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Global cooling - Is global warming still happening?

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate

All the indicators show that global warming is still happening.

Climate Myth...

It's cooling
"In fact global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning. No climate model has predicted a cooling of the Earth – quite the contrary. And this means that the projections of future climate are unreliable." (source: Henrik Svensmark)

When looking for evidence of global warming, there are many different indicators that we should look for. Whilst it's natural to start with air temperatures, a more thorough examination should be as inclusive as possible; snow cover, ice melt, air temperatures over land and sea, even the sea temperatures themselves. The key indicators of global warming shown below are all moving in the direction expected of a warming globe.


Indicators of a warming world based on surface, satellite, and ocean temperature measurements, satellite measurements of energy imbalance (the difference between incoming and outgoing energy at the top of the atmosphere), and of receding glaciers, sea ice, and ice sheets, rising sea level, and shifting seasons.

The question of global warming stopping is often raised in the light of a recent weather event - a big snowfall or drought breaking rain. Global warming is entirely compatible with these events; after all they are just weather. For climate change, it is the long term trends that are important; measured over decades or more, and those long term trends show that the globe is still, unfortunately, warming.

Last updated on 23 February 2014 by LarryM. View Archives

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Update

On 21 January 2012, 'the skeptic argument' was revised to correct a minor formatting error.

Comments

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 212:

  1. Not only does this site have depth and clarity, you're a model of how to present facts without demonizing those with contrary views. Thanks!
  2. Thank you for a website that provides information without a political agenda. I would like to understand the global warming debate without feeling like I am being manipulated by someone with a political agenda and most web-sites seem to promote an agenda for one side or the other. Thanks.
  3. It is worth looking at fig 6 in Trenberth's paper...it shows ocean heat content derived from 4 sources; GODAS, JMA, ECCo-GECCO & ECCO-GODAE.
    Two data sets show an increasing trend in OHT and two show the beginning of a steep decline.
    You can download the ECCO report from
    http://www.ecco-group.org/pdfs/reports/report44.pdf
    and compare it with the graphs from GODAS ( Google
    Meridional Overturning Circulation Simulated by NCEP GODAS...quick view).
    GODAS seems to show warming is essentially confined to the North Atlantic..the tropics and N. pacific show no trend, whilst the S pacific, S. Indian and S. Atlantic show steep declines since around 2006.
    So which do we believe??
  4. i'm new to this and i'm a skeptic.
    however, i'll admit that the planet is still warming.

    using satellite data from UAH and RSS, if you look at the past decade or so including 1998, it shows a cooling trend. however, if you remove the 1998 el nino freak year, the planet is still warming at a similar rate to pre-1998.
  5. Great work, just a slight niggle:

    "Considering a typical nuclear power plant has an output of 1 GigaWatt, imagine 190,000 nuclear power plants pouring their energy output directly into our oceans."

    A decent sized nuclear power plant is 1 GWe, which at a 33% thermal efficiency, is close to 3 GWt. 190 TWt of energy going into the ocean each year is closer to the heat output of 65,000 1 GWe nuclear power plants.
  6. If the ocean has warmed to this extent, it must surely have expelled many millions of extra tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    Has this new stream been detected at Mauna Loa? And does it advance the expected date for reaching the fateful 450ppm?
  7. I'm a first time visitor to this site and I'm impressed. (Understanding any of the science of global warming from the general press is futile!)

    I'll offer an answer and a question here:

    Australis: Just because the ocean has absorbed so much heat does not not mean that its temperature has increased a lot. That is because water has a high specific heat capacity. A few degrees of warming does imply that water could hold (at maximum) less CO2; however its CO2 content is largely a function of the equilibrium with the atmosphere. As atmospheric CO2 concentrations rise, the oceans will continue to absorb more CO2 despite their increasing temperatures. (Once they get close to carbonated water as we find in soft drinks, then a few degrees of temperature change could make a big difference! :-P )

    And now my question: Figure 1 could also be used to advance the idea that the oceans have a tremendous ability to buffer us (on land) from global warming, and that while things may change, the consequences may be overstated. I know there are potential holes in that reasoning, but I'd appreciate links to science addressing the extension of this topic to the potential impacts.

    Thanks!!
  8. Hello, this is my first comment on this page.

    My question: Wouldn't it be possible that the heat contet of oceans rise even after radiative forcing has stopped changing? I would assume that the "response time" of oceans to global warming is much longer than that of the atmosphere because of the drastic differences in their heat capacities.
  9. tulkki, regarding lag:

    Appetizer 1: It’s the sun, but skip down to the section "Ocean Thermal Inertia." Note that there is a ten-year lag from solar increase. Not 50 years.

    Appetizer 2: It’s the ocean.

    Main Course: How we know global warming is still happening
  10. ''The atmosphere is warming''

    My understanding is that is not warming enough to be able to confirm that an increased greenhouse effect is causing global warming. Also it's not warming enough in the right area which is supposed to be in the Troposphere at around 10km. Has this suddenly changed?

    Also regarding ''Oceans are accumulating energy''
    Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren't quite understanding what their robots are telling them

    But Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming.

    In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. So Willis has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments called the Argo system. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans
    Response: Josh Willis is right. Over 90% of global warming goes into the oceans. Some studies of upper ocean heat (using the "3000 robots" that comprise the Argo network) have shown cooling over the last few years during a time when the Pacific has transitioned from El Nino to La Nina conditions. However, when the Argo data is examined to greater depths, down to 2000 metres, it's seen that the ocean is still accumulating heat (von Schuckmann 2009):

  11. John Cook:
    Comparing the OHC results from the:

    1)Upper 700 meters : 0.089 Wm^−2
    (data source:http://climexp.knmi.nl/daily2longer.cgi, and the trend obtained in EXCEL)
    2)Upper 2000 meters: 0.77 ± 0.11 Wm^−2

    It is clear that the heat was sequestered in the Deep Oceans by the Termohaline Circulation, and that explain why the SST warming trend was near zero between 2003 and 2008.

    From this numbers is clear that if the Termohaline Circulation Shut Down then a BLAST OF HEAT will occur in the Upper Ocean and Atmosphere.

    Is there any current Climate Model of how much the warming will accelerate if the Termohaline Circulation Shut Down?
  12. IPCC projections disproved.

    As a result, CO2 has nothing to do with global warming.
  13. selti, you are wrong about the IPCC projections being disproved.

    See Comparing IPCC projections to observations. If that's not detailed enough for you, click on the link that's in that post, to Tamino's related post.
  14. #13 Tom Dayton

    How could I be wrong as I used the data without any spin. Here are the data for the mean global temperature anomaly for the Hadley center.

    Year=>anomaly (deg C)
    2005=>0.47
    2006=>0.42
    2007=>0.40
    2008=>0.33

    And the chart itself is from IPCC 2007 WG1-AR4.

    I am not wrong.

    The IPCC projections are deadly wrong.
  15. There is no global warming that is taking place at the moment.

    Here is a chart for the mean global temperature anomaly from the Hadley center.

    The above graph shows a linear warming of 0.44 deg C/ Century, and superimposed on this linear warming there is an oscillating component that moves up and down about the linear trend line.

    The linear warming of 0.44 deg C/ Century is only 0.004 deg C/ year. As a result, this linear warming is insignificant when looking at mean global temperature trends at the moment.

    To look at mean global temperature trends, this linear warming of 0.004 deg C/ year can be removed by de-trending the anomaly, which gives the oscillating global temperature anomaly pattern.

    This pattern shows global cooling and warming phases of about 30 year duration, and the current trend is global cooling until 2030.

    There is no global warming that is taking place at the moment.
  16. selti,
    the only thing your graph shows is that a linear trend from 1880 is not adequate to describe the actual temperature trend, let alone prove the existence of a periodic oscillation. Indeed, there's no cycle.

    Although in some (rare) cases it is possible to do a statistical-only analysis of physical phenomena, it needs to be done appropiately.
  17. #16 Riccardo

    There is a cycle!

    The cycle is approximate 30 years of warming followed by 30 years of cooling.

    Cooling phase from 1880s to 1910s.

    Warming phase from 1910s to 1940s.

    Cooling phase from 1940s to 1970s.

    Warming phase from 1970s to 2000s.

    And the current cooling phase from 2000s to 2030s.

    No more spin please. The data is cyclic.
  18. selti, your link "The IPCC projections are deadly wrong" is to an IPCC chart whose ranges of model runs (the shaded areas) and the observed data (the black dots and line) go up only to 2005. The black line for HADCRUT3 observed temperatures smoothed has been extended beyond that not by the IPCC, but by someone who modified (doctored, faked, falsified, as in Elvis with Bigfoot) the graph but adding an unsmoothed line! Perhaps the added black dots after 2005 really are the observed anomalies, but the line's extension is not smoothed across the dots! The resulting and false impression is that the smoothed line dove after 2005. The actual smoothed line makes a much shallower dip after 2005, especially if you add 2009 data. If you want to look at smoothed data then you must smooth it all the way from 1990 through 2008.

    If you want to look at unsmoothed data then you must look at unsmoothed data across all years, by ignoring the black line and just looking at all the black dots starting in 1990 and going up through 2008. If you want to draw a line from dot to dot you must do so for all the dots starting in 1990, not just starting in 2006.

    You must also look at either the line or the dots within the range of projections (the shaded areas) beyond 2005. That is shown on RealClimate in the post Updates to Model-Data Comparisons. Guess what? Observations are within the bounds of the projections!
  19. #18 Tom Dayton

    What I am comparing is the data after 2005.

    For all the data points after 2005, the actual anomaly measured observations are BELOW the anomaly projections with CO2 restricted at the 2000 level:

    Year Measured (deg C) Projections (deg C)
    2005 0.47 0.45
    2006 0.42 0.47
    2007 0.40 0.48
    2008 0.33 0.52

    As a result, the IPCC projections are utterly wrong.
  20. #18 Tom Dayton

    What I am comparing is the data after 2005.

    For all the data points after 2005, the actual anomaly measured observations are BELOW the anomaly projections with CO2 restricted at the 2000 level:







    Year Measured (deg C) Projections (deg C)
    2005 0.47 0.45 2006 0.42 0.47 2007 0.40 0.48 2008 0.33 0.52

    As a result, the IPCC projections are utterly wrong.

    Are you asking you me to believe you and deny my own lying eyes?
  21. selti: Look at the forest, not the individual trees.
  22. #21 Tom Dayton.

    Sooner than later, it will be established that CO2 driven global warming is the greatest scientific stuff up of all times.

    The stuff up is caused by assuming the temperature rise from 1970 to 2000 was unprecedented. Actually, as shown in this oscillating anomaly, this rise in temperature is similar to those at the end of 1880s and 1940s. Once the oscillating anomaly reaches its maximum it reverses and the cooling phase starts.
  23. selti,
    i'm afraid you didn't even bother to look at how a cycle is define and identified from the links i gave you. Indeed, statistics is no joke, just looking at a couple of up and downs does not define a cycle. It looks like you are following a pre-defined idea and do not care of contrast it with science.
    Do you have any physical _and_ statistical reason to claim that there is a cycle, other than looking at a couple of up and downs?
  24. "How do we find out what's happened from 2003 until now? Unfortunately, there is no time series (that I know of) of the planet's total heat content up to present time."
    Information from Sydney Levitus, Geophysical Research Letters, 2009 shows that for past few years the heat content of the oceans has not been rising (rising sea level in that period can be accounted for by runoff; not temperature.)
    This is what Trenberth and Latif have been referring to.
    Basically the books don't balance.
    I appreciate that not everyone places a high faith in satellite measurements, but they all say that the earth has been absorbing more energy during that time. If so, it has to show up somewhere and the mystery is that it hasn't.
    Latif seems to think it's in the oceans. Probably more sensible than any other alternative. But he acknowledges that we don't understand enough about the natural forcing elements.
    To me this also raises serious doubts that we really can get a true average measurement of ocean heat content. To those of us who believe that scientific skepticism is healthy, it would seem to be a mistake to conclude that we know the earths total heat content is still rising without looking for alternative answers to the mystery.
    Response: Levitus' data covers only the upper ocean heat which shows more variability than the total ocean heat. Measurements of ocean heat down to 2000 metres deep show that the oceans are still accumulating heat.
  25. Doug Cannon,
    in your comment i found two different concepts mixed arbitrarly, short versus long term variability. If, with Tremberth, we can't say where the heat has gone on a sesonal or yearly basis, the same does not apply to longer periods. You are not allowed to do this extrapolation. Even worst, you cannot conclude that "we don't understand enough about the natural forcing elements." unless by "enough" you mean, for example, the timing of next El Nino and its strength or the like.
    Skepticism is definitely healthy and is at the very core of the progresses of science; misinterprenting or disregarding what is known is not.
  26. Riccardo
    Perhaps my reference to Latif implied I was focusing on a relationship between short term and long term variability. There may be one but that wasn't my intention. But trying to say too much in too few words may have caused confusion.

    I referred to the "past few years". Being more specific, the GRL data at issue is from 2005 up to 2009.
    When Trenberth said "...we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't" he was referring to a similar period. He wasn't talking about a seasonal or yearly basis. He has subsequently made it clear that, his intent was to say that with todays technology we should be able to find the effect of the increased trapped heat, but we haven't yet been able to. (My reading of his meaning is that we will be able to, given all the effort being put on it.)

    I've not concluded that "we don't understand enough about the natural forcing elements" as you suggest. The point I was making is that Latif has made that conclusion; specifically about "internal decadal variability". He was talking about the North Atlantic in that particular case. In fact he is "lobbying" for a research program to be able to predict that variability.
    He wasn't referring to El Nino and neither was I.
    (I don't think you mean to say that we know enough about all the natural forcing elements except for short term phenomena like El Nino. But your comment seems to imply that.)

    So, to belabor the "arbitary mixing" a bit further: (a)the lack of warming that Latif suspects is due to natural forcing that we need to understand better and.. (b)Trenberth's frustration with our inability to find the warming that has to be there based on the absorbed/reflected radiation imbalance... are connected in a way. They relate to the same earth during the same period of time.
    It doesn't seem to arbitrary to wonder if the long term cycle in (a) is in a phase of it's cycle that affects the warming in (b).
    I shouldn't be so presumptious to think that I know the answer. I don't. But I reserve the right to wonder if understanding the decadal oscillations of the oceans and an improved ability to measure the heat content of the oceans would lead us to an answer.
  27. Doug Cannon,
    the fact that we still cannot identify the details of how heat goes around in the climate system in the short term (four years is not that much) should not rise any alarm.
    Altough some phenomena show a (sort of) cyclic behaviour they all average out in the long run. For example, look here for the PDO. In the end, they could at best justify some "noise" in the trend; no overall energy balance has been altered and these "oscillation" can just move around the heat through the climate system.
    Indeed, this is what Trenberth refers to in the stolen email, look at the other things he said.
  28. Riccardo,
    "no overall energy balance has been altered"
    I totally agree. That's the point.
    Actually, one of my sources for Trenberth's position is last week's "Economist". Unless they have totally misinterpreted his comments he believes the data show an energy imbalance. Since we all know that can't be true, something is wrong with the data.
    I think a fair paraphrasing of all Trenberth's comments would be: We don't have the right data. Yet. But we'll find it. Then the data will demonstrate there is no imbalance.
  29. Doug Cannon,
    we get always back to the same point, short and long term. There's nothing wrong in the data, just not accurate enough to details the short term variability which we all would like to account for. The long term global warming is put aside and not questioned at all by Trenberth.

    Rememebr also that there's not just black or white, we know everything or we know nothing. Indeed, it's well known that part, the largest probably, of the short term variability can be explained by ENSO alone. This part is know, but it's not all; the remainder comes from other, smaller, contributions.
  30. Doug,
    just after having hit the submit button, i ended up in Trenberth's own words:

    "It relates to our ability to track energy flow through the climate system. We can do this very well from 1992 to 2003, when large warming occurred, but not from 2004 to 2008. The quote refers to our observation system which is inadequate to observe Earth's energy flows at the accuracy needed to understand small fluctuations in climate;"

    Take his words, much better than mine.
  31. Does this data only go back to 1950?
  32. Note that NODC has updated the ocean heat content figures through 2009. You may want to update your graph.
  33. If your kid grows an inch and a half each year between fifth grade and eighth grade and then doesn't grow any more through high school, is he still growing?

    No.

    And if someone says "but but but his average height during high school is taller than his average height during middle school!" does that change your mind?

    It's not still warming. It's still warm. Perhaps it shouldn't be - the known natural forcings over the last decade should perhaps have caused cooling but haven't yet.

    Is 1998 "cherry picking one year?" No. It's one year of natural variability - but 11, going on 12, years of CO2 emissions. And 1998 is warmer than - or if you use GISS, within 0.01 deg C as warm as, each year since then. If 11 becomes 15 or 20, that's the skeptics' point - - if the climate is as CO2-sensitive as is thought, then no single year of natural variability should offset two decades of cumulative CO2 buildup.

    11 hasn't become 15 or 20, so I don't think that "it's still warm though it's neither warming nor cooling" disproves your thesis. So one has to ask, why continue to belabor the point? I understand that "it's still warm even though perhaps it shouldn't be" is complex and you might lose people at the lowest common denominator, but when you oversimplify to the point that you've reduced the thesis to a statement that isn't really accurate, you lose some critical thinkers - as with the "anthropogenic cause of tree ring divergence," this practice probably fuels more skepticism than it quells.
    Response: I understand the use of metaphors but eventually metaphors get so tortured, the usefulness fades. In the case of the 'growing kid' metaphor, an appropriate comparison would be if you had a child that would grow 2 inches in one year, shrink 1 inch the next year, grow 1.5 inches the year after that, shrink .5 inches the next year. His height is shooting up and down but gradually in the long term rising. But really, that's just a weird metaphor!

    Don't be beguiled by the year 1998. Be aware that the HadCRUT record which finds 1998 as the hottest year on record doesn't include the whole globe - it excludes regions where the warming trend is greatest. A fully global temperature record finds 2005 as the hottest year on record, 2009 as the 2nd hottest year on record and a statistically significant warming trend throughout this period.
  34. .....and GISS is Northern Hemisphere-biased. Either way, even the measures that put 2005 as the warmest put it at 0.01 deg C above 1998. I.e., about even. 1 year of natural variability offsetting 11 years of CO2 isn't "cherry picking one year." If it's "still warming" then the temperature should still be rising - rather than simply still warm relative to the recent past.

    The height analogy is a good one because the temperature has remained within a few tenths of a degree C below to, by some measures one hundredth of a degree above the 1998 mean. It's been flat.

    Perhaps it's been flat DESPITE natural forcings that ought to have pushed it down. So say that.
  35. Pat T,
    simplification is a quite risky game. Thinking of a monotonic warming when a monotonic forcing is applied is such a game.
    Look at the instrumental record and you'll see many periods of no warming and yet overall the temperature has increased. From 2002 to 2009 all the yearly averaged temperatures are within about 0.14 °C, i.e. +/- 0.07 °C. This is what the numbers say, undisputable.
    But this is only the begining of the story, not the end. Next step is understand what those numbers mean. To do this you have to look at how temperature behaves. You'll soon discover that there's an interannual varibility of about +/- 0.1 °C and that, in turn, in ten years you can not (statistically) assess a trend lower than about 0.2 °C/decade. Look at this graph (thanks to Tamino); temperature fluctuates between the lower and the upper bounds. You can (statistacally) say that temperature is still following the trend line until it goes out of the bounds. We are not there, not even close.
    This is as far as the numbers are concerned. Then comes the physics, explained by John in this post. Not the numbers nor the physics make us think it's cooling.
  36. Great site and page thank you! One very small cavil ...

    "Since 1970, the Earth's heat content has been rising at a rate of 6 x 10^21 Joules per year. In more meaningful terms, the planet has been accumulating energy at a rate of 190,260 GigaWatts. Considering a typical nuclear power plant has an output of 1 GigaWatt, imagine 190,000 nuclear power plants pouring their energy output directly into our oceans."

    The value 6 x 10^21 Joules per year has one significant digit (similar in accuracy to other figures one the page, like 0.77 ± 0.11). So it gives a misleading idea of accuracy to say "190,260 GigaWatts", with 5 significant digits.

    It would be better to stick to one significant digit, and conclude:

    "the planet has been accumulating energy at a rate of about 200,000 GigaWatts"

    and then also adjust the nuclear power plan count accordingly (bearing mind as well that Barry Brook's comment 5 above challenged the 1GW per plant estimate).
  37. nice article, very clear what you are getting at.

    Question: Don't the models take the Oceans (as a heat sink) into account? If so, how have they got it so wrong?
  38. Very interesting article. About the 6 x 10^21 Joules per year (200,000 GWth), the comparison to nuclear power plants is an unfounded comparison because what is heating the earth is the sun. If we consider that the sun is hitting the earth with 1300 W/m^2, and the radius of the earth is 6.3 x 10^6 meters, the energy input by the sun is:

    Insolation x Area = 1300 W/m^2 * pi*((6.3*10^6)^2) = approx. 160,000,000 GW. Compared to 200,000 GW of warming.

    I think this is a better comparison. So approximately 0.12% of the insolation hitting the earth is being absorbed and held. If 200,000 GW is entering an ocean of 100,000,000 mi^2 and 0.25 miles deep, the change in ocean temperature is

    (200,000x10^6 kJ/s)/((100,000,000 mi^2)(0.25mi)*(4x10^9 m^3/mi^3)*(1000kg/m^3)*(4.184kJ/kgK)) = 5*10^-10 K/s = 0.015 K/year = 1.5 Kelvin/century

    which is close to the temperature change of the earth. Kudos goes to the person who made the very good estimation in the above article of the change in internal energy of the oceans.

    However, I am an experimentalist. The second comment I would like to pose is about taking temperature data. The scope of the experiment is that the earth's surface area is 200,000,000 mi^2, and temperature data from 1880 - 1961(Tiros I launched) was taken with < 1,000-10,000 thermometers and averaged to get a full year's average temperature. Making a gross assumption that the thermometers are homogeneously dispursed around the globe, each thermometer must have encompassed a region from >20,000 - 200,000 mi^2. To put that into perspective, Texas is 250,000 mi^2 and West Virginia is approximately 25,000 mi^2. I question whether the data obtained can produce an average annual temperature value within 0.5°C, let alone 0.1°C. If these values are certain, as given by Smith and Reynolds (2004,2005) found on the NOAA website, I question what can be deduced from them. The average surface temperature of the earth is not measured directly just like the temperatures from past climates were not measured directly. However, past climates deviated in degrees over millenia compared to tenths of a degree over decades. The same analysis goes for any water temperature measurement that was done. To derive an average water temperature from measurements of an ocean that is on the order of 100,000,000 mi^2 in surface area and on the order of 0.25 miles deep is unfounded. It is a vast volume to extrapolate precise and accurate temperature data from.

    This analysis provides me with enough skepticism to wait for more conclusive data.
  39. kwoods01, you're right that absolute temperatures can vary at fine spatial scales, such that it would be difficult to calculate an accurate average temperature based on a limited number of thermometers. But temperature anomalies are spatially correlated over very broad areas.

    Thus, it's possible to come up with a very good estimate of changes in the global mean surface temperature based on a relatively small number of stations (i.e., hundreds, not millions) as long as they're reasonably well distributed.

    Finally, "waiting for more conclusive data" isn't actually possible, since we can't freeze all emissions of greenhouse gases while we wait. The decision to continue with business as usual or to start reducing emissions will have to be made with imperfect information. If we decide to just continue with business as usual while we wait for the scientists to do their thing, that will lock in a lot of warming that can't then be recalled if we later decide that the science is convincing after all.
  40. April has been record breaking in Connecticut for warm temperatures.

    Today it will be 77 degrees- after a month that has been 6.7 degrees above normal. Tomorrow 85 degrees, and Sunday 90.


    Of course this is day to day weather- however, warming of this magnitude after years of milder winters and earlier springs is troubling to say the least.

    The climate models always predicted that after 2010 we would begin to see record warming-is this 'that' beginning?
  41. And its been 90 here (on the coast of that great bowl of oil and vinegar we call the Gulf of Mexico) already - two days running.

    However, this new study suggests that we ain't seen nothing yet.

    "Researchers for the first time have calculated the highest tolerable "wet-bulb" temperature and found that this temperature could be exceeded for the first time in human history in future climate scenarios if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate."
  42. Oh joy, we're about to get another revival of this argument

    http://climatedepot.com/a/6574/search.asp?cx=partner-pub-2896112664106093%3Am5ewh74pu5c&cof=FORID%3A9&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=global+cooling

    "Geologist Declares 'global warming is over' -- Warns U.S. Climate Conference of 'Looming Threat of Global Cooling' "
  43. We have just experienced the warmest January-April period on record when considering the combined land and ocean temps. Here is the link.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/index.php#global_highlights
  44. I'm sorry but I think I'm missing something. Both surface and atmospheric measurements show cooling, or, at least, minimal warming since 2002. How can the planet be accumulating heat when over the course of 8 years global temperature records show it has not really warmed at all?
  45. Michael, I think one of the things you're missing is taking a moment to read John's post, or if you have and believe you've found something wrong there, perhaps you could mention it?
  46. michaelkourlas - why do you think John spends time on discussing the ocean heat above? Pay particular attention to John's first 2 sentences above.
  47. Aloha All,

    I am new here but I am not new to the subject matter. Pardon me for writing simply. I am retired and simplicity appeals to me.

    It is becoming difficult to pretend nothing is happening. Even if we discard anthropogenic causation, we cannot disregard our observations. The earth is getting warmer every year. 2010 is already the hottest year on record.

    128.3°F was measured at the town of MohenjuDaro, Pakistan, on Wednesday, May 26. As I write this, temperatures in parts of India are 125°F and both the flora and fauna are dying. How is that possible? Well, in fact, it IS possible. The earth used to be much warmer than it is now. Before humans existed.

    Whether the fluctuation is natural or not doesn't concern me any longer. People will rationalize arguments that the ecosphere is not warming because they don't want to believe it is. Either way the outcome is the same. We are entering an extinction event. We will last longer than Atlantic Bluefin tuna; they will be extinct within a couple of years. The human race may have 25 years left...or fifty...or ten.

    Even assuming that we are simply at the beginning of the next natural Milankovitch warming cycle or, on a shorter scale, a Bond Event or a natural orbital perturbation or a solar max or for no discernible reason whatsoever, we can interpolate that the oceans will become net exporters of CO2 before 2040 just as the forests are now. By that time we will have a CH4 problem.

    If we happen to be in one of the 'abrupt' climate changes, we can expect temperature increases within a few years to a few decades, depending on the causality, to increase right past the sweet spot at which humans can survive. Potentially thirty to fifty degrees Fahrenheit warmer. We have an historical record of those sorts of temperatures. And that assumes the 20 BILLION tons of CO2 we are happily pumping into the atmosphere annually is not a factor. That the 7 billion people on earth are not a factor. That the hydrological cycle is beginning to fluctuate is not a factor. That the annual loss of millions of Hectares of arable land to erosion and millions more to desertification are not factors. Because, in fact, they are no longer factors if we have jumped the shark.

    The tropics have encroached into sub-tropical zones by four degrees of longitude in the recent past. The weather, never predictable, was at least stable within recorded history. Now it isn't. Now EVERY flood is a 'hundred year' or 'thousand year' flood. Now there are going to be hurricanes for which another level of intensity will have to be made. Category 6. Now the once-predictable seasons of the year are changing. Everywhere. Given that weather is dynamic, I still defy anyone to tell me the weather where they are is not anomalous.

    The type of anomaly and the direction of temperature variation at any given point is of no import. That we cannot account for some of the trapped heat merely means we don't know where to look. It could be hiding in the AMO but it could just as easily be involved in a previously unobserved chemical reaction of which we know nothing. My suspicion is that it is charging the clathrate gun but I do not care to debate postulates.

    Imagine a spinning top as a metaphor. As the rotation decreases, a wobble begins but it wobbles through it's steady state enough that the wobble is barely noticeable. During that period three observers could debate whether it is speeding up, slowing down or naturally imbalanced at a steady momentum. The only way to know is when it collapses. Predicting the collapse event is not possible until it happens; there is a real possibility that it might never collapse.
    Schrödinger's top.

    My belated point is this: If you live on Easter Island, cutting down coconut trees for the nuts might seem like a good idea until you have cut down the last one. After that, further debate about whether to do it becomes meaningless.

    a hui hou
    T
  48. Mahalo and Aloha, Dr. Tom!
  49. Aloha e, Doug. Mahalo for your kind words. I shall not post regularly but it is really a very pleasant place to visit.

    a hui hou, kakoa
    T
  50. It has been unusually quiet from Mr. Svensmark and the rest of the "it's the sun" fraction of the denialist movement over the last six months. For good reason. Instead of continuing cooling as they predicted in 2008 and early 09, temperatures bounced back with a vengeance once the La Nina calmed down. The last 12 months is the hottest 12 months in recorded history, with even the skeptic run UAH dataset setting records, despite continuing tweaks to bring the anomalies down. With all time high temperature records being set when the cooling effect from the deepest solar minimum in more than a century is at its peak, Svensmarks hypothesis has failed in a spectacular fashion. It would be good if the MSM would start focusing their attention on the massive failures of the denialist predictions instead of harassing the real scientists.

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