Posted by Co2sceptic on Oct 16th 2012
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Although the silence that has spread over the mainstream media and “climate community” has been deafening, skeptic blogs on the other hand have been stepping in earnestly to inform the public on what the climate is really doing. The blogosphere has been ablaze over the last few days.

In Germany the media has been dead silent on the news that warming has stopped. There’s a simple reason for that: In Europe, good news is bad news.

Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt have published their take on the official HadCRUT confirmation that there’s been no warming since even before Michael Mann’s infamous hockey stick fabrication was first released.

New HadCRUT data confirm: global temperature has not risen in 16 years by Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt (Translation/editing: Pierre Gosselin)

In the IPCC climate models, there’s only one direction projected for the future development of global temperature, namely a steady and strong increase. Also Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) shared this conviction and declared just last year in November 2011 in the Neuen Osnabrücker Zeitung:

“Global warming is galloping ahead unhindered. The temperature is increasing at a rate of between 0.16 and 0.18 °C per decade.”

However, the quality of projections have to be tested using the hard data of reality. One of the most important datasets comes from the Hadley Centre of the British Met Office in cooperation with the Climate Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. While the Hadley Centre is responsible for the sea surface temperatures, the CRU takes care of the land temperatures. Together they form the so-called HadCRUT dataset.

Recently the newest HadCRUT numbers were released; they extended up to August 2012. It turns out that everything that had been suspected was confirmed: The global temperature hasn’t risen in 16 years (see Figure below). This is a completely unexpected development when one considers how all the boldly confident forecasts from the IPCC predicted more warming.

The release of the new HadCRUT figures occurred almost in absolute silence, without any media buzz whatsoever. With some hesitation the British Daily Mail took up the topic and reported on the extension of the unhoped for temperature plateau. The report also questioned Phil Jones, the current Director of the Climate Research Unit. He confirmed the plateau and even considered it possible that it will extend even more, but only if the an El Nino does not form in the Pacific over the coming months. An El Nino would cause global temperatures to spike upwards for a short time. On the deviation between the the IPCC models and measured temperatures, Jones says:

We don’t fully understand how to input things like changes in the oceans, and because we don’t fully understand it you could say that natural variability is now working to suppress the warming. We don’t know what natural variability is doing.”

In 2009. Phil Jones had informed a colleague by e-mail that he would be concerned about the quality of the IPCC climate models if the stop in warming continued beyond 15 years. That e-mail was made public by the Climategate scandal, when an unknown hacker had breached the servers of the Climate Research Unit. The 15-year period named in that e-mail has in the meantime been surpassed. One really has got to wonder that Jones has suddenly extended his personal threshold of pain to 20 years, and now claims that phases of no warming 15-16 years long had always been expected.

Climate scientist Judith Curry, Director of Earth and Climate Sciences at Georgia Tech University, takes a more sober view. In the same Daily Mail article she says:

The new data confirms the existence of a pause in global warming. [...] Climate models are very complex, but they are imperfect and incomplete. Natural variability [the impact of factors such as long-term temperature cycles in the oceans and the output of the sun] has been shown over the past two decades to have a magnitude that dominates the greenhouse warming effect. It is becoming increasingly apparent that our attribution of warming since 1980 and future projections of climate change needs to consider natural internal variability as a factor of fundamental importance.”

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Figure 1: HadCRUT temperature data 1997 until today (red curve). The trend line (green) shows no significant increase. This temperature plateau has now been going on over 16 years. Source: Real Science based on woodfortrees.

Also Stefan Rahmstorf now appears to be worried and is desperately hoping for a trend change. Finally for 2013 he sees a new temperature record in the making; one that will hopefully break the old 1998 record. In the magazine Spektrum der Wissenschaft (also see New Scientist) Rahmstorf wrote in September 2012:

In the meantime the solar cycle is again on the rebound, and it is only a question of time before the next El Niño episode kicks in. The US NOAA has even forecast that this will occur this fall. Both of these factors together with the continuing rising greenhouse gases make it indeed probable that already 2013 could be a record year. Maybe this will mute the unscientific voices who again and again falsely claim that global warming is over.”

However, clicking on Rahmstorf’s El Nino link brings his readers back to sobriety. The acute NOAA El Nino warning has since been withdrawn and now more or less “neutral conditions” are being forecast for the northern winter of 2012/2013 in the tropical Pacific (click on the “weekly ENSO-Update”; see Lubos Motl at his “the reference frame“ blog).

It’s also interesting that Rahmstorf suddenly is now increasingly emphasizing the sun, though the sun matters more for the long-term over years to decades. Speaking of solar activity, things with the upcoming solar maximum in the Spring of 2013 don’t appear to be cooperating either. The value will be considerably below the past cycles, which will tend to have more of a cooling effect than one of warming. Moreover some experts are already warning that the solar maximum of the current cycle may already be behind us(see our blog article: “Have we already missed the maximum of the current solar cycle? Asymmetry of the sun signals an extended period of low activity“). It’s quite possible that hard times lie ahead for climate science…

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