They call themselves the “Global Warming Policy Forum” and their goal is to deny global warming. True to form, they’re trying to explain away the record-shattering heat of 2015 as being due to anything but global warming. It’s a desperate attempt to cling to what they’ve claimed for quite a while, in spite of being wrong about it all along because it simply never happened: a “pause” in global warming.
The latest, courtesy David Whitehouse in a blog post repeated at WUWT, is to insist that it’s all due to weather. In a stunning display of hypocrisy, he accuses climate scientists of not knowing the difference between “weather” and “climate.”
“Weather” is David Whitehouse’s codeword for natural variation due to known effects, things like the el Niño phenomenon. What he doesn’t get, maybe never will, is the fact that natural variation is the only reason anybody thought there was a “pause” in the first place.
Whitehouse emphasizes both el Niño and something he calls the “blob.” The north Pacific ocean has been unusually warm for several years, some have called it the “blob,” and Whitehouse has decided that it’s some normal phenomenon that (like el Niño) caused extra-hot temperature this year. His post is also rife with implication that climate scientists are ignoring these things. He even went so far as to say “In the Nasa press conference about the 2015 global temperature see how long it takes the presenters to mention the El Nino.”
About five minutes, actually (you can listen to the press conference yourself here). Not only was it mentioned, they had even prepared a slide to emphasize it:
They not only discussed, and showed, that el Niño years are extra hot, they also showed that this el Niño year was hotter than previous el Niño years. The reason is that global temperature is a combination of natural fluctuations (like that due to el Niño) and trend — the heating of the Earth we call global warming. NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt even mentioned it (emphasis is mine):
“2015 was remarkable even in the context of the ongoing El Niño,” said GISS Director Gavin Schmidt. “Last year’s temperatures had an assist from El Niño, but it is the cumulative effect of the long-term trend that has resulted in the record warming that we are seeing.”
I’m one of those (there are many) who have investigated the influence on global temperature of both trend and fluctuations of known origin, including el Niño, volcanic eruptions, and solar variations. I’ve recently updated my analysis to include data from 2015, and to treat the el Niño influence in a more complex way, but the results are similar to my previous treatments. When we create a model of global temperature based on el Niño, volcanoes, and solar variations, plus an unflinching global warming trend, one which doesn’t pause or hiatus or slow down, that model mimics observations quite well:
There are times when it might “look” like the progress of global temperature flattened out — maybe, just a little — but when tested statistically such claims fail miserably. More to the point, the model shows them too, making it clear that even the appearance of a “pause” is created by those natural, but known influences on climate. Here’s a look at yearly averages of the model:
Note how easy it is for the eye to trick people into “seeing” a “slowdown” — especially those who desperately want there to be a slowdown — even in this, a model in which the global warming part moves steadily upward, never stopping or slowing.
There are other fluctuations, quite natural, in addition to el Niño and volcanoes and solar variations. We can’t pin down their precise origin, but their influence is small. This can be seen by taking the observed temperature and removing our best estimate of the fluctuations we can estimate, to create “adjusted” data. Here are yearly averages:
All of which serves to emphasize what I said at the outset, that natural variation is the only reason anybody thought there was a “pause” in the first place.
Which itself serves to emphasize the hypocrisy of David Whitehouse having said that climate scientists “Deliberately Mistook Weather For Climate.”
The blog post ends by saying “The main conclusion that can be drawn about 2015 is that it was a truly exceptional year for weather, and for misleading press releases.” Change “press releases” to “blog posts from the Global Warming Policy Forum,” and I’ll agree.
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