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On the credibility of climate predictions

Koutsoyiannis, D., A. Efstratiadis, N. Mamassis, and A. Christofides, On the credibility of climate predictions, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 53 (4), 671–684, 2008.

[doc_id=864]

[English]

Geographically distributed predictions of future climate, obtained through climate models, are widely used in hydrology and many other disciplines, typically without assessing their reliability. Here we compare the output of various models to temperature and precipitation observations from eight stations with long (over 100 years) records from around the globe. The results show that models perform poorly, even at a climatic (30-year) scale. Thus local model projections cannot be credible, whereas a common argument that models can perform better at larger spatial scales is unsupported.

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See also: http://dx.doi.org/10.1623/hysj.53.4.671

Related works:

  • [doc_id=850] Assessment of the reliability of climate predictions based on comparisons with historical time series (predecessor presentation)
  • [doc_id=978] A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data (follow up study)

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The paper has been widely discussed in weblogs and forums.

Weblogs and forums that discussed this article during 2008:

  1. Koutsoyiannis et al 2008: On the credibility of climate predictions (Climate Audit by Steve McIntyre) Reaction by first author * * * Additional reactions: 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * more
  2. On the credibility of climate predictions by Koutsoyiannis et al. 2008 (Climate Science by Roger Pielke Sr. 1)
  3. Comments on a New Report on Climate Change in Colorado… (Climate Science by Roger Pielke Sr. 2)
  4. New Paper On Dynamic Downscaling Of Climate Models By Rockel Et. Al. Published (Climate Science by Roger Pielke Sr. 3)
  5. Hypothesis testing and long range memory (Real Climate by Gavin A. Schmidt) Reaction by 1st author; * * * Additional reaction
  6. Koutsoyiannis vs RealClimate.ORG (The Reference Frame by Luboš Motl) Reaction by 1rst author
  7. Modellen en vroegere werkelijkheid: een test (Klimaat by Marcel Severijnen 1)
  8. Nog eens: Modellen en vroegere werkelijkheid (Klimaat by Marcel Severijnen 2)
  9. Far from model predictions. As for the CSIRO’s… (Andrew Bolt Blog 1)
  10. Dud studies behind Rudd’s freakish claims (Andrew Bolt Blog 2)
  11. Rudd’s dud study (Andrew Bolt Blog 3)
  12. November snows all over the CSIRO (Andrew Bolt Blog 4)
  13. New paper demonstrates lack of credibility for climate model predictions (Jennifer Marohasy Blog 1)
  14. Ten of the Best Climate Research Papers (Nine Peer-Reviewed): A Note from Cohenite (Jennifer Marohasy Blog 2)
  15. Ten Worst Man-Made Disasters (Jennifer Marohasy Blog 3)
  16. Climate models struggling for credibility (Al Fin)
  17. Climate models fuzz (European Tribune)
  18. If it wasn't so serious then it'd be funny (Kerplunk - Common sense from Down Under)
  19. Laying the boot into climate models (The Tizona Group)
  20. More model mania (Planet Gore)
  21. New research on the credibility of climate predictions (SciForums)
  22. New paper demonstrates lack of credibility for climate model predictions 2 (Blogotariat)
  23. New study: climate models fail again (MSNBC Boards 1)
  24. Global Climate Models Fail (Again) (MSNBC Boards 2)
  25. On the credibility of climate predictions (Chronos)
  26. Sane skepticism, part 2 (Helicity)
  27. Science. On the credibility of climate predictions (Greenhouse Bullcrap)
  28. Testing global warming models (Assorted Meanderings)
  29. Climate cuttings 21 (Bishop Hill blog)
  30. Models, Climate Change and Credibility... (21st Century Schizoid Man)
  31. Two valuable perspectives on global warming (Fabius Maximus)
  32. Unreliability of climate models? (Climate Change)
  33. Crumbling Consensus: Global Climate Models Fail (Stubborn Facts)
  34. The Australian government's climate castle is built on sand (Greenie Watch)
  35. Koutsoyiannis et al 2008 (Detached Ideas)
  36. Credibility of Climate Predictions Paper (TWO community)
  37. "Climate consensus" continues to unravel (Solomonia)
  38. Climate models have no predictive value (Acadie 1755)
  39. Global Warming Summary series, Part 5: The Earth’s Greenhouse Gas – CO2 and IPCC Climate Modeling (Global Warming Science)
  40. Reducing Vulnerability to Climate-Sensitive Risks is the Best Insurance Policy (Cato Unbound)
  41. Global Warming News of the Week (No Oil for Pacifists)
  42. A few more cooling blasts at hot air balloons (Clothcap2 : My Telegraph)
  43. IPCC-Klimamodell unbrauchbar (jetzt Sueddeutsche)
  44. Uups II: IPCC-Klimamodelle fantasieren (Die Achse des Guten)
  45. Griechische Unsicherheiten (Climate Review)
  46. El fracaso de los modelos (Valdeperrillos)
  47. Klimamodeller er usikre (Debattcentralen - Aftenposten.no)
  48. Studie: Klimatmodellernas trovärdighet låg (Klimatsvammel)
  49. Credibilidad de las predicciones climáticas (FAEC Mitos y Fraudes)

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Our works referenced by this work:

1. Koutsoyiannis, D., The Hurst phenomenon and fractional Gaussian noise made easy, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 47 (4), 573–595, 2002.
2. Koutsoyiannis, D., Climate change, the Hurst phenomenon, and hydrological statistics, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 48 (1), 3–24, 2003.
3. Koutsoyiannis, D., Uncertainty, entropy, scaling and hydrological stochastics, 2, Time dependence of hydrological processes and time scaling, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 50 (3), 405–426, 2005.
4. Koutsoyiannis, D., A toy model of climatic variability with scaling behaviour, Journal of Hydrology, 322, 25–48, 2006.
5. Koutsoyiannis, D., Nonstationarity versus scaling in hydrology, Journal of Hydrology, 324, 239–254, 2006.
6. Koutsoyiannis, D., A. Efstratiadis, and K. Georgakakos, Uncertainty assessment of future hydroclimatic predictions: A comparison of probabilistic and scenario-based approaches, Journal of Hydrometeorology, 8 (3), 261–281, 2007.
7. Koutsoyiannis, D., and A. Montanari, Statistical analysis of hydroclimatic time series: Uncertainty and insights, Water Resources Research, 43 (5), W05429, doi:10.1029/2006WR005592, 2007.
8. Koutsoyiannis, D., and T.A. Cohn, The Hurst phenomenon and climate (solicited), European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2008, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 10, Vienna, 11804, European Geosciences Union, 2008.
9. Koutsoyiannis, D., N. Mamassis, A. Christofides, A. Efstratiadis, and S.M. Papalexiou, Assessment of the reliability of climate predictions based on comparisons with historical time series, European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2008, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 10, Vienna, 09074, European Geosciences Union, 2008.

Our works that reference this work:

1. Koutsoyiannis, D., C. Makropoulos, A. Langousis, S. Baki, A. Efstratiadis, A. Christofides, G. Karavokiros, and N. Mamassis, Climate, hydrology, energy, water: recognizing uncertainty and seeking sustainability, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 13, 247–257, 2009.
2. Koutsoyiannis, D., A. Montanari, H. F. Lins, and T.A. Cohn, Climate, hydrology and freshwater: towards an interactive incorporation of hydrological experience into climate research—DISCUSSION of “The implications of projected climate change for freshwater resources and their management”, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 54 (2), 394–405, 2009.
3. Anagnostopoulos, G. G., D. Koutsoyiannis, A. Christofides, A. Efstratiadis, and N. Mamassis, A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 55 (7), 1094–1110, 2010.
4. Koutsoyiannis, D., and A. Langousis, Precipitation, Treatise on Water Science, edited by P. Wilderer and S. Uhlenbrook, 2, 27–78, Academic Press, Oxford, 2011.
5. Koutsoyiannis, D., Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics and uncertainty, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 47 (3), 481–495, 2011.
6. Tyralis, H., and D. Koutsoyiannis, A Bayesian statistical model for deriving the predictive distribution of hydroclimatic variables, Climate Dynamics, 42 (11-12), 2867–2883, doi:10.1007/s00382-013-1804-y, 2014.
7. Koutsoyiannis, D., Reconciling hydrology with engineering, Hydrology Research, 45 (1), 2–22, 2014.

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75. Kundzewicz, Z.W., S. Kanae, S. I. Seneviratne, J. Handmer, N. Nicholls, P. Peduzzi, R. Mechler, L. M. Bouweri, N. Arnell, K. Mach, R. Muir-Wood, G. R. Brakenridge, W. Kron, G. Benito, Y. Honda, K. Takahashi, and B. Sherstyukov, Flood risk and climate change: global and regional perspectives, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 59(1), 1–28, 2014.
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Tagged under: Course bibliography: Hydrometeorology, Climate stochastics, Works discussed in weblogs