Ill-informed claims of hiatus warming

Well-disinformed comments here prompt a repost from a valuable source of good sense: Matt Ridley. His blog post, Whatever happened to global warming? was published in the Wall Street Journal in September, 2014. Its lessons remain eminently digestible and they deserve to bat for another spell—metaphors that are indeed well mixed.

The U.N. no longer claims that there will be dangerous or rapid climate change in the next two decades. Last September, between the second and final draft of its fifth assessment report, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change quietly downgraded the warming it expected in the 30 years following 1995, to about 0.5 degrees Celsius from 0.7 (or, in Fahrenheit, to about 0.9 degrees, from 1.3).

Even that is likely to be too high. The climate-research establishment has finally admitted openly what skeptic scientists have been saying for nearly a decade: Global warming has stopped since shortly before this century began.

First the climate-research establishment denied that a pause existed, noting that if there was a pause, it would invalidate their theories. Now they say there is a pause (or “hiatus”), but that it doesn’t after all invalidate their theories.

Alas, their explanations have made their predicament worse by implying that man-made climate change is so slow and tentative that it can be easily overwhelmed by natural variation in temperature—a possibility that they had previously all but ruled out.

When the climate scientist and geologist Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia wrote an article in 2006 saying that there had been no global warming since 1998 according to the most widely used measure of average global air temperatures, there was an outcry. A year later, when David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London made the same point, the environmentalist and journalist Mark Lynas said in the New Statesman that Mr. Whitehouse was “wrong, completely wrong,” and was “deliberately, or otherwise, misleading the public.”

We know now that it was Mr. Lynas who was wrong. Two years before Mr. Whitehouse’s article, climate scientists were already admitting in emails among themselves that there had been no warming since the late 1990s. “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998,” wrote Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in Britain in 2005. He went on: “Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.”

If the pause lasted 15 years, they conceded, then it would be so significant that it would invalidate the climate-change models upon which policy was being built. A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) written in 2008 made this clear: “The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more.”

Well, the pause has now lasted for 16, 19 or 26 years—depending on whether you choose the surface temperature record or one of two satellite records of the lower atmosphere. That’s according to a new statistical calculation by Ross McKitrick, a professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada.

It has been roughly two decades since there was a trend in temperature significantly different from zero. The burst of warming that preceded the millennium lasted about 20 years and was preceded by 30 years of slight cooling after 1940.

Finally, a plea to my fine readers: kindly quote the passage you wish to address, so there’s no mistaking what you’re talking about, and, whether you agree or disagree with someone, and however their viewpoint agrees with or differs from yours, practise the charms of courtesy and despise abuse.

3 Thoughts on “Ill-informed claims of hiatus warming

  1. Dennis N Horne on February 4, 2018 at 3:07 pm said:

    Congratulations: First Prize for Intractable Stupidity coupled with Invincible Ignorance.
    Average temperature for the month was 20.3C, more than three degrees higher than normal

    No, it’s not “proof”, just the “natural” consequence of global warming and climate change.

    All datasets show warming. (You are blinded by internal variability)
    Global warming, also referred to as climate change, is the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system and its related effects.[1][2] Multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate system is warming.[3][4][5] Many of the observed changes since the 1950s are unprecedented in the instrumental temperature record which extends back to the mid-19th century, and in paleoclimate proxy records covering thousands of years.[6]

    In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report concluded that “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”[7] The largest human influence has been the emission of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Climate model projections summarized in the report indicated that during the 21st century, the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 0.3 to 1.7 °C (0.5 to 3.1 °F) in the lowest emissions scenario, and 2.6 to 4.8 °C (4.7 to 8.6 °F) in the highest emissions scenario.[8] These findings have been recognized by the national science academies of the major industrialized nations[9][a] and are not disputed by any scientific body of national or international standing.[11][12]

    Future climate change and associated impacts will differ from region to region.[13][14] Anticipated effects include increasing global temperatures, rising sea levels, changing precipitation, and expansion of deserts in the subtropics.[15] Warming is expected to be greater over land than over the oceans and greatest in the Arctic, with the continuing retreat of glaciers, permafrost and sea ice. Other likely changes include more frequent extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, heavy rainfall with floods and heavy snowfall;[16] ocean acidification; and species extinctions due to shifting temperature regimes. Effects significant to humans include the threat to food security from decreasing crop yields and the abandonment of populated areas due to rising sea levels.[17][18] Because the climate system has a large “inertia” and greenhouse gases will remain in the atmosphere for a long time, many of these effects will persist for not only decades or centuries, but for tens of thousands of years to come.[19] [continues]

    We are in the shit.

  2. Chris Morris on February 5, 2018 at 6:27 am said:

    You should go back to crashing planes, Dennis, something you have a lot more skill at.
    Are you saying that a single month of high temperatures in NZ is proof of global warming? What about the record cold in the USA, a lot bigger area? Or is that just weather? Even Australia has had higher temperatures 1900 years ago than what they had this summer.
    As you seem to be able to quote the IPCC to suit your purposes, you would know that they also say this in AR5 WG1
    “Despite the robust multi-decadal warming, there exists substantial interannual to decadal variability in the rate of warming, with several periods exhibiting weaker trends (including the warming hiatus since 1998) (Figure TS.1). The rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998– 2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to +0.15] °C per decade) is smaller than the trend since 1951 (1951–2012; 0.12[0.08 to 0.14] °C per decade). Trends for short periods are uncertain and very sensitive to the start and end years. For example, trends for 15-year periods starting in 1995, 1996, and 1997 are 0.13 [0.02 to 0.24] °C per decade, 0.14 [0.03 to 0.24] °C per decade and 0.07 [–0.02 to 0.18] °C per decade, respectively.”
    So even they say there is and will be hiatuses.

  3. Brett Keane on February 13, 2018 at 11:15 am said:

    Chris, what do the error bars there say about the data? Brett

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