Hmmm?

Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it

  • The figures  reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until  August 2012 there was no  discernible 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

By David Rose

PUBLISHED:16:42 EST, 13  October 2012| UPDATED:20:21 EST, 13 October 2012

 

 

The world stopped getting warmer almost 16  years ago, according to new data released last week.

The figures, which have triggered debate  among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August  2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.

This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in  global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period  when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable  or declining for about 40 years.

global temperature changesglobal temperature changes

 

Research: The new figures mean that the ¿pause¿ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. This picture shows an iceberg melting in Eastern Greenland  

Research: The new figures mean that the ‘pause’ in  global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period  when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. This picture shows an iceberg melting in  Eastern Greenland

The new data, compiled from more than 3,000  measuring points on land and sea, was issued  quietly on the internet,  without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported.

This stands in sharp contrast  to the  release of the previous  figures six months ago, which went only to the end  of 2010 – a very warm year.

Ending the data then means it is possible to  show a slight warming trend since 1997, but 2011 and the first eight months of  2012 were much cooler, and thus this trend is erased.

Some climate scientists, such as Professor  Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East  Anglia, last week dismissed the significance of the plateau, saying that 15 or  16 years is too short a period from which to draw conclusions.

Others disagreed. Professor Judith Curry, who is the head of the climate science department at America’s prestigious Georgia Tech university, told The Mail on Sunday that it was clear that the computer models used to predict future warming were ‘deeply flawed’.

Even Prof Jones admitted that he and his  colleagues did not understand the impact of ‘natural variability’ – factors such  as long-term ocean temperature cycles and changes in the output of the sun.  However, he said he was still convinced that the current decade would end up  significantly warmer than the previous two.

Professor Phil JonesDr Judith A Curry

Disagreement: Professor Phil Jones, left, from the  University of East Anglia, dismissed the significance of the plateau. Professor  Judith Curry, right, from Georgia Tech university in America, disagreed, saying  the computer models used to predict future warming were ‘deeply  flawed’

Warmer: Since 1880 the world has warmed by 0.75 degrees Celsius. This image shows floating icebergs in Greenland 

Warmer: Since 1880 the world has warmed by 0.75 degrees  Celsius. This image shows floating icebergs in Greenland

The regular data collected on global  temperature is called Hadcrut 4, as it is jointly issued by the Met Office’s  Hadley Centre and Prof Jones’s Climatic Research Unit.

Since 1880, when worldwide industrialisation  began to gather pace and reliable statistics were first collected on a global  scale, the world has warmed by 0.75 degrees Celsius.

Some scientists have claimed that this rate  of warming is set to increase hugely without drastic cuts to carbon-dioxide  emissions, predicting a catastrophic increase of up to a further five  degrees  Celsius by the end of the century.

The new figures were released as the  Government made clear that it would ‘bend’ its own  carbon-dioxide rules  and build new power stations to try to combat the threat of  blackouts.

At last week’s Conservative Party Conference,  the new Energy Minister, John Hayes, promised that ‘the high-flown theories of  bourgeois Left-wing academics will not override the interests of ordinary people  who need fuel for heat, light and transport – energy policies, you might say,  for the many, not the few’ – a pledge that has triggered fury from green  activists, who fear reductions in the huge subsidies given to wind-turbine  firms.

Flawed science costs us dearly

 

Here are three not-so trivial questions you  probably won’t find in your next pub quiz. First, how much warmer has the world  become since a) 1880 and  b) the beginning of 1997? And what has this got  to do with your ever-increasing energy bill?

You may find the answers to the first two  surprising. Since 1880, when reliable temperature records began to be kept  across most of the globe, the world has warmed by about 0.75 degrees Celsius.

From the start of 1997 until August 2012,  however, figures released last week show the answer is zero: the trend, derived  from the aggregate data collected from more than 3,000 worldwide measuring  points, has been flat.

Surprising: News that the world has got no warmer for the past 16 years will come as something of a shock. This picture shows drifting ice in Canada 

Surprising: News that the world has got no warmer for  the past 16 years will come as something of a shock. This picture shows drifting  ice in Canada

Not that there has been any  coverage in  the media, which usually reports climate issues assiduously, since the figures  were quietly release online with no accompanying press release – unlike six  months ago when they showed a slight warming trend.

The answer to the third question is perhaps  the most familiar. Your bills are going up, at least in part, because of the  array of ‘green’ subsidies being provided to the renewable energy industry,  chiefly wind.

They will cost the average household about £100 this year. This is set to rise steadily higher – yet it  is being  imposed for only one  reason: the widespread conviction, which is shared by  politicians of all stripes and drilled into children at primary schools, that,  without drastic action to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, global warming is  certain soon to accelerate, with truly catastrophic consequences by the end of  the century – when temperatures could be up to five degrees higher.

Hence the significance of those first two  answers. Global industrialisation over the past 130 years has made relatively  little difference.

And with the country committed by Act of  Parliament to reducing CO2 by 80 per cent by 2050, a project that will cost  hundreds of billions, the news that the world has got no warmer for the past 16  years comes as something of a shock.

It poses a fundamental challenge to the  assumptions underlying every aspect of energy and climate change  policy.

This ‘plateau’ in rising temperatures does  not mean that global warming won’t at some point resume.

Damage: Global warming has been caused in part by the CO2 emitted by fossil fuels. This image shows smoke billowing out of a power station 

Damage: Global warming has been caused in part by the  CO2 emitted by fossil fuels. This image shows smoke billowing out of a power  station

But according to increasing numbers of  serious climate scientists, it does suggest that the computer models that have  for years been predicting imminent doom, such as  those used by the Met  Office and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are flawed, and  that the climate is far more complex than the models assert.

‘The new data confirms the existence of a  pause in global warming,’ Professor Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth  and Atmospheric Science at America’s Georgia Tech university, told me yesterday.

‘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.’

Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climate  Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, who found himself at the centre  of the ‘Climategate’ scandal over leaked emails three years ago, would not  normally be expected to agree with her. Yet on two important points, he  did.

The data does suggest a plateau, he admitted,  and without a major El Nino event – the sudden, dramatic warming of the southern  Pacific which takes place unpredictably and always has a huge effect on global  weather – ‘it could go on for a while’.

Like Prof Curry, Prof Jones also admitted  that the climate models were imperfect: ‘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.’

Headache: The evidence is beginning to suggest that global warming may be happening much slower than the catastrophists have claimed ¿ a conclusion with enormous policy implications for politicians at Westminster, pictured 

Headache: The evidence is beginning to suggest that  global warming may be happening much slower than the catastrophists have claimed – a conclusion with enormous policy implications for politicians at Westminster,  pictured

Yet he insisted that 15 or 16 years is not a  significant period: pauses of such length had always been expected, he said.

Yet in 2009, when the plateau was already  becoming apparent and being discussed by scientists, he told a colleague in one  of the Climategate emails: ‘Bottom  line: the “no upward trend” has  to  continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.’

But although that point has now been passed,  he said that he hadn’t changed his mind about the  models’ gloomy  predictions:  ‘I still think that the current decade which began in 2010  will be warmer by about 0.17 degrees than the previous one, which was warmer  than the Nineties.’

Only if that did not happen would he  seriously begin to  wonder whether something more profound might be  happening. In other words, though five years ago he seemed to be saying that 15  years without warming would make him ‘worried’, that period has now become 20  years.

Meanwhile, his Met Office  colleagues  were sticking to their guns. A spokesman said: ‘Choosing a starting or end point  on short-term scales can be very misleading. Climate change can only be detected  from multi-decadal timescales due to the inherent variability in the climate  system.’

He said that for the plateau to last any more  than 15 years was ‘unlikely’. Asked about a prediction that the Met Office made  in 2009 – that three of the ensuing five years would set a new world temperature  record – he made no comment. With no sign of a strong El Nino next year, the  prospects of this happening are remote.

Why all this matters should be obvious. Every  quarter, statistics on the economy’s output and  models of future  performance have a huge impact on our lives. They trigger a range of policy  responses from the Bank of England and the Treasury, and myriad decisions by  private businesses.

Yet it has steadily become apparent since the  2008 crash that both the statistics and the modelling are extremely unreliable.  To plan the future around them makes about as much sense as choosing a wedding  date three months’ hence on the basis of a long-term weather  forecast.

Few people would be so foolish. But decisions  of far deeper and more costly significance than those derived from output  figures have been and are still being made on the basis of climate predictions,  not of the next three months but of the coming century – and this despite the  fact that Phil Jones and his colleagues now admit they do not understand the  role of ‘natural variability’.

The most depressing feature  of this  debate is that anyone who questions the alarmist, doomsday scenario will  automatically be labelled a climate change ‘denier’, and accused of jeopardising  the future of humanity.

So let’s be clear. Yes: global warming is  real, and some of it at least has been caused by the CO2 emitted by fossil  fuels. But the evidence is beginning to suggest that it may be happening much  slower than the catastrophists have claimed – a conclusion with enormous policy  implications.

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