On the credibility of climate predictions

D. Koutsoyiannis, A. Efstratiadis, N. Mamassis, and A. Christofides, On the credibility of climate predictions, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 53 (4), 671–684, doi:10.1623/hysj.53.4.671, 2008.



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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Our works referenced by this work:

1. D. Koutsoyiannis, The Hurst phenomenon and fractional Gaussian noise made easy, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 47 (4), 573–595, doi:10.1080/02626660209492961, 2002.
2. D. Koutsoyiannis, Climate change, the Hurst phenomenon, and hydrological statistics, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 48 (1), 3–24, doi:10.1623/hysj., 2003.
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4. D. Koutsoyiannis, A toy model of climatic variability with scaling behaviour, Journal of Hydrology, 322, 25–48, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2005.02.030, 2006.
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6. D. Koutsoyiannis, 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, doi:10.1175/JHM576.1, 2007.
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8. D. Koutsoyiannis, and T.A. Cohn, The Hurst phenomenon and climate (solicited), European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2008, Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 10, Vienna, 11804, doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.13303.01447, European Geosciences Union, 2008.
9. D. Koutsoyiannis, 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, doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.16658.45768, European Geosciences Union, 2008.

Our works that reference this work:

1. D. Koutsoyiannis, 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, doi:10.5194/hess-13-247-2009, 2009.
2. D. Koutsoyiannis, 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, doi:10.1623/hysj.54.2.394, 2009.
3. G. G. Anagnostopoulos, 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, doi:10.1080/02626667.2010.513518, 2010.
4. D. Koutsoyiannis, and A. Langousis, Precipitation, Treatise on Water Science, edited by P. Wilderer and S. Uhlenbrook, 2, 27–78, doi:10.1016/B978-0-444-53199-5.00027-0, Academic Press, Oxford, 2011.
5. D. Koutsoyiannis, Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics and uncertainty, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 47 (3), 481–495, doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00543.x, 2011.
6. H. Tyralis, 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. D. Koutsoyiannis, Reconciling hydrology with engineering, Hydrology Research, 45 (1), 2–22, doi:10.2166/nh.2013.092, 2014.
8. Y. Markonis, A. N. Angelakis, J. Christy, and D. Koutsoyiannis, Climatic variability and the evolution of water technologies in Crete, Hellas, Water History, 8 (2), 137–157, doi:10.1007/s12685-016-0159-9, 2016.
9. Y. Markonis, S. C. Batelis, Y. Dimakos, E. C. Moschou, and D. Koutsoyiannis, Temporal and spatial variability of rainfall over Greece, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, doi:10.1007/s00704-016-1878-7, 2016.
10. D. Koutsoyiannis, and S.M. Papalexiou, Extreme rainfall: Global perspective, Handbook of Applied Hydrology, Second Edition, edited by V.P. Singh, 74.1–74.16, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2017.
11. H. Tyralis, and D. Koutsoyiannis, On the prediction of persistent processes using the output of deterministic models, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 62 (13), 2083–2102, doi:10.1080/02626667.2017.1361535, 2017.
12. D. Koutsoyiannis, Revisiting the global hydrological cycle: is it intensifying?, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 24, 3899–3932, doi:10.5194/hess-24-3899-2020, 2020.
13. D. Koutsoyiannis, and Z. W. Kundzewicz, Atmospheric temperature and CO₂: Hen-or-egg causality?, Sci, 2 (4), 83, doi:10.3390/sci2040083, 2020.
14. D. Koutsoyiannis, Rethinking climate, climate change, and their relationship with water, Water, 13 (6), 849, doi:10.3390/w13060849, 2021.
15. D. Koutsoyiannis, An open letter to the Editor of Frontiers, doi:10.13140/RG.2.2.34248.39689/1, December 2021.
16. D. Koutsoyiannis, and A. Montanari, Climate extrapolations in hydrology: The expanded Bluecat methodology, Hydrology, 9, 86, doi:10.3390/hydrology9050086, 2022.
17. D. Koutsoyiannis, Stochastics of Hydroclimatic Extremes - A Cool Look at Risk, Edition 3, ISBN: 978-618-85370-0-2, 391 pages, doi:10.57713/kallipos-1, Kallipos Open Academic Editions, Athens, 2023.

Works that cite this document: View on Google Scholar, ResearchGate or ResearchGate (additional)

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96. Verdon-Kidd, D. C. and A. S. Kiem, Non–stationarity in annual maxima rainfall across Australia – implications for Intensity–Frequency–Duration (IFD) relationships, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 19, 4735-4746, doi:10.5194/hessd-12-3449-2015, 2015.
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99. Frank, P., Negligence, non-science, and consensus climatology, Energy and Environment, 26(3), 391-415, doi:10.1260/0958-305X.26.3.391, 2015.
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112. Machiwal, D., D. Dayal, and S. Kumar, Long-term rainfall trends and change points in hot and cold arid regions of India, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 62(7), 1050-1066, doi:10.1080/02626667.2017.1303705, 2017.
113. Munshi, J., Event attribution and the precipitation record for England and Wales, Social Science Research Network, doi:10.2139/ssrn.2929159, 2017.
114. Bukovsky, M. S., R. R. McCrary, A. Seth, and L. O. Mearns, A mechanistically credible, poleward shift in warm-season precipitation projected for the U.S. Southern Great Plains?, Journal of Climate, 30(20), 8275–8298, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0316.1, 2017.
115. Vogel, M., Stochastic watershed models for hydrologic risk management, Water Security, 1, 28-35, doi:10.1016/j.wasec.2017.06.001, 2017.
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119. Zolghadr-Asli, B., O. Bozorg-Haddad, P. Sarzaeim, and X. Chu, Investigating the variability of GCMs' simulations using time series analysis, Journal of Water and Climate Change, 10(3), 449-463, doi:10.2166/wcc.2018.099, 2019.
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121. Momblanch, A., I. P. Holman, and S. K. Jain, Current practice and recommendations for modelling global change impacts on water resource in the Himalayas, Water, 11(6), 1303, doi:10.3390/w11061303, 2019.
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123. Wine, M. L., Toward strong science to support equitable water sharing in securitized transboundary watersheds, Biologia, 75, 907-915, doi:10.2478/s11756-019-00334-8, 2020.
124. Wine, M. L., Climatization of environmental degradation: A widespread challenge to the integrity of earth science, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 65(6), 867-883, doi:10.1080/02626667.2020.1720024, 2020.
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