The Missing Hot Spot


Meteorologist Craig James, new Squire columnist

This headline is not meant to be a description of Rockford’s nightlife. It is a description of one of the problems with the computer models in regards to global warming. I’ve written many times before, the supposed catastrophic effects of human-induced global warming from increasing CO2 have only been seen in computer model forecasts. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article showing how the computer models were making false assumptions about the atmosphere and coming up with incorrect forecasts about warming. Let’s take a look at one of those forecasts and see how the models are performing.

One of the main tenants of global-warming theory is that if greenhouses gases are warming the planet, that warming will happen first in the layer of air 20,000-40,000 feet above the tropics. All 20-odd-climate models predict warming there first—it’s the fingerprint of greenhouse gas warming, as opposed to warming by some other cause. The hotspot is not incidental to IPCC climate theory—it lies at its heart, because the same water vapor feedback I wrote about earlier produces the hotspot and doubles or triples the temperature increases predicted by the IPCC climate models.

So what does this hot spot look like in the computer models? The first graphic shows the hot spot as forecast by four of the global models.

You can clearly see the warm colors indicating where the hot spot should be, which is between 100 and 300 millibars or approximately 20,000 to 40,000 feet above the ground.

The second graphic shows balloon, or radiosonde, data at those levels going all the way back to 1958. The balloon data shows that the area in question has not warmed but has actually cooled, especially since the 1970s.

This data shocked the alarmists who expected a hotspot to confirm their theory. Alarmists now dispute the data, saying it is so poor that it cannot show any pattern. But radiosondes can reliably detect temperature differences of 0.1°C, and the hotspot would be at least 0.6°C warmer. There are currently nearly 800 sites worldwide that release radiosondes twice each day—they cannot all have missed the hot spot. We have been reliably using this data to make weather forecasts since the 1950s and aircraft sensors have also verified the data.

Therefore, since the hot spot isn’t there, either the radiosonde data from balloons is wrong or global-warming theory is wrong. But if the climate modelers would turn down the water vapor feedback in their models enough so their theoretical forecasts actually matched the observed temperature pattern, then the predicted temperature increases due to projected carbon emissions would be greatly reduced and would no longer be of much concern.

The human-induced theory of global warming makes very few claims we can test within a reasonable timeframe (say a decade or two). However, the development of a hotspot in the warming pattern is one of them. If we had found a hotspot, it would have been a major confirmation of the theory. However, we have measured the atmosphere and found no hotspot. End of story, the computer model forecasts of catastrophic warming are wrong.


Craig James has been retired since July 1, 2008, after 40 years of broadcasting television weather.

He was chief meteorologist at WZZM-TV for

12 years and chief meteorologist at WOOD-TV for 24 years. He is a graduate of Penn State University, where he received a Centennial Fellowship Award. He was also honored as a Fellow of the

American Meteorological Society.


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