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2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #19

Posted on 14 May 2017 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... Photo of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

Did Global Warming Really 'Pause' During the 2000s?

 Morgan fire near Clayton CA Sep 2013

Flames whip from the Morgan fire near Clayton, California, in September 2013, right as the “hiatus” was ending. Photo: Noah Berger / Reuters

It is the first year of the new Republican president’s term. He has taken over a healthy economy from his Democratic predecessor, and, with it, the freedom to branch out beyond the typical Reaganism. He has also inherited a slew of environmental policies, many of which combat global warming.

Most important among these is a fledgling UN treaty, a global agreement to restrict greenhouse-gas emissions. It was never ratified by the Senate, so the new president—whose Cabinet members have deep ties to the oil and gas industry—must decide whether to stay in the agreement or abandon it.

Global warming does not obsess most Americans, but it frightens the scientists who study it. Just before the new president took office, an unprecedented and monstrous El Niño, the largest ever recorded, set a new annual global temperature record—“the hottest year ever measured,” as the newspapers put it. Ocean temperatures surged around the world, bleaching the Great Barrier Reef and inducing a mass coral die-off . Great cracks are even appearing in ancient Antarctic ice shelves. Climate change seems to be already under way.

Did Global Warming Really ‘Pause’ During the 2000s? by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, May 12, 2017

El Niño/La Niña Update

Introducing El Tio and La Tia, the climate cycles that could mean we’re about to get a lot hotter

Australia El Nino Conditions 

An El Nino sees warmer water in the eastern Pacific and hot, drier, conditions in Australia. Source:News Corp Australia

EL NINO, and its sister La Nina, have long been one of the key drivers of Australia’s weather.

But environmental scientists now suspect they could be little more than the climactic equivalents of cheeky kids at the family barbecue. Instead, a “kindly aunty” and “cranky uncle” could have a far more wide reaching effect on our climate.

With El Nino being the Spanish for “the boy” and La Nina “the girl” scientists have named these overarching systems El Tio meaning, “the uncle,” and La Tia “the aunt”.

And if the boy and the uncle join forces, things may be about to get hairy. At the very least, you may want to slap on some more sunscreen

Dr Benjamin Henley, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne, told a prolonged La Tia may have “lulled us into a false sense of security” that global warming had slowed when the reality is climate change could be on the verge of accelerating.

Introducing El Tio and La Tia, the climate cycles that could mean we’re about to get a lot hotter by Benedict Brook,, May 13, 2017

Toon of the Week...

2017 Toon 19 

Quote of the Week...

Harri Mäki-Reinikka, the Finnish ambassador for northern policies, called for the Paris treaty to be respected.

“We hope there will be no deals over the heads of others – these are very global issues. Arctic conditions are changing. If the temperatures are two degrees higher globally that can be four degrees higher, or even six degrees in the Arctic,” he said.

“What is even more worrying is that ice and snow are melting faster than we estimated, and that will change the composition of the waters and even the sea level might be rising. If we have two countries, Russia and the US, not sharing the view that climate change is happening or is manmade or how much it is manmade, it is very difficult to proceed.”

Mäki-Reinikka said “a month ago Putin said climate change is not man made” but recent reports of bubbles of methane gas forming in Siberia, potentially putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, could mean “a vicious circle of climate change and global warming will be faster, and the Paris climate change agreements will need to be stronger”.

Finland voices concern over US and Russian climate change doubters by Patrick Wintour, Arctic, Guardian, May 11, 2017

Graphic of the Week...

Temperature Spiral Update Ed Hawkins 

Happy(?) Birthday Temperature Spiral by Andrea Thompson, Climate Cnetral, May 11, 2017

SkS in the News...

The just published peer-reviewed paper, Neutralizing misinformation through inoculation: Exposing misleading argumentation techniques reduces their influence  by J Cook, S Lewandowsky & U Ecker (PLoS ONE) has garnered considerable attention. Here's just a sampling...

Photo of the Week...


Artist Lorenzo Quinn just finished the installation of a monumental sculpture for the 2017 Venice Biennale. Titled Support, the piece depicts a pair of gigantic hands rising from the water to support the sides of the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel, a visual statement of the impact of climate change and rising sea levels on the historic city. Quinn is known for his work with the human body—specifically hands—that he incorporates into everything from large-scale sculptures down to jewelry designs. Quinn is represented by Halcyon Gallery, and you can see more installation photos and videos of Support on Instagram. (viaThis Isn’t Happiness

Support: Monumental Hands Rise from the Water in Venice to Highlight Climate Change&nbsp by Christopher Jobson, Colossal, May 12, 2017

SkS Spotlights...

Launched in 2010, Colossal is a Webby-nominated blog that explores art and other aspects of visual culture. Colossal won the Utne Media Award for Arts Coverage in 2013. Each week you’ll find 15-25 posts on photography, design, animation, painting, installation art, architecture, drawing, and street art. Colossal is also a great place to learn about the intersection of art and science as well as the beauty of the natural world. There are frequently posts about things far out in left field, but generally Colossal is a reminder that in the digital age there are still countless people making incredible work with their bare hands.

Video of the Week...

Coming Soon on SkS... 

  • Evidence Squared versus National Review (John Cook)
  • NY Times' Stephens has blinders to the climate elephant in the room (Dana)
  • SkS Analogy 04 - Ocean Time Lag (Evan)
  • Guest Post (John Abraham)
  • Explainer: Dealing with the ‘loss and damage’ caused by climate change (Carbon Brief0
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20 (John Hartz)
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Waming Digest #20 (John Hartz) 

Poster of the Week...

2017 Poster 19 

Climate Feedback Reviews... 

Climate Feedback asked its network of scientists to review the article, Analysis of “Another Arctic ice panic over as world temperatures plummet” by Christopher Booker, The Telegram, May 6, 2017

Seven scientists analyzed the article and estimated its overall scientific credibility to be ‘very low’.

A majority of reviewers tagged the article as: , Flawed reasoning, , .

Click here to access the entire review. 

SkS Week in Review... 

97 Hours of Consensus...

 Eric Wolff


Eric Wolff's bio page

Quote derived with permission from author from:

"We do know that in the last century, CO2 has risen to levels well above anything experienced in the last 800,000 years and we know why CO2 causes warming. It's basic physics that's been known for more than a century. It's pretty straightforward. If you put more CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it will get warmer - there is no way around that one." 

High resolution JPEG (1024 pixels wide)

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Comments 1 to 6:

  1. I could never understand what all the fuss was about from the climate denialists over the so called pause. I'm not a climate scientist, but I'm well educated, and I recall the early IPCC reports said there would be occasional periods of about 10 years where temperatures slowed, or even declined, due to short term natural variation like el nino / la nina etc. This was in the general media as well, so nobody interested in climate can plead ignorance.

    We had about 10 years of flat temperatures, entirely in line with these predictions, so I could never understand what all the fuss was about from the climate denialists.

    The denialists claimed there was a 15 plus year pause, but this is a distorted, fake claim simply using the peak of the 1998 el nino as a starting point. You have to use a running trend line (or whatever the correct term is) in which case the so called pause was about 10 years or less.

    I do admit temperatures were getting close to the outer limit of error bars in climate models, and another few years would have raised serious questions of what was going on, but then we had high temperatures of the last few years, which ended the pause. So the pause was within expectations and climate theory.

    There may be more pauses as well, then the fools can start their chanting again, "global warming stopped in 2027 / 2047 / etc, etc.

    I have read various explanations that the pause never happened, it was statistically insignificant, and / or over estimated, etc. This is true scientifically, but from a public perception point of view its probably better to acknowledge that temperatures slowed for a few years from about 2002 - 2010 (depending on what data you look at) and this is obvious looking at any temperature graph. There was a slowdown, or whatever you want to call it.

    The climate denialists blew the whole thing out of proportion, probably deliberately to cause confusion and doubt. Well it's clear to me global warming has definitely not stopped. The longer term temperature trend from approx. 1900 is just looking relentless now.

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  2. nigelj@1,

    The technique you're probably asking for, to determine and quanify the so called recent "slowdown" in AGW temp signal is called "change-point analysis", which does piece-wise linear function fitting to the data in order to get the optimal linear model. You obviously have to demonstrate that changes in your model be statistically significant to avoid overfitting.

    Stefan from RC has done it as described here and concluded there was no statistically signifficant change in temp signal derivative since ~1970, putting to bed any serious claims of "slowdown" or "hiatus". Also, Tamino nicely explained the statistics behind this method here.Note that Stefan's article comes from Dec 2014, which is before latest monster ElNino pushed surface temps higher. Tamino's blog comes from Apr 2015: so when ElNino in question just started.

    Of course, science deniers' claims have nothing to do with reality or statistical methods, so they'll continue to bang their silly "it's stopped warming..." talk no matter what.

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  3. Language matters, especially when you're trying to inform the public, who may not understand the physical underpinnings of Climate Change.  For example, when they hear "Did Global Warming 'pause' during the 2000s?"  they assume, even without reading further, that this was of some debate in the informed community.  So, the denier claim, that there was a 'pause', is validated even from just the title.  The uninformed public may not realize that any planet for whom 93% of the mass affected by Global Warming is ocean water, water that has shown only an acceleration of warming in the 2000s, cannot have sustained, in any way, a 'pause' in Global Warming.  Yes, there was a 'pause' in Atmospheric warming, and it is worthy of study and debate.  But there was never any indication of any 'pause' in Global Warming, at all.  We all know that, the author of the 'Atlantic' article knows that, and in the interest of brevity we go along with a nomenclature that has got to be making the deniers very happy.  The uninformed public doesn't know that the Atmosphere is just 1% of the 'globe' in 'global warming', and they are taking titles like that at face value, unfortunately.  How do you spend that much time and words battling over a 'pause' in Global Warming, for a decade during which Global Warming accelerated?  By misplacing the Earth, it would seem.

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  4. 'Fake but accurate' - an interesting analysis by WP of inner workings of current White House, that I'm citing after my local paper smh.

    While the analysis concerns the broader subject of WH's vulnerability to fake news and their subsequent delusional lives, the triggering fake news herein is the "impending ice age" of 1970s. That's why I'm commenting on it here.

    It turns out T-man surrounded himself with all-around "yes-people", e.g. security adviser McFarland (successor of disgraced Michael Flynn) and anonymoius "official" who defended the "impending ice age" bunkum as "fake but accurate", Kellyanne Conway who allegedly hates his boss secretely, all the way to Rex Tillerson, who has to "earn his [T-man;s] confidence every day". That's, taken at face value, simply a flattery for the purpose of ingratiating oneself at all cost by Tillerson, colloquially known as "brown nosing".

    Interesting to learn, that those people, who's advice and actions should bear dignity and pride and responsibility and alertness to dangers lurking upon the president and the nation, have lost all of such qualities, replaced by unqualified flattery. The actions of the flattery are as ridiculous as shown, because the boss who receives the flattery (T-man) has the intelligence and moral development of a 6th grader juvelile, colloquially he can be called a spoiled brat. Quite remarkable that poeple can fall into the pitfalls of flattery so badly, that even a spoiled brat on the other end does not bother them.

    At this point I want to draw a generalisation: the climate science denial by the GOP can be seen as its flattery towards their "bosses" who are fossil fuel magnates, just as the denial of reality by WH officials is a flattery towards T-man. GOP say only the things about climate science that FF industry wants to hear: it's plainly visible throughout.

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  5. Links to the following articles have been or will be posted on the SkS Facebook page today:

    Under Trump, inconvenient data is being sidelined by Juliet Eilperin, Politics, Washington Post, May 14, 2017

    Trump Consults Fake-News Memes When Contemplating Climate-Change Policy by Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, May 15, 2017

    No room for science in Trump administration, Opinion by Chrsitine Todd Whitman, CNN, May 15, 2017

    Their contents reinforce Chiskoz's commentary.

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  6. Wait for old, immoral, their intelligence encumbered by the FF interests, science denying politicians to die out. The new generation of youmg leaders are already breaking up with the shameless tradition of their elders and demand better mitihation policies. In Australia, the movement start, unsurprisingly, in Natioanl Party, representing mainly farmers:

    Generational evolution forces Nationals to consider emissions

     because farmers are the ones who start feeling the climate chenge effects in this country. The movement is already overdue, the question is: is it broad enough (affecting other parties) and will it be quick enough.

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