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Whatever Happened to Global Warming?

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  • Whatever Happened to Global Warming?

    The article named in the thread title is behind a pay wall at the WSJ; however, there is an excerpt posted September 5 by Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That (I recommend a reading of all the links in the article):
    Now come climate scientists’ implausible explanations for why the ‘hiatus’ has passed the 15-year mark.

    By MATT RIDLEY

    THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

    On Sept. 23 the United Nations will host a party for world leaders in New York to pledge urgent action against climate change. Yet leaders from China, India and Germany have already announced that they won’t attend the summit and others are likely to follow, leaving President Obama looking a bit lonely. Could it be that they no longer regard it as an urgent threat that some time later in this century the air may get a bit warmer?

    In effect, this is all that’s left of the global-warming emergency the U.N. declared in its first report on the subject in 1990. 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.

    This has taken me by surprise. I was among those who thought the pause was a blip. As a “lukewarmer,” I’ve long thought that man-made carbon-dioxide emissions will raise global temperatures, but that this effect will not be amplified much by feedbacks from extra water vapor and clouds, so the world will probably be only a bit more than one degree Celsius warmer in 2100 than today. By contrast, the assumption built into the average climate model is that water-vapor feedback will treble the effect of carbon dioxide.

    But now I worry that I am exaggerating, rather than underplaying, the likely warming.

    Full story here.

  • #2
    Water Vapor Feedback and the Global Warming Pause

    Matt Ridley, writing for the Wall Street Journal, said at the bottom of my OP excerpt:
    I was among those who thought the pause was a blip. As a “lukewarmer,” I’ve long thought that man-made carbon-dioxide emissions will raise global temperatures, but that this effect will not be amplified much by feedbacks from extra water vapor and clouds, so the world will probably be only a bit more than one degree Celsius warmer in 2100 than today. By contrast, the assumption built into the average climate model is that water-vapor feedback will treble the effect of carbon dioxide.

    Roy Spencer says something a bit similar in his newest blog post on the subject:
    Global warming is the predicted result of increasing atmospheric CO2 causing a very small (~1-2%) decrease in the rate at which the Earth cools to outer space though infrared radiation. And since temperature change of anything is always the result of net gains and losses of energy, a decrease in energy lost leads to warming.

    The direct effect of that warming is only about 1 deg. C, though (in response to an eventual doubling of CO2 late in this century). Climate models instead project 2 to 3 times as much warming as that, due to “positive feedbacks” in the climate system.

    Spencer explains the science here.
    Last edited by John Reece; 09-10-2014, 12:00 PM.

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