By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
This time last year, as the honorary delegate from Burma, I had the honor of speaking truth to power at the Doha climate conference by drawing the attention of 193 nations to the then almost unknown fact that global warming had not happened for 16 years.
The UN edited the tape of my polite 45-second intervention by cutting out the furious howls and hisses of my supposedly grown-up fellow delegates. They were less than pleased that their carbon-spewing gravy-train had just tipped into the gulch.
The climate-extremist news media were incandescent. How could I have Interrupted The Sermon In Church? They only reported what I said because they had become so uncritical in swallowing the official story-line that they did not know there had really been no global warming at all for 16 years. They sneered that I was talking nonsense – and unwittingly played into our hands by spreading the truth they had for so long denied and concealed.
Several delegations decided to check with the IPCC. Had the Burmese delegate been correct? He had sounded as though he knew what he was talking about. Two months later, Railroad Engineer Pachauri, climate-science chairman of the IPCC, was compelled to announce in Melbourne that there had indeed been no global warming for 17 years. He even hinted that perhaps the skeptics ought to be listened to after all.
At this year’s UN Warsaw climate gagfest, Marc Morano of Climate Depot told the CFACT press conference that the usual suspects had successively tried to attribute The Pause to the alleged success of the Montreal Protocol in mending the ozone layer; to China burning coal (a nice irony there: Burn Coal And Save The Planet From – er – Burning Coal); and now, just in time for the conference, by trying to pretend that The Pause has not happened after all.
As David Whitehouse recently revealed, the paper by Cowtan & Way in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society used statistical prestidigitation to vanish The Pause.
Dr. Whitehouse’s elegant argument used a technique in which Socrates delighted. He stood on the authors’ own ground, accepted for the sake of argument that they had used various techniques to fill in missing data from the Arctic, where few temperature measurements are taken, and still demonstrated that their premises did not validly entail their conclusion.
However, the central error in Cowtan & Way’s paper is a fundamental one and, as far as I know, it has not yet been pointed out. So here goes.
As Dr. Whitehouse said, HadCRUTt4 already takes into account the missing data in its monthly estimates of coverage uncertainty. For good measure and good measurement, it also includes estimates for measurement uncertainty and bias uncertainty.
Taking into account these three sources of uncertainty in measuring global mean surface temperature, the error bars are an impressive 0.15 Cº – almost a sixth of a Celsius degree – either side of the central estimate.
The fundamental conceptual error that Cowtan & Way had made lay in their failure to realize that large uncertainties do not reduce the length of The Pause: they actually increase it.
Cowtan & Way’s proposed changes to the HadCRUt4 dataset, intended to trounce the skeptics by eliminating The Pause, were so small that the trend calculated on the basis of their amendments still fell within the combined uncertainties.
In short, even if their imaginative data reconstructions were justifiable (which, as Dr. Whitehouse indicated, they were not), they made nothing like enough difference to allow us to be 95% confident that any global warming at all had occurred during The Pause.
If one takes no account of the error bars and confines the analysis to the central estimates of the temperature anomalies, the HadCRUt4 dataset shows no global warming at all for nigh on 13 years (above).
However, if one displays the 2 σ uncertainty region, the least-squares linear-regression trend falls wholly within that region for 17 years 9 months (below).
The true duration of The Pause, based on the HadCRUT4 dataset approaches 18 years. Therefore, the question Cowtan & Way should have addressed, but did not address, is whether the patchwork of infills and extrapolations and krigings they used in their attempt to deny The Pause was at all likely to constrain the wide uncertainties in the dataset, rather than adding to them.
Publication of papers such as Cowtan & Way, which really ought not to have passed peer review, does indicate the growing desperation of institutions such as the Royal Meteorological Society, which, like every institution that has profiteered by global warming, does not want the flood of taxpayer dollars to become a drought.
Those driving the scare have by now so utterly abandoned the search for truth that is the end and object of science that they are incapable of thinking straight. They have lost the knack.
Had they but realized it, they did not need to deploy ingenious statistical dodges to make The Pause go away. All they had to do was wait for the next El Niño.
These sudden warmings of the equatorial eastern Pacific, for which the vaunted models are still unable to account, occur on average every three or four years. Before long, therefore, another El Niño will arrive, the wind and the thermohaline circulation will carry the warmth around the world, and The Pause – at least for a time – will be over.
It is understandable that skeptics should draw attention to The Pause, for its existence stands as a simple, powerful, and instantly comprehensible refutation of much of the nonsense talked in Warsaw this week.
For instance, the most straightforward and unassailable argument against those at the U.N. who directly contradict the IPCC’s own science by trying to blame Typhoon Haiyan on global warming is that there has not been any for just about 18 years.
In logic, that which has occurred cannot legitimately be attributed to that which has not.
However, the world continues to add CO2 to the atmosphere and, all other things being equal, some warming can be expected to resume one day.
It is vital, therefore, to lay stress not so much on The Pause itself, useful though it is, as on the steadily growing discrepancy between the rate of global warming predicted by the models and the rate that actually occurs.
The IPCC, in its 2013 Assessment Report, runs its global warming predictions from January 2005. It seems not to have noticed that January 2005 happened more than eight and a half years before the Fifth Assessment Report was published.
Startlingly, its predictions of what has already happened are wrong. And not just a bit wrong. Very wrong. No prizes for guessing in which direction the discrepancy between modeled “prediction” and observed reality runs. Yup, you guessed it. They exaggerated.
The left panel shows the models’ predictions to 2050. The right panel shows the discrepancy of half a Celsius degree between “prediction” and reality since 2005.
On top of this discrepancy, the trends in observed temperature compared with the models’ predictions since January 2005 continue inexorably to diverge:
Here, 34 models’ projections of global warming since January 2005 in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report are shown an orange region. The IPCC’s central projection, the thick red line, shows the world should have warmed by 0.20 Cº over the period (equivalent to 2.33 Cº/century). The 18 ppmv (201 ppmv/century) rise in the trend on the gray dogtooth CO2 concentration curve, plus other ghg increases, should have caused 0.1 Cº warming, with the remaining 0.1 ºC from previous CO2 increases.
Yet the mean of the RSS and UAH satellite measurements, in dark blue over the bright blue trend-line, shows global cooling of 0.01 Cº (–0.15 Cº/century). The models have thus already over-predicted warming by 0.22 Cº (2.48 Cº/century).
This continuing credibility gap between prediction and observation is the real canary in the coal-mine. It is not just The Pause that matters: it is the Gap that matters, and the Gap that will continue to matter, and to widen, long after The Pause has gone. The Pause deniers will eventually have their day: but the Gap deniers will look ever stupider as the century unfolds.