The Pause In Global Warming

The Pause In Global Warming

I speak to many groups of people through the year using my PowerPoint presentations about weather to educate and entertain. Inevitably, at the end of a program, questions about global warming come up. The first thing I say is that there has been no measured surface temperature warming since 1998. This always comes as a shock to everyone in the room. However, as “The Pause” continues it appears more people are beginning to take note. President Obama is not one of them. In a press conference after his re-election he said “What we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago.”

Having worked as a television meteorologist for 25 years, I am keenly aware of how the news media approaches global warming. In all forms of news media it is critical to craft a series of captivating, dramatic stories that will attract the largest audience. Unlike the hundreds of government agencies that get their money directly from Federal Government, media companies need to make their money directly from the people in society. The best way to do that is to have as many people as possible watch, read or listen to your news stories so that advertisers will want to sell their products on your station, website, newspaper or radio station. Global warming is the perfect captivating story.

The global warming news stories through the last 10 years have been dominated by the dangers of using fossil fuels. These stories constantly drumbeat that increasing carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere will bring catastrophic changes to just about anything you can imagine. No wonder that people have never heard of “The Pause”. For example, back in September of 2004 The National Geographic Magazine’s cover story was “Global Warning: Bulletins From A Warmer World”. On the contents page the magazine states “There is no question that the earth is getting hotter, and fast”. The truth is that since that issue was published in 2004 there has been no warming at all and in fact the earth’s average surface temperature has declined slightly since 2003. John Lyman of The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is quoted as saying “Further work will be necessary to solve this cooling mystery.” But the alarming cover story helped sell the magazine.

The National Geographic story goes on for about 75 pages with scare your pants off images and predictions. On page 27 the magazine lists the hottest years on record as 1998, 2002, 2003, 2001 and 1997. It fails to mention that weather records of earth’s temperature only date back 1850. This means that 92% of all temperature “records” of individual years over the last 2,000 years are unknown. It also means that 98.5% of all temperature “records” of individual years over the last 10,000 years are unknown.

The ice sheet that covers Greenland is about 2 miles thick at the summit. The annual average temperature up there is 31 degrees below zero Celsius or 24 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Ice core data from Greenland indicate that average temperature has been as much as 4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than today several times in the last 10,000 years and 2 degrees cooler than today several times. The ice core data also show that the earth was warmer than today 1,000 years ago and 2,000 years ago. The average temperature of the earth today is in no way unusual.

Now that the warming, or more accurately, the lack of it has reached 15 years the talk of a pause in global warming is beginning to gain traction. Rich Lowery, editor of the National Review wrote “Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billions tons of carbon (dioxide) to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2012. That’s about a quarter of all CO2 put there by humans since 1750, yet no more warming“.

Rolf Westgard quoted Stanford University’s Noble physicist Robert Laughlin when he wrote in the Minnesota Daily “Global warming forecasts have the difficulty that one can’t find much actual global warming in present day weather observations”. He went on to write ” This continues a 15 year pause in global warming despite a relentless rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.”

In Great Britain the Daily Mail noted “The figures reveal that since the beginning of 1997 until August of 2012 there was no discernable rise in aggregate global temperatures. This means that the “pause” in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996.”

Alexander Otto of Oxford Universities Environmental Change Institute was quoted as saying that because of the hiatus, warming in the next 50 to 100 years “is likely to lie within the range of current climate models, but not at the high end of this range.” However Dr. Roy Spencer of The University of Alabama Huntsville shows that this statement is not even remotely true in current climate model forecasts vs. real world weather balloon observations in the tropics. His analysis shows that all 73 climate models have shown warmer to much warmer temperature predictions than has actually been measured since around 1980.

Now even Rajendra Pachauri, the Head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has admitted that there is a pause in global warming. This comes as quite a surprise since in 2008 he proclaimed “We’re at a stage where the warming is taking place at a much faster rate.” Apparently the facts have become so obvious that the IPCC had to come clean or risk losing even more ground in their crumbling arguments about man made climate catastrophe.

How long will the pause last? Have we reached some kind of peak in global temperature like the earth did 1,000, 2,000 or 3,300 years ago? That is a very difficult forecast since not all of the players in global climate change are completely understood or even known.

Perhaps “The Pause” will give humanity a chance to literally pause and question the man made global warming theory.

The brilliant physics lecturer Dr. Richard Feynman famously said “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” The current trend in rapidly increasing carbon dioxide in the air and the pause in global warming is having a lot to say about the “beautiful theory” of man made global warming.

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