The Met Office announced today temperatures around the world averaged 1.02C above the 1850-1900 period between January and September this year – with human activity and carbon emissions to blame. But Dr Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Warming Policy Foundation, said the El Niño weather pattern pushes up temperatures globally and is followed by La Nina which brings temperatures back down again. He said: “This El Niño is similar to the strong 1998 El Niño where temperatures rose globally. It’s always the same, it’s nothing to do with global warming, it’s a natural event. The big debate is how much we’re contributing to climate change but in this case the natural factors are much more dominant.” –Alix Culbertson, Daily Express, 9 November 2015
It is widely accepted that the warmth observed in 2014 – 2015 and probably in 2016 is not due to a sudden increase in anthropogenic global warming but due to short-term natural effects such as the El Nino and the so-called “Pacific blob.” Without these natural effects (also known as weather) those years would be statistically indistinguishable from all the other years of the past fifteen years or so – instead of being a little above them. El Nino years are warmer than others but they are followed by cooler years, as was the case after the El Nino years of 2003, 2006, 2010 and it will probably be the case for 2015. Typically La Nina years have sea surface temperatures about 1.5 °C lower with some regions being 3-5°c lower than El Nino years. All things considered it’s likely that we will see a global cooling after the El Nino. The “hiatus” in global temperature has not gone away, it is being modulated by El Ninos. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 9 November 2015
The tropical Pacific seemed out of sorts this August, as oceanographer Kelvin Richards and his team cruised along the equator east of the Marshall Islands. The sea surface across the region was abnormally warm, with water temperatures at least 1 °C higher than expected. And when the oceanographers peered below the surface, they found signs of intense turbulence extending hundreds of metres down. The team had found itself cruising through a spectacular El Niño warming event — one that may become the strongest ever recorded. The last time a major El Niño developed, in 1997–98, extreme weather and flooding killed thousands and left a quarter of a billion people in Asia homeless. It also helped to jack up global temperatures to a point never recorded before. —Quirin Schiermeier, Nature, 20 October 2015
The UN has grossly exaggerated the benefits of a proposed deal on climate change, which will reduce global warming by as little 0.05C, according to a study. The deal, due to be signed by almost 200 countries in Paris next month, will cost the EU hundreds of billions of pounds a year to implement but will have a negligible impact on rising temperatures, said Bjorn Lomborg, an economist and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Dr Lomborg accused Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), of making a “phenomenally misleading” claim that the Paris deal could reduce the increase in average temperature to 2.7C, close to the agreed target of 2C. –Ben Webster, The Times, 10 November 2015
It seems the closer we get to the much-hyped climate summit in Paris, the fuzzier the numbers seem to become. The UN’s own climate chief has previously written off working towards averting 2 degrees Celsius of warming as compared to pre-industrial levels (a benchmark scientists have rallied around as a kind of threshold past which the effects of climate change get scarier). But a recent UN Environment Program (UNEP) report isn’t ruling that 2C target out as we head into what’s being heralded as a historic conference in Paris later this month. It looks a lot like UNEP is fiddling with the conditions of its climate modeling in order to produce a politically expedient result. There’s something deeply unsettling about the fact that the UN program can revive a goal that seemed to be all but dead these recent months with some behind-the-scenes tinkering. The American Interest, 9 November 2015
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