The researchers compared predictions of 22 widely used climate "models" — elaborate schematics that try to forecast how the global weather system will behave — with actual readings gathered by surface stations, weather balloons and orbiting satellites over the past three decades.
The study, published online this week in the International Journal of Climatology, found that while most of the models predicted that the middle and upper parts of the troposphere —1 to 6 miles above the Earth's surface — would have warmed drastically over the past 30 years, actual observations showed only a little warming, especially over tropical regions.
"Can the models accurately explain the climate from the recent past? It seems that the answer is no," said lead study author David H. Douglass, a physicist specializing in climate at the University of Rochester.
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