Dana Nuccitelli published an article today in The Guardian Does the global warming “pause” mean what you think it means?…a play off a line by Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride”. Dana has expressed his misunderstanding of one of the most commonly used metrics of global warming—the surface temperature record. And he continues to display his unwillingness to accept that the hypothesis of human-induced global warming is dead.
Nuccitelli presents Box 3.1 Figure 1 from Chapter 3 of the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report (my Figure 1).
(See the approved Chapter 3 (Observations: Ocean) of the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report.)
The speed bump only applies to surface temperatures, which only represent about 2 percent of the overall warming of the global climate. Can you make out the tiny purple segment at the bottom of the above figure? That’s the only part of the climate for which the warming has ‘paused’.
Nuccitelli is correct that the halt in global warming applies to surface temperatures, but he’s incorrect that it applies only to it. The warming of the top 700 meters has also slowed to a crawl, and is nonexistent in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, but more on that later.
The global surface temperature record includes land surface air temperature (measured at 2 meters from the surface) and sea surface temperature measurements. And as a reference, the GISS, NCDC and UKMO global surface temperature products show little (GISS) to no (UKMO & NCDC) warming since January 2001, based on the linear trends. (See Figure 2, which is from the post here.)
Nuccitelli refers his readers to “tiny purple segment at the bottom of the above figure” (my Figure 1), which is identified by the IPCC as “Atmosphere” in the illustration—not the surface of the oceans.
In their discussion of “Atmosphere” for their Box 3.1, Figure 1, the IPCC explains that the atmospheric component is estimated from lower troposphere and lower stratosphere temperatures, based on satellite measurements. The lower troposphere temperature measurements are from the layer that is approximately 3000 meters above sea level.
The IPCC has NOT presented the heat content for the surface of the oceans in their Box 3.1, Figure 1. The ocean surface warming is included in top 700 meters of ocean warming—not in the atmosphere.
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Further to the IPCC’s Box 3.1, Figure 1, Dana Nuccitelli forgot to advise his readers that the data in the IPCC’s graph have been smoothed with a 5-year filter, and that the smoothing would hide the slowdown in warming of the oceans at depths of 0 to 700 meters and 700 to 2000 meters. And he has elected not to tell his readers that the quarterly NODC ocean heat content data for the North Atlantic during the ARGO era continues to show very little warming for depths of 0-2000 meters and cooling at depths of 0-700 meters. (See Figure 3.)
He’s overlooked the fact that the ocean heat content data for the North Pacific show cooling at both levels, with the 0-2000 meter data cooling at a lesser rate than the 0-700 meter data. (See Figure 4.)
CO2 is supposed to be a well-mixed greenhouse gas. Obviously, increased CO2 emissions in recent years have had no impact on the ocean heat in the Northern Hemisphere.
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Nuccitelli uses the tired and misleading “atomic bomb” metric:
As the IPCC figure indicates, over 90 percent of global warming goes into heating the oceans, and it continues at a rapid pace, equivalent to 4 Hiroshima atomic bomb detonations per second.
The IPCC doesn’t mention Hiroshima atomic bombs anywhere in their Chapter 3; the words “Hiroshima”, “atom”, and “bomb” do not appear in Chapter 3 of the IPCC’s AR5; so don’t think the IPCC is responsible for this nonsensical claim. One would have to assume Nuccitelli is referring to the 0.6 watts/meter^2 imbalance at the surface found in papers like Stephens et al (2013). See Figure 5.
As I wrote in Climate Models Fail:
The total of the downward shortwave (solar) radiation and longwave (infrared) radiation is about 534 watts/meter^2, so the estimated imbalance of 0.6 watts/meter^2 is only about 0.1% of the total downward radiation at the surface. Or, in other words, the total amount of downward radiation at the surface is about 890 times more than the difference. Also note the uncertainty in the imbalance. The estimated imbalance is 0.6 +/- 17 watts/meter^2. That is, the uncertainties are 28 times greater than the estimated value. Bottom line: the surface imbalance may exist or it may not.
Note: Radiative imbalance is the metric that alarmists like to portray in terms of atomic bombs. What the alarmists fail to tell their readers is that sunlight and natural levels of infrared radiation at the surface are almost 890 times the number of atomic bombs they’re claiming, and that the uncertainties in radiative imbalance are 28 times the radiative imbalance.
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Nuccitelli continues to mislead his readers in that article:
Over longer time frames, for example from 1990 to 2012, average global surface temperatures have warmed as fast as climate scientists and their models expected.
As I noted in the post Open Letter to the Honorable John Kerry U.S. Secretary of State, the modelers had to double the rate of the warming of global sea surface temperatures over the past 31+ years in order to get the modeled land surface air temperatures even close to the observed warming. (See Figure 6.)
So let’s look at the difference between modeled and observed global sea surface temperatures since 1990 to put it into the time period Dana Nuccitelli prefers, Figure 7. “Climate scientists and their models expected” the surface of the global oceans to have warmed at a rate that was almost 3 times faster than observed since 1990.
Three times as fast must mean “as fast as climate scientists and their models expected” in the new climate change doubletalk of global warming enthusiasts.
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Nuccitelli and the global warming enthusiasts from the IPCC like to present global warming in terms that are meaningless to most people, in Joules with lots of zeroes after it. The units in the IPCC’s Box 3.1, Figure 1 (my Figure 1) are in Zettajoules or Joules*10^21. But as we’ve illustrated and discussed recently, the warming of the oceans takes on a whole new perspective when we present it in terms familiar to people: deg C. (See Figure 8, which is from the blog post here.) Surface temperatures stopped warming, the warming of the top 700 meters of the oceans has slowed to a crawl, so if there is continued warming at depths of 700 to 2000 meters, it is so miniscule that it’s not coming back to haunt anyone at any time in the future.
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After a long discussion of multidecadal variations in surface temperatures, Nuccitelli’s final paragraph begins:
In terms of the threat from long-term global warming and climate change, it really doesn’t mean anything. It just means that at the moment, more global warming is being absorbed by the oceans, but the next time ocean cycles shift, we’ll experience accelerated surface warming just like we did in the 1990s.
But Nuccitelli misses the obvious. We discussed this in the post Will their Failure to Properly Simulate Multidecadal Variations In Surface Temperatures Be the Downfall of the IPCC?:
Most people will also envision the multidecadal variations extending further into the future. That is, they will imagine a projection of future Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures repeating the slight cooling from 1945 to the mid-1970s along with the later warming, followed by yet another slight cooling of Northern Hemisphere surface temperatures, in a repeat of the past “cycle”. That is, they will envision the surface temperature record repeating itself. And in their minds’ eyes, they see an ever growing divergence between the models and their projections, like the one shown in Figure .
In my book Climate Models Fail, I have collected my past findings about climate model failings, and illustrated others, and I’ve presented highlights from the research papers critical of climate models—and I “translated” those research findings for persons without scientific or technical backgrounds. And as noted earlier, there is also a discussion of the natural warming of the global oceans. The free preview of Climate Models Fail is available here. It includes the Introduction, Table of Contents and the Closing. Climate Models Fail is available in pdf and Kindle formats. Refer to my blog post New Book: “Climate Models Fail” for further information, the synopsis from the Kindle webpage and purchase/download links.
Ocean heat content data and satellite-era sea surface temperature data indicate the oceans warmed via natural ocean processes, not from manmade greenhouse gases. This has been addressed in dozens of blog posts here and with cross posts at WattsUpWithThat for almost 5 years. I further discussed this in minute detail in my book Who Turned on the Heat? It is only available in .pdf form. A preview is here. Who Turned on the Heat? is described further in, and is available for sale through, my blog post “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About El Niño and La Niña”.
The hypothesis of human-induced global warming is dead. Global warming enthusiasts like Dana Nuccitelli and the IPCC just haven’t come to terms with their losses. They should be burying it with dignity, and moving on to greener pastures, but they’re not. They’ve chosen to parade around a failure of science like a pull toy.