Quote of the week – Hansen concedes the age of flatness

qotw_cropped

Dr. James Hansen and Reto Ruedy of NASA GISS have written a paper (non peer reviewed) with a remarkable admission in it. It is titled Global Temperature Update Through 2012.

Here is the money quote, which pretty much ends the caterwauling from naysayers about global temperature being stalled for the last decade.

The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slow down in the growth rate of net climate forcing.

Gosh, I thought Hansen had claimed that “climate forcings” had overwhelmed natural variability?

In 2003 Hansen wrote a widely distributed (but not peer reviewed) paper called Can We Defuse the Global Warming Time Bomb? in which he argues that human-caused forcings on the climate are now greater than the natural ones, and that this, over a long time period, can cause large climate changes.

As we shall see, the small forces that drove millennial climate changes are now overwhelmed by human forcings.

According to Hansen’s latest essay, apparently not. So much for “da bomb”.

Here are some other interesting excerpts from his recent essay, Bob Tisdale take note:

An update through 2012 of our global analysis reveals 2012 as having practically the same temperature as 2011, significantly lower than the maximum reached in 2010. These short-term global fluctuations are associated principally with natural oscillations of tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures summarized in the Nino index in the lower part of the figure. 2012 is nominally the 9th warmest year, but it is indistinguishable in rank with several other years, as shown by the error estimate for comparing nearby years. Note that the 10 warmest years in the record all occurred since 1998.

The current stand-still of the 5-year running mean global temperature may be largely a consequence of the facr [sic] that the first half of the past 10 years had predominantly El Nino conditions, and the second half had predominantly La Nina conditions.

The approximate stand-still of global temperature during 1940-1975 is generally attributed to an approximate balance of aerosol cooling and greenhouse gas warming during a period of rapid growth of fossil fuel use with little control on particulate air pollution, but quantitative interpretation has been impossible because of the absence of adequate aerosol measurements.

That last part about 1940-1975 is telling, given that we now have a cleaner atmosphere, and less aerosols to reflect sunlight, it goes without saying that more sunlight now reaches the surface. Since GISS is all about the surface temperature, that suggests (to rational thinkers at least) that some portion of the surface temperature rise post 1975 is due to pollution controls being enacted.

But, he’s still arguing for an imbalance, even though flatness abounds. Seems like equilibrium to me…

Climate change expectations.

The continuing planetary imbalance and the rapid increase of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel  assure that global warming will continue on decadal time scales.  Moreover, our interpretation of the larger role of unforced variability in temperature change of the past decade suggests that global temperature will rise significantly in the next few years as the tropics moves inevitably to the next El Nino phase.

Except when natural forcings overwhelm the human component of course.

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The energy imbalance isn’t in the direction Hansen fondly believes:
http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/12/20/working-out-where-the-energy-goes-part-2-peter-berenyi/

john robertson

Scary when even Hansen is trying to climb down.
I will believe it when his publisher has my bookstore move his books ,over into the poorly written fiction section.

georgi

why don’t we have a carbon tax based on worldwide temperature anomaly? then we can just stop arguing about who caused what and just wait and see what happens.

Dave X

If this seems like equilibrium to you, then where is temperature headed over the next 5 years?

geran

Maybe the last post on “clock of doom”, and this one, should be combined–“midnight hour for Hansen and AGWers”??

cui bono

Can we all go home now? 😉

Max Roberts

Same place as if you had made that comment five years ago?

“Except when natural forcings overwhelm the human component of course,” is translated by Dr. Hansen as, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” Compartmentalization is a luxury not available to a practitioner of the scientific method – a point openly ignored by the good Doctor… repeatedly.

Jimmy Haigh

Jim Hansen disappoints. – gavin.

pat

The only ones who believe in The Weather Clown anymore are politicians. What does that say?

Unfortunately, Hansen in Figure 4 continues the myth that TSI at the latest minimum was lower than at previous minima. It is now known that this is not correct, the reason being uncompensated degradation of the sensors on which PMOD is based. See http://www.leif.org/research/PMOD%20TSI-SOHO%20keyhole%20effect-degradation%20over%20time.pdf and more importantly the admission here:
http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/news/2011ScienceMeeting/docs/presentations/1g_Schmutz_SORCE_13.9.11.pdf slides 31-33:
“Observed data do not support a measurable TSI trend between the minima in 1996 and 2008”

Jeff L

We shouldn’t be too hard on Hansen – he is taking a step in the right direction & we should be applauding that, which will hopefully encourage him & other like minded people to do the same going forward. As they say “you catch more bees with a drop of honey than you will with a gallon of vinegar”. Recognition of what the data is actually saying by the CAGW supporters will solve the true problem, which is the potential economic damage done in trying to solve the “CAGW problem” – the sooner it is generally realized that this is not a catastrophic problem, the better for society.

mpainter

Well, Joel Shore, your hero James Hansen needs you. Go explain to him why the globe is still warming. Explain to him how he needs to ignore ENSO. Explain to him that he is “cherry picking”.
Explain all these things, and maybe he will hearken, but maybe he won’t.

John West

No Global Warming in 16 years.
Inconceivable!

oldfossil

Back in 1988 it would have taken a very brave man to contradict the Beer-Lambert Law and say that global temperatures were not headed in the direction of up.
Let’s commend Hansen’s courage in issuing this partial retraction. And I have a sneaking admiration for a man who stuck to his guns when the odds were increasingly stacked against him.
Remember that a friend is just an enemy that you haven’t made yet!

A big hand for MR. TISDALE! Let’s hear it for Bob!

Be advised, if pointed out he is likely to chide you for referencing a non-peer reviewed paper.
Don’t take the bait.

more soylent green!

georgi says:
January 16, 2013 at 8:17 am
why don’t we have a carbon tax based on worldwide temperature anomaly? then we can just stop arguing about who caused what and just wait and see what happens.

Do we really know what the worldwide temperature is supposed to be? Do we know what the worldwide temperature is? We have to know both to determine if there is an anomaly, but we don’t know. Besides, they just keep going back into time and changing the recorded temps.

mpainter

Jeff L says: January 16, 2013 at 8:37 am
We shouldn’t be too hard on Hansen
================================
The question is why has Hansen gone from rank propagandizing to acknowledging the temperature record. Recall, a few months ago he was the high-volume doomsayer about drought, flood, etc. disaster. Now Hansen knew better. He had the same data as the rest of us, yet he chose to peddle panic. A few months later, he has changed his tune.Why?

For a year now I’ve been telling anyone who wants to listen that it’s not El Nino/La Nina which is leading to the long pause – it’s the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. It was in decline from 1940 to 75, when there was also a temperature pause. It was increasing from 1975 to 2005, when it fooled the models into thinking CO2 was powerful stuff. Now it’s in decline again and, as in the 1940 to 75 period, holding temperatures constant.
For more see:
http://www.climatedata.info/Discussions/Discussions/opinions.php

Hansen is everything a scientist is not supposed to be : extremely loose with the facts, opinionated, and driven by what amounts to a fundamentalist brand of global warming religion.
In fact, AGW folks behavior is almost identical to the early Puritans : Man has sinned, Man has defied God (here : Nature, same thing) and Man will pay. Repent, global deniers, or be struck down by them extreme weather events. So when do these warmists erect the tent and find their own Elmer Gantry? Gore’s much too fat (especially above the neck, or at least what passes for a neck) to be Gantry. And Tom Hanks not only is the world’s biggest bore, but incredibly plain looking. He also is quite a jerk, which Gantry was not.

ColdOldMan

The BBC is starting to change its position on cAGW, only slightly, but the change is noticeable.
1) On Radio 4 they were doing a severe-weather report and they finished the item with words, to the effect that, other climate scientists state that this is all within the limits seen in natural events. Note that they finished with this not the warmists’ doom-mongering statements.
2) There has been some research posted on ‘The Hockey Schtick’ about black carbon. Normally, if we’d linked to it one of the FEC trolls would have dissed it.
2.1) New paper could imply IPCC climate sensitivity to CO2 is exaggerated – http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/new-paper-could-imply-ipcc-climate.html
2.2) Climate change: Soot’s role underestimated, says study
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21033078
Who’da thunk it? There is still quite a bit of BBC spin in their article but any sort of progress still counts as progress.

John the technologist

He is beginning the process of CYA (cover your a**) as he prepares to defend possible law suits and especially counter law suits .

It continues to puzzle me how one can take this stuff seriously:
1/ Claiming to know the “global average temperature” to within +/- 0.2C back in 1880 as much of the planet was; a/ not instrumented and b/ instrumental errors associated with thermometer calibration, accuracy, drift, reproducibility. and siting were not insignificant. Such measurement issues are still a challenge today as Watt’s et al US station survey project demonstrated.
2/ The concept of a “global average temperature” is a dubious physical concept given that the atmosphere is a open highly dynamic system far from thermodynamic equilibrium. What one should be calculating is total heat content, if anything.

Friends:
The writing has been on the wall for the AGW-scare since the failure of the FCCC conference at Copenhagen in 2009. The present priorities are
(a) to hasten the demise of the AGW-scare,
(b) to resist introduction of laws and institutions based on the GW-scare, and
(c) to inhibit introduction of whatever is the next false scare.
Hansen is merely one of the rodents seeking a way to leave the sinkingship.
I agree with Jeff L who says at January 16, 2013 at 8:37 am

We shouldn’t be too hard on Hansen – he is taking a step in the right direction & we should be applauding that, which will hopefully encourage him & other like minded people to do the same going forward. As they say “you catch more bees with a drop of honey than you will with a gallon of vinegar”. Recognition of what the data is actually saying by the CAGW supporters will solve the true problem, which is the potential economic damage done in trying to solve the “CAGW problem” – the sooner it is generally realized that this is not a catastrophic problem, the better for society.

Or, to put that into the same terms that Machiavelli explained it to the Prince:
Enemies are a problem and they need to be utterly destroyed. But before you destroy them do all you can to turn them into friends because live friends are more useful than dead enemies.
Richard

Bruce Cobb

So, does this mean the folks who bought his “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” fairy tale will get their money back?

I enjoyed this sentence of the recent Hansen paper, “Indeed, the current stand-still of the 5-year running mean global temperature may be largely a consequence of the fact that the first half of the past 10 years had predominately El Nino conditions, while the second half had predominately La Nina conditions (Nino index in Fig. 1).”
And the period from the early 1980s to the mid-2000s were predominantly El Nino conditions with respect to surface temperatures, and those El Ninos were the only reason surface temperatures warmed.

RockyRoad

georgi says:
January 16, 2013 at 8:17 am

why don’t we have a carbon tax based on worldwide temperature anomaly? then we can just stop arguing about who caused what and just wait and see what happens.

I’d rather you wait until we have a summer like it was when I was a kid 50 years ago and we could actually get tomatoes to ripen before the frost killed the plants. For the past three years, I’ve tried real hard to get a crop of ripe tomatoes without success, and I’d argue it has something to do with the low summer temperatures.
But consider this, georgi–why don’t we get the government to pay us the taxes they’ve taken from us so we can mitigate for either rising or falling temperatures (for taxing life-giving CO2 just gives us less life). All they’ve done with the taxes is buy votes and give themselves raises. Now, if this is your idea of a good cause, you probably should get a full tuition refund from your institution of higher education.
And addressing your idea that we “can just stop arguing about who caused what and just wait and see what happens” isn’t going to be any easier in the future than it is now trying to figure out who caused what. The relationships won’t be any clearer with a carbon tax than without, but I’m absolutely sure you won’t have as much money for retirement.

beesaman

Is this Hansen trying to protect his pension?

Mark and two Cats

This maybe a prelude to his taking credit for the pause in warming. His efforts are beginning to show fruit. All he and his fellow climate warriors will need is tons of money to keep the heat at bay.

pochas

Anthony wrote:
“That last part about 1940-1975 is telling, given that we now have a cleaner atmosphere, and less aerosols to reflect sunlight, it goes without saying that more sunlight now reaches the surface.”
True. Another way to look at it is the outgoing logwave spectrum. Anything that is suspended in the atmosphere will emit continuum radiation as opposed to the discrete radiation emitted by the water bands, and therefore will make the earth look more like a blackbody radiator from space. The closer the earth is to a continuum (blackbody-like) radiation spectrum the cooler it will get. A clearer atmosphere means warmer surface temperatures and all the benefits that go with it. Did the EPA cause Global Warming with its smokestack regulations?

G. E. Pease

Perhaps Hansen is finally being muzzled by NASA, as it slowly dawns on the government that he has significantly damaged NASA’s scientific credibility.

JA

Those who believe that the duplicitous, lying , POS Hansen should be applauded for admitting that global temperatures have stabilized are simply crazy.
Hansen is merely setting himself up to cover his sorry anus if more data comes in showing he has been dead wrong for the last 10 years or so.
This publicity hound has no intention of leaving the spotlight and just as he was touting a coming ice age years ago – and got himself famous for doing so – he intends to remain in the spotlight, with it’s attendant MONETARY BENFEFITS , in the future no matter what the actual climate is.
Hansen should be prosecuted, literally. He was willing and ENCOURAGING to have imposed upon the citizenry onerous taxes and fees, and higher costs for energy (which would raise the prices of EVERYTHING) – basically create additional hardships on millions an millions of people – just to promote his fraudulent pseudo-religious AGW “science.”
Frankly, he and that other phony Al “fatso” Gore should be tossed in jail FOREVER for the crap they are trying to do. Both of them have become wealthy by trying screwing over the people.
Hansen should NOT be applauded for his latest admission; he needs to shunned, ostracized from any and all scientific positions because he, and his fellow LYSENKIANS used Stalinist tactics to demean, defame and yes, destroy, those that dared to challenge his fraudulent activities.
Frankly, he deserves a sentence far harsher and far more “permanent” than just a prison cell.

TRM

“As we shall see, the small forces that drove millennial climate changes are now overwhelmed by NATURAL forcings.” – Fixed it for them.

“Note that the 10 warmest years in the record all occurred since 1998.”
So everyone is still ignoring 1934, 1936, and 1938?
john robertson says: Scary when even Hansen is trying to climb down.
Hansen is not backing down at all–just re-framing it in view of the observations, he says, our interpretation of the larger role of unforced variability in temperature change of the past decade suggests that global temperature will rise significantly in the next few years as the tropics moves inevitably to the next El Nino phase.
Backing down?

H.R.

Jim said it. I believe it. That settles it.

beesaman

Note that he ends with a hint that more money is needed, SOS – Save Our Satellites!

Theo Goodwin

I cannot believe that Hansen can change his spots. I do not believe that there are people who are “born again” into scientific method. My guess is that he is the lead man in an effort by the Obama administration to back down from CAGW.
The responses of the CAGW people to Hansen will be really interesting. Will Romm’s head explode? The tone of the responses are likely to tell us something about the larger political picture.
The one good thing is that Natural Variability and the Null Hypothesis are now center stage and might become respectable again in the eyes of scientists. If they become respectable in the MSM then the word has gone out that the Obama administration is backing down from CAGW.
In any case, hats off to Bob Tisdale.

Jim Clarke

After 25 years of strenuous denial that natural variability had any significant role in 20th and 21st Century climate change…after so many IPCC reports that proclaimed “…there is no other way [than CO2] to explain the observations”…the vast majority of ‘climate scientists’ are slowly coming around to that which has been painfully obvious from the very beginning.
Well, Alleluia!

Never mind stand-still, in the UK for the last 18 years the CET is showning an alarming fall at 1.7 C degrees/century.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/L100y.htm

HankHenry

Am I reading this right? Global temperatures have not risen because the temperatures in global temperature aren’t really global. Does it occur to anyone that the notion of a global temperature is out of hand?

There’s also this nugget:
“A slower growth rate of the net climate forcing may have contributed to the standstill of global temperature in the past decade…”
I thought skeptics got skewered for using a word like “standstill”?

Doug Proctor

“… a slow down in the growth rate of net climate forcing.”
I find this an interesting conclusion and comment. The ‘growth rate’, not the ‘rate”. So he is saying that it is the lack of ACCELERATION of heating that is the problem, not the radiative heating of CO2, because the pCO2 has been steadily rising.
Hansen is saying that the reason observation doesn’t match models is that the models have an ACCELERATION in the cumulative effects or quantities of GHGs. Such as the reduced CH4 growth. But since CO2 is supposed to be THE dominant forcing molecule, then he is saying NOW that it is the TOTAL amount of forcing factors that give rise to higher temperatures, not principally CO2. Which means that the W/m2 forcing in the IPCC/Hansen model are less than what he has been claiming.
The goalposts are moving all over the place. Chinese pollution and solar IR and GCR and the oceans and less CH4 are now said to be stronger than expected, enough to mask the high CO2 forcing. He is denying that CO2 is weak by claiming that the mitigators are strong – and we will be in trouble once the mitigators are gone.
He and others are doing a bait-and-switch. It is now up to the skeptics to show that the mitigating effects of clouds and dust and oceans and soot and reduced CH4 are NOT significant in order to counter his argument.
The argument has changed without changing.
Brilliant.

Bill Illis

Hansen is going to be 72 in March.
It is time for the gold watch so he can spend more time with his grandchildren (and continue scaring them with stories about about the future storms they will face).

Kitefreak

georgi says:
January 16, 2013 at 8:17 am
why don’t we have a carbon tax based on worldwide temperature anomaly?
—————————————————————-
Because they’ll design the tax so it is collected regardless of the sign of the anomaly, or the direction of its change ( I think they’re already doing that). Remember, they re-branded it from global warming to climate change for a reason.

Rob Ricket

I’m a bit more circumspect in sussing out Hansen’s motive for writing the paper. The recent admission by NASA that Solar variability plays a larger role in climate change than anticipated signals a policy shift towards using the JPL for Solar research requiring rocketry. No doubt, the local politicians in Houston and Orlando are onboard with the plan, as the decommissioning of the shuttle fleet has cost these localities millions of dollars. Hansen had no choice but to jump on the bandwagon, as money talks and B.S. walks. Also note, that Hansen has carefully hedged his bet…you can well believe that he will be screaming “I told you so” if a warming trend returns.
Essentially, what some see as a “noble admission” amounts to little more than the will to survive. Oddly enough, (or perhaps not) this makes my dog and sharks no less noble than the good Dr. Hansen.

KevinM

beesaman,
Yes, especially because new satellites would create another break in instrumentation type. That allows another spline in the data records… where history can be revised down by curve fit to the newer data.

Richard M

Excuse me! … Hansen has made millions from this scare. I’ll forgive him when he donates that money to charity and shows up on Oprah to admit his adjustments were wrong and he is sorry for costing the lives of millions. Until then he will only get my ridicule.

D Cal 1987

Although he is to reticent and polite to crow, this represents a considerable victory for Dr David Whitehouse, former BBC Science Correspondent and contributor to the GWPF who for several years has been presenting excellent analyses of the recent ‘flatness’ in global temperatures. Many criticised him, some very personally, which he took with good grace believing the data would soon tell its own story. Now he has been vindicated. If ever one person took on the establishment of AGW and won its Dr Whitehouse. Hansen’s admission is a good day for science.

geo

It’s certainly a positive that they’re beginning to climb down on a few issues. I personally believe the aerosols issue is very important, because it makes a huge difference in the trend when you extrapolate forward. They get all bent out of shape over the 20 year trend 1980-2000. . but if that is really a 50 year trend (1950-2000), you’ve now cut it more than in 1/2.