Let’s see if this new paper in the same journal as the ‘what hiatus?’ effort gets the same level of publicity as the other one, given that ‘Nieves et al…find substantially less warming in the top 100 m of the oceans in the current decade than in the previous one.’
If there is one topic that illustrates the state of climate science it is that of the so-called “pause” or hiatus – the observational fact that global surface annual average temperatures, as well as satellite data on the lower troposphere, hasn’t changed for a decade or more.
Many scientists have explanations for it, and there is the problem, too many explanations. There are over 30 suggestions at a conservative estimate ranging from the “it doesn’t exist,” to the oceans, volcanoes, stratosphere and almost everything in-between. Some scientists see the “pause” as a fascinating event that sheds light on the interplay between natural climatic variations and forced climatic changes, others strongly, sometimes too strongly, insist it doesn’t exist at all. In the battle for catch phrases that will stick it’s been called a “faux pause” as if so many other scientists were stupid and misguided to have ever entertained the idea in the first place.
Last month a paper in Science by Karl et al 2015 received a lot of publicity because, despite having the word “possible” in its title, many journalists and commentators, as well as some scientists who consider themselves to be a little of both, suggested that a revision in ocean temperature measurements removed the “pause” altogether. The paper was heralded as definitive, the last word, the “pause” was an artefact, busted.
There is also no evidence for the much-raised suggestion by Kevin Trenberth that the ocean’s “missing heat” lies beneath 700 m. In fact, according to this paper, nothing much at all is happening below 700 m.
As far as the ocean surface temperature and the upper ocean heat content are concerned the “pause” or hiatus is definitely present.
Nieves et al say that the observational heat estimates do not reveal any obvious hiatus. They suggest that since the early 90s there has been a steady rate of ocean heat uptake. Other studies have proposed that the net ocean heat uptake was reduced during the 00s.
Overall Nieves et al opt for an explanation for the “pause” or hiatus being a result of the redistribution of heat within the ocean, rather than a change in the net warming rate. However, given the uncertainties I don’t think that this paper lives up to its self-proclaimed “most definitive explanation of how the heat was redistributed” during the hiatus.