Scientists speak to us about the warming pause, while activists deny their work.

Summary: I feel sad watching the Left liquidate its credibility by denying climate scientists’ work on the pause in warming of the atmosphere since roughly 2000. Although their voices dominate the news media, we must not rely on activists to tell us about the world. We can see the cutting edge of science for ourselves. Seeing the world clearly is a requirement for our success in the 21st century.

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

— From “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), said first by a prison warden and later by the prisoner Luke (Paul Newman).

World in eye


Activists have published scores of articles denying the existence of the “pause” (or “hiatus”). That’s politically convenient — the pause contradicts their narrative of imminent catastrophic warming and arouses doubt about the computer models that create the forecasts. But it displays an astonishing disregard for the work of climate scientists, and science — just like those on the Right they mock.

Here we again we see the similar behavior of Americans on both ends of the political spectrum, obvious to all who look — except the participants themselves. It’s one of the things that gives our politics that Oz-like air of absurdity.

While activists earnestly deny the pause, scores of peer-reviewed papers discuss the pause, analyze its causes and forecast its duration. We see the cutting edge of this work at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society, in their two sessions about the “Global Warming Hiatus”: Part I and Part II.

Global average temperature has increased by 0.80°C over the 20th century but this warming trend has slowed or even stalled for the past 15 years. This warming hiatus has caused much confusion and debate but at the same time offers a scientific opportunity to study climate change dynamics in action. Mechanisms proposed include a slowdown in net radiative forcing, and interference by natural variability.

This session showcases rapidly advancing research on the physical mechanisms and various impacts of this hiatus event. Topics of particular interest include interdecadal variability and the interaction with forced climate change, radiative forcing and related processes, and ocean heat storage as pertinent to the hiatus.

Especially note this one, an A-team climate scientist revising the consensus: Projections of a rebound in warming out of the current hiatus, Matthew H. England, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Abstract, red emphasis added:


Despite ongoing increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases, the Earth’s global average surface air temperature has remained more or less steady since 2001. Mechanisms proposed to account for this slowdown in surface warming include increased ocean heat uptake, the prolonged solar minimum and changes in atmospheric water vapour and aerosols.

While cool sea surface temperature in the east Pacific has been identified as a key component of the global hiatus, it is unclear how the ocean has remained relatively cool there in spite of ongoing increases in radiative forcing. Here we show that a pronounced strengthening in Pacific trade winds over the past two decades – unprecedented in observations/reanalysis data and not captured by climate models – is sufficient to account for the cooling of the tropical Pacific and a substantial slowdown in surface warming via increased subsurface ocean heat uptake.

The extra uptake has come about via increased subduction in the Pacific shallow overturning cells, enhancing heat convergence in the equatorial thermocline. At the same time, the accelerated trade winds have increased equatorial upwelling in the central and eastern Pacific, lowering SST there, which drives further cooling in other regions. The net effect of these anomalous winds is a cooling in the 2012 global average surface air temperature of 0.1 – 0.2°C, which can account for much of the hiatus in surface warming observed since 2001.

Simulations using coupled climate models suggest the hiatus could persist for much of the present decade if the trade wind trends continue, however a rebound of rapid warming is expected to resume once the anomalous wind trends abate.

England shows this graph of  global surface temperatures compared to model projections. Note that the 5-year mean has fallen below the range of the projections in the two most recent IPCC reports. After his adjustments, it’s in the lower end of the range.

England, AMS, 2015
From paper by Matthew H. England, AMS Annual Meeting, 2015


The other papers are also interesting.

  1. Where are we in understanding the early-2000s hiatus of global warming? (Core Science Lecture), Gerald Meehl, NCAR, Boulder, CO.
  2. Current Hiatus of Global Warming Tied to Equatorial Pacific Surface Cooling, Yu Kosaka, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; and S. P. Xie.
  3. The Recent Surface Global Warming Hiatus: The Role of Internal Forcing beyond the Tropical Pacific, Clara Deser, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and T. Fan.
  4. A Link Between the Hiatus in Global Warming and North American Drought, Thomas L. Delworth, NOAA/GFDL, Princeton, NJ; and F. Zeng, A. Rosati, G. Vecchi, and A. T. Wittenberg.
  5. Sources of contrasting temperature extreme behavior during the recent global warming hiatus, Nat Johnson, CICS/Princeton University, Princeton, NJ; and Y. Kosaka and S. P. Xie.
  6. Contribution of Natural Decadal Variability to Global-Warming Acceleration and Hiatus, Masahiro Watanabe, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba, Japan; and H. Shiogama, H. Tatebe, M. Hayashi, M. Ishii, and M. Kimoto.
  7. Tropical modulations of global mean temperature, Shang-Ping Xie, University of California, La Jolla, CA; and C. Y. Wang.

Truth Will Make You Free

For More Information.

(a)  Reference Pages about climate on the FM sites:

  1. The important things to know about global warming.
  2. My posts.
  3. Studies & reports, by subject.
  4. The history of climate fears.

(b)  About the pause:

  1. Still good news: global temperatures remain stable, at least for now., 14 October 2012 — Scientists analyze the pause.
  2. Scientists explore causes of the pause in warming, perhaps the most important research of the decade, 17 January 2014.
  3. One of the most important questions we face: when will the pause in global warming end?, 25 August 2013.
  4. Possible political effects of the pause in global warming, 26 August 2013.
  5. 2014 will be the hottest year on record! Except for the details, which ruin that narrative., 4 December 2014.
  6. The record closes on 2014. Was it the warmest year on record?, 7 January 2015.

(c)  About Left’s propaganda about climate change. It’s increasingly distant from the science.

  1. More attempts to control the climate science debate using smears and swarming, 19 October 2009.
  2. The hidden history of the global warming crusade, 19 February 2010.
  3. A real-time example of the birth and spread of climate propaganda, 9 March 2010.
  4. Lies told under the influence of the Green religion to save the world, 30 July 2010.
  5. Puncturing the false picture of a scientific consensus about the causes and effects of global warming, 20 September 2010.
  6. Mother Jones sounds the alarm about global warming! This time about the north pole., 10 December 2012.
  7. Lessons the Left can learn from the Right when writing about climate change, 12 December 2012 — Propagandist Phil Plait.
  8. Fierce words about those “wacky professional climate change deniers”, 20 January 2013 — More by propagandist Phil Plait.
  9. We can see our true selves in the propaganda used against us, 14 May 2013 — Skillful inaccurate article in The Guardian.
  10. A powerful story about global warming in Alaska that’s set Twitter aflame, 23 June 2013.
  11. Climate lies are the tool of choice by both sides to influence your opinion. Why is that?, 11 July 2013.
  12. The North Pole is now a lake! Are you afraid yet?, 3 August 2013.
  13. Climate science deniers on the Left, captured for viewing, 29 September 2013.
  14. A behind-the-scenes look at the making of propaganda, the kind that paints the world we see, 22 December 2013.
  15. Climate change sinks the Left, while scientists unravel mysteries we must solve, 24 January 2014.
  16. Watch the Left burn away more of its credibility, then wonder why the Right wins, 29 January 2014.
  17. Apocalyptic thinking on the Left about climate change risks burning their credibility, 4 February 2014.
  18. “Climate change is slowly but steadily cooking the world’s oceans”, 5 February 2014.
  19. Why the Left is losing: another example of incompetent marketing, 26 February 2014.
  20. The Left sees “Climate buffoons” and “deniers”. What do they see in the mirror?, 7 March 2014.
  21. This is what defeat looks like for the Left, and perhaps also for environmentalists, 17 March 2014.
  22. The Left stages a two minute hate on Nate Silver, Roger Pielke Jr (& me), 29 March 2014.
  23. Facts are the enemy of both Left and Right in our America, 12 May 2014.
  24. The debate about climate change takes a new form. One familiar yet disturbing., 8 August 2014.
  25. Nine years after Katrina, climate activists have earned their reward. We might pay dearly for it, 2 December 2014.



28 thoughts on “Scientists speak to us about the warming pause, while activists deny their work.”

  1. Just follow the money trail to find out who and what’s behind the GWA. More energy and carbon taxes, grants for warming scientists and more control over the masses. Always follow the money trail.

  2. As per usual, Global Warming Deniers demonstrate their (willful) inability to understand the scientific literature.

    Meanwhile, Japan’s Meteorological Agency is the first major database to show that global warming hasn’t stopped or paused – 2014 was the warmest year in recorded history.

    NOAA’s National Climate Data Center will report its results toward late next week (or early the following week), and it is highly probable that it will also report that 2014 was the warmest year in history.

    In addition to the above, the world’s glaciers continue to melt ( World Glacier Monitoring Service ). Sea level continues to rise due to thermal expansion and glacial melting. The rate of sea level rise has quadrupled since the 1870 to 1924 period. (Columbia University ). Etc.

    1. Bill,

      Your comment makes little sense. Do you disagree with all the climate scientists writing about the pause? If so, what’s your qualifications for doing so? Also, the evidence you cite is consistent with a pause in atmosphere warming since ~2000, yet you seem to believe otherwise.

      (1) “Global Warming Deniers demonstrate their (willful) inability to understand the scientific literature.”

      What? My point was they climate scientists are exploring the pause in atmospheric warming, its causes and likely duration. The citations are quite explicit about that. You appear to provide supporting evidence that activists’ response to this is denial.

      (2) “Japan’s Meteorological Agency is the first major database to show that global warming hasn’t stopped or paused”

      JMA does not claim that there has been no pause, nor that the pause has ended, as discussed in yesterday’s post. JMA reported an increase of +0.05°C over the previous record in 1998 — not even close to a statistically significant increase. Nor is a new record high confirmed by either of NASA’s satellite datasets (RSS and UAH).

      (3) “the world’s glaciers continue to melt”

      Only slightly. The final data for 2012/13 shows a melt estimate of -657 mm we, with a standard deviation of 717 mm we (i.e., on a normal distribution there is a 68% the actual number is between -1,347 and +60). Add to that picture the expansion of sea ice during the past few years and one gets a picture of a stabilizing cryosphere — over a very short term period.

      (4) “Sea level continues to rise”

      The seas have been rising for thousands of years. That’s irrelevant to discussion of the pause since ~2000 (the subject of this post). What is relevant is that the Columbia U page you cite states “sea level rise slowed slightly in the past few years” — their graph clearly shows a flattening since ~2011.

    2. A characteristic of global warming deniers is that they are consistently wrong.

      (Incorrect) Claim: “(3) “the world’s glaciers continue to melt”

      The “Only slightly” claim is a fabrication that is not supported by the evidence.

      Reality: Glacial melting has accelerated over the last dozen years. Check the graph. World Glacier Monitoring Service.

      (Incorrect) Claim: “(4) “Sea level continues to rise”

      The seas have been rising for thousands of years. That’s irrelevant to discussion of the pause since ~2000 (the subject of this post). What is relevant is that the Columbia U page you cite states “sea level rise slowed slightly in the past few years” — their graph clearly shows a flattening since ~2011.”

      The ”seas have been rising for thousands of years . . . “ claim is a fabrication that is not supported by the evidence.

      Reality: Sea level had been stable for 7,000 tears up to the last century. {wikipedia graph}.

      The Columbia University graph shows the rate of sea level rise has quadrupled in the last 100 years. If you use NOAA data, the rate of sea level rise was 2.8 mm/yr. as of their 2012 graph. The slope of the trend line has picked up to 2.9 mm/yr. as of 2014 data.

      Current readings are above the rising trend line on both the NOAA and CU plots indicating acceleration of sea level rise is continuing.

      Over 90 % of global warming ends up in the oceans. A graph (and supporting data) can be found at (Click on “2” for ocean heat in the top 2,000 meters of the ocean.) Ocean temperatures are measured by the Argo Buoy system.
      The red line at the NOAA website shows Argo data which has been available since about the end of 2005.

      If you run a least squares trend line for ocean heat content (See detailed graph at ) , the average oceanic warming rate starting with 2006 has been:

      a) 9.3E21 Joules per year
      b) 2.95 trillion 100-watt light bulbs running 24/7
      c) 4.4 Hiroshima atomic bombs per second – running 24/7

      Pick your favorite unit of measure.

      1. Bill,

        Your comment is not unclear, but weird. Most of this has no relevance to the science presented in this post, or anything I’ve written. It’s as if you are arguing with the voices in your head.

        If you disagree with the scientists I cite — the scores of climate scientists writing about the pause, its causes, and likely duration — I suggest you publish some peeer-reviewed research.

      2. Bill,

        I hate to get into debates with trolls, but our SOP is to reply to specfics.

        (1) “The “Only slightly” claim is a fabrication that is not supported by the evidence.”

        When I give a quote from the authority you cite, a rebuttal claiming I’m wrong is just daft.

        (2) “The ‘seas have been rising for thousands of years …’ claim is a fabrication that is not supported by the evidence…”

        You are not looking at the graph you cite. It shows a deceleration of sea level rise, but continued rising until the post-LIA acceleration. But more importantly claiming Wiki-knowledge is a confession of ignorance. The IPCC’s AR5 says: “Ocean volume between about 7 ka and 3 ka is likely to have increased by an equivalent sea level rise of 2 to 3 {meters}”. Rapid. They discuss at length the complex literature estimating sea level since them. This is one of the few continuous time series during that period they show:

        [caption id="attachment_76061" align="aligncenter" width="410"]IPCC R5, chapter5: sea level rise IPCC R5, chapter5: sea level rise in Figure 5.17[/caption]


        Also see this from “Sea-level fluctuations during the last glacial cycle“, M. Siddall et al, Nature, 19 June 2003 — Gated.

        [caption id="attachment_47122" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Nature, 19 June 2003[/caption]


        (3) The rest of your comment…

        is irrelevant to anything on this website, as shown by your inability to reference any quotes. You reply to the voices in your head. Sad, really.

      1. Catweazle,

        “Climate change denier” (alt “global warming denier”) is an interesting usage. Since almost nobody denies the existence of climate change (or global warming since during the past 2 centuries) it betrays a religious (or rigidly ideological view). In my experience of hundreds of comment threads about this, I’ve found people using the phase seldom can justify their beliefs by reference to the IPCC or peer-reviewed literature. It makes debate with them quite futile, as usual with closed minds.

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  4. I don’t understand FM Jihad against global climate change. I we do the things necessary on the assumption that it is a real, credible and important change then we need to do the following:

    1. Increase the efficiency of our energy transport system. Less methane being vented to the atmosphere, better and smarter electrical grids.

    2. More efficient machines from cars, trains, planes to manufacturing processes.

    3. More energy efficient buildings.

    4. Increase alternative sources energy be it solar, wind, nuclear or some new source of energy.

    This last point seems to freak out the utility companies as individuals and communities will become less dependent upon centralized energy production.

    If the assumption proves false, what are we left with? Better energy efficient, better transportation systems, more resiliency in energy supplies.

    It seems aside from global climate change these are Thing We Ought to Do Anway. (TWODA).

    1. Carroll,

      (1) “I don’t understand FM Jihad against global climate change.”

      What an odd comment, since I say absolutely nothing remotely like that. I report what the IPCC says and the peer-reviewed research. If climate science bothers you, talk to climate scientists. Don’t complain to me.

      (2) “It seems aside from global climate change these are Thing We Ought to Do Anway.”

      Now we see the problem. You not reading what I write. I’ve repeated my recommendations very frequently, and every post about climate points a page saying this:

      (f) For the past five years my recommendations have been the same:

      1. More funding for climate sciences. Many key aspects (e.g., global temperature data collection and analysis) are grossly underfunded.
      2. Wider involvement of relevant experts in this debate. For example, geologists, statisticians and software engineers have been largely excluded — although their fields of knowledge are deeply involved.
      3. Run government-funded climate research with tighter standards (e.g., posting of data and methods, review by unaffiliated experts), as we do for biomedical research.
      4. Start today a well-funded conversion to non-carbon-based energy sources by the second half of the 21st century; for both environmental and economic reasons (see these posts for details).
      5. Begin more aggressive efforts to prepare for extreme climate. We’re not prepared for repeat of past extreme weather (e.g., a real hurricane hitting NYC), let alone predictable climate change (e.g., sea levels climbing, as they have for thousands of years).
    2. Your query “I don’t understand FM Jihad against global climate change” is actually fairly easy to answer.

      The world has seen “anti-intellectualism” for thousands of years. (It’s how and why the world fell into the “dark ages” nearly two thousand years ago.) ( “6th to 13th centuries, as a period of intellectual darkness” although more recent refinement just uses the period “5th–10th century”.)

      Anti-intellectualism is just the visible confrontation between the intellectual “have nots” vs. the intellectual “haves”. I like Isaac Asimov’s quote:

      “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

      For what it’s worth: Isaac Asimov on the Greenhouse Effect: 1989

      1. Bill,

        I’m glad that you’re having a fun dialog with the voices in your head. Try replying to quotes. It will keep you anchored to what the rest of us are saying.

        “Asimov on the greenhouse effect”

        If you can tear yourself away from the voices in your head, you’ll learn that nobody here disagrees with the existence of the greenhouse effect — or (more broadly) the conclusions of the IPCC.

    3. “…nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

      Of course the flip side of that could be stated: “My intellectual credentials mean that you must accept my claims by authority (even claims not in my area of expertise); I don’t need to show why my claims are true, answer questions, or correct mistakes.”

  5. The scientific issue of a “pause” is one thing but the echo chamber of climate change denial has used a statistically insignificant “slowing” in the rate of warming as their primary meme to forestall action on carbon emissions. Scientific debate is not threatened, it is the political will to do something now. Why this is left/right issue escapes me, it is our children’s future that is at stake.

      1. Bob,

        “the scientific revolves around the role of oceans in absorbing heat from the atmosphere.”

        That’s too strongly stated. There are a dozen “classes” of explanations of the pause, with ocean warming being one of them. See abstracts for a few papers of each. There is no consensus yet.

    1. “a statistically insignificant “slowing” in the rate of warming”


      You know, it’s you lot that are the “Deniers” now Bob – you’re Reality Deniers.

      But hey, keep it up if it makes you feel better.

      1. Catwezle,

        Let’s be charitable. The various global temperature datasets vary in their estimates by magnitudes roughly equal to the rate of warming. And there’s still discussion among scientists bout adjustments which might increase or decrease the past and current rtes of warming. Hence climate scientists mostly describe the warming as either “no statistically significant warming” or “slowing in the rate of warming”.

        So laypeople can reasonably use either description.

    2. Bob,

      You are moving to important matters beyond the scope of this post. Since topic drift rules internet threads, I’ll reply!

      (1) “the echo chamber of climate change denial has used a statistically insignificant “slowing” in the rate of warming”

      Can you provide a single peer-reviewed citation for that? I have posted abstracts and links to scores of peer-reviewed papers saying otherwise.

      (2) “as their primary meme to forestall action on carbon emissions.”
      Good point! The GOP’s policy has been largely obstructionist, in this as in so many things.

      “Scientific debate is not threatened”

      (3) Wait for it. My guess is that the GOP will attempt to defund much US science (see how they’ve attempted to defund political science), esp climate science (starting with the IPCC).

      (4) “it is the political will to do something now.”

      In climate science as in so many other things.

      (5) “Why this is left/right issue escapes me, it is our children’s future that is at stake.”

      If it would gain a vote or a dollar in political contributions, our politicians would politicize the sun rising in the East. They understand our weakness of mind and spirit, and quite naturally exploit it.

    1. Jeremy,

      “Scientists have known about global warming for decades. It’s real. Let’s move on to what we can do about it.”

      Public policy measures are NEVER binary. How much global warming we can expect determines how much we should spend to prevent it — or mitigate its effects. That’s why the alarmists’ avoidance of numbers is so important. Innumeracy is a major impediment to effective public policy.

    1. climate bob,

      Can you provide a citation from the IPCC or peer-reviewed research for those claims. Not from a alarmist website. For example it says “The IPCC is predicting a 5C increase in temperature for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere.” — which is quite false. The IPCC, reflecting a the peer-reviewed research, gives a wide range of projections for the temperature rise from a doubling of CO2. It explicitly does NOT make any “predictions”.

      1. Climate Bob,

        I forgot to add a citation showing that the alarmist website you cite incorrectly states the IPCC’s projections (not “predictions”) about the temperature rise from a doubling of CO2.

        See the Climate Dialogue on Climate Sensitivity and Transient Climate Response. At this website they have established climate scientists discuss these critical issues on the edge of the known realms of science.

        From their introduction

        1. Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS): the equilibrium change in annual mean global surface temperature following a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration.
        2. Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (TCR): the annual mean global surface temperature change at the time of CO2 doubling following a linear increase in CO2 forcing over a period of 70 years.
      2. Climate Bob,

        More about that alarmist website you cite, and their claim that ““The IPCC is predicting a 5C increase in temperature for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere.” I should have first quoted what the IPCC actually said! From the IPCC’s AR5 Summary For Policymakers, page 14 (bold emphasis added):

        The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multicentury time scales. It is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely in the range 1.5°C to 4.5°C (high confidence), extremely unlikely less than 1°C (high confidence), and very unlikely greater than 6°C (medium confidence) {No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.}

        … The transient climate response quantifies the response of the climate system to an increasing radiative forcing on a decadal to century timescale. It is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at the time when the atmospheric CO2 concentration has doubled in a scenario of concentration increasing at 1% per year. The transient climate response is likely in the range of 1.0°C to 2.5°C (high confidence) and extremely unlikely greater than 3°C. {Box 12.2}

        The IPCC explicity states that 5°C increase from a doubling of CO2 is outside the high end of their projections over both short- and long-term time frames.

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