Reuters: Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown

Posted: April 16, 2013 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Article from Reuters. The big media outlets are in open revolt it seems..

Greenhouse effectsScientists are struggling to explain a slowdown in climate change that has exposed gaps in their understanding and defies a rise in global greenhouse gas emissions.

Often focused on century-long trends, most climate models failed to predict that the temperature rise would slow, starting around 2000. Scientists are now intent on figuring out the causes and determining whether the respite will be brief or a more lasting phenomenon.

Getting this right is essential for the short and long-term planning of governments and businesses ranging from energy to construction, from agriculture to insurance. Many scientists say they expect a revival of warming in coming years.

Theories for the pause include that deep oceans have taken up more heat with the result that the surface is cooler than expected, that industrial pollution in Asia or clouds are blocking the sun, or that greenhouse gases trap less heat than previously believed.

The change may be a result of an observed decline in heat-trapping water vapor in the high atmosphere, for unknown reasons. It could be a combination of factors or some as yet unknown natural variations, scientists say.

Weak economic growth and the pause in warming is undermining governments’ willingness to make a rapid billion-dollar shift from fossil fuels. Almost 200 governments have agreed to work out a plan by the end of 2015 to combat global warming.

“The climate system is not quite so simple as people thought,” said Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish statistician and author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” who estimates that moderate warming will be beneficial for crop growth and human health.

Some experts say their trust in climate science has declined because of the many uncertainties.

Read the rest here

Comments
  1. tgmccoy says:

    Nice day to put this out what with the Boston Bombing North Korea’s tantrums and the Iran quake.
    One card is abut to be removed from the house of cards…

  2. Good to see Richard Tol getting quoted by mainstream, the times they are a changin.

  3. Of course the pause may be due to the way the temperature record has been obtained. There is a graph of the number of temperature stations vs. global temperatures and the correlation between the reduction in stations and the rapid rise in temperature is remarkable.

    http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/nvst.html

    If the number of stations over the last 20 years is now relatively stable and the method of computing global temperatures is now also stable then things like UHI effects would be also relatively stable so we may now be getting an accurate reflection of global temperatures and the fiddling with the older temperature records would not be important as those records are before the reduction in the number of stations. This would mean that supposition that these last years have been much warmer than previous years is a fallacy, perhaps they are just a bit warmer and the temperature records are at fault.

  4. The “house of warming cards” is falling indeed. I think the tide has turned however the political battle has not yet been won. The problem is politics , not dealing with the facts but what one (rulers, elected or not EU) WANTS. This wanting has infiltrated all levels of discussion. This is not a pleasant state of affairs.

  5. Curious George says:

    Let me advance another theory: As the atmosphere warms up, we get more clouds and more of incoming solar energy gets reflected back into space. Where can I find a measurement of a cloud cover?

  6. and another theory – that it’s all to complex and unstable to be ‘explained’.

  7. tallbloke says:

    They’re just refusing to look at the relevant parameters. I think it’s known in psychology as being in denial.

  8. tallbloke says:

    Cloud cover diminished as temp rose 1980-1997 according to Palle et al and ISCCP.

  9. tchannon says:

    Mention of station instability reminds me of this 2011 article where I plot station location variation

    ghcn-locus-1

    Figure 1

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/station-change-over-time-and-ghcn-v2/

    An additional problem is technology change, particularly the recent introduction of computer based AWS and changes in screens.

    Then we have the chain saw problem… site environments being allowed to degenerate.

  10. james griffin says:

    If AGW was happening it would leave it’s footprint, namely a warming of the Tropical Troposphere in the form of hotspots. Despite eleven years of the Aqua satellite and twenty years of weather balloons there is no such evidence. Their predictions stem from ramping up the predicted affect of positive feedback and pretty much disregarding negative feedback.
    However the biggest blunder is that they have factored in CO2’s ability to create heat as linear when it is logarithmic. They were assuming that if you double CO2 you double the heat but it diminishes as you stack it up in an asymptotic curve. With us having had around 70%-80% of all the heat we will ever get from CO2 a doubling would produce about 1C of warming and a further doubling much less and so on until it fades nothing. This is why they are scratching their heads…they have the wrong calculation.

  11. Curious George says:

    Tallbloke, thanks. I am getting an exactly opposite information from your(?) source:

    citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.32.4261

    SUNSHINE, CLOUDS AND COSMIC RAYS. E. Palle Bago and C.J. Butler

    …. The sunshine records and the synoptic cloud records both indicate that the total cloud cover over the oceans has increased during the past century but the evidence for a low cloud decrease is unclear.

    [Reply] What’s with the question mark in brackets? I gave you two cites, both discussed here recently.
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/pinker-et-al-do-satellites-detect-trends-in-surface-solar-radiation/

  12. p.g.sharrow says:

    “The change may be a result of an observed decline in heat-trapping water vapor in the high atmosphere, for unknown reasons. It could be a combination of factors or some as yet unknown natural variations, scientists say.”

    The reduction in upper atmosphere water vapor is an effect from cooling, not the cause of the atmospheric cooling. These people need to go back to school and this time PAY ATTENTION. pg

  13. […] Click here to read the full article _____________________________________________ […]

  14. tckev says:

    WRT the cartoon –
    Our greenhouse has a moving roof.
    As you all know the sun affect our atmosphere and I like dropping on to the AGW true believers –

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/AGU-SABER.html
    and
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/15jul_thermosphere/

    So, what does that do for your calculations of a CO2 warm blanket nonsense theory?

  15. oldbrew says:

    ‘Many scientists say they expect a revival of warming in coming years’

    ‘Coming years’ – what other kind is there in the future? One for the Journal of Uncertainty Quantification there.

  16. michael hart says:

    It’s painful to watch, but they are getting there. Slowly.

  17. ntesdorf says:

    The scientists are not allowed to voice the obvious explanation : that CAGW is proven to be false. If they did that it would undermine the massive government-industrial-academic house of warming cards. The tide is turning but the oligarchy is ignoring it in order to continue its money gathering. This is what the government-industrial-academic oligarchy wants. Their greed for money has overwhelmed rational discussion.