The Pacific “Blob” And The Global Warming Pause

oceanSomething strange is happening to the north Pacific. It is setting sea temperature records, scrambling weather patterns, damaging ecosystems, and nudging up the global temperature. The scientists who have observed it call it after what it looks like on temperature maps of the Pacific ‚Äì behold the “blob.” The warmth of 2015 so far and the expectation that it will get even warmer has already given rise to headlines that the “pause” has ended and that global warming has resumed. However one does not follow from the other. The “blob” and the El Nino are weather events not climate, natural fluctuations and not long-term trends. Their contribution to world temperature does not represent a resumption of long term anthropogenic warming in the same way that the cool year of 2007 did not represent the onset of a rapid decline in global temperature. –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 6 September 2015

We knew almost two years ago that there was something strange happening in the north Pacific. Usually in the Gulf of Alaska huge storms in the wintertime mixes the water down super deep and cools the ocean quite a lot … but we didn’t have those storms in the Winter of 2014-15. So the water stayed warm all Winter, and when Spring came the water was already warmer by several degrees than normal, and then of course it got warmer because of the Sun. These temperatures are above anything we have seen before. –Bill Peterson, NOAA Northwest Fish Science Center

Sea level rise poses one of the biggest threats to human systems in a globally warming world, potentially causing trillions of dollars’ worth of damages to flooded cities around the world. As surface temperatures rise, ice sheets are melting at record rates and sea levels are rising. But there may be some good news amid the worry. Sea levels may not rise as high as assumed. To better understand global sea level rise, Winnick and Caves analyzed the middle Pliocene warm period, the last time in Earth’s history, approximately 3 million years ago, when carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were close to their present values (350-450 parts per million). “Our results are tentatively good news,” Winnick said. “They suggest that global sea level is less sensitive to high atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations than previously thought. In particular, we argue that this is due to the stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which might be more resilient than previous studies have suggested.” –Miles Traer, Stanford University, 3 September 2015

One of Britain’s top climate scientists has launched a blistering attack on actress Emma Thompson and the BBC, accusing them of ‘scaremongering’ over the speed of global warming ‚Äì and risking a worsening of the refugee crisis. Richard Betts, head of climate impacts research at the Met Office and a professor at Exeter University, launched his attack on Twitter about an interview Ms Thompson gave to Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis last Wednesday. The actress, a Greenpeace activist who that morning had taken part in a protest against Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, warned that if the drilling went ahead, the world would be a staggering 4C hotter by 2030. –David Rose, Mail on Sunday, 6 September 2015

Nobody is taking much notice anymore of this kind of habitual [Greenpeace] campaigning. Now that even President Obama has given the green light to ‘drill-baby-drill’ the Arctic, greens are becoming ever more shrill and isolated. And because fossil fuels are cheap and abundant for decades to come, no country is willing to give up extracting, selling and using as much as remains economical. ‚ÄìBenny Peiser, Daily Caller News, 2 September 2015

I have come to the conclusion that the worst almost never happens — the vast majority of dire predictions by negative commentators and supposed experts are simply nonsense. Mankind developed a capacity to imagine terrible outcomes as an insurance policy so we could avoid threats and disasters. But being constantly in dread of fresh catastrophes is impractical and taints our judgment. Those who expect to be unhappy or ill or a failure are more likely to succumb to their anxieties. Always remember that throughout history the pioneers have been exalted, while the doomsayers are forgotten. –Luke Johnson, The Sunday Times, 6 September 2015