Matt Ridley: Whatever happened to global warming?

Posted: September 5, 2014 by tallbloke in Accountability, alarmism, Analysis, climate, Forecasting

Via GWPF:

Matt Ridley: Whatever Happened To Global Warming?
Date: 05/09/14 Matt Ridley, The Wall Street Journal

whateverGWOn 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.

Most science journalists, who are strongly biased in favor of reporting alarming predictions, rather than neutral facts, chose to ignore the pause until very recently, when there were explanations available for it. Nearly 40 different excuses for the pause have been advanced, including Chinese economic growth that supposedly pushed cooling sulfate particles into the air, the removal of ozone-eating chemicals, an excess of volcanic emissions, and a slowdown in magnetic activity in the sun.

The favorite explanation earlier this year was that strong trade winds in the Pacific Ocean had been taking warmth from the air and sequestering it in the ocean. This was based on a few sketchy observations, suggesting a very tiny change in water temperature—a few hundredths of a degree—at depths of up to 200 meters.

Last month two scientists wrote in Science that they had instead found the explanation in natural fluctuations in currents in the Atlantic Ocean. For the last 30 years of the 20th century, Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung suggested, these currents had been boosting the warming by bringing heat to the surface, then for the past 15 years the currents had been counteracting it by taking heat down deep.

josh-hiatus

Visit cartoons by Josh and buy something!

The warming in the last three decades of the 20th century, to quote the news release that accompanied their paper, “was roughly half due to global warming and half to the natural Atlantic Ocean cycle.” In other words, even the modest warming in the 1980s and 1990s—which never achieved the 0.3 degrees Celsius per decade necessary to satisfy the feedback-enhanced models that predict about three degrees of warming by the end of the century—had been exaggerated by natural causes. The man-made warming of the past 20 years has been so feeble that a shifting current in one ocean was enough to wipe it out altogether.

Putting the icing on the cake of good news, Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung think the Atlantic Ocean may continue to prevent any warming for the next two decades. So in their quest to explain the pause, scientists have made the future sound even less alarming than before. Let’s hope that the United Nations admits as much on day one of its coming jamboree and asks the delegates to pack up, go home and concentrate on more pressing global problems like war, terror, disease, poverty, habitat loss and the 1.3 billion people with no electricity.

Comments
  1. AlecM says:

    No professional engineer or scientist taught standard physics accepts the absurd IR and Radiative physics used by IPCC modellers to justify ‘positive feedback’. The fact that organisations like the Royal Society claim Radiative Emittance (aka Exitance) is a real energy flux, the basis of the claim, is a major embarrassment because it is so easily disproved by experiment.

    In night vision equipment; the detector at the same temperature as the surroundings shows an image that shimmers, alternating light and dark at any position. What is really being detected is the thermal incoherence about zero mean flux, thus proving net energy flux is the vector sum of opposing emittances.

    Thus ‘back radiation’ does not exist except as an artificial construct from the measured temperature, a null point measurement. The no feedback ‘1.2 K CO2 Climate Sensitivity’ is reduced to zero by strongly negative feedback atmospheric processes. There is on average zero warming from any well-mixed greenhouse gas. For so many professional science organisations not to know basic physics is deeply embarrassing.

  2. oldbrew says:

    ‘leaders from China, India and Germany have already announced that they won’t attend the summit’

    The champion coal burners – no coincidence they think the summit is a waste of their time.

  3. tallbloke says:

    Added a new and brilliant cartoon from Josh.

  4. Chaeremon says:

    Matt Ridley writes: The U.N. no longer claims that there will be dangerous or rapid climate change in the next two decades.

    Does Ban Ki-moon know that?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ban-kimoon/now-is-the-time-to-act-on_b_5738574.html (09/02/2014)

    There he says: “I[he] have been pleased to see climate change rise …” and “Let us join forces to push back against skeptics and entrenched interests. Let us support the scientists, economists, entrepreneurs and investors who can persuade government leaders and policy-makers …” [emphasis and ellipses mine]

  5. Bob Weber says:

    The leaders of China, India, and Germany, among others, have scientists who have learned that the Sun is responsible for weather and climate changes, and therefore they have no reason to go along with the charade that has become “climate science”.

  6. Tenuc says:

    Matt Ridley’s brilliant article is yet another confirmation that most areas of science are now dead.

    Climate astrology is a classic example of how not to do science (using linear tools to try to understand a complex dynamic chaotic system) Another is physics which, despite much better observation, has made no real progress on important problems for ~100 years (cause: severing physics from reality at the time of the Copenhagen Interpretation).

    In both cases they need to go back and revisit the basics, then rebuild their knowledge on solid foundations.

  7. Doug Proctor says:

    I’ve just driven down through California, along the coast, across above Los Angeles to the Salton Sea, and up to Palm Springs. I am in the heart of the American southwest “mega” drought. I have spoken to no one who says it “climate change” is at fault. Each speaks of the history of the area being dry, of the failure – visible to many – of the winter snows that, upon melting, replenish the reserrvoirs. They also all talk of water management and over demand of water being the real problem behind the water crisis. Too much agriculture, too many people in an area prone to periods of dry.

    It is interesting that no one speaks of the temperature in “climate change” terms. Yes, they say that it has been unusually hot, but tell us that these 43C temperatures are nothing compared to the occassional 54C. They also note that while they have big heat other parts of the country are cold. Our discussions have made it clear to us that people are well aware of the disconnect between the case for generalized warming and what is going on in America. Oh, and nobody talks about ice levels in the Arctic.

    I suspected this would happen: what we see in the media not being reflected on the street. Unfortunately, in our democratic (sic) countries the governors and media create the story and feed it to the voters, not the other way around.

  8. Mike Flynn says:

    Edward Nelson,

    Nobody has ever managed to increase the temperature of a body without an internal heat source merely by surrounding it with CO2. You may not like what AlecM says. You may believe that Global Warming exists, or that Climatology is science, for all I know.

    It may have escaped your notice that only the truly dedicated and deluded Warmists continue to claim that the Earth is warming, The inconvenient truth is that it isn’t, can’t, and won’t, without Divine intervention.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

  9. Edward Nelson says: September 5, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    “Alec M,That is broad and off topic claim.”

    Since when?

  10. Paul Vaughan says:

    Has everyone noticed Climate Etc. recently (rather abruptly) abandoning integrity and decisively moving towards activism?

    When’s the next American election?

  11. Right AlecM, It would help if publicity was given to the fact that modern instruments have been designed by engineers and need to be calibrated and zeroed by engineers who understand the actual output signal (eg a current or voltage) and how this is applied to give a relative measurement (eg temperature or velocity). I do not know of any scientist who is capable of understanding basic measurements, prediction and correlation of physical properties (eg standard-state entropy or heat capacity), or dimensional analysis (ie dimensionless numbers such as the Nusselt Number used in heat transfer)

  12. cementafriend says: September 6, 2014 at 5:41 am

    “Right AlecM, It would help if publicity was given to the fact that modern instruments have been designed by engineers and need to be calibrated and zeroed by engineers who understand the actual output signal (eg a current or voltage) and how this is applied to give a relative measurement (eg temperature or velocity).”

    This is true but even with the best instruments it takes years to understand “what” is measured.
    What is attempted to be measured is “easy”. The actual numbers are always “AW shit”, utill way later on. The numbers however are pristine. The absolute bestest numbers of right now, right here, of whatever the hell we were measuring!

    “I do not know of any scientist who is capable of understanding basic measurements, prediction and correlation of physical properties (eg standard-state entropy or heat capacity), or dimensional analysis (ie dimensionless numbers such as the Nusselt Number used in heat transfer)”

    Scientists have theorems and computer models that need no attachment whatsoever to what may be observed or measured in this physical! Please identify the FRAUD?

  13. c777 says:

    Germany?
    Interesting very interesting indeed.
    Obviously a resurgent Russia has knocked some sense back into them.

  14. ren says:

    Predicted temperature in North America at the level of 850 hPa at 09/11/2014. Snow in the Rocky Mountains.
    http://earth.nullschool.net/#2014/09/11/0000Z/wind/isobaric/850hPa/overlay=temp/orthographic=-116.67,67.52,482