughts in southern Australia and no snow cover, according to a new report on the consequences of severe climate change.

The report, released by Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO and the University of Melbourne at the Four Degrees or More climate change conference in Melbourne reveals effect of global temperature increase of four degrees on the Australian climate and environment.”

The conclusions are based on the use of multi-decadal global model predictions. They write

Researchers from the CSIRO and the University of Melbourne analysed the predictions of 23 currently available global climate models using data from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, a project that gathers data from around the world to make predictions on changes in world climate.

The interesting quote is [higlight added]

“Steven Sherwood, an atmospheric physicist and co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said that while the report, “follows a fairly standard methodology” in summarising the predictions of climate models, the estimatesmust be taken with a grain of salt” because of the variability between the 23 models. “They don’t all predict the same outcome, so a large range can sometimes appear – but this probably represents the best we can do at the moment,” he said.”

What is even more than a “grain of salt” is that these predictions of climate change have not been shown to be skillful in comparisons with the real world climate system. Yet the reporters who prepare such news articles are not questioning the lack of demonstrated regional multi-decadal predictive skill by these models.

Moreover, as just an interesting coincidence in New Zealand (which is in a simailar climate region to southern Australia), the latest news reports read

Polar blast warning for weekend

which includes the text

Mr Duncan [head analyst of WeatherWatch] said the predicted polar blast this weekend would depend on an “extremely large high building over Australia”.

“The high is huge, with models predicting it will grow tall, stretching over a massive 6000km from the tropics to Antarctica,” he said.

“It’s the type of anticyclone that WeatherWatch warned about a few days ago, to watch out for this month and spring.”

Mr Duncan said there was a high chance of more big snow events in the next 1-2 weeks……

Taupo Civil Defence emergency manager Phil Parker said the public needed to be prepared for road closures across the central and eastern parts of the North Island.

“This very cold outbreak is likely to cause significant disruption to the country”.

It is predicted to be cold and we are expecting snow at low levels. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

The Dominion Post writes in

“Snow storm to hit Wellington Region”

A significant snow storm is predicted to hit the Wellington region from Sunday, with snow to “very low” levels in Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

An “extensive polar blast” is due to cause widespread travel problems across New Zealand and may be worse than the July snow storm, forecasters from WeatherWatch.co.nz predicted today.

There was the potential for blizzards from Canterbury to Marlborough.

“It’s likely this snow event will have much higher totals than the July snow storm.”

The news source Stuff writes in

‘Exceptionally’ cold outbreak on its way

“Another very cold outbreak, rivalling that of late July, is on the way….

Significant snowfalls along with bitterly cold south to southwest gales can be expected to spread up the east of the South Island to reach Wellington and Wairarapa Sunday night and further north on Monday.

Another surge of cold air in the south and east of the country on Monday is expected to reinforce this Antarctic outbreak, and eventually spread very cold windy conditions over the remaining western and northern areas of the North Island.”

The disconnect between what the multi-decadal climate models are predicting and the real world climate system should be obvious, but, apparently still is not to some in the media.

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