Accounting for the “pause” in global warming

Accounting for the “pause” in global warming July 23, 2014

Scientists admit that there has been no global warming between 1998 and 2013, even though the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has continued to increase.  A new study claims to account for this so-called “pause” in global warming.  It turns out, there are “natural fluctuations” in the climate.  Who knew?

The scientists claim that a little cooling blip has cooled things off in the last decade or so, but that the global warming will soon resume.  Read about the findings after the jump.

But doesn’t this research miss the point?  Does invoking “natural fluctuation” really give us a cause?  What causes the fluctuations, and if they are “natural,” might they account for other temperature phenomena, including those blamed on human agency?  More fundamentally, if greenhouse gasses can increase without making the temperature of the earth go up, doesn’t that suggest that there may be problems with the assumptions behind the computer modeling that give us the dire global warming forecasts?

From Scientists Reveal What Has Caused the Global Warming ‘Pause’ Since 1998, in Science World Report:

Researchers may have found out why a global warming “pause” has occurred. It turns out that it may be due to natural fluctuations in our own climate.

There’s been a lot of debate over the global warming “pause” that has occurred between 1998 and 2013. Now, though, researchers may have found out why this pause has occurred. It turns out that it may be due to natural fluctuations in our own climate.The deceleration in rising temperatures after 1998 is often referred to as a pause, or a hiatus, in global warming. It’s raised questions about why the rate of surface warming on Earth has been markedly slower than in previous decades. What’s more curious is that levels of greenhouse gases have continued to rise throughout the period.

In order to better understand why global warming seemed to be on hold, the researchers applied a statistical methodology developed in a previous paper. This earlier study used pre-industrial temperature proxies to analyze historical climate patterns and ruled out the possibility that global warming in the industrial area is just a natural fluctuation in Earth’s climate. The researchers applied the same approach to the 15-year period after 1998.

So what did they find? It turns out that there has been a natural cooling fluctuation of about .28 to .37 degrees Celsius since 1998. This pattern is in line with variations that occur historically every 20 to 50 years.

That’s not all the researchers found, either. The cooling effect follows a slightly larger pre-pause warming event that occurred from 1992 to 1998. This means that the natural cooling during the “pause” is actually a return to the longer term natural variability. This means that warming is an issue, and that the warming hiatus can be chalked up to natural patterns rather than being an actual pause when it comes to global warming.

For the scientific publication, go here.

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