A Misunderstanding Of Clouds Is Driving Global Warming Fervor

by R. Barmby, Apr 10, 2023 in ClimateChangeDispatch

I’ve looked at climate change from both sides now, and I have found common ground between proponents and skeptics of the belief that climate change is largely caused by humans.

When it comes to forecasting global temperatures, distinguished experts in both camps agree a dominant variable cannot be simulated in computer models because clouds get in the way.

Among the proponents is Dr. Bjorn Stevens, a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report 5 (2014). Dr. Stevens is also the director at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany, and a cloud expert. [emphasis, links added]

In a recent interview, he acknowledged the contribution of clouds to global warming is overestimatedin the IPCC’s “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis.”

Clouds are tricksters,” he said, referring to their complexity. However, he said, many scientists use oversimplified representations of clouds in modeling “as a guide because they are easier to simulate. This makes the climate models less accurate.

On the skeptic side is Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, a former lead author for IPCC Assessment Report 3 and now a vocal critic of the IPCC.

In a recent podcast, the interviewer noted that Lindzen had published sufficient research papers to earn 80 PhDs. (Lindzen humbly declined the praise.)

Lindzen, professor emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, points out that IPCC models rely on the assumption that water vapor and clouds amplify the greenhouse gas effects of CO2 in order to achieve forecasts of catastrophic global warming.

The IPCC theory is that a warmer atmosphere will have a higher content of water vapor – itself a greenhouse gas – that adds to the warming caused by CO2.