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« Come on down - Josh 291 | Main | The coming president »

The pause and its coming of age

There should be a big coming of age party for the pause in the next month or so. On one measure it's now 17 years, 11 months old, so depending what temperatures do in the near future the pause should be heading for the local boozer for its first pint.

In fact on other measures the pause is already well into adulthood, as Matt Ridley reports in the Wall Street Journal.

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.

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Reader Comments (12)

Since the last two presidents before Sir Paul Nurse were Lord Rees and Lord May, we can presume the new president will be yet another alarmist. We have to keep the funding going!

The presidents have ensured that the RS has abandoned science and replaced it with politics (puerile politics in Sir Paul's case) and therefore is sliding into scientific oblivion.

Sep 5, 2014 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Bish - your Update is attached to the wrong posting.

[Thanks - fixed]

Sep 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

I am one of those that thinks CO2 is very much a fourth rate upstart that has been hogging the limelight for far too long. You might think I am somewhat biased but just check out my cv. I got it all. I can warm. I can cool. I can store stupendous amounts of heat and redistribute as the mode takes me. I can even take heat to the deep and hide it away for millennia. I am thinking of taking the Atlantic into cool mode (again - I know, nothing if not a 30 year bore) but you never know so stay cool and don't listen to the alarmists.

Sep 5, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

Well by any metric it gets to vote on the 18th!

Sep 5, 2014 at 10:22 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

@H2O: the miracle molecule: "I got it all. I can warm. I can cool. I can store stupendous amounts of heat and redistribute..."

But, H2O, don't forget that you can condense as well. Which is an important attribute, it seems.

From Lacis et al. (2010):

"Non-condensing greenhouse gases, which account for 25% of the total terrestrial greenhouse effect, thus serve to provide the stable temperature structure that sustains the current levels of atmospheric water vapor and clouds via feedback processes that account for the remaining 75% of the greenhouse effect. Without the radiative forcing supplied by CO2 and the other non-condensing greenhouse gases, the terrestrial greenhouse would collapse, plunging the global climate into an icebound Earth state."

Sep 5, 2014 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterTim Osborn

Given Matt's past inability to cite reference works on which he based his "lukewarmer" views, his new found worry comes as no surprise.

Sep 5, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Why are we calling this a 'pause'? It's as logical as calling the late 20th century warming a 'pause' in cooling.

It's not a 'pause' it's a lack of predicted warming, a failure of those predictions.

Sep 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterjaffa

It's a 'plateau' before the downturn. My validated computer model says so (including uncertainty).

Sep 5, 2014 at 11:48 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

the trend for rss from Nov 2000 is -0.004 +/- 0.003 C/year

so it's a fall, admittedly a small one, but for nearly 14 years

hadcrut4 shows a fall from 2004

Sep 5, 2014 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Shiers

Lukewarmers turned sceptical are the better trumpets of reason. It may be comparable to the wavering Conservative MP (s) joining UKIP and drawing crowds.

Sep 5, 2014 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered Commenteroebele bruinsma

Tim Osborn

I was about to add that my best trick was actual magic in the shape of latent heat transport when my Internet session was brought to a premature end by a power cut.

Thanks for the nudge.

Sep 5, 2014 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

A simple equation, which combines the sunspot number anomaly time-integral (as a proxy) with a simplified approximation of the net effect of ocean cycles, explains average global temperatures since before 1900 (through the current hiatus) with R^2 greater than 0.9 (95% correlation) and calculates a credible estimate back to 1610. The current trend is down.

Search AGWunveiled for the method, equation, data sources, history (hind cast to 1610) and predictions (to 2037).

CO2 is not a driver.

Sep 7, 2014 at 3:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterdan pangburn

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