NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Computers Fail To Predict Weather

February 16, 2000

The failure of meteorologists to predict the blizzard that hit the East Coast of the United States on January 24 raises serious doubts that forecasts of global warming can be reliable, says a the National Center For Public Policy Research.

Despite using sophisticated computers and computer models, meteorologists were off-the-mark when they predicted that January 24's blizzard would push out to sea and have little impact on land. The failure of computer models to predict the storm a mere 24 hours before it hit has many wondering how reliable the models can be in forecasting the global climate 100 years from now.

"Ten years ago, I believed the modelers that global warming was a serious problem that needed attention and intervention," George Taylor, president of the American Association of State Climatologists, has said. "As I studied the issue year by year, I became less and less convinced that the 'problem' was truly serious."

A report by an eleven-member panel of climate experts convened by the National Research Council concluded that the temperature increases predicted by the Global Climate Models have not occurred. The panel was convened to determine why there is a discrepancy between surface-based measurements of global temperatures, which show some warming since 1979, and NASA's Tiros satellites, which show no temperature change in the lower atmosphere, the area between 5,000 and 40,000 feet.

The Global Climate Models predicted that the lower atmosphere would show warming of about .36°C.

According to the paper, the panel concluded that the satellites are accurate. However, the panel couldn't reconcile the discrepancy between the satellite data and the surface record.

Source: John K. Carlisle, "Failure to Predict Blizzard Reveals Perils of Global Warming Predictions," National Policy Analysis No. 277, February 2000, National Center For Public Policy Research, 777 N. Capitol Street, N.E., Suite 803, Washington, D.C. 20002, (202) 371-1400.


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