No warming for up to 25 years, but now…
The indomitable, indefatigable, never-say-die UK Met Office (under the spell of the IPCC) predicts that warming is set to “continue”, even though there’s been no global warming to speak of for about 25 years. Wonderful. In fact, the entire UAH satellite dataset from December 1978 to November 2015 (37 years) shows global warming at a yawn-inducing rate of just 1.14°C per century, well within natural variability. Stupendous.
In strong sycophantic voice, the Guardian trumpets the latest Met Office pronouncement of future warming (repeated uncritically by the Herald this morning) to fortify our delightful delusions of disaster.
Global temperatures will continue to soar over the next 12 months as rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions and El Niño combine to bring more record-breaking warmth to the planet.
The only thing soaring has been an over-active imagination. Surprisingly, the Met Office identifies just two factors causing the earth’s temperature: human emissions of CO2 and El Nino (ENSO): one of so little effect it could be imaginary and the other powerful, wholly unpredictable but natural. Our best efforts against them would be ruinous but leave both of them untouched.
According to the Met Office’s forecast for the next five years, 2016 is likely to be the warmest since records began.
Ideologically-driven repetition of the lie that current temperatures are unprecedented does not improve the credibility of the lie. Numerous studies show global temperatures throughout the Holocene to have been higher than the present day.
Some global warming deniers have claimed that the current El Niño alone was responsible for making last year a record one, with the effects of carbon emissions being irrelevant. But Smith [Dr Doug Smith, a Met Office expert on long-term forecasting] rejects these claims.
That’s pretty rude. Dr Smith claims people with questions about the Met Office’s explanations are denying global warming. Curiously, I have questions about the next bit, so let’s see how it works. I’m fairly certain my questions neither depend on nor lead to a denial of global warming.
“We have had El Niños before,” he said. “The one in 1997-98 was particularly intense. Nevertheless, global temperatures were less then than they were in 2015 — and that is because background heating caused by increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are [sic] higher today than they were [sic] in 1997-98.”
Fair enough. Now here are my questions. How much warming was caused since 1997 (18 years) by human emissions? What was the total increase in global temperatures during that time? I believe the correspondence between atmospheric carbon dioxide and temperature change is nowhere near as certain as Smith makes out.
Watch out for excuses
2017 is likely to see a dip in global temperatures. “We can be pretty sure there will be a drop that year,” added Smith.
After that, temperatures could start to rise again over the rest of the decade. “Whether one of these years — 2018, 2019, 2020 — overtakes 2016 in terms of temperature is very hard to predict at this stage,” said Smith. “We are looking quite far into the future, after all.”
Here come the excuses. He starts using vague fudges such as “likely”, “could” and “hard to predict”. Then an unexpected killer blow for the warmist arguments: “We are looking quite far into the future, after all.”
So he presumes to lecture us for creating dangerous temperatures over the next 85 years, but begs our forgiveness if he gets the temperatures wrong over just five years? I’d say his climate ignorance is exceeded only by his audacity. His long-term predictions must have greater margins of error than the short-term, but no forgiveness will be possible for getting it wrong—the enormous sacrifice he demands from us makes it impossible.
What could he say? “Sorry I ruined everything.”
One reason for such uncertainties is a lack of precise knowledge about the heating of the oceans. “If you want to measure climate change you need to have precise information about the total energy of the planet and most of that is stored in the ocean,” said Smith.
The global mean surface temperature was the accepted metric of global warming when the UNFCCC was created. That’s how it was measured: atmospheric temperature at an altitude of two metres. Notice that it’s named the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, not the UN Framework Convention on Ocean Warming UNFCOW). Only after the surface temperature refused to rise for many years did the warmists shift the emphasis to ocean heat content. That was to save face, whatever they say now, not to more accurately describe the science.
A “lack of precise knowledge” means Dr Smith knows nothing about the ocean heat content. Which is because we don’t have many thermometers in the ocean, especially at great depth, below 2000 metres. He’s making this stuff up.
First, the Met Office (following IPCC) predict that temperatures by 2100 (pdf, 1.6 MB) could be 6°C higher than 1986–2005, and they don’t rule out 7°C or 8°C higher. Of course, that’s impossible, but he says our predictions for the next five years could be wrong (sorry!). Then he finally admits that to “measure” climate change you must know “precisely” the planet’s total energy, most of which is in the ocean, but he does not know how much it is. Which means his predictions for 2100 are fabricated. Concerning the ocean, he’s hopelessly out of his depth.
But what about the context
“Recently temperature rises on the land slowed and people said global warming had stopped. That was never true. The ocean heat content went up all the time.”
So it did, but he should quantify it. Last year, Christopher Monckton used Argo data to show ocean heat content was indeed rising, but only at about 0.23°C per century. This is being caused by the sun, not by our minor additions to a trace atmospheric gas. Lord Monckton adds the following poignant facts about the Argo project to put the numbers into a realistic context.
Actually, it is not known whether the ocean is warming: each of the 3600 automated ARGO bathythermograph buoys takes just three measurements a month in 200,000 cubic kilometres of ocean — roughly a 100,000-square-mile box more than 316 km square and 2 km deep. Plainly, the results on the basis of a resolution that sparse (which, as Willis Eschenbach puts it, is approximately the equivalent of trying to take a single temperature and salinity profile at a single point in Lake Superior less than once a year) are not going to be a lot better than guesswork.
This gives a good picture of the enormous scarcity of temperature readings in the ocean, but warmists place great faith in data they agree with. Finally, the Guardian tries for a knockout punch to have us all believing in the coming cataclysm.
Research catching up with ideology
The release of the Met Office study comes as another group of scientists revealed research that shows the last 30 years were probably the warmest Europe has experienced in more than two millennia. An international team used tree ring records and historical documents to reconstruct yearly temperatures going back 2,100 years and discovered there was no period as warm as the last 30 years.
It’s amazing how research is catching up with ideology. Several recent studies have removed the Medieval warm period, the Roman warm period and the Minoan warm period—although some evidence shows almost the entire Holocene (pdf, 1.3 MB) was warmer than today. Yet the IPCC, in its first report in 1990, showed them clearly (https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/far/wg_I/ipcc_far_wg_I_full_report.pdf, p.202). Hard to believe the data in papers from around the world supporting the temperatures in those periods were all incorrect.
It’s more likely the IPCC looked elsewhere for different data, since higher temperatures only 700 years ago makes one’s claim of unprecedented temperatures seem false, if temperatures are not unprecedented they’re highly unlikely to be dangerous, and no doubt the IPCC tries very hard not to mislead.