Once the El Niño crutch is kicked away, what have climate models got left in terms of warming apart from ‘the pause’? Not a lot, according to this analysis.
El Ninos can be used to make computer climate models look better than they are, for a short time at least, says Dr. David Whitehouse.
The message one is trying to get across when communicating science can depend much on what one doesn’t say. Leaving something vital out can make all the difference and when it’s done it can make scientists look like politicians, although not sophisticated ones.
As an example of what I mean consider the El Niño phenomenon – a short-term oceanographic weather event. The El Niño can be used to make computer climate models look better than they are, for a short time at least.
It is obvious that computer models are running hotter than the observations over the past 30 years, but add the recent 2015-6 El Niño and things look much better. Let me show you an example of this.
Recently a group of academics kindly produced a graph intended to “help” journalists. They labeled it, “selflessly helping the Mail Online to improve their science coverage.” It shows how the HadCRUT4 global surface temperature data is “still rising” which is laid over climate models showing how accurately the models simulate the data.
It is a classic example of misinformation by omission, or in other words how to enlist the short-term 2015-6 El Niño weather event to rescue long-term computer models. It is a prime example of bad science communication.
Also shown is how this trick can be applied to satellite data. Let’s see what it looks like when the unmarked El Niño on the graph starts to come down, as it has done.