Grasping For Pause-ible Deniability On Climate Change

earth sun risingClimate change has a major problem on its hands: the Earth’s average surface temperature has failed to significantly increase in nearly two decades, and all this despite ever-increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Unlike the globe, this controversy has been simmering for the past several years. Skeptics have increasingly pointed to the pause as proof they were right all along while the warming faithful’s reaction to the ever-mounting evidence provides a perfect case study in modern psychology’s  Five Stages of Loss and Grief.

  • Stage 1: Denial. When observers began to sound the alarm on a lack of rising temperatures as predicted by climatologists’ computer models, the climate-change crowd simply refused to acknowledge the data. “The ‘pause’ in global warming is not even a thing,” declaredThe Guardian.
  • Stage 2: Anger. Take Slate’s Phil Plait, for instance: “As I, and many others, have pointed out time and again, all they [those that point to the pause] have is noise. The problem is, they’re loud, and they have convinced some media they have something to say (c’mon CNN, really?) when really they don’t.”
  • Stage 3: Bargaining. A popular rebuttal, and one espoused by the Washington Post, held that using 1998 as the beginning date for a supposed “pause” was cherry-picking data. Because ’98 was an El Nino year, it was hotter than most, and therefore an unfair starting point. Or if not that, then the heat was in the oceans. Or whatever.
  • Stage 4: Depression. Despite the good news that global warming had stayed steady or even possibly declined, the media could only focus on the idea that 2014 was supposedly the hottest year ever recorded, despite plenty of subjectivity surrounding the data.

As anyone that has struggled with grief knows, however, these emotions are necessary. Only after hitting rock bottom can the healing begin, which brings us to Stage 5: Acceptance.

Has Climate Change Alarmism Hit Rock Bottom?

Now, after a roller coaster of emotions and barrage of media tantrums, it seems the issue is settled, sort of. In a recent paper in the journal Science, a team of researchers actually acknowledges the pause and attempts to explain it. But it’s not just any team—it includes prominent climate-change crusader and plaintiff to right-wing pundits Michael Mann.

Mann’s endorsement of a pause is about as close to acceptance as possible, the theological equivalent of Richard Dawkins saying, “Okay, so maybe there’s a God.” It was Mann that created the infamous “hockey stick” graph so often referenced by the climate-change crowd.

But Mann’s admission comes with a qualifier. Oscillations in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans have created what he conveniently labels a “false pause,” and when it has run its course global warming will accelerate even faster than it never did before. When does this Mad Max-style scenario start? Well no one can say for sure, but it’s coming, just you wait.

Not surprisingly the media was quick to trumpet Mann’s theory, and the impending doom it predicts, rather than any admission of an actual pause.

“The Pause in Global Warming is Finally Explained,” Scientific Americanassures us; “The global warming slowdown is real—but that’s no reason to question climate science,” sneers the Washington Post; “Scientists now know why global warming has slowed down and it’s not good news for us,” proclaims a recent headline on Quartz.com.

Let’s Accept the Skeptics’ Arguments, But Not Their Conclusion

As is often the case with predicting the climate, however, the certainty proclaimed in the headlines is anything but certain. This isn’t the first time researchers have attempted to explain what they have previously denied. To date, there are more than 52 scientific theories attempting to solve the pause that doesn’t exist, from a lazy sun to trade winds to the wrong types of El Niño’s. But for some reason Mann’s explanation is the one; 53 is apparently the magic number.

Yet Mann’s paper blames the pause on ocean currents that have been simulated in climate models for years. And the “natural variability” that he refers to is exactly what many skeptics have proposed just might be missing. In fact, very qualified researchers have been insisting that the role of the sun—you know, the star that warms the planet—has been vastly understated.

Mann’s paper encapsulates perfectly the issue between skeptics of climate change and the hard-core believers: something in the models is always missing that is later found. What was wrong last time has been corrected, even though last time nothing was wrong. The same models that are considered gospel always come up short, only to be revised as gospel yet again.

Everyone understands that climate change research is tricky; countless variables constantly interacting with one another at ever-changing time and distance scales. And studying the Earth’s climate is indeed a worthwhile pursuit. But there is nothing scientific about denying actual, physical data, in this case the global average temperature over two decades. And nothing is academic or open-minded about demonizing an entire portion of the population pointing out the obvious by labeling them “deniers” as if they doubt the Holocaust.

If climate science is to truly progress, we need real acceptance that areas of the research are flawed. And that’s okay; refining and improving experiments lies at the very heart of scientific endeavor.

Don’t expect full acceptance anytime soon, however. In fact, a recent Nature paper defends the accuracy of the very models that failed to predict the very pause that didn’t exist that now does exist but only because the models were wrong. No, this is not a Zen koan: it’s modern climate science.

But it doesn’t have to be.

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  • Avatar

    Dr Norman Page

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    The climate models on which the entire Global Warming delusion rests are built without regard to the natural 60 and more importantly 1000 year periodicities so obvious in the temperature record. The modelers approach is simply a scientific disaster and lacks even average commonsense .It is exactly like taking the temperature trend from say Feb – July and projecting it ahead linearly for 20 years or so. They back tune their models for less than 100 years when the relevant time scale is millennial. This is scientific malfeasance on a grand scale.
    The temperature projections of the IPCC – UK Met office models and all the impact studies which derive from them have no solid foundation in empirical science being derived from inherently useless and specifically structurally flawed models. They provide no basis for the discussion of future climate trends and represent an enormous waste of time and money. As a foundation for Governmental climate and energy policy their forecasts are already seen to be grossly in error and are therefore worse than useless. A new forecasting paradigm needs to be adopted.
    For forecasts of the timing and extent of the coming cooling based on the natural solar activity cycles – most importantly the millennial cycle – and using the neutron count and 10Be record as the most useful proxy for solar activity check my blog-post at
    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2014/07/climate-forecasting-methods-and-cooling.html
    The most important factor in climate forecasting is where earth is in regard to the quasi- millennial natural solar activity cycle which has a period in the 960 – 1020 year range.For evidence of this cycle see Figs 5-9. From Fig 9 it is obvious that the earth is just approaching ,just at or just past a peak in the millennial cycle.
    I suggest that more likely than not the general trends from 1000- 2000 seen in Fig 9 will likely generally repeat from 2000-3000 with the depths of the next LIA at about 2650. The best proxy for solar activity is the neutron monitor count and 10 Be data. My view ,based on the Oulu neutron count – Fig 14 is that the solar activity millennial maximum peaked in Cycle 22 in about 1991. There is a varying lag between the change in the in solar activity and the change in the different temperature metrics. There is a 12 year delay between the neutron peak and the probable millennial cyclic temperature peak seen in the RSS data in 2003. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1980.1/plot/rss/from:1980.1/to:2003.6/trend/plot/rss/from:2003.6/trend
    There has been a cooling temperature trend since then (Often mis-interpreted as a “pause”) There is likely to be a steepening of the cooling trend in 2017- 2018 corresponding to the very important Ap index break below all recent base values in 2005-6. Fig 13.
    The Polar excursions of the last few winters in North America.are harbingers of even more extreme winters to come more frequently in the near future

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Gator

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      NASA used to have a most useful page that allowed one to see recent photos of their weather stations (it’s gone now). Using that and Google Earth, one could identify stations whose locations were not being overly affected by land use changes. I would select mostly Midwestern sites to avoid any marine influences, and because in small towns in the flyover states, infrastructure has changed very little in over a century.

      What I found was a slight cooling trend over the last 100+ years, and not the warming cited by urban dwelling alarmists. UHI more than accounts for any ‘global’ warming signal seen in the broader surface data.

      I agree that we are in no danger of warming, and that we should instead be preparing for a cooler Earth, and the consequences that will bring.

      Thanks for the links and your work Dr Page.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Tab Numlock

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    I, for one, am very disappointed that the promised warming hasn’t shown up. It seems we’ll have to be satisfied with just the increased crop yields from added CO2. Unfortunately, that’s all being squandered on biofuels.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Michael B. Combs

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    Carl Mears, a senior scientist at Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, California, was quoted in a newspaper article as saying that those who choose to minimize climate change threat start the “pause” in 1998 because of the strong El Nino condition then. This ignores scientists such as CRU’s Phil Jones who credits the pause beginning in 1995, and others who cite 1996. However, the charges of cherry picking are a form of cherry picking, since they ignore the natural warming rebound from the Little Ice Age, the coldest period of the past 10,000 years, that shrank glaciers and raised sea level more before 1950 than after. And as an example of cherry picking of the most egregious sort, the four preceding periods of much greater natural warming – Holocene Optimum, Minoan, Roman, and Medieval – are totally omitted from natural climate change consideration. To alarmists the climate change since 1950 (during which over half the time it’s been cooling or not warming) is ruled by a short period when warming and increased atmospheric CO2 coincided, with no thought that in that same period of rising CO2, most of the time it was not warming. In fact, non-CO2 related events – El Nino and La Nina – explained the temperature fluctuations far better than CO2. Greenland ice core and North Atlantic sediment core studies place our current warming in the bottom of warming during the past 10,000 years. Only by discarding all climate change knowledge prior to 1950 (and much since then) can the alarmists support their wobbley hypothesis.

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    Paul H

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    Mann’s theory falls at the first hurdle, as the AMO has been in warm phase since the mid 1990’s.

    It will turn cold in the next decade and then cooling will really start

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Gator

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    Witches were once blamed for the Black Death, and the consensus was so strong, that they burned innocent women at the stake. Then science advanced and we learned that it was not witchcraft, but bacteria, and we stopped immolating the innocent and solved the problem.

    Today the superstition is human caused Climate Change, or Green Death, that the witch burners are blaming on evil humans. The hysteria has not changed much, but instead of burning the bodies of witches, the superstitious now burn the careers of innocent skeptics.

    Leftists always think that they are so much smarter than those that came before them, and time and again we see that they are not. And as always, the innocents pay the price for their idiotic and misplaced arrogance.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Crakpot

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    Here’s a quick fix for those climate models:

    IF temperature of CO2 < temperature of surface, THEN heat transfer = zero

    Reply

  • Avatar

    GR82DRV

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    I find it staggering that these “sophisticated” models rarely if ever account for what should be the greatest potential variable; solar activity. This alone ought to engender skepticism of if not indignation for the politically correct templates being applied to a scientific endeavor.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    William Teach

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    [i]Has Climate Change Alarmism Hit Rock Bottom?[/i]

    No. It may never hit bottom. This is mostly a political issue from Progressives, who’s solutions tend to be the same as their solutions for everything else: higher taxes, redistribution, bigger and bigger government, and more government control of citizens, private entities, and economies. They will never let go and admit they were wrong. If anything, they will just switch their talking points.

    If a typical Holocene cool period started tomorrow, they would blame it on man-induced climate change.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Gator

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      [quote]Has Climate Change Alarmism Hit Rock Bottom?[/quote]

      Ethically and scientifically, yes.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Tony Kondaks

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    At the end of the day, I suspect that it will turn out that the Earth’s climate is a self-regulating system that has its own agenda — irrespective of man’s — that will easily incorporate and adapt to any excess CO2 and other greenhouse gases that are spewed into the atmosphere. It is only man’s hubris, as George Carlin pointed out in his brilliant “Save the Planet” routine, that leads us to think that we can actually influence the environment to such an extent that we could actually throw the Earth off its own climate course.

    Reply

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