Evaluating the performance of past climate model projections

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Hausfather, Zeke
Drake, Henri F.
Abbott, Tristan
Schmidt, Gavin A.
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Retrospectively comparing future model projections to observations provides a robust and independent test of model skill. Here we analyze the performance of climate models published between 1970 and 2007 in projecting future global mean surface temperature (GMST) changes. Models are compared to observations based on both the change in GMST over time and the change in GMST over the change in external forcing. The latter approach accounts for mismatches in model forcings, a potential source of error in model projections independent of the accuracy of model physics. We find that climate models published over the past five decades were skillful in predicting subsequent GMST changes, with most models examined showing warming consistent with observations, particularly when mismatches between model‐projected and observationally estimated forcings were taken into account.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2020. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 47(1), (2020): e2019GL085378, doi:10.1029/2019GL085378.
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Hausfather, Z., Drake, H. F., Abbott, T., & Schmidt, G. A. (2020). Evaluating the performance of past climate model projections. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(1), e2019GL085378.
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