Climate forecasts: collect them all!

Summary: Climate science is done by experts, often using equipment of the high kind of tech. But we can crowd-source valuable information for the policy debate. Forecasts are the tool used to shape public. Here are some. Post in the comments those that you have found. We can list them and track their accuracy. The answers will reveal much.  I’ll update this page as new information comes in.

“Men will seem to see new destructions in the sky. …O! marvel of the human race! What madness has led you thus!”
— From The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Forecasting with models

The Project

The advocates for massive public policy action to fight climate change have chosen fear as their primary tool to convince the public to follow them. Hence they are “alarmists.” They are almost always Leftists, seeing climate change as the path to gaining power to implement their ideology. Using their control of the news media, academia, and climate science institutions, they have bombarded America with terrifying forecasts of climate doom.

And they have terrified people. Scared, they believe all sorts of stories. They are immune to facts and logic. They believe with passionate intensity claims that are easily and immediately proven false, such as The North Pole is now a lake! – Are you afraid yet?,

It is vital that we learn about the accuracy of climate forecasts. We need a comprehensive list of documented forecasts. A forecast is an event and a date (or narrow range of dates) in the future. Documented means an easily checked authoritative source describing the prediction. Proposing a theory is not making a prediction, in the sense used here. Post in the comments forecasts that you have found.

I did not include in this post climate projections based on scenarios (RCPs) used in the IPCC’s AR5. I have compiled a very partial list of those predictions (there are too many for a comprehensive list). Most use RCP8.5, the worst-case scenario in the IPCC’s AR5. That is an unlikely future – as a worst-case scenario should be. Let’s not go there and learn if those forecasts are correct.

Alarmists R’us – a history of the Left

“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.”
— From Narcotics Anonymous (1981).

But first let’s see the background story. During the past five decades, the Left has bombarded us with countless warnings of approaching doom. Inciting hysterical fear has become their favorite propaganda tool (for the Right, also – but that is a story for another day). Their predictions have an impressive record of almost total failure. Their fear-based political campaigns have had little success. Here are a few highlights.

Famine, 1975! America’s Decision: Who Will Survive?
by William and Paul Paddock (1967).

It was a best-seller! See Wikipedia for details. Bruce Trumbo’s review, “A Matter of Fertility“, gives a summary of this horrific forecast.

“The underdeveloped nations have exploding populations and static agricultures. The ‘Time of Famines’ will be seriously in evidence by 1975, when food crises will have been reached in several of these nations. The ‘stricken peoples will not be able to pay for all their needed food imports. Therefore the hunger in these regions can be alleviated only through the charity of other nations.’

“The only important food in famine relief will be wheat, and only the US, Canada, Australia, and Argentina grow significant amounts of wheat. The United States, the only one of these four countries that has historically given wheat to hungry nations, is the ‘sole hope of the hungry nations’ in the future. ‘Yet the US, even if it fully cultivates all its land, even if it opens every spigot of charity, will not have enough wheat and other foodstuffs to keep alive all the starving. Therefore, the US must decide to which countries it will send food, to which countries it will not.’”

Moving to bigger names, Paul Ehrlich set the model for bold doomsters. Others have followed his lead, but none have as yet equaled his record of wrong predictions. He hit the big time with his 1968 book The Population Bomb (see Wikipedia). The preface provided this inspiring news.

“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.”

He built his reputation with confident and precise predictions, such as this in his Autumn 1969 speech at London’s Institute of Biology. Bernard Dixon’s “In Praise of Prophets” (New Scientist, 16 September 1971) quoted Ehrlich.

“If current trends continue by the year 2000 the United Kingdom will simply be a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people, of little or no concern to the other 5-7 billion inhabitants of a sick world. …If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

Dixon said that Ehrlich also predicted worldwide plague, thermonuclear war, death of all seafood, “rocketing” death rates, and ecological catastrophe. “The audience loved it and gasped for more”. Dixon applauded Ehrlich’s “vitally important activity.”

Never embarrassed by the failure of his predictions, he continued to ignore the consensus of scientists, applauded by the Left. In 2009 Ehrlich wrote “The Population Bomb Revisited“ in which he said “perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future”.

My favorite bombardment of bout of doomster hysteria was about peak oil. Supposedly peaking had occurred, and would cause the end of civilization. Also entertaining were the lurid (but largely bogus) reports of the imminent bee-pocalypse – and the imminent collapse of agriculture.

This is the background for one of the Left’s largest campaigns ever in America: to get massive public policy action to fight climate change.

Predictions made during the Climate Change campaign

Climate science, like other physical sciences, has a long record of successful predictions (see this partial list from the AGU 2012 Tyndall Lecture by Ray Pierrehumbervideo here – using a broader definition of “prediction” than used here, and even so citing only one in the period examined here).

The campaign began with James Hansen’s 1988 testimony to the US Senate about global warming. Since then, the Left made frequent predictions about the imminent climate catastrophe – going beyond anything in the reports of the IPCC or major climate agencies. Many of the target dates of climate predictions will come due in the next few years. Let’s assemble a list. Here are a few to get started. Compare these with the solidly grounded, careful forecasts of Working Group I  – The Physical Sciences – in the IPCC’s AR5 – and the almost always well-grounded predictions in the peer-reviewed literature.

The endless series of tipping points.

Climate tipping points are like buses. We miss one, and another comes along soon. Journalists’ fabulous amnesia means that these forecasters are never held to account for their failures. Such as this from the AP, 29 June 1989.

“A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ″eco-refugees,′ ′ threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP. He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.”

There are some fun collections of these warnings of tipping points and “last chances” to save the world – always imminent – such as this one. And this one.

The Arctic death spiral.

The pattern is “if you don’t get it right, try again with a new date.” Every prediction gets exciting headlines, with little criticism for failed guesses.

The Arctic ice has been melting since the 1970s cooling ended. Looking further back, it has been melting since the end of the Little Ice Age in the early 19th century (during the LIA sea ice encircled Iceland and sometimes reached Scotland). Predictions abound about what comes next. Some are quite bold, such as this NASA press release about the coming “Arctic Meltdown“,  27 February 2001. NASA deleted the article; it is not in their press release archive. Down the memory hole!

“The Arctic ice cap is melting at a rate that could allow routine commercial shipping through the far north in a decade and open up new fisheries. …It was in 1906, after centuries of attempts, that Roald Amundsen finally navigated the North-West Passage through the sea ice north of Canada. Even today, only specially strengthened ships can make the trip.

“But in 10 years’ time, if melting patterns change as predicted, the North-West Passage could be open to ordinary shipping for a month each summer. And the Northern Sea Route across the top of Russia could allow shipping for at least two months a year in as little as five years.

“The new routes will slash the distances for voyages between Europe and East Asia by a third, and open up new fisheries. The resulting boom in shipping could lead to conflicts, as nations try to enforce fisheries rules, prevent smuggling and piracy, and protect the Arctic environment from oil spills. To complicate matters, Russia and Canada consider their northern sea routes as national territory, while the US regards them as international waters. …

“Peter Wadhams of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge agrees that the Arctic could soon open up. ‘Within a decade we can expect regular summer trade there,’ he predicts.”

Wadhams doubled down in 2012 with “Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years” in an email to The Guardian – “As sea ice shrinks to record lows, Prof Peter Wadhams warns a ‘global disaster’ is now unfolding in northern latitudes.” The summer sea ice minimum in the Arctic Ocean has been in a tight range since 2007. Seventeen years after Wadhams’ prediction, there is no regular commercial traffic of size in the NW passage. Six years after his four-year prediction, there has been no “final collapse” of arctic sea ice – an no unfolding “global disaster.” See his other false predictions about Arctic sea ice.

Scary news: “Arctic ice-free as soon as 2010” by Marianne White in the Montreal Gazette (Canwest News Service), 16 November 2007.

“Louis Fortier, scientific director of ArcticNet, a Canadian research network, said the sea ice is melting faster than predicted by models created by international teams of scientists, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They had forecast the Arctic Ocean could be free of summer ice as early as 2050. But Fortier told an international conference on defence and security in Quebec City Thursday that the worst-case scenarios are becoming reality.

“The frightening models we didn’t even dare to talk about before are now proving to be true,’ Fortier told CanWest News Service, referring to computer models that take into account the thinning of the sea ice and the warming from the albedo effect – the Earth is absorbing more energy as the sea ice melts. According to these models, there will be no sea ice left in the summer in the Arctic Ocean somewhere between 2010 and 2015. ‘And it’s probably going to happen even faster than that,’ said Fortier, who leads an international team of researchers in the Arctic looking for clues to climate change.”

In April 2011 the BBC reported predictions by a team led by Dr Maslowski at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

“Scientists who predicted a few years ago that Arctic summers could be ice-free by 2013 now say summer sea ice will probably be gone in this decade. The original prediction {was} made in 2007 ….Now they are working with a new computer model …that produces a “best guess” date of 2016. Their work was unveiled at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) annual meeting.”

On 13 March 2013 climate scientist Paul Beckwith wrote “For the record: I do not think that any sea ice will survive this summer.” He later explained why he was wrong. See his website for more.

On 3 April 2013 Carlos Duarte wrote that “the Arctic could be free of ice in summer by 2015.” He is Director of the Oceans Institute at the U of Western Australia. Also that year “Senior US government officials are to be briefed at the White House this week on the danger of an ice-free Arctic in the summer within two years” by Nafeez Ahmed in The Guardian, 2 May 2013. No ice-free Arctic in 2015, or so far.

End of Snow

Bold predictions by activist scientists get headlines, such as “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past“ in The Independent, 20 March 2000 (The Independent put the story down the memory hole, but the Internet never forgets).

“However, the warming is so far manifesting itself more in winters which are less cold than in much hotter summers. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become ‘a very rare and exciting event’. ‘Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,’ he said.”

For better grounded perspective, see “Winter Olympics: Downhill forecast“ by Lauren Morello (journalist), Nature, 4 February 2014 — “Winter sports face an uncertain future as the planet warms.” This cites a wide range of expert sources.


Predictions about hurricane doom make exciting headlines!

  1. A Katrina hurricane will strike every two years“ in ScienceNordic, 2013 — One of many articles exaggerating the findings of “Projected Atlantic hurricane surge threat from rising temperatures” by Aslak Grinsted el al. in PNAS, 2013.
  2. Hurricanes Likely to Get Stronger & More Frequent“ in Climate Central, 2013 – About a study in PNAS by Kerry Emanuel et al.using RCP8.5 (the worst-case scenario in the IPCC’s AR5).
  3. See ten even more extreme predictions from the big 3 TV networks.

For actual science about hurricanes, see What you need to know about hurricanes and their trends. For another perspective, see “Weather-related Natural Disasters: Should we be concerned about a reversion to the mean?” by Prof Roger Pielke Jr., 31 July 2017. Neither is alarming. This graph by Pielke shows how the game is played. The absence of extreme weather is weather, so the hurricane “pause” (the tall blue column at the right) means nothing. Any year with several major hurricanes – like 2005 (e.g., Katrina) – is reported as climate change by activists and journalists.

Days between major hurricane landfalls

Fails about drought

Climate change works like quantum mechanics. It produces both droughts and floods. See the predictions that the California drought (now over) would be permanent (or very long). And The Texas drought ended; climate alarmists were wrong again!

Forecasts – collect them all! Mark them on your calendar!

“I think looking at grief is quite appropriate, as I believe we are facing human extinction”
— One of thousands of similar comments on the internet, by a reader on the FM website.

We need a list of predictions made about climate change. ASAP, because they are often deleted when proved wrong. Post in the comments any that you have found. Please, only post forecasts that are supported by links to authoritative sources. The sooner the target date, the better. The ones in this post are just a sample to start the project. Here are a few more, being updated as people send them in.

●  From “Dead Heat: The Race Against The Greenhouse Effect by Michael Oppenheimer and Robert Boyle (1991). Fear-mongering to panic the public.

“All debate about global warming ended in 1998 after a four-year drought desolated the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought. In 1995, food riots in Kiev, Cherkassy, and Odessa sparked a new …Mexican police began rounding up illegal American migrants working the fields …when Washington was hit with 82 days of 90+ temperatures in 2030 ….”

●  “Climate change killing coral reefs” by the BBC, 17 August 1999. Biologist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg discusses the conclusions of his new paper in Marine Freshwater Research: “Climate change, coral bleaching and the future of the worldís coral reefs.” His 2020 prediction appears premature. He is one of the world’s top experts on coral bleaching, and famous for his false predictions (e.g., see these).

“Reefs around the West Indies in the Caribbean look as though they will be gone by 2020 while the Great Barrier Reef will probably last for just another three decades,” he warned.”

● “Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us” by Mark Townsend and Paul Harris at The Guardian, 21 February 2004. Doomsday in 2020! Only 13 months left! Note the major scientists who said this was a serious forecast.

“A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world. The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents. ‘Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,’ concludes the Pentagon analysis. ‘Once again, warfare would define human life.’ …

“Climate change ‘should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern’, say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network. An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is ‘plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately’, they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions. …

“Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office – and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism – said: ‘If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.’ Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon’s dire warnings could no longer be ignored. …

“Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 ‘catastrophic’ shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war. …So dramatic are the report’s scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections.”

●  See the CIMP3 model’s forecast made in 2007 vs. 2017 global temperature: A climate science milestone: a successful 10-year forecast!

●  “How will Earth’s surface temperature change in future decades?” by Judith Lean and David Rind in Geophysical Research Letters, 15 August 2009. Using NOAA’s numbers, the global temperature anomaly was .64°C in 2009 and .85 in 2017 – vs. their prediction of .82°C for 2019. Looking good so far, even conservative!

“From 2009 to 2014, projected rises in anthropogenic influences and solar irradiance will increase global surface temperature 0.15 ± 0.03°C, at a rate 50% greater than predicted by IPCC. But as a result of declining solar activity in the subsequent five years, average temperature in 2019 is only 0.03 ± 0.01°C warmer than in 2014.”

●  “Glacier loss on Kilimanjaro continues unabated” by L. G. Thompson et al. in PNAS, 24 November 2009.

“If current climatological conditions are sustained, the ice fields atop Kilimanjaro and on its flanks will likely disappear within several decades.”

● “The shape of British summers to come?” by Fiona Harvey in The Guardian, 8 August 2012 – “It’s been a dull, damp few months and some scientists think we need to get used to it. Melting ice in Greenland could be bringing permanent changes to our climate.”

“Nor has the UK been alone in suffering extreme weather. In the US, the eastern seaboard has been hit by heatwaves and storms but even worse has been the ‘dustbowl effect’ in Texas and across much of the nation’s agricultural heartland. India’s monsoon failed to appear on schedule, leaving millions of farmers in the subcontinent facing destitution. Floods in Beijing, after the heaviest rainfall in 60 years, caused devastation to millions. The consequences across the world have been and will be dire. A food crisis is now all but inevitable …”

●  On 24 April 2014, Christiana Figuere – Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change –  presented “Climate Conflict to Climate Action: Capturing the Greatest Opportunities of Our Generation.

“In fact, unless environmental disasters are averted by global action, the number of people in extreme poverty could increase by up to three billion by 2050 with all the ensuing social and economic conflict.”

●  “Faster than Expected” by Guy McPherson at his website, February 2017. He is Prof Emeritus of Natural Resources and Ecology (U AZ) and the author of Extinction Dialogs: How to Live with Death in Mind (2014).

“Not long after civilization fails – and certainly by mid-2026 – the planet will harbor no humans.”

Understanding the plan: why Doomsterism?

Alarmism Is the Argument We Need to Fight Climate Change” by Susan Matthews in Slate — “New York magazine’s global-warming horror story isn’t too scary. It’s not scary enough.”

It’s okay to talk about how scary climate change is. Really.” by David Roberts at Vox — “In defense of worst-case scenarios in climate journalism.”

The Uninhabitable Earth” By David Wallace-Wells in New York magazine — “Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.” Even Michael Mann gently condemns its exaggerations. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The article fails to produce it. The article paints an overly bleak picture by overstating some of the science.” But in an interview Mann supports the argument and the doomster outlook: “Scientist Michael Mann on ‘Low-Probability But Catastrophic’ Climate Scenarios” by David Wallace-Wells in New York magazine.

A Leftist likes Wallace-Wells’ doomsterism, but condemns his article for insufficient leftism: “New York Mag’s Climate Disaster Porn Gets It Painfully Wrong” by Daniel Aldana Cohen at Jacobin — “The real climate danger is that a vicious right-wing minority will impose an order that privileges the affluent few over everyone else.”

Stand by for many many more over the top predictions of climate doom! NYMag published a follow-up article. It opens with what is most important to them — and their fellow journalists.

“We published ‘The Uninhabitable Earth‘ on Sunday night, and the response since has been extraordinary — both in volume (it is already the most-read article in New York Magazine’s history) and in kind.”

As the news media suffers from loss of credibility and overcapacity, they use science. Readers’ attention is all that matters, and the advertising dollars that flow from them. Doomster stories gain our attention. Keyboards are humming across America right now to tell us about the very certain death to everybody coming very soon.


“The world may still be doomed, but it is not quite as doomed as the climatologists have repeatedly told us.”
— From “Global warming predictions may have been too gloomy” by Ben Webster (environment editor) in The Times.

There is no point bickering about these forecasts. Let’s build a complete list of them and track results. The next few years will provide the necessary evidence showing who is right.

For More Information

Congratulations and thanks to Les Johnson, whose database of predictions contributed many of these.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information about forecasts, about doomsters, about this vital issue see the keys to understanding climate change and especially these posts …

  1. About RCP8.5: Is our certain fate a coal-burning climate apocalypse? No!
  2. The climate change crisis as seen from 2100 AD (a business as usual scenario).
  3. Stratfor gives us good news, showing when renewables will replace fossil fuels.
  4. Focusing on worst case climate futures doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work.
  5. Updating the RCPs: The IPCC gives us good news about climate change, but we don’t listen.
  6. Celebrate Los Angeles’ survival, despite the prediction of its destruction in 2017.
  7. Hopeful news for us about climate change from the Horse Manure Crisis of 1894.
  8. Read about the world of 2030 and see hidden truths.
  9. Panicking about climate change? See the rest of the story.

Alarmists worked hard to keep you from reading this book.

Disasters and Climate Change
Available at Amazon.

Alarmists have worked long and hard to discredit Roger Pielke Jr., because he tells us about the IPCC and peer-reviewed research. Things that violate the “narrative” about our imminent doom. They really do not want you to read this book, the revised second edition of …

The Rightful Place of Science:
Disasters & Climate Change
By Roger Pielke Jr.

See my review of the first edition. Here is the publisher’s summary …

“After nearly every hurricane, heatwave, drought, or other extreme weather event, commentators rush to link the disaster with climate change. But what does the science say?

“In this fully revised and updated edition of Disasters & Climate Change, renowned political scientist Roger Pielke Jr. takes a close look at the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the underlying scientific research, and the climate data to give you the latest science on how climate change is related to extreme weather. What he finds may surprise you and raise questions about the role of science in political debates.”

51 thoughts on “Climate forecasts: collect them all!

  1. 50 million environmental refugees in 2010

    I don’t include this as a climate prediction. It is from “Environmental Refugees: An Emergent Security Issue” by Prof. Norman Myers, 22 May 2005 – presented at the 13 Economic Forum of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Here is the quote:

    “As far back as 1995 (latest date for a comprehensive assessment), these environmental refugees totalled at least 25 million people, compared with 27 million traditional refugees (people fleeing political oppression, religious persecution and ethnic troubles). The environmental refugees total could well double between 1995 and 2010. Moreover, it could increase steadily for a good while thereafter as growing numbers of impoverished people press ever harder on over-loaded environments. When global warming takes hold, there could be as many as 200 million people overtaken by disruptions of monsoon systems and other rainfall regimes, by droughts of unprecedented severity and duration, and by sea-level rise and coastal flooding.”

    “Environmental” is a very broad term. His prediction of 200 million from climate change has no date.

  2. While I basically agree with all of your points, I feel the need to point out that short-range weather forecasts in the 1970’s were astonishingly inaccurate compared to the current state of the art. It makes a great deal of sense that extremely long-range weather forecasts from the 1970’s would be a lot worse. The level of inaccuracy of the forecasts in the 1970’s was already well known (I personally recall a forecast of 65-70 degrees F in January in Minnesota (can’t recall which year), we got half an inch of freezing rain and ten inches of snow instead and nobody on the ground was much surprised).

    As FM has already noted, the willingness on the part of the Left and their loyal followers to spend their credibility in the 1970’s on such drivel is the second most astonishing part of your story. The most astonishing thing was that they were not punished severely in the following decades (although they were knocked out of the Presidency for 12 years (1980-92) for other sins).

    Even the weather forecast tools of 2001 are very primitive and inaccurate compared to our current short-term weather forecast tools. The most interesting thing to me about the history of weather forecasting 1970-2018 is that the more capable weather forecasters, the less likely they are to even attempt long-term weather forecasts beyond 3 months.

    As FM has noted, weather and climate change are extremely dynamic and not even close to fully understood we just better understand our limits in 2018 than in 1970.

    I had not realized that Paul Ehrlich was still alive in 2009, much less writing a sequel. Apparently he failed to die from a cannibal attack in 1992 as he forecast on live TV in 1979 (my memory is the only source I could find of the TV show and is very faulty these days so that last part could be completely inaccurate).

    1. Pluto,

      “I feel the need to point out that short-range weather forecasts in the 1970’s were astonishingly inaccurate compared …”

      Why is that relevant to this post? The forecasts given from the 1970s were not about climate. The climate forecasts given were from the modern climate campaign (after 1988).

      “Even the weather forecast tools of 2001 are very primitive and inaccurate compared to our current short-term weather forecast tools.”

      That’s subjective. I doubt many meteorologists would agree with such an extreme statement. Improvements have been slow and steady since the 1980s, both in terms of short-range accuracy and extending the forecast horizon. See this December 2016 “Evaluation of ECMWF forecasts.” ECMWF is the best of the modern weather forecasting models.

      Also, that does not prove that long-range (decadal and longer) forecasts have improved.

      “The most astonishing thing was that they were not punished severely in the following decades”

      As I’ve documented in some detail, both Left and Right in America prefer tribal truths. Until that changes, I doubt that effective political reform is possible. See more about that in these posts.

      “I had not realized that Paul Ehrlich was still alive in 2009”

      He was, as always, at the front of the latest hysteria – which was the “mass extinction” buzz (see here). He died in 2015.

    2. My apologies, FM about the 1970s vs 1988 mix-up. My meds were not working as well as I thought when I wrote that and I failed to catch the point about 1988. Life has kind of sucked around here for the last few months…

      Pluto: “The most astonishing thing was that they were not punished severely in the following decades”

      FM: “As I’ve documented in some detail, both Left and Right in America prefer tribal truths.”

      I agree with your statement for the current situation, FM. I was more referring to the 1970-80’s when we were less tribal. I’m not opposed to the idea that the drift towards the current level of Tribalism was already that strongly in motion in the late 1970’s but I hate to think about the implications. That thought makes me strongly doubt that the US has the emotional strength or intellectual clarity to see its ways through the current problems in a reasonable amount of time.

    3. Pluto,

      Good point about the change in America between 1970 and now. When watching TV shows and film from the early 1970s is like looking at a different world. Women were different. The racial politics were different. Etc, etc.

  3. Thanks, a wealth of info here. I fight the treehuggers on the local newspaper online opinion section. Facts don’t matter to these charlatans, but I keep trying :)

    1. Craig,

      There is even a model proposal to use: “A MODEST PROPOSAL” by Dr. Jonathan Swift (1729) —
      For preventing the children of poor people in Ireland from being a burden on their parents or country and for making them beneficial to the publick”.

    2. Kira,

      That is a fun example of climate activists madness, but let’s not hijack the thread. We’re looking at experts’ predictions about climate change.

  4. How will Earth’s surface temperature change in future decades?” by Judith Lean and David Rind in Geophysical Research Letters, 15 August 2009.

    “From 2009 to 2014, projected rises in anthropogenic influences and solar irradiance will increase global surface temperature 0.15 ± 0.03°C, at a rate 50% greater than predicted by IPCC. But as a result of declining solar activity in the subsequent five years, average temperature in 2019 is only 0.03 ± 0.01°C warmer than in 2014.”

    HADCRUT4 numbers
    2009 0.506
    2010 0.560
    2011 0.425
    2012 0.470
    2013 0.514
    2014 0.579

    Amusingly, the Guardian ran a story on this at the time, in 2009, saying that this new prediction was “expected to silence global warming sceptics”.

    1. Paul,

      We don’t yet have the numbers for 2018 and 2019, but the prediction by Lean – Rind looks quite good – overall. The NOAA global temp anomaly for 2009 was 0.64°C. For 2017 it was 0.85°C – a gain of 0.21°C vs. their prediction of 0.18°C.

      I’ll list this one as a likely win (and too conservative).

  5. “The audience loved it and gasped for more”.

    I’d like to see this examined in more detail. Most people I know roll their eyes which is quite the opposite reaction.

    1. MP,

      I saw “An Inconvenient Truth” in San Francisco. The audience “loved it and gasped for more.” These things depend on the audience, esp in America’s increasingly tribal society – with its tribal truths.

  6. Claim: Polar bears face extinction due to global warming causing the loss of Arctic sea ice. Some recent news:

    ‘So many bears:’ Draft plan says Nunavut polar bear numbers unsafe” in CTV News, 12 Nov 2018:

    “There are too many polar bears in parts of Nunavut and climate change hasn’t yet affected any of them, says a draft management plan from the territorial government that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking.”

    Polar bears keep thriving even as global warming alarmists keep pretending they’re dying” in the Financial Post, 27 Feb 2018:

    “… the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List report for 2015 that estimated global polar bear numbers at somewhere between 22,000-31,000, or about 26,000, up slightly from 20,000-25,000, or about 22,500, in 2005.”

    The polar bear used to be global warming icon. Now, they are rarely discussed since they are actually flourishing and becoming an actual problem for many Arctic communities.

    1. MP,

      That’s an important story, and imo one side or another will have a definitive win in the next few years. For more about this see:

      1. Mother Jones sounds the alarm about the warming North Pole — Exploiting the polar bear story for political gain.
      2. Twenty stories of good news about polar bears!
      3. Good news about polar bears, thriving as the arctic warms!
      4. Climate scientists strike back! — Misrepresentations and lies about Crockford’s work in a new paper.
      5. Starving polar bears: the fake news face of climate change.
    1. Ron,

      Thank you for posting the link to that interesting article about Alan Carlin and his book Environmentalism Gone Mad.

  7. Here’s a forecast: back in 1995, Luc Ferry (a French philosopher) wrote a critique of the “deep environmentalist” movement called The New Ecological Order, where he tried to demonstrate that it parallels Communism and Fascism in the way it rejects the liberal values of the Enlightenment. I’d say that most of his predictions about the future political evolution of environmentalism came true.


    From the publisher:

    Is ecology in the process of becoming the object of our contemporary passions, in the same way that Fascism was in the 30s, or Communism under Stalin? In The New Ecological Order, Luc Ferry offers a penetrating critique of the ideological roots of the “Deep Ecology” movement spreading throughout Germany, France, and the United States.

    Traditional ecological movements, or “democratic ecology,” seek to protect the environment of human societies; they are pragmatic and reformist. But another movement has become the refuge both of nostalgic counterrevolutionaries and of leftist illusions. This is “deep ecology.” Its followers go beyond practical critiques of human greed and waste: they call into question the very possibility of human coexistence with nature. The human species is no longer at the center of the world, but subject to a new god called Nature. For these purists, man can only soil the harmony of the universe. In order to secure natural equilibrium, the only solution is to grant rights to animals, to trees, and to rocks.

    Ferry launches his critique by examining early European legal cases concerning the status and rights of animals, including a few notorious cases where animals were brought to trial, found guilty, and publicly hanged. He then demonstrates that German Romanticism embraced certain key ideas of the deep ecology movement concerning the protection of animals and the environment. Later adopted by the Nazis, many of these ideas point to a profoundly antihumanistic component of deep ecology that is compatible with totalitarianism.

    Ferry shows how deep ecology casts aside all the gains of human autonomy since the Enlightenment. He deciphers the philosophical and political assumptions of a movement that threatens to infantalize human society by preying on the fear of the authority of a new theological-political order. Far from denying our “duty in relation to nature,” The New Ecological Order offers a bracing caution – against the dangers of environmental claims and, more important, against the threat to democracy contained in the deep ecology doctrine when pushed to its extreme.

    1. JP,

      Thanks for posting that! I added to your comment the publisher’s summary, to tell readers more about the book.

    2. This reminds me of a strain of thought I have encountered among environmental folks, where ecological problems, climate changes, etc. are punishments for sinning from an idealized semi-pastoral past, much like French romantics. (I am not sure if I would call this the same thing as ‘Deep Ecology’.)

      Seems like, as Larry might put it, the thought process of a well managed peasantry.

  8. Mr Wadham has made regular predictions about an ice free Arctic as he is on of the Guardian’s go to “experts”. His failure rate is well documented here.

    Summary of his predictions (from the 2016 article)
    2008 (falsified)
    2 years from 2011 → 2013 (falsified)
    2015 (falsified)
    2016 (still to come, but will require a steep drop)
    2017 (still to come)
    2020 (still to come)
    10 to 20 years from 2009 → 2029 (still to come)
    20 to 30 years from 2010 → 2040 (still to come).

    The most amazing thing is he still has credibility as the Internet never forgets.

  9. Though it is drifting off topic in that it is not scientists predictions, this 8 year old exchange of letters covers much of your head post’s grounds about scare tactics and credibility: “Robin McKie v Benny Peiser” in The Guardian, Feb 2010.

    There is the plaintive plea “You and other climate change deniers claim that there is no connection between rising carbon levels and global warming and so spend your time nitpicking at every assumption and claim made by scientists about the climate over the next 100 years. ”

    The writer does not see the irony that the failed predictions undermine their own credibility.

    1. Chris,

      Thanks for posting the link to this great exchange! It nicely illustrates how the alarmists respond to facts – such as their exaggerations and false predictions.

      Benny points out – “Since you accuse me of positions that I do not hold and attack straw men which I did not set up. …Your aggressive rhetoric and line of attack is a strategy of intimidation.” That is the signature tactic of the Left. The equivalent tactic on the Right is to reply with false facts. After 13 years and thousands of dialogs, I don’t know which is worse. Perhaps they are the same, in some deeper fashion.

      More important is the tribalism that allows our leaders on the Left and Right to get away with their often obviously false (or exaggerated) tribal truths – and avoid accountability. Until that changes, I doubt meaningful self-government is possible.

    2. LK: “Perhaps they are the same, in some deeper fashion.”

      Yes. They both rely on a false response to the other party. The strawman is an argument not made with the actual claim, it is made with a false claim. The false facts claim is made with the false of claim of being true. Or as you state “exaggerated” where the argument is made with a false magnitude.

  10. I like predictions which are formulated with the Scientific Method in mind. The hypothesis has be verifiable and falsifiable (See Karl Popper).

    An explicit prediction made in a public forum last month comes into this category. Prof. Valentina Zharkova {prof mathematics, Northumbria U} presented her research in London – that we are entering a Grand Solar Minimum which will start in 2020 and go for 3 solar cycles until 2053. A 93-minute video of the presentation is here: {Below}

    Understanding her research needs a high level of Mathematics, as she uses Principal Component Analysis of 33 years of daily magnetic data collected by Stanford’s Wilcox Solar Observatory. The pairs of principal components are then analyzed by Eureqa to give a symbolic, analytic function which fits the sunspot data with over 97% confidence. This function/formula (based on a complex set of cosine functions) can be projected backwards and forwards as far as you wish.

    Going backward they have cross checked the sunspot records of grand maxima and minima (such as the Dalton and the Maunder Minimums, and others).

    The predicted Grand Solar Minimum starting in 2020 can be verified in a matter of a couple of years. Are our public policies ready to cope with cooler temperatures (may be up to about 1C cooler), longer winters and poorer growing conditions for food crops?


    1. Gerald,

      This is a clear prediction. It has two components – predicting the solar cycle, and predicting its effects on the Earth’s climate. Both are problematic.

      After a multi-disciplinary team worked for several years, the solar cycle dates were radically revised in July 2015. Did her analysis use the new numbers? For more about this see “The new Sunspot and Group Numbers: a full recalibration” by Frédéric Clette, Leif Svalgaard, José M. Vaquero, and Edward W. Cliver presented at the IAU’s XXIX General Assembly in August 2015. Abstract here. The paper discusses a substantial revision of the Wolf Sunspot Number (WSN) data, the oldest time series in solar physics still used today. This update of it will drive solar cycle research during the 21st century

      Second, this more accurate dating substantially weakened the climate- solar chronology relationship. Which was often exaggerated. For more about this, see “Corrected Sunspot History Suggests Climate Change since the Industrial Revolution not due to Solar Trends“, press release from the International Astronomical Union (IAU), 7 August 2015.

  11. Here are a few predictions:

    Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Extent:
    This is a figure depicting differences among the GCM projections of sea ice extent from 2000-2100: from the paper “Consistent Changes in the Seasonal Response to Global Warming” by Eisenman, Schneider, Battisti and Bliz (here: ) To me, it looks like anything is possible except for an increase in sea ice extent (which would falsify the models). It is useful to have many in one plot. Over time, several of the models will follow actual sea ice extent more than the others, either because they best represent the underlying physics or because they are lucky (there are a lot of parameters!).

    Sea Level Rise:
    Buried internet infrastructure will be at risk by 2033:
    “critical communications infrastructure that could be submerged by rising seas in as soon as 15 years, according to the study’s senior author, Paul Barford, a UW–Madison professor of computer science.”

    Pentagon predictions for 2020 from a secret report, referenced in a 2004 Guardian article:
    “A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.
    The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.”

    1. Kira,

      Thanks for posting the link to that 2011 paper. Plotting the average (ensemble) results masks the often wide disagreement between models.

      This is pro work. However, similar comparisons of future climate by amateurs usually ignore the difference between projections (which is what the IPCC and peer-reviewed literature does) and predictions. Good science says assuming these factors (eg, climate sensitivity to increased CO2) and this scenario for emissions of GHG and aerosols (and other factors) – then this climate change will happen. Combining the various models and the many projections using each creates a spurious impression of radical disagreement. Also, projections using the m

      Re: sea level rise and infrastructure

      This, as usual, uses the RCP8.5 scenario – the worst case scenario in the IPCC’s AR5. Like most by scientists coasting on the hysteria, they do not even mention the assumptions behind the 6′ rise by 2100 – or how unlikely it is. There are papers beyond count like this, which is why I said to ignore these from this survey. If we live in RCP8.5, we are truly screwed. The degree of accuracy of these studies won’t matter.

      Re: DoD study

      That’s mentioned in this post.

  12. Apologies–I posted the Pentagon predictions from the Guardian that you already had. I read this post yesterday, but didn’t read the updated version.

  13. Old Rodney Dangerfield joke:

    Man goes to doctor.
    Doctor says “Bad news. You’ve only got 6 months to live.”
    Man says “But I won’t be able to pay you for a year.”
    Doctor says: “Good news. I’ll give you another 6 months.”

    Rodney had the whole scam figured out 30 years ago.

    1. Malcolm,

      Good point! We have to limit these forecasts to those by scientists. The Library of Congress couldn’t hold all the dumb forecasts about science by non-scientists!

    1. Chris,

      I wrote about this incident in 2010. It’s easy for me to imagine Reiss getting the data wrong (2020 or 2030) when he spoke to Suzy Hansen of Salon in 2001. He wasn’t even sure about the data when he spoke to Hansen.

      It’s equally easy to imagine that Hansen made a slip of the tongue when speaking to Reiss. I have done hundreds of public speeches, Q&As, and interviews – and made many (too many) such errors.

      It’s easy to imagine that Hansen made one of the bold confident predictions of doom – perhaps getting carried away. And when caught on it, he might have displayed the level of ethics commonly seen in the climate wars – and just retconned the date from 2020 to 2030.

      We’ll never know the truth. So I didn’t include it in this list. We have more than enough predictions to test.

    1. Ron,

      That’s excellent work, as always for Dr. Curry. But she is not an expert in sea level, and her report is a literature review – not a forecast.

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