Getting very close to meeting Santer's 17 year warming test

RSS: no global warming for 16 years 11 months

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

The RSS monthly satellite global mean surface temperature anomaly data, delayed by the US Government shutdown, are now available. The data show no global warming at all for 16 years 11 months. This dataset could be the first of the five to pass the strict Santer test: no global warming at all for 17 years.

Since no el Niño is now expected until next spring at the earliest, the long run without any global warming at all is likely to continue for another few months.


CO2 concentration, meanwhile, continues its upward trend. And it is this disconnect between rising CO2 concentration and stable near-surface temperatures that makes the present long hiatus in global warming more significant than the previous periods of a decade or more without warming over the 163 years of global mean surface temperatures. In none of the previous periods was CO2 concentration either as high or rising as fast as it is today.

Climate extremists are prone to show the data since 1970 as an “escalator” with a series of “steps” consisting of decade-long pauses, but an overall rising trend:


However, a trend is not a prediction. There is no guarantee that merely because the trend has been upward it will continue upward. The effect of the frequent supra-decadal periods without warming is to constrain the overall warming rate since 1970 to a not particularly thrilling 1.6 Cº/century equivalent.

Taking the trend since 1950, a fairer benchmark since the period covers a full warming and cooling cycle of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, shows warming at a rate equivalent to less than 1.1 Cº/century.


So, can one clearly distinguish an anthropogenic warming signal in these post-1950 data from the data before 1950, when we could have had no measurable influence on the climate?

The answer is No. Professor Richard Lindzen likes to play a game with his audiences. He shows the following slide, and explains that one of the panels represents the global warming over the 52-year period 1895-1946, and the other represents the warming over the 52-year period 1957-2008. He explains that both graphs are to the same scale and invites his audience to guess which is the earlier period and which is the later.


In fact, the later period is on the left. Let us determine the linear warming trends on each of the two periods:


The later period has a very slightly steeper slope than the earlier, but only by the equivalent of a third of a Celsius degree per century. On these figures, it seems difficult to justify the IPCC’s assertion of 95% confidence that most of the warming since 1950 was anthropogenic.

Meanwhile, the discrepancy between IPCC prediction and observed reality in the monthly Global Warming Prediction Index remains glaring. A shame that the IPCC did not deal honestly or clearly with this discrepancy in its latest Summary for Policymakers.


For Santer’s test see:


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I’m looking forward to the 20-year period 1997 to 2016. At that point, there will have been no warming, indeed probably statistically significant cooling in unadjusted data, for as long as the allegedly Mann-made, 20-year warming period of 1977-96, despite our enjoying ever higher levels of the life-giving compound CO2 in our air.

Santer wrote a later paper:
““The multimodel average tropospheric temperature trends are outside the 5–95 percentile range of RSS results at most latitudes.”


17 years? You mean 27. It’s a common typo, what with the keys being so close together.

Jeff L

…. 1 month to go

Chris @NJSnowFan

What about the AMO look at this chart about 1970 to present.


Jquip says:
October 23, 2013 at 6:32 pm
Funny, but that’s what they’ll say. Or go the whole hog with Patchy & claim at least 30, 45 or more years without warming or with cooling will be needed to falsify CACA. Depends on how young the “climate scientist” is.


16 years, 11 months is more than 95%!!
Let’s call it DONE.


Well, while we have gone almost 17 years without any statistically significant warming, we have had climate change and it is climate change that threatens all of us.

Well, we know they are already moving the goalposts. The problem there is that they’ll soon run out of places to move them to. At every step, they are painting themselves into a corner.
It would be so much quicker and cleaner if they just admitted to getting it wrong… No, wait, there’s still all that money involved. Billions of taxpayer dollars. Billions and billions. Oh dear, I guess they can’t let go and they can’t hang on much longer, it’s death either way. I’d say they’re not feeling too well at the moment.


Well, the “ice free” countdown clock is no more. We do have room now for another……no?


milodon: “Depends on how young the “climate scientist” is.”
For amusement, young scientists are popping out of school at around 24-25 years of age. Episodic memories begin around 6 – 8 years old. So the current young scientists are those who have no personal recollection of increasing temperatures during their life. Or in only the first couple years after they could remember the plots on My Little Pony.

Richard Day

I’m sure the warmists will change it to “Santer meant until 2017, not 17 years.”

Brian H

For my money, the 0.33K/Century is the upper limit of Anthro climate effect. What ECS does that compute to?

Janice Moore

It’s thirty seconds before midnight, Fantasy Science Cult …
to meet
your doom…..

All during WWII, every day, the BBC broadcast Big Ben’s faithful chimes — just so the Na-z-1s would know that London was. D Day has come for the Envirostalinists. Their doom is sealed. They are raging and snarling like the cornered rats that they are, but, it is only a matter of time until the forces of Truth triumph.
Truth will win.

Noblesse Oblige

And what is the scientific basis for the 17 year interval. Locusts?

James at 48

RE: “Since no el Niño is now expected until next spring at the earliest, the long run without any global warming at all is likely to continue for another few months.”
Furthermore, with the current far Western Hemisphere, upper North latitude Rex Block in place, it would be very difficult for ENSO Positive conditions to get established. I would not be at all surprised to see ENSO Neutral to Negative conditions lasting at least one more year. This is after all Negative Phase PDO mode, which may be modulating ENSO and hemispheric patterns.

Chris @NJSnowFan says:
October 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm
What about the AMO look at this chart
add in NH SST

What is apparent, and Monckton alluded to it, is that they simply move the goal posts. It is no longer necessary to show a warming trend, as long as one existed in the industrialization era. TO them, all the rest is simply noise.

Another benchmark that rarely gets mention, but is worth considering for its reasonableness, was given by Santer’s predecessor on the IPCC detection and attribution chapter. In FAR Ch 8 Wigley et al answered the question on when might we achieve AGW detection. (This must be seen in the context of a strong, vocal and public protest against Hansen’s congressional declaration of detection in 1988 which was otherwise remained undeclared in many papers and reports.) In FAR in 1990, when after a first drafting Wigley was especially requested to address the question of ‘when,’ he came back and said that there would need to be another 1/2 degree warming on top of the 1/2 already achieved in the last 100 years.
This finding is often quoted as no detection ‘for a decade or more,’ but the ‘decade or more’ was about when we expect by model prediction for the 1/2 warming to be achieved. What is strongly suggested by Wigley et al (in amongst all the AGW excitement of the time) is that if the 1/2 warm does occur in the next few decades then the model predictions would be increasingly called into question, and so a negative result comes up for consideration…or, better, the null hypothesis gets confirmed with higher degrees of certainty. With a lack of warming in the decades subsequent to 1990 we are ‘detecting’ that the sensitivity of the models is not validating empirically.
This is interesting in the context of the subsequent corruption of IPCC detection and attribution finding by Santer’s hand in the following assessment using the pattern of warming ‘finger print’ method. (Wigley had qualified his answer by saying that detection might be earlier if new techniques are found.) When Santer’s argument turned out to be weak (and otherwise no ‘hotspot’ etc), they returned to the GMT, but it could not this time be the instrument record that would persuade, but a new look proxy record in the hockey stick. With Santer’s and Mann’s science called into question, it seems reasonable to return to Wigley’s text in the first assessment.


philjourdan: “What is apparent, and Monckton alluded to it, is that they simply move the goal posts.”
Now now, that’s unseemly and might be misunderstood as an accusation of shenanigans. The scientifically proper understanding is that AGW will evolve motile hypotheses.

@Jquip – Yes, you are correct. I forgot the new PC term is “evolve”.

Mike M

Rush laid it on thick today asking why is it warmists don’t try to claim CREDIT for the lull in warming? They could have tried to convince everyone that no further warming for all this time was direct evidence that their efforts curbing CO2, attacking SUV’s, wasting money on green energy, preventing 3rd world countries from advancing and otherwise collapsing industrial civilization in general – are showing signs of working. But nooooooooo! As he pointed out, the fact that they are not trying to do that is evidence in itself that “man-made global warming” is not driven by science at all, it’s driven by a political agenda.


Sixteen years eleven months with no warming increase – it is obvious that the warming moved back down to the earth’s core after escaping into the ocean first. In seriousness I have never yet seen any so called AGW scientists even mention what blue jets, sprites, and elves were in the atmosphere. The fact is very clear humans are just beginning to understand the complex actions of this planet.


berniel: “… it seems reasonable to return to Wigley’s text in the first assessment.”
Can’t happen for social reasons. Wigley’s statement is what would be needed to even *establish* the claim in any manner. Santer’s claim can be used as a herpderp bone to throw on falsification. Letting simmer the idea that the claim was ever empirically validated to begin with. A return to Wigley’s statement is a prima facia acknowledgement that it never has been.
That’s not just egg in the face, it opens up all manner of income loss, torts, and possible criminal charges for misuse of funds, fraud, etc.


Jquip says:
October 23, 2013 at 7:02 pm
All the more reason for them to challenge the orthodoxy, did not their career prospects rest upon upholding it.
Well do I remember the strange WX year of 1977. And the bitter winters of the late 1960s, especially 1968. To the extent that there has been warming in my part of the world, it is from fewer sub-zero F. lows in winter rather than fewer above 100 degree highs in summer.

William Astley

The warmists are in denial concerning the scientific/logical implications of the plateau of 16 years with no warming. A plateau with no warming and a half dozen other observations/fundamental analysis results supports the assertion that a significant portion of the warming in the last 150 years was due to some other forcing function(s) (say changes in the solar magnetic cycle for instance).
As they say on Wall Street, the trend is your friend in terms of predicting what will happen next.
As Latitude noted in the discussions concerning polar sea ice:
October 23, 2013 at 5:26 am
Huge increase in five year old ice…….that they now call four year old ice
Ditto for Antarctic sea ice.
It is difficult to imagine what creative explanation will be spun to explain global cooling. The heat hiding in the ocean will not cut it.

Keith W.

10% increase in carbon dioxide, and a flat line trend in the temperature record. Maybe we have already reached the saturation point for IR absorption by CO2… nah, that ain’t it. Any other theories out there because I got nothin’ for the alarmists to hang a prayer on?


William Astley says:
October 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm
Clearly the heat is going to be hiding in outer space. The cosmic microwave background radiation between the earth & moon will be found by modeling to equal 3.000000000000000000000000001 K instead of 3.0 K.
Problem solved.


I think Santer will not be coming for the warmists this Christmas.


Keith W. “Any other theories out there because I got nothin’ for the alarmists to hang a prayer on?”
Try: Meaningless statistical artifact of the AMO stadium waves.


Lovely charts for this weeks EPA coal killing meetings.


Chris a quick question what is the trend if you take the HadCRUT4 adjustments out?
I think you will find your warming rate before and after 1946 are reversed.


“one of the panels represents the global warming over the 52-year period 1895-1946, and the other represents the warming over the 52-year period 1957-2008”
The similarity in the 2 panels is remarkable. In nature this rarely occurs without very similar underlying causes.
An obscure example comes to mind, the island groups of Sulawesi and Halmahera in Indonesia. These two groups of islands have very unusual star-like shapes, separated by hundreds of kilometres. Sulawesi is much bigger, but the shapes are uncannily similar. Without going into the details, it is largely because the area is situated in a complex tectonic zone, (which includes the only known case in the world of double island arc-subduction zones), and the formation of the 2 groups of island’s shapes has much the same complex tectonic origin and history. Have a look at a map, the similarity and unusual aspect of the 2 island’s shapes, whilst being so far apart, is remarkable.
Here is a google image map of the area, Halmahera is cutoff a bit in the NE.

Doug Proctor

I don’t understand why we insist on putting a linear trend line on the 1955+ temp data, when to do so is to ignore common sense and the curving pattern that, yes, does rise but in a cycle of ups and downs. We might do the linear trend if we were to believe, as do the warmists, that the linear driver of importance is CO22, but since we don’t, I can’t see a reason to do so without pointing out how badly the data fit a linear trend.
But since the warmists do not think that pre-1975 means anything, it is a bit of a straw man argument to even do any analysis of pre-1975 data. Better would be to treat the two periods separately, as the warmists would agree they should be treated, and show what that data handling does. After all, without the CO2 influence, we would say the data should be treated as it is, in the blocks and clumps that are most similar. Which gives us the pre- and post-1975 split anyway.
The warmists have moved the goalpost on the 15, 17 or even 20-year perriod of importance. They have successfully done this without compromising the importance of the previous 20 year warming trend, incidentally, a triumph of willful blindness and misdirection if there ever was one.


Until the continents rearrange themselves or the sun changes its habit, the earth’s climate is bounded and regression-to-the-mean applies. Each year added to the string makes it more likely that the bounds are still in place, that natural variability within those bounds continues, and that nothing has happened to change things.

Thanks, Christopher, Lord Monckton.
Good article.
It is impressive the way this controversy is going. First it was “Global Warming”, then “Climate Change”, now it is “Deep Ocean Warming”?
Next; “Magma Warming”?


“And what is the scientific basis for the 17 year interval. Locusts?”
It’s a statistical artifact of the IPCC models of warming. I forget exactly how Santer came up with the 17 year number, but if there are 17 years in row without an increase in global average temperature then there is a 95%+ chance that reality is wrong and we should ignore it going forward and only use the models for determining what the temperature is. I’m not in the mood to reread it, but the paper was “Separating signal and noise in atmospheric temperature changes: The importance of timescale” by Santer et al, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres November 2011.


There was also no warming in the first 129 months of this record. That means that all of the warming of the satellite record occurred in the 87 months in between. That’s seven and a quarter years.


Andres Valencia says:
October 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm
Thanks, Christopher, Lord Monckton.
Good article.
It is impressive the way this controversy is going. First it was “Global Warming”, then “Climate Change”, now it is “Deep Ocean Warming”?
Next; “Magma Warming”?
Hasn’t Al Gore announced that the magma is a million degrees? Maybe that’s how it got so hot!


Liquid hot Magma

Frederick Michael

Pretty soon, we’re going to get to a point where a second or third order fit on temperature shows an alarming cooling in our future. The warmists like to cite the precautionary principle as why we must “act now.” Just for fun, we could counter that with a highly plausible scenario/model where we desperately need all the atmospheric CO2 we can muster.
Remember, cold causes a lot of deaths, crop failures, etc. These projections come with dire consequences.


Janice Moore says:
October 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Thanks, that was the first time I heard big Ben. Cool!


johninoxley says:
October 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm
I think Santer will not be coming for the warmists this Christmas.
You think he might get a sack of coal ??
That irony would be too delicious.


The world does indeed face a dire and truly urgent threat from climate change. It is just not what the Global Warming Alarmists want everyone to think it is.
The last Millennium 1000 – 2000 AD was the coolest of the current Holocene and about 1.5 °C cooler than the earlier Holocene optimum according to ice core records. The UKMO CET record has lost ~1.0°C in the last 13 years since the year 2000 and winter temperatures have been a full 1.5°C lower in that period. More recently an extreme escalation of the temperature decline has occurred and is shown in the UKMO official Central England Temperature CET record. In the first half of 2013, UK Met Office CET temperatures were a full 1.89°C lower than the monthly averages of the previous 12 years.
That is really significant and it really matters. That marked decline has lead to significant crop failures and serious loss of agricultural productivity. The effect has been mirrored in both hemispheres.
Assessing the sunspot records we seem to be rapidly heading for a Dalton minimum event (at best) in the next few decades. This will destroy agricultural productivity throughout the world.
But Global Warming advocates only ever propose solutions for the control of Global Warming, (overheating), by reducing Man-made CO2 emissions.
The climate is presently changing, (as it continues to do naturally), to a colder phase, probably because of reducing solar activity and changing ocean circulation patterns. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates fail to explain how reduction of man-made atmospheric CO2 can ever help to control Climate Change towards a cooling world.
Having made so many dire predictions of impending climate catastrophes from overheating, the advocates of Global Warming / Climate Change fail to accept that a climate change towards a cooler climate is more likely to lead to more intense adverse weather. There is good reason to expect this, simply because the energy differential between the poles and the tropics is bound to be greater and that in itself leads to less stable atmospheric conditions.
A cooling world as the Northern Hemisphere seen in the years since 2000 leads to much more dire consequences for the biosphere and for mankind than any realistic amount of warming that could ever arise from future man-made CO2 emissions. Cold is a much greater threat than any moderate amount of additional warmth that could result from greater release of Man-made CO2.
National policy makers and the United Nations are neither recognizing nor are they preparing for this potentially disastrous eventuality, by way of example, see.
Steve Baker: We have agreed here that science proceeds by conjecture and refutation, so in an attempt not to have a cloying consensus, will the Minister fund some climate scientists who wish to refute the current thesis?
Gregory Barker: “I am afraid that I do not have a budget for that sort of research.”
In spite of the enormous costs and appalling waste it is clear that the powers that be do not want to hear the good news that there is no real problem needing to be tackled.
It is now estimated that Climate Change policies in Europe alone will cost ~ £174,000,000,000 annually by 2020 or about 1.5% of European GDP.
But this figure does not include the attendant losses to Europe of industries already leaving the EU for regions with cheaper energy resources and more rational energy policies.

Bill Hunter

“The later period has a very slightly steeper slope than the earlier, but only by the equivalent of a third of a Celsius degree per century”
Hmmm, maybe the .15 difference in warming over the two 52 periods was due to a 50 year solar grand maximum?

Alan Robertson

johninoxley says:
October 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm
I think Santer will not be coming for the warmists this Christmas.
You get the thread’s Gold Star next to your name.

I think I can confidently predict (95% certainty anyone?) that when we do reach the 17 year mark, the goalposts will have moved to a “minimum of 20 years is necessary …”
The only good news in this mess is the fact the UK Coalition government has woken up to the damaging affect of “Green” taxes on energy prices and the majority part of the government wants to scrap them. Their LibDem partners however, want to raise them higher. Even in Germany, now the costs are rising steeply, the Greens are losing ground in the polls, and credibility among the populace. As Churchill remarked, it may not be the beginning of the end, but it could be the end of the beginning.

here is RealClimate poster Daniel Klein on December 29, 2007, with Gavin Schmidt’s response following. It was comment # 57:
“Daniel Klein says:
29 Dec 2007 at 11:40 AM
OK, simply to clarify what I’ve heard from you.
(1) If 1998 is not exceeded in all global temperature indices by 2013, you’ll be worried about state of understanding
(2) In general, any year’s global temperature that is “on trend” should be exceeded within 5 years (when size of trend exceeds “weather noise”)
(3) Any ten-year period or more with no increasing trend in global average temperature is reason for worry about state of understandings
I am curious as to whether there are other simple variables that can be looked at unambiguously in terms of their behaviour over coming years that might allow for such explicit quantitative tests of understanding?
[Response: 1) yes, 2) probably, I’d need to do some checking, 3) No. There is no iron rule of climate that says that any ten year period must have a positive trend. The expectation of any particular time period depends on the forcings that are going on. If there is a big volcanic event, then the expectation is that there will be a cooling, if GHGs are increasing, then we expect a warming etc. The point of any comparison is to compare the modelled expectation with reality – right now, the modelled expectation is for trends in the range of 0.2 to 0.3 deg/decade and so that’s the target. In any other period it depends on what the forcings are. – gavin]

Janice Moore

You’re welcome, Doug S., my pleasure. Maybe you and I will each, one day, get to hear Big Ben in person. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you enjoyed that clip. J.
SANTER CLAUS! (J.I.O.) Ho, ho, ho!
Well, here he is, boys and girls — drunk again. “Jingle bells…. jingle bells…. jingle all – (hic) – the day… it’s cold… .”
(and I think it is Leif Svalgaard, clearly NOT drunk, who comes to the rescue!)

Janice Moore

Sigh. You Tube search term: miracle on 34th street drunk santa.


when is this going to be considered a fail for Gavin? I know that in the 6 years since he wrote this response it has become en vogue to blame the deep oceans, but he should still be challenged to explain this. i remember a prediction that “half of the years between 2000-2015 would be hotter than the previous hottest on record. that one has already failed without 2014 or 2015 even happening yet.