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Discussion > Warming not warming

Someone please help me.

Following Bish's post and the subsequent comments about the NYT article, I came across this post from the Guardian which attempts to explain the changes in warming in the last 15 years or so.

From my rather ignorant perspective, it seems like we have the two sides claiming that two completely different things have happened. Skeptics say that there has been no warming. Whereas warmists say global warming has accelerated.

In his blog Mr Nuccitelli says that it's all gone into the oceans and that La Niñas cause temperatures to temporarilly flatten out.

During periods with more La Niñas, surface temperatures temporarily flatten out. But global warming does not. As long as humans continue to increase the greenhouse effect by burning massive quantities of fossil fuels, the planet will continue to warm, as is clear from the acceleration of global warming since 2000.

Is there anything wrong with his explanation?

And on the previous topic: is there any significance to his chosing 1970 for the beginning of this graph? What would it look like if he went back to another date? And which date would that be?

Sorry if this is covering old ground, but I'm trying to play catch-up.

Jun 12, 2013 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss

Is there anything wrong with his explanation?

Only that it contradicts basic common sense, not to mention our understanding of physics.

To normal people, "warming" = "getting warmer" = "the temperature is going up".

For the warmists, the Earth is still warming. Evidence to the contrary (ie that the global average temperature has not changed other than small up/down fluctuations for fifteen years or so) has nothing to do with it.

Part of their problem is that they can't get their sums to add up. (Sums of where the incoming energy from the Sun finishes up.) Being unable to get your sums to add up, is normally taken as evidence there is something you don't understand - it is not normally taken as evidence of the existence of a hitherto unobserved energy transfer mechanisms.

They are mad.

Jun 12, 2013 at 11:42 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

This is the missing heat in the bottom of the oceans that even Argo can't find, until they come up with a reason why this warmer water does not rise and show itself it just shows how their argument is a figment of their imagination.

Jun 12, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Thanks Martin. But I need more specifics.

Doesn't his graph show that global average temperatures are continuing to rise and that the current slowdown is part of a long-term cyclical trend? What evidence is there to tell me that this isn't the case?

And Argo, do I take it, then, that there is no evidence that ocean temperatures are increasing?

(BTW I'm not here for a row, I want clarity!)

Jun 12, 2013 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss

What evidence is there to tell me that this isn't the case?

If he has provided firm evidence that it is the case, why doubt it?

If he has not provided evidence that it is the case, why believe it?

Take a look at the radiosonde and satellite data here (green circles, blue squares) for an idea of what measurements show has been happening temperature wise for the last 35 years or so. If you want to follow up on it, you'll need to track the data down yourself but that should not be hard to do.

Or is this the sort of thing you are looking for?

Jun 12, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A


I don't know what I'm looking for. But I'm hoping for a clear explanation. This stuff doesn't mean much to me and I don't have the time/energy/inclination to track down/interpret the primary sources myself, hence my request for help here.

Jun 12, 2013 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss


Your original posting said:

"Skeptics say that there has been no warming. "

Who told you that? It's rubbish. I think just about everyone agrees that the world has been warming on and off since the Little Ice Age in the 1600's. And that the last significant warming occurred from the mid 1970's until the late 1990's

"Whereas warmists say global warming has accelerated."

If you believe that, having looked at the temperature observation plots I pointed you to, you'll believe anything.

If you find it hard to understand why it's nonsense to say that global warming has accelerated while observed global temperature has remained constant, I don't see how more explanation will help.

Jun 12, 2013 at 3:03 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Charlie Furniss

I don't have the time/energy/inclination to track down/interpret the primary sources myself

That being the case you are stuck with a choice of who to "believe"!

If you have real concerns about this issue then the only true advice anyone can give you is "Nullius in verba".

If you consider this to be, as is implied, the greatest threat mankind has ever faced, then ones natural inclination should take you directly to the primary sources.

Jun 12, 2013 at 3:26 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

I don't have the time/energy/inclination to clean the grouting in my shower. Would a BH poster please come round and do it for me.

Jun 12, 2013 at 6:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMosquito

@Charlie Furniss

You should be aware that there is very little data indeed about the temperature of the deep oceans. When warmists like Nuccitelli (who isn't a climate scientist, btw) say the heat is going there, they're simply picking the one location that can't be examined to disprove their assertion (which, of course, they can't prove either).

Jun 12, 2013 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

I wonder if this is Charlie Furniss

There’s little doubt that the world’s climate is already changing as a result of global warming. But while we’ve woken up to the dangers it poses to humankind, little thought has been given to the threat to wildlife. Now, however, as new research reveals that extinction levels in some biodiversity hotspots could reach 75 per cent, conservationists say it’s time we took the impact of climate change upon our natural heritage seriously. Charlie Furniss reports

Jun 13, 2013 at 8:52 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Charlie, all you have to do is look at a graph of the recent data to see that warming has slowed down to virtually nothing over the last decade.
And remember that this graph is produced by James Hansen, one of the most enthusiastic proponents of global warming.

No scientist says that warming has accelerated. You only hear that from deluded activists like Dana Nuccitelli.

Jun 13, 2013 at 9:28 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Thanks for comments, all.

Martin: I might not have been clear enough in my original post: I was referring to what skeptics/warmists have said about warming in the last 15 years.

Green Sand: if only we could all go and make up our own minds by trawling through the research papers! Unfortunately, most of us don't have the time, let alone the required level of experience/education/intelligence to understand the complexities discussed in the primary sources.

Breath: Yes, I did write that piece, back in the days when things appeared much clearer than they do now!

Turning Tide and Paul: so when Nuccitelli tells us all the heat has gone into the oceans, he is just taking a punt? He refers to this research:

Is this not what he claims it to be?

I can understand this (in the abstract):

Most of this excess energy was absorbed in the top 700 m of the ocean at the onset of the warming pause, 65% of it in the tropical Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Our results hence point at the key role of the ocean heat uptake in the recent warming slowdown.

But what does the following mean (also in the abstract) and is there a problem with their method which reduces the certainty of their claim?

Here we show successful retrospective predictions of this warming slowdown up to 5 years ahead, the analysis of which allows us to attribute the onset of this slowdown to an increase in ocean heat uptake. Sensitivity experiments accounting only for the external radiative forcings do not reproduce the slowdown. The top-of-atmosphere net energy input remained in the [0.5–1] W m−2 interval during the past decade, which is successfully captured by our predictions.

Jun 13, 2013 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss

"Here we show successful retrospective predictions of this warming slowdown up to 5 years ahead,"

This bit means we did not see it coming, but now we know it hasn't got warmer we've managed to run a model with the right kludges to make it look like we did. Really, it's epicycles. All the way down.

Jun 13, 2013 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

Thanks Rhoda. What are epicycles?

Jun 13, 2013 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss

"Thanks Rhoda. What are epicycles?"

Google -> Epicycles


Jun 13, 2013 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

Yes indeed, that wikipedia entry under the 'slang for bad science' heading. Nailing more and more unsupported suppositions onto a theory to keep it alive. Thanks, Rob.

Wouldn't climatologists just love to be in something like physics, where you can say 80% of the universe is made of something we can't see and get away with it?

Jun 13, 2013 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterrhoda

"Skeptics say that there has been no warming. " [in the last 15 years]

Please look at the graphs of observed (satellite and terrestrial thermometer) global average temperature I pointed you previously. I don't understand why that does not answer your question.

If the points get higher as you look at more recent dates, there has been warming. If they stay the same, except for random ups and downs, there has been no warming.

I don't understand what your difficulty is.

Jun 13, 2013 at 5:16 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

What are epicycles?

He's jerking you around.

Jun 13, 2013 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterMosquito

I am keeping an open mind, 5 years ago I thought AGW was a critical problem that needed solving, but once I started to question the evidence and look for myself the doubts grew over approx 6 months. As the pause in the temperature increases there will be more self doubt and I for one will not be saying 'But you did not change your mind until 2013 so you don't count'. If Charlie is genuine in his questions then let him ask for more specific data not just a rebuttal of a fantasy theory (meaning nutties Guardian piece)

What started my road to Damascus was looking first at the long term unadjusted CET data for UK, when you consider its location an island on the edge of a large ocean it is a good proxy for NH temps, when you review the full data back to the first temp readings you can see the Little Ice age followed by warming since, the warming is in fits and starts, the slope of the fits are the same even for the 1990 increase. Until a valid explanation when the last warming phase is different from the previous ones with the same slope and duration why should it alone be caused by CO2.

Jun 13, 2013 at 7:43 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air


There are three people in a room. You, Mr Nuccitelli and me.

The sun has been shining through the windows since early morning and the room, which was originally a bit chilly is now comfortably warm. Mr Nuccitelli tells us the reason the room got warmer is because the carbon dioxide in our breath "traps heat". He tells us that, because of the carbon dioxide we have exhaled, the room is still getting warmer and will continue to get warmer as long as we remain in it exhaling carbon dioxide.

It is now 3pm. I point out that the wall thermometer now reads 21 °C, exactly the same as it did at midday. An hour later, at 4pm, it yet again reads 21 °C. I politely say that it makes no sense to say the room is still warming when its temperature has remained constant for several hours.

Mr Nuccitelli insists that it is still warming, because carbon dioxide is still trapping heat from the sunlight coming in through the windows. I ask him how he squares that with the temperature having remained constant. "The heat is being trapped in the water tank in that cupboard" he says.


To someone with a physics or engineering background, the claim that the Earth is still warming despite lack of rising temperature and that the heat is, by some unspecified means, getting into the deep ocean makes as much sense as my water tank story. It's such nonsense that probably very few people want to take the time to spell out exactly how it is nonsense.

Jun 13, 2013 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

Thanks for the continued interest in my questions. And for those who have replied with patience and given me the benefit of the doubt. I'll look at them again when I have time again next week. I have domestic responsibilities over the weekend.


Jun 13, 2013 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Furniss

splitpin - good analogy! :-)

Jun 13, 2013 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Charlie, is it a difficult question? "Nullis in verba" is a nonsensical concept and so we are left with "who do we trust"? We can either trust the general consensus of climate science that AGW exists and is a problem. Or we can reject that on the basis of ... what? That scientists are just feathering their nests? Or that they are all incompetent at what they spend their whole lives researching? Or that the UN wants a world government? Or that the world's highest scientific bodies are all corrupt? Or, etc. You can think of some other equally silly reasons no doubt.

Jun 14, 2013 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterMissy

Missy - There used to be a consensus that polar bears were in trouble. Fortunately for them it was wrong.

Jun 14, 2013 at 12:37 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet