Climate Model Failures in the Southeast Pacific Ocean
Zheng, Y., Shinoda, T., Lin, J.-L. and Kiladis, G.N. 2011. Sea surface temperature biases under the stratus cloud deck in the Southeast Pacific Ocean in 19 IPCC AR4 coupled general circulation models. Journal of Climate 24: 4139-4164.
Hoping to lessen this uncertainty, and based on 20-year (1980-1999) model runs of the "Climate of the Twentieth Century" simulations of the nineteen CGCMs that figured prominently in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), Zheng et al. examined systematic biases in SSTs under the stratus cloud deck in the SEP and upper-ocean processes relevant to those biases, attempting to isolate their causes. So what did they find?
The four U.S. researchers learned that  "pronounced warm SST biases in a large portion of the southeast Pacific stratus region are found in all models,"  "negative biases in net surface heat fluxes are evident in most of the models,"  "biases in heat transport by Ekman currents largely contribute to warm SST biases both near the coast and the open ocean,"  "in the coastal area, southwestward Ekman currents and upwelling in most models are much weaker than observed,"  "in the open ocean, warm advection due to Ekman currents is overestimated,"  "negative biases (cooling the ocean) in net surface heat flux are found in most CGCMs,"  "positive biases in shortwave radiation are found in most models," because  most models "do not generate sufficient stratus clouds," and, last of all,  "most CGCMs underestimate alongshore winds and coastal upwelling."
With such yet-unresolved problems associated with nearly all of the CGCMs that were employed in the preparation of the IPCC's AR4 Report and that pertain to processes that are said to have important impacts on Earth's climate sensitivity, it is no wonder that the projections of those models are greeted with a solid dose of skepticism by those who realize that it is the height of folly to use the output of such imperfect models as the reason for wanting to entirely restructure the way mankind acquires the energy that makes possible our current level of industrial and technological development.
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