About That Global Warming Pause

By Keith Kloor | April 8, 2013 12:37 pm

There’s an old saying, If you don’t like the weather in [insert your state] ____, just wait five minutes.

Something similar could be said for climate change media coverage. For example, maybe you didn’t think much of a Telegraph story from a month ago, which warned that global warming was going to be catastrophic for the UK. Not to worry: This week, the Telegraph has a piece you might like better, headlined:

Global warming: time to rein back on gloom and doom?

Marc Morano, at spinmeister central, is doing cartwheels over it. Naturally, the latest, greatest climate controversy  (#982) is more complex than climate skeptics would have you believe. Still as Fred Pearce writes at Yale Environment 360, 

there is a growing consensus among temperature watchers that the pace of warming in the atmosphere, which began in earnest in the 1970s and seemed to accelerate in the 1990s, has slackened, or stalled, or paused, or whatever word you choose. It may turn out to be a short blip; but it is real. “Although the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest on record, warming has not been as rapid since 2000,” says Pete Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the UK’s Met Office, one of the leading keepers of the global temperature. He calls it a “hiatus” in warming.

Pearce does a good job of explaining the possible causes, none of which can be used as an excuse to stop being concerned about anthropogenic climate change. Given that every new climate pronouncement or development is exploitive fodder for partisans (on both sides), I wish that the pause in warming–however temporary it might be–was accompanied by a pause in the noxious politics of the climate debate.

 File:Instrumental Temperature Record.svg

[Via Wikimedia commons, graph above “shows the instrumental record of global average temperatures as compiled by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia and the Hadley Centre of the UK Meteorological Office.”]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, global warming, select
  • Buddy199

    This is a lot like Vietnam. A somewhat provincial, insignificant issue that suddenly assumes vastly overblown importance as a proxy for a larger ideological battle.

    • chadke

      Obscure issue? CO2 not causing the catastrophic warming that was “settled science”? I believe that the alarmist hypothesis has been severely damaged due to this fact, (yet climate models don’t seem to have been revised to account for it), and it is interesting to see some of the doom-mongers slowly implementing their exit strategy.

  • JonFrum

    ” I wish that the pause in warming–however temporary it might be–was accompanied by a pause in the noxious politics of the climate debate.”

    “Marc Morano, at spinmeister central,”

    Pot: kettle.

  • David

    When I examine the graph and reconsider variability, I do wonder how sceptics can be certain global warming has stopped, and we have now entered into a global cooling phase.

    I am reminded of friends who insisted (before the war) that Saddam Hussein had no banned weapons. They did not reach this conclusion after a careful study of all research documentation; they simply detested Tony Blair and George Bush, and they would embrace any information that affirmed their preconceived opinion.

    “I was right all along”, my friend boasted after the war, as if he possessed superior knowledge.

    Sometimes I pose the following question: What if scientists are looking through the wrong end of the telescope and it was the Sun all along, exactly like Anthony Watts says. Could I accept his ceaseless bragging or do I prefer heat to accumulate faster in order to prove him wrong.

    Let’s hope the obstructers are correct.

    • Steve Crook

      Well, it all depends what you mean by “the warming has stopped”. Literally, and statistically, it *is* true.

      When looked at from the perspective of the action of CO2 in the atmosphere, then no of course it hasn’t. Part of what has made this a big deal was the complete reluctance of the climate establishment to *publicly* address a ‘downgrade’ of climate sensitivity until relatively recently.

      It was amusing to see Geoffrey “we’re doomed we’re all doomed” Lean taking this stance, I wonder if the Koch brothers have been getting to him :-)

      Planet warming? Yes.
      Bad as we thought from the 90s? Probably no.
      Do we have still have to do something about it? Yes.
      Do we have to do it all in the next 20 years to ‘save the planet’? No.
      Is this good news? Yes.

      • chadke

        Planet warming? Maybe. If it has been the warming is too insignificant to actually be measured.

        Bad as we thought from the 90’s Absolutely, empirically proven not to be. The rate of warming since then has collapsed.

        • jh

          The rate of warming may have collapsed for the moment, but the “pause” tells us nothing about the rate of warming for the future.

          What it does tell us is that we cannot successfully predict future temperature changes except in terms of broad generalizations.

      • jh

        Nice summary Steve.

    • chadke


  • http://www.facebook.com/cees.devalk.1 Cees de Valk

    Why show data up to 2006? It is 2013 now. There are many up to date graphs around on internet (and even in newspapers :). And why not refer to the excellent recent article in the Economist for an overview of the issues? ( http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21574461-climate-may-be-heating-up-less-response-greenhouse-gas-emissions ). It is much more to the point than Pierce’s collection of quotes.

    • Keith Kloor

      I linked to the Economist piece.

  • Icarus62

    In reality the Earth has been absorbing heat as fast as ever (in fact twice as fast in the last decade as in the two before that). The heat has mostly been going into the oceans in the last few years as we’ve had no strong El Niño conditions in the Pacific to release heat to the atmosphere.


    This continuing accumulation of heat is reflected in continuing global sea level rise and the catastrophic decline of Arctic sea ice (September ice volume has declined by over 80% in just the last 30 years).

    In other words: The climate is following the known physics and continuing to heat up, under the influence of our huge emissions of greenhouse gases.

    • chadke

      It’s no longer September. Also a storm broke up 30% of it in August 2012 according to NASA.This accumulation of heat in the ocean actually has been measured, and it’s not accelerating. Any parts of the ocean that can’t be measured, are being touted as where the “hidden energy” is being stored.

  • highly_adequate

    Perhaps only in climate science would the failure of a prediction be dismissed without further ado as being certainly due to causes other than defects in the original model and theory.

    If the failure of a prediction, which was never anticipated in any way, does not make you at least entertain seriously the possibility that the model behind that prediction suffered from serious error, then what kind of scientist are you?

  • Tom Scharf

    Remember that AGW theory states that the temperature is supposed to “increase at increasing rate” (accelerate, curve upwards) with BAU carbon output. So a pause in warming is actually “double bad” for the AGW theory. Not only is it not accelerating, it is decelerating. If we only had another 0.8C of warming this century, then most people aren’t that concerned.

    We will have to wait and see what happens. What this should convince most people of is that nobody really has a good handle on climate sensitivity yet. Our best science just isn’t that good. Why this is so hard to admit is beyond me.

    Personally I expect it to keep warming, although I have never bought into high sensitivity estimates. You have to follow the data in science.

    Those pretending this doesn’t “matter”, or who feel compelled to show “adjusted” temperature graphs are only fooling themselves.

    • Buddy199

      Every time I hear the doom and gloom pitch about anything I’m immediately suspicious of “the angle” of the doomsayer. Global warming hyperbole, WMD’s, the systemic bank bail-out, GMO’s, flouride, sequester – same snake oil, different bottle. The grain of truth in any of it almost always turns out to be laughably smaller than originally advertised. I’d rather be s skeptic than a sucker.

  • jh

    Hey, cool chart, Keith! Did you notice it ends in 2005? That shortens the “pause” quite nicely.

    Noxious politics, here we go!

    “the latest, greatest climate controversy (#982) is more complex than climate skeptics would have you believe”

    Oh, really? :) It seems that climate is also quite a bit more complex than the “maintstream” climate science had imagined right up to the last few months. What this tells is about the climate itself is almost nothing. What it tells us about the projections produced by mainstream climate science is very, very important:

    The work is incomplete. The precision is poor. The conclusions are suspect. The level of certainty of those conclusions has been dramatically overstated.

    “none of which can be used as an excuse to stop being concerned about anthropogenic climate change.”

    Concerned? Even skeptics are concerned about climate. The question is this: should we translate that concern into economically disruptive action? The answer to that question is unequivocally NO.

    • http://www.facebook.com/leonard.weinstein.58 Leonard Weinstein

      My concern is that we are probably near the end of the present interglacial, and cooling (much worse than warming in effect) is more likely. So yes I am concerned about climate, but for opposite reasons than warmest. The best possible outcome is that CO2 slows the cooling. If we try to reverse warming, it likely would accelerate cooling. A classic case of unintended concequences.

      • BBD
        • jh


          I’m not expecting a new glacial epoch for a variety of reasons, but the methodology used in the paper you cite doesn’t inspire confidence. Looks like a “the modelling says” SOS paper – and an outdated one to boot. Many advances in carbon cycle knowledge since 2005.

          Why is it that so many scientists latch on to papers in the literature as though once a conclusion has been published it’s now part of the Laws of Physics? :) Crappy papers are published all the time – IME, about 80% of peer-reviewed lit isn’t worth a damn.

          • BBD

            I’m not expecting a new glacial epoch for a variety of reasons, but the
            methodology used in the paper you cite doesn’t inspire confidence.

            You are going to have to be much more specific than this. Otherwise, I just read you as saying “I don’t like this so I am going to reject it on emotional grounds alone”.

            The rest of what you say demonstrates exactly the confirmation bias you assert – but do not demonstrate – afflicts ‘scientists’ once a study is published.

            My impression is exactly the opposite – everything is fair game, and a published study is often as not simply regarded as a nice, fat target 😉

  • jh

    Incidentally, many of the lower estimates of climate sensitivity are derived from studies that are independent of the global temp record. So it’s not the “pause” that’s driving this reassessment of sensitivity. If the pause goes away tomorrow, many of those estimates of lower sensitivity will remain.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rick-Halas/100001025406920 Rick Halas

      As well to consider is deforestation and its contribution to AGW. Very interesting new TED Talk about how modern animal agricultural grazing practices are contributing to desertification of lands – also leading to global warming. Seems kind of self evident and indeed witnessed in many countries throughout the world which have let goats eat everything in sight. The real insight of the TED talk, and proven by the speaker in a large number of cases, was that by mimicking pre-human animal grazing patterns, essentially migratory, that even the most thoroughly desert lands can be successfully reclaimed to grow plants again – changing the local climate.

  • David Young

    What has people talking and rises above the political noise (and there is plenty of that on all sides) is serious scientists who are publishing work showing that climate sensitivity is probably a lot lower than previous IPCC estimates. Nic Lewis and James Annan come to mind. There is a good thread at Annan’s blog where Nic Lewis made a lengthy appearance and defended his work in very calm and convinging terms. Part of the problem with the IPCC reports is faulty statistical methods that tend to inflate the numbers. This of course is not a new problem in climate science. Seems like these people can’t humble themselves enough to consult real statisticians and have them on their teams as one is virtually required to do in medicine if you want to be taken seriously. The Mann is of course a pioneer in this field of “original” and flawed statistics. But, I forgot, he won the Nobel prize!!

    Anyway, this serious science is what has skeptics talking. Not so much at Real Climate, the official organ of the Team. Their silence is deafening. Lewis even made an appearance there and was rather convincing.

    The team I believe bears a large share of responsibility for the politization of the field. After all they are supposed to be the grown ups in this discussion. Their tactics of smearing those who disagree and their general arrogance are palpable. Where else do you see comments answered IN LINE so that no heretical statement has credibility. This is grossly unfair to commenters who don’t get a chance to make their case. But that’s what hubris does when you try to control every aspect of the debate and use “communication” to achieve a prescribed outcome.

  • ozonator

    They can’t spell “fool” or have estate sales without “U” –

    “Denier Delingpole Wishes For ‘Climate Nuremberg’, Says ‘Hanging Is Far Too Good’ For Climate Scientists!” (By Joe Romm; thinkprogress.org, 4/7/13).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000864878907 Steve El

    Heating of oceans – biggest heat sink in the entire system – never “slowed”


    • http://www.facebook.com/leonard.weinstein.58 Leonard Weinstein

      Sorry, but there has been no significant heating of oceans at least the last decade.

    • JonFrum

      NOAA says otherwise. But then you blog buddies know better.


      • rightthinking

        If you had read the link posted by Steve El, you would know that it references ocean heat content down to the full depth of 2000 ft, whereas the link you posted only goes to 700 ft. In fact it refutes in detail the point that you are trying to make by posting this graph.

  • BBD

    The usual twaddle in comments by the usual suspects who don’t really get it.

    In summary:

    – Climate sensitivity estimates that are done properly point firmly to an ECS/2 x CO2 between 2.5C and 3C, probably nearer 3C

    – Carbon cycle feedbacks may push ECS higher.

    – Most (>90%) of the energy accumulating in the climate system is in the oceans (Levitus et al. 2012).

    – The rate of diffusion into the ocean is not constant (Meehl et al. 2011)

    – A slight increase in the rate at which energy diffuses into the global ocean reduced the rate of *atmospheric* warming over the last decade.

    – Energy entering the upper ocean layer does not all remain there. Much is returned to the ocean surface and heats the atmosphere.

    – This all-but guarantees the return of a strong warming trend sometime in the next few years.

    • highly_adequate

      You do realize, don’t you, that all of these post hoc “explanations” of the far lower than predicted global temperatures would be many times more convincing if they were in any way anticipated in the original predictions?

      Doesn’t it make you in the least uncomfortable that’s it’s only AFTER the original predictions failed that these supposed explanations were offered? If climate scientists couldn’t have foreseen these supposed explanations, and worked them into the uncertainties in their original predictions, why should we believe that they really possess the deep understanding of the climate they claim to? Why should their evident ignorance in advance of the potential impact of these phenomena inspire any confidence that they ever knew with certainty what they were talking about, or that they do now?

      • BBD

        It’s all in the Charney Report, way back in 1979:

        One of the major uncertainties has to do with the transfer of the increased heat into the oceans. It is well known that the oceans are a thermal regulator, warming the air in winter and cooling it in summer. The standard assumption has been that, while heat is transferred rapidly into a relatively thin, well-mixed surface layer of the ocean (averaging about 70 m in depth), the transfer into the deeper waters is so slow that the atmospheric temperature reaches effective equilibrium with the mixed layer in a decade or so. It seems to us quite possible that the capacity of the deeper oceans to absorb heat has been seriously underestimated, especially that of the intermediate waters of the subtropical gyres lying below the mixed layer and above the main thermocline. If this is so, warming will proceed at a slower rate until these intermediate waters are brought to a temperature at which they can no longer absorb heat.

        • BBD


          On time scales of decades, however, the coupling between the mixed layer and the upper thermocline must be considered. The connections between upper and lower ocean are generally presumed to have response times of the order of 1000 years, the essential coupling being local vertical diffusion and formation of bottom water at high latitudes. This ignores the mechanism of Ekman convergence of the surface mixed layers in the large subtropical gyres, which pumps water down into the upper thermocline over more than half the ocean surface area, a reservoir much larger than that of the mixed layer alone, The connections between the upper-thermocline reservoir and the deep ocean may indeed require very long time constants, but the carbon and heat budgeting on the decadal time scale must account properly for the potentially large reservoir directly beneath the mixed layer.

          • Guest

            BBD throws sticks and stones at the advancing tanks.

          • BBD

            Teh Stupid speaks!

        • highly_adequate

          I repeat, if climate scientists possessed the sort of deep understanding of the factors that affect climate they pretend to, why weren’t these factors worked into the actual models doing the predicting?

          I’m sure discussion of all kinds of phenomena that would allow incorrect predictions to be explained away existed many years ago — obviously the complexity of the factors that work into climate is great, and would pretty much guarantee this.

          But the fact that these factors were not singled out beforehand and figured into the uncertainties of the prediction demonstrates pretty well that climate scientists did NOT have the sort of certainty to which they pretended.

          Again, why should we believe their equally certain claims now? Frankly, they seem only less credible to me if they don’t entertain the possibility that they were seriously wrong to begin with.

          • BBD

            We have now been through this and you are now repeating yourself.

          • highly_adequate

            I repeat myself because you evade the point yourself.

          • BBD

            You repeat yourself because you are a contrarian bore who has not read/understood the words.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.woodworth.56 Elizabeth Woodworth

    There has been much deliberate confusion about the status of global warming.
    This April essay (Part I) presents new and startling evidence about the three assassinations of the 1960’s, and how they have stunted our knowledge of history, and thus our wisdom in governing. The unseen forces that were at work in the sixties have never been opposed and have been retarding an effective media and citizen response to
    the facts about climate change. http://www.globalresearch.ca/50-years-of-suppressed-history-new-evidence-on-the-assassination-of-john-f-kennedy-martin-luther-king-and-robert-f-kennedy/5329847

    Part II: The whole Keystone debate has nothing to do with
    jobs, investigative reporting, or an informed public — and everything to do with narrow industry profits, election campaign chests, and industry-backed media fog. As this April 7 essay shows, an
    enormous gulf exists historically between scientific consensus on climate
    change and public awareness, with the media giving equal time to believers and deniers.

  • David Young

    Since the “usual suspects” are here including the libelous and nasty BBD, let me just cite some science. From the Economist: “Work by Julia Hargreaves of the Research Institute for Global Change in Yokohama, which was published in 2012, suggests a 90% chance of the actual change being in the range of 0.5-4.0°C, with a mean of 2.3°C. This is based on the way the climate behaved about 20,000 years ago, at the peak of the last ice age, a period when carbon-dioxide concentrations leapt. Nic Lewis, an independent climate scientist, got an even lower range in a study accepted for publication: 1.0-3.0°C, with a mean of 1.6°C. His calculations reanalysed work cited by the IPCC and took account of more recent temperature data. In all these calculations, the chances of climate sensitivity above 4.5°C become vanishingly small.” Actually Annan and Hargreaves got a linear sensitivity of 1.7K but accounted for various nonlinearities and have been vague about an exact number, because climate models vary a lot in terms of how large the nonlinear effect is. But, I guess it must be 2.5 – 3.0K, based on something that must be told directly to us, I guess because we are not capable of judging for ourselves, but must have the truth handed down from on high for us to accept like sheep. Bear in mind that all the studies in the AR4 were based on uniform priors, a flawed statistical method that inflates the numbers. Those interested can see a recent thread on Real Climate where Lewis and Jewson weighed in on this and encountered no pushback, a rather odd circumstance for the glitterati at Real Climate if there is even the slightest doubt that a skeptic is wrong.

    I don’t think anyone knows what the exact number is, but the fact is that recent estimates have been substantially lower than the IPCC dogma from AR4 as quoted here by the usual alter boy.

    • BBD

      Same old misrepresentations and anti-science dogma from the man invisible to google scholar but synonymous with a particularly nasty coal-sponsored denier…


  • Tom Fuller

    There are two dogs that didn’t bark in the night.

    The consensus dog lets pass the fact that not only have temperatures stalled, they have done so during a period where humans have emitted one-third of all their CO2 in history. And temperatures haven’t risen.

    The skeptic dog ignores the troubling fact that, even as many natural pseudo-cycles have entered a negative phase which would logically work to lower temperatures, temperatures have not fallen. They have merely stalled.

    One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.

    • BBD

      Tom still doesn’t understand the difference between OHC and tropospheric temperature. Read Levitus (2012) and Meehl (2011) and Lyman (2010). All are linked on this thread. All are full pdfs, not just abstracts.

      Pretending to sound reasonable while actually misleading people is not helpful, Tom.

  • jh

    But here’s an interesting media question: if the global temp holds steady over the next 5-10 years, what will happen to the cottage industry of climate websites? Can they transition to a new business model? Will the loss of the climate industry have a long-term impact on the economy? What will the Koch’s do with the hundreds of millions that they supposedly pour into anti-warming propaganda? What about the Pew Trust, the Skoll Foundation, and other NGOs pouring their money into pro-warming propaganda? What about the millions in Federal expenditures now poised for future climate research, allocated on the presumption that destructive climate change was imminent?

    What – OMG, What! – will become of “sustainability science”?

    • BBD

      When the strong warming trend resumes, what then for the denial industry?


      • highly_adequate

        You know, you make it your business to pretend that the current wholly unanticipated (if it were anticipated, it would have been built into the models) plateau in global warming means nothing — Nothing!! — about the quality of understanding of climate captured by the climate models.

        Does it not occur to you that that does really put you in a good position to talk about “denial”, and “denialists”?

        Really, who’s in denial about what?

        • BBD

          I “pretend” nothing of the sort. Do not misrepresent me.

          I linked you to a seminal thirty four year old report showing that the rate at which energy diffuses into the ocean will *directly* affect the rate of atmospheric warming. I’m not in denial about anything. More self-serving misrepresentation. SOP for you lot, I might add.

          Repetition is clearly unavoidable. Read it this time:

          – Most (>90%) of the energy accumulating in the climate system is in the oceans (Levitus et al. 2012).

          – The rate of diffusion into the ocean is not constant (Meehl et al. 2011).

          – A slight increase in the rate at which energy diffuses into the global ocean reduced the rate of *atmospheric* warming over the last decade.

          – Energy entering the upper ocean layer does not all remain there. Much is returned to the ocean surface and heats the atmosphere.

          – This all-but guarantees the return of a strong warming trend sometime in the next few years.

          • BBD

            You can comfort yourself with the reflection that not only do the models fail to predict the recent *increase* in the rate of energy diffusion into the ocean, they also under-predict the rate of Arctic ice loss caused by the flux of warm water into the Arctic Ocean.

            You might want to think about that, if you can mange it.

          • highly_adequate

            The usual climate stasis denialist reaction formation: “Actually things are even worse than we thought!!”

            Just please spare us of the hysterics.

          • BBD

            You appear to be having some difficulty thinking.

          • highly_adequate


            How hard is it to get my point?

            If this report had great credibility at the time it was issued, why weren’t its conclusions built into the uncertainties in the model?

            If the model had at the time the correct understanding of the factors that figure into climate — which all the claims of certainty through the years and the dismissal of all doubters as irrational “denialists” would imply — why didn’t the models reflect this “finding”?

            Look, you can keep pretending that things are the same as before this plateau came to pass, and that the same certainties and confidence apply to the judgment of scientists who were behind the original prediction, but that is just denialism itself, with its true and proper meaning.

          • BBD

            The Charney report was *the* authoritative document of its day. If you were at all familiar with the history of climate science, you would know this.

            The AOGCMs *do* produce periods of hiatus. None of them demonstrates monotonic warming. You are either creating a strawman on purpose or you don’t know much about what model runs actually show.

            Given your fixation on models, I suspect you don’t really understand the role they play in the bigger picture. It may surprise you. For example, were you aware that James Hansen himself was profoundly sceptical about models?


            [TH:] A lot of these metrics that we develop come from computer models. How should people treat the kind of info that comes from computer climate models?

            [Hansen:] I think you would have to treat it with a great deal of skepticism. Because if computer models were in fact the principal basis for our concern, then you have to admit that there are still substantial uncertainties as to whether we have all the physics in there, and how accurate we have it. But, in fact, that’s not the principal basis for our concern. It’s the Earth’s history-how the Earth responded in the past to changes in boundary conditions, such as atmospheric composition. Climate models are helpful in interpreting that data, but they’re not the primary source of our understanding.

            [TH:] Do you think that gets misinterpreted in the media?

            [Hansen:] Oh, yeah, that’s intentional. The contrarians, the deniers who prefer to continue business as usual, easily recognize that the computer models are our weak point. So they jump all over them and they try to make the people, the public, believe that that’s the source of our knowledge. But, in fact, it’s supplementary. It’s not the basic source of knowledge. We know, for example, from looking at the Earth’s history, that the last time the planet was two degrees Celsius warmer, sea level was 25 meters higher.

            And we have a lot of different examples in the Earth’s history of how climate has changed as the atmospheric composition has changed. So it’s misleading to claim that the climate models are the primary basis of understanding.

          • jh

            But BBD, why didn’t climate scientists foresee this supposedly settled science? :-)

            Why aren’t tornadoes or hurricanes increasing? Why is precipitation not coming in greater dousings? Why is flooding not increasing? Why is drought not significantly increasing?

            Why are all these things that the physics predicts simply not happening?

          • BBD

            Why are all these things that the physics predicts simply not happening?

            They are happening, but the various aspects of the anthropogenic signal are only just beginning to emerge from the climate noise.

            Precipitation *is* increasing, although it is early days yet – see Donat et al. (2013) Drought is also beginning to increase – see Dai (2012)

            Interestingly, the last decade has been characterised by devastating flooding and heat waves around the world. You can easily verify this yourself.

      • jh

        Perhaps we’ll move on to denying that GM foods are dangerous and thus retain most of the same opponents. 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Babu-G-Ranganathan/1326164630 Babu G. Ranganathan


    Dr. Larry Vardiman (scientist and physicist) of the Institue for Creation Research says:

    “One possible scenario may be found
    in a recent series of articles by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Marsh,
    cosmic ray specialists from Denmark, who have shown an indirect
    connection between galactic cosmic ray (GCR) intensity and global
    temperature.7,8,9 They are studying the influence of the Sun on the flow
    of GCR to Earth. The Sun’s changing sunspot activity influences the
    magnetosphere surrounding the Earth permitting more GCR to strike the
    Earth during high periods of activity.

    When the Sun is active, the intensity of GCR striking the Earth is
    increased, causing more ionization in the atmosphere, creating more
    carbon-14, and possibly creating more cloud condensation nuclei (CCN).
    This increase in CCN, in turn, appears to create more low-level clouds
    which cool the Earth. When the Sun is quiet the GCR intensity striking
    the Earth is reduced, allowing the Earth to warm. Svensmark and Marsh
    have shown a striking statistical correlation between sunspot activity
    and global cooling and warming over the past 1000 years.

    The recent rise in global temperature may partially be due to
    current low solar activity supplemented by a recent increase in carbon
    dioxide concentration measured at Mauna Loa. The connection which still
    needs further study is the production of CCN and clouds by GCR.”

    There is a good deal of science showing that global warming is not
    mad made. Yes, we still should have pollution controls, as we already
    do, but not to the extreme because it will unnecessarily hurt business.

    Visit my newest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION

    Babu G. Ranganathan
    B.A. Bible/Biology


  • mtvessel

    Keith Kloor writes:


    Naturally, the latest, greatest climate controversy (#982) is more complex than climate skeptics would have you believe


    Isn’t the point of all this is that the climate controversy is more complex than supporters of the IPCC consensus would have you believe? The science isn’t settled and is still in its infancy

  • Tom Scharf

    I’ve got to agree that the graph shown in this post about a pause in warming that only shows data up to 2006 is very “Mannesque” in nature. Is it really that hard to find up to date data?

    Apparently it is. I did an image search for global temperature record and most of the images come back like this. Data at least 5 years old.

    I find this very strange. I’d like to rattle of a conspiracy theory here, but this is probably not the case. Curiously the first up to date version I found was from Forbes. Anyway it is instructive to see the correct data.


    • BBD


      Instead of wasting time posting insinuations of conspiracy on the Internet (it’s a slippery slope!), learn to use an online data viewer instead. Conspiracist ideation is unhealthy, Tom!

      Here is your free sample. Don’t say I never do anything for you 😉

      GISTEMP, HadCRUT4, NOAA Global 1900 – 2012 annual means

    • BBD

      Looking up, I see that Keith has used what looks like HadCRUT3, so here’s a version of that graph using HadCRUT4.

      And Tom, do try to keep in mind that “global warming” hasn’t stopped or even slowed down. The energy is in the oceans – for now.

      For “global warming” to stop, we would need to cancel the laws of physics, which really isn’t going to happen.

      It’s far simpler to re-examine one’s political bias and adjust one’s outlook to fit reality than expect reality to accommodate that lead-booted conservative POV.


  • http://www.facebook.com/james.evans.102977 James Evans

    “Pearce does a good job of explaining the possible causes, none of which can be used as an excuse to stop being concerned about anthropogenic climate change. Given that every new climate pronouncement or development is exploitive fodder for partisans (on both sides)…”

    As per usual on this blog, the lack of self-awareness is striking. Or are you classing yourself as a partisan? It would certainly be refreshingly honest.

    BTW, why look at smoothed graphs, when the non-smoothed graphs make the situation far more easy to understand:


    See the pattern? I think most five-year-olds would see it. And it makes a mockery of the experts who were surprised by the “pause”. But that’s where we are at the moment with climate science. The experts desperately trying to work out if there is a statistically significant difference between their a*se and their elbow.

    • BBD

      If you are talking about a quasi-oscillation with a period of roughly 60yr then pretending the experts were unaware of it is, to put it bluntly, dishonest.

      The interesting part is the long-term trend. That would be AGW, obviously, and that is the problem. Blips on the up-escalator aren’t really that important unless you are trying to construct a misleading argument from natural variability.

      You wouldn’t be doing that, would you?


      • http://www.facebook.com/james.evans.102977 James Evans


        “If you are talking about a quasi-oscillation with a period of roughly 60yr then pretending the experts were unaware of it is, to put it bluntly, dishonest.”

        Good grief. This is all becoming so utterly surreal. I’m being dishonest, you say. Because the experts ARE aware of the “quasi-oscillation”. (To manage to put a partisan slant on the word “oscillation” is a truly, truly impressive achievement.)

        So, this oscillation, which may or may not be “quasi” (don’t even bother to point me at your sources) is well known to the experts. Excellent. However, I’m guessing that the “quasi” nature of this oscillation indicates (as far as you are concerned) that the whole thing is a massive coincidence. Nothing can be read into this phantom-oscillation, and the experts were right to be surprised that the phantom reappeared recently.

        “The interesting part is the long-term trend. That would be AGW, obviously, and that is the problem.”

        No, not obviously. Not even close to obviously. Do I have to bring the five-year-olds in again?

        The long-term trend becomes “AGW, obviously” when the experts show that they understand what the heck is going on. But they don’t understand what the heck is going on. If they did understand, then they wouldn’t be continuously startled by the wobbles of a graph.

        “Blips on the up-escalator aren’t really that important unless you are trying to construct a misleading argument from natural variability.
        You wouldn’t be doing that, would you?

        A “misleading argument from natural variability.” So, you understand the scope of natural variability. Finally, someone gets it. Fantastic. I believe you.

        So… would you be prepared to make a bet with me? Not a huge bet. (As a gardener I earn a ridiculously small amount of money.) I will bet £500 that over the next twenty years, global average temps as measured by the Met Office do something very similar to the temps in 1880-1910 and 1940-1970.

        (Obviously, when you take me up on this we’ll have to firm up the precision of the wording.)

        • BBD



          – Oscillations are the result of energy *moving around* within the climate system.

          – The long term trend is the result of energy *accumulating* in the climate system.

          – Oscillations are the result of natural variability.

          – The long term trend is the result of forcing.

          – Oscillations do not produce trends.

          You sound as confused as ever 😉

          • http://www.facebook.com/james.evans.102977 James Evans

            “- Oscillations are the result of energy *moving around* within the climate system.”

            Yes. Of course. That’s well-defined. The day/night temperature oscillation is due to energy *moving around* the climate system.

            “- The long term trend is the result of energy *accumulating* in the climate system.”

            Yes. Of course. Like the way we have gone in and out of glacial periods for the last few million years. It’s a long term trend going up/down, and it’s all about accumulation.

            Wait, hang on. Isn’t a long term up-down trend an oscillation?

            “- Oscillations are the result of natural variability.”

            OK. Got it, I think. Days, seasons, glacials. Natural variability.

            “- The long term trend is the result of forcing.”

            OK. So no forcing for days, seasons, and glacials.

            “- Oscillations do not produce trends.”

            Well, how could they? It would be absurd. I feel a lot less confused now that you’ve sciencified the whole thing.

          • BBD


            You say:

            Yes. Of course. Like the way we have gone in and out of glacial periods for the last few million years. It’s a long term trend going up/down, and it’s all about accumulation.

            Wait, hang on. Isn’t a long term up-down trend an oscillation?

            The glacial cycle is a *forced response* to changes in orbital dynamics. What is happening now has nothing to do with orbital dynamics.

          • jh

            BBD, do you agree that the long term temp trend has dropped to the edge, if not out, of the proposed error region for model projections?

          • BBD

            Close to the edge but not out of. And it makes *no difference* as I have already explained at length on this thread. AGW proceeds apace. Don’t confuse surface temperature for the actual rate of accumulation of energy within the climate system. Don’t confuse a short-term hiatus with the longer term effect.

  • http://twitter.com/Aquilagrande Knut Holt

    Right now we have global cooling. I do not like it. I had hoped the global warming was for real, because I want a warner climate, but now I have my doubt about the whole concept of global warming. The increased amount of CO2 probably do as thay say, but many other factors contribute in the opposite direction right now, and probably for some time, perhaps a long time. Perhaps we even need that global warming effect to save us from a new ice age in the long term.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.


See More

Collapse bottom bar