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Before the deluge

Last night climatologist Gareth Jones tweeted that there had been two dozen papers on the pause this year. In response, I wondered how many would have been published if David Whitehouse hadn't have written his groundbreaking report on the subject. This prompted Doug McNeall to comment "About two dozen", a sentiment that was endorsed by Gavin Schmidt.

It's always nice to be challenged, so I thought I'd look into this a bit. Take a look at Google Trends:

If you look at Whitehouse's report, he surveys the literature as well as public perceptions of the pause up to that point. Mainstream climatology was still amazingly reticent on the subject. The Met Office was showing decadal averages up to the 2000s so as to hide the pause; their Chief Executive of the time was telling the public as late as October 2012 that global warming was proceeding exactly as expected. Yet a month later the Met Office referred obliquely to warming having slowed down, suggesting this might be something to do with El Nino.

But what is really interesting is that Whitehouse really doesn't seem to have identified many papers discussing the pause. Yet this was six years after Bob Carter had first been excoriated for suggesting that surface temperatures might have stopped going up.

Has Whitehouse missed some major publications on the subject? Perhaps so. Maybe Doug and Gavin can point us to the dozens of papers that were overlooked.

[I initially said that Whitehouse hadn't identified any papers on the pause. This wasn't correct]

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Reader Comments (52)

McNeal and Gavin are as usual much less than honest. The climatocrats dismissed solar, ENSO, pause, etc. until they needed a new post hoc distraction from yet another failure of their apocalyptic prophecies. In a public square not caught up in climate madness, their transparently cynical mantra of "worse than predicted" and "consistent with predictions" would leave them as credible as some televangelist selling salvation.

Aug 23, 2014 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Now that is a Hockey Stick

Aug 23, 2014 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

"Ignore the man behind the curtain. Look at the emperor's new clothes instead", is the shouted instruction from the Consenusalists for as long as possible.
Then one man stands up and yells "there is a man behind the curtain and that emperor you're staring it is naked".
All of a sudden the Consensualists are claiming, "we were just about to say that and if you close your eyes for a minute we can probably persuade you we have been saying it all along."
And we are expected to take these clowns seriously?
(And if they object to my calling them clowns, the answer is to stop behaving that way.)

Aug 23, 2014 at 11:20 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Who would've thought, there are many denialists indeed, and they're well paid alright. By the taxpayer.

Aug 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

The Muppet Office (opps the Met Office) only discussed the "pause" when they were forced to. Now they are desparately trying to find a "cause" - any old cause will do as it allows them to delay the inevitable . We all know that the missing heat will bubble up from the deep ocean (elasticated) soon. A bit like the elasticated goalposts of the length of the pause to be significant!

This merely indicates how climate science" is just another pseudo-science!

Aug 23, 2014 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

The important point is that warming has "paused", but that CO2 has continued to rise. It is the disconnect that trashes their catastrophe theory, not the lack of further warming per se.

Aug 23, 2014 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

One paper that discussed the pause was Lean & Rind 2009.
This said that we'd see 0.15 +- 0.03 C of warming over the perod 2009-14. The actual warming was of course zilch.
Paul Homewood has a nice post on it
noting the Grauniad's enthusiasm for the paper.

Aug 23, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

There is a 2008 article by Richard Kerr in Science discussing the pause. It is based on a BAMS paper that appeared the same year.

This is from Gavin Cawley of Skepticalscience (and UEA, in that order) a couple of days back:

The hiatus is not ignored, it is actually quite widely discussed in the literatire (sic), because it is interesting.

EDIT: The Kerr article came out 2009. The BAMS article was 2008 and it was not a proper paper.

The Kerr Science piece is here:

This is Stefan Rahmstorf from the article:

Pinning the pause on natural variability makes sense to most researchers. “That goes without saying,” writes climate researcher Stefan Rahmstorf of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany by e-mail. “We’ve made [that point] several times on RealClimate,”

So, the Realclimate scientists predicted the pause on their blog, several times.

The question to be asked now is: what haven't they predicted? When everything from severe warming, mild warming, no warming and slight cooling is predicted, is there any meaning to these predictions?

Aug 23, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Registered Commentershub

The Hockeyschtick has been compiling a list of alarmist explanations for the pause (or plateau?) and it now runs to 38:

Updated list of 29 excuses for the 18 year 'pause' in global warming.

From a quick look through the 38 only a few were published before 2012.

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

The switch to decadal averages is one of the most despicable tricks of the pseudo-scientists. Regrettably, we have seen our new luke warm friend Richard Betts defending decadal averages as 'scientific'. The wheels are coming off the gravy train wagon. Take no prisoners.

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterCaligula's mother

Alarmists like Schmidt have always been better at predicting the past than at predicting the future. Nothing will ever change with these pseudo-scientists..

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:19 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I wouldn't be holding my breath for Doug or Gavin to say, you've got me Bishop ...


Aug 23, 2014 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

Say that Airbus or Boeing designed a new airplane. On the third test flight it failed to get off the ground. What would the engineers do?

1. Report that the airplane failed to fly.
2. Report that the airplane flew as designed.
3. Make no report until management asked why there hadn't been any recent test flights.

This is why climatologists don't design airplanes.

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

As I described in my book The Real Global Warming Disaster (2009), the first attempts to explain away "the pause" and the failure of globall temperatures to continue rising as the official computer models had predicted were being made as early as 2008. This followed the year in which all the main temperature records had shown a (temporary) drop of 0.7 degreea, equivalent to their entire net rise in the 20th century. This was when we first heard that phrase that the halt in rising temperatures might last for up to a decade or more, but was merely "masking the underlying warming trend". Nature reported a computer model study by Noel Keenlyside of the Liebniz Institute of Marine Studies which sought to explain away the failure of the IPCC's prediction that temperatures would rise by 0.3 degrees per decade by suggesting that the models hadn;t taken account of the change in the Gulf Stream. At much the same time, NASA suggested that the drop in temperatures could be ascribed to a shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscilation from a warm to a cool phase. In other words, attempts were being made even then to admit that natural factors, such as shifts in major ocean currents, might have much more of an influence on temperatures than was allowed for by the simplistic IPCC models, programmed to see rising CO2 as the overriding forcing factor. It was at much the same time that we began to see them admitting, on similar grounds, that the 1998 peak in temperatures had been heavily influenced by an unusually strong El Nino. Today of course, they have their new theory, popularised by the likes of Sir Brian Hoskins, that the world has indeed continued to warm thanks to CO2, but the addition heat is now hiding (temporarily) in the depths of the oceans - the thesis recently demolished by that eminent MIT oceanographer Prof Carl Wunsch. - -

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterchristopher booker

Here's one from 2009:

Trapped Between the Falling Sky and the Rising Seas: The Imagined Terrors of the Impacts of Climate Change, prepared for University of Pennsylvania Workshop on Markets & the Environment, 2009.

See pp. 11-13. It refers to Kerr's report in Science which IIRC referred to the BAMS report on the state of the climate. On p. 13, the paper notes:

Notably, although the absence of global warming for the decade (1999‐2008) was not forecast by the models that the IPCC relied on, a number of peer reviewed papers have suggested there would be a cooling trend in the early 2000s based on their analysis of natural variability. These include Loehle (2004 and 2009); Zhen‐Shan and Xian (2007) who in 2007 published a paper provocatively titled, “Multi‐scale analysis of global temperature changes and trend of a drop in temperature in the next 20 years”; Tsonis et al. (2007); Swanson and Tsonis (2009); and Keenleyside (2008).

Time may reveal these projections to be flawed, but the fact is that currently there exists no empirical basis for concluding that the IPCC’s temperature projections are “optimistic”, as claimed by FG. To the contrary, such empirical evidence as exists suggests that natural variability is a much more significant factor in temperature swings than is credited in AR4WG1, and that the temperature sensitivity of the climate system to GHG emissions has been overestimated, which suggest that reducing such emissions will have a lower impact on temperature than estimated.

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterIndur M. Goklany

Christopher Booker

thanks for popping in

and thank you, for it was you that opened my eyes to the 'issues' surrounding climate change.

stay strong

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

This merely indicates how climate science" is just another pseudo-science!
Aug 23, 2014 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered Commenter CharmingQuark

CQ - If you please!

Climate science is not "just another psuedo-science".

It is the KING of pseudo-sciences.

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Philip Bratby has a point, there's nothing clever about modifying past predictions, after the fact, to change them from wrong to right. Is anyone diverted by such nonsense?

Seriously, either the likes of Schmidt are thick or they must be shi**ing themselves knowing the games just about up. They have no credibility outside their own clique and are unemployable as scientists outside a field that's rapidly degenerating into farce.

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

Can we please establish, at this point in time, if there are any scientists, or papers, in support of AGW and the continual increase in GAT due to CO2 that indicate a period of cooling on a decadal time scale. Just so that when the cooling is established that we know in advance the scientific argument.

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

In 2011 a dozen climate scientists were willing to be interviewed by Greenwire on the question

"Why, despite steadily accumulating greenhouse gases, did the rise of the planet’s temperature stall for the past decade?”

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

The Lean & Rind (2009) paper also predicts a drop in temps from 2014 to 2019.
"From 2009 to 2014, projected rises in anthropogenic influences and solar irradiance will increase global surface temperature 0.15 ± 0.03°C, at a rate 50% greater than predicted by IPCC. But as a result of declining solar activity in the subsequent five years, average temperature in 2019 is only 0.03 ± 0.01°C warmer than in 2014."

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Pollock

I'm not sure the scientists are communicating this very well. It seems like they're saying global warming causes global cooling .............. I'm finding it difficult to panic about that.

Where's Nick Stokes when you need him?

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

"It is the KING of pseudo-sciences."

Martin A - I stand corrected!

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Following up with Robert, Rind also said this:

“Our prediction is that if past is prologue, the solar component will turn around and lead to rapid warming in the next 5 years,”

This was in 2009.

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:54 PM | Registered Commentershub

Not much of a challenge, Bish. More of an open goal I would say.

And the McNeal reply is up there with "I was just about to tidy my bedroom/clean the toilet before you started."

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Surely the real problem is not the 'pause' but the fact that it was never expected/predicted, even though there are past examples in the historic record?

Given this simple fact, common sense says that the predictive tools must therefore be somehow insufficient and so any paper that tries to explain it must be seen as clear evidence of this insufficiency. Putting it another way, if it had been predicted climate scientists would not be concerned about it but would, instead, be presenting it as clear validation of the models.

Am I stating the obvious or have I completely missed the point here?

Aug 23, 2014 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

There is virtually a civil war amongst the warmists. Half insist there is no pause and the other half are looking for reasons to explain it!

Aug 23, 2014 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Schofield

Dave -the problem Honest Gav&Dou can't talk about is that if any damned natural variability can mask Co2 action at decadal timescales then any Co2 based prediction or projection is fundamentally useless as far as any democratic Government is concerned.

Aug 23, 2014 at 3:10 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Maybe now would be a good time to challenge alarmists about what they believe will happen 5, 10 & 15 years from now? 15 yeas would take us to (or even beyond) the '30 years is climate' threshold.

It would be very interesting indeed to bookmark their state of the art crack climate expertise.

Aug 23, 2014 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

"We're not out of the woods yet" - Julia Slingo.

Aug 23, 2014 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterKatabasis

Dave Salt
No need to worry youself.
As far as those who live in the real world are concerned you are stating the obvious.
As for those who spend their lives wedded to computer games sorry, models, you are completely missing the point. Whatever it is.

Aug 23, 2014 at 3:30 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson


Of course they would say the plane is fine, it is just hiding in the deep ocean...


Aug 23, 2014 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames

It's an interesting question, and probably worth trying to draw up a careful list of all relevant papers and their dates so that they can be graphed over time. Clearly it's reasonable to expect an increasing number of hiatus-related papers as the pause extended over time, but that couldn't explain a sudden surge of papers after some point in 2012 or 2013.

However, my guess is that the cause of a rush of hiatus papers around 2013 (if indeed there was one) is less likely to be a GWPF report than AR5. While AR5 was still well in the future it was possible to sit tight and say nothing about the pause in the hope or expectation that it would reverse itself soon. But AR5 itself was always going to have to take stock and address how well temperatures had conformed to expectations, particularly over the period since the publication of AR4. So a recent spike of papers would likely consist of papers either intended to come out before the WG1 deadline in time to influence its findings on the pause, or provoked by the WG1 report's publication finally putting the pause on the table as an acceptable and unavoidable topic of discussion.

Aug 23, 2014 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered Commenteranonym


Ha ha - excellent comment

Aug 23, 2014 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Speed: How about 4) The plane performed consistent with the design as implemented by our supercomputers.

Aug 23, 2014 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimbrock

Jimbrock - I think the preferred formulation is that the performance "was not inconsistent" with the design...

Aug 23, 2014 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterdcardno

Chris Mooney came up with a similar hokey schtick last year in this article:

Pay close attention to the subhead.

Aug 23, 2014 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterdp

We have always been at war with thermogeddon.

Aug 23, 2014 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered Commenterac1

Last month, on Jo Nova’s site, in the The mystery of cooling deep ocean, volcanoes, and missing heat I raised a question at #41 about the units used in these measurements, to which two people responded. While I do not wish to impugn upon the sincerity of the two respondents, they really amplified the point that I was trying to make: measurements are being made in temperature, then being converted to Joules with the simple 4.2 (or 4.184, for the pedantic) J/g/°C figure that was drummed into me in physics classes (and it took me a long time to understand its significance). My point was that the salinity of the water must have some effect upon that figure so just relying upon that figure has to introduce errors; what correction factor is there for errors, especially when the specifics of the source of the error (the salinity) have to be subject to what can only be described as guesswork? While the general density of seawater is accepted as 1.025, I do know that this can vary with geographical location, and probably, logically, with depth, too.

These giga-joules of heat are being sequestered in the deep, deep oceans (where, conveniently, there has been no long term measurements, and what measurements that there are now remain extraordinarily sparse)… so… how do we know that this is what is actually happening? How can these scare-mongers “scientists” really be sure that the heat has been trapped deep, deep down, raising the water temperature from 3°C to 3.02°C (gulp!) or even 3.2°C (double gulp!), and that it will soon rise to the surface, and incinerate us all! Surely, only the most criminally insane (which might be a good descriptor of so many politicians) could possibly believe that sort of nonsense! Why is no-one in the mainstream media asking questions about this blatant absurdity? Not to mention this new, even more absurd, point: “Here are all the papers that have been developed during the time that any hiatus was denied, explaining that the hiatus that was not happening is being caused by this…”

Aug 23, 2014 at 7:25 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Anonym, you are too charitable. AR5 used several tricks to attempt to conceal the pause, including 'redoing' previous IPCC report charts to make them seem more consistent. MacIntyre has exposed part of that. And, the cutoff for a paper to be considered for AR5 WG1 was mid 2012. The rush of papers after the deadline passed speaks for itself about the honesty of the IPCC process.

Aug 23, 2014 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

The plane is flying in the predicted stepwise fashion.

Aug 23, 2014 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJay Currie

Now you've gone and shown me a new toy. I found it by clicking on my 9 dot google search icon and asking for more, twice. Been playing with it ever since...

I have identified a search term with a remarkably constant regular cyclicity between 20 and 23 months in duration, of alternating large peak-small peak character.

Such that I can fairly confidently predict the next climactic google search occurrence of it. It is likely to result in a large peak googling in May 2016.

The search term? - BBC paedophiles.

Aug 23, 2014 at 8:51 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

And the closest graphical match to 'pause global warming' I have found is for 'twerking', with the highest interest of all in one of the last and near forgotten remnants of the British Empire - Saint Helena - that lonely island in the South Atlantic (Motto - 'Loyal and Unshakeable').

Saint Helena is Britain's second oldest of the remaining British Overseas Territories, after Bermuda, Napoleon was once imprisoned there, and according to Wiki, 'Between 1791 and 1833, Saint Helena became the site of a series of experiments in conservation, reforestation, and attempts to boost rainfall artificially. This environmental intervention was closely linked to the conceptualization of the processes of environmental change and helped establish the roots of environmentalism.

Now they are world leaders googling 'twerking'.

Aug 23, 2014 at 9:37 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

"...if any damned natural variability can mask Co2 action at decadal timescales then any Co2 based prediction or projection is fundamentally useless as far as any democratic Government is concerned."

Pity the UK and US no longer have one of those.

Aug 23, 2014 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

The graph of Google searches reveals that it takes about fifteen years of something happening in the climate of Earth before anyone takes an interest in it.

Aug 24, 2014 at 6:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Tesdorf

Radical Rodent
I have another hobby, which involves actually making things and this requires a bit of research. One thing that I read many years ago, which wasn't relevant to that hobby but is here, involved the ways in which submarines "hide" from sonar, The following found on the web was known during WW2 by the the German Navy and probably others.

To increase stealth, submariners take advantage of how sound waves act in ocean water. The speed of sound in seawater is greatly determined by temperature, pressure, and salinity. These three factors vary in different locations and bend the sound waves accordingly. Because SONAR depends on receiving sounds signals, the way sound waves bend determines what can be picked up by SONAR. Submariners can find places between the bending sound waves of active enemy SONAR called shadow zones. There, subs can hide and watch the enemy without being detected.

Further research yields

The speed that sound travels underwater varies from about 4,750 feet per second (fps) to about 5,150 fps. Its speed increases with:

1. Temperature, at a rate of about 4.3 fps per degree Fahrenheit.
2. Salinity, at a rate of about 4.3 fps per thousandth part increase in salinity.
3. Depth, at a rate of about 1 fps per 60 feet of depth.

The speed of sound underwater (in fps) can be determined as follows: 4388 + (11.25 × temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit)) + (0.0182 × depth (in feet)) + salinity (in parts per thousand)

It seems that a lot is known about characteristics of sea water by submariners and their hunters. At least to a depth of about 1000 metres.

Seawolf submarines have an estimated crush depth of about 2400 feet (730 m). The Seawolf submarines are constructed of a high grade steel called HY-100, capable of withstanding 100 atmospheres of pressure. As a rule of thumb, the pressure increases by one atmosphere for every 10 m of descent.

Aug 24, 2014 at 8:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

"The Met Office was showing decadal averages up to the 2000s so as to hide the pause"

Quite!! I can well remember the propaganda they shoved out in Sep 2009 in the run-up to the Copenhagen Climate talks.
And particularly that disgraceful graph on page 4 of that report

Aug 24, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

dp, that is an amazing load of used cow food by Chris Mooney. He could have been a televangelist. Instead he is a climate doom evangelist.

Aug 24, 2014 at 1:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Very interesting, SandyS. It would also be interesting to know how much this historic knowledge is being applied to modern measurements. However, I still cannot comprehend quite how they can be so sure that the heat content of the planet is increasing when they do not have sufficient historical records to base that assumption on. Even the data being collected now is extremely sparse – 2,000 ARGO buoys in how many billion cubic kilometres of ocean? And we are basing economies of trillions of dollars on this, with the potential of destroying our entire civilization?! Utter, utter, utter madness!!!

Aug 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

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