Cause of 'the pause' in global warming

Guest essay by Don J. Easterbrook, Dept of Geology, Western Washington University


Figure 1. Correlation of glacier fluctuations on Mt. Baker with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and global climate. (Easterbrook, 2001, 2011)

The absence of global warming for the past 17 years has been well documented. It has become known as “the pause.” and has been characterized as the “biggest mystery in climate science,” but, in fact, it really isn’t a mystery at all, it was predicted in 1999 on the basis of consistent, recurring patterns of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and global climate.

Perhaps the easiest way to understand the causal relationship between global warming/cooling and the PDO and AMO is to recount how these correlations were discovered. In 1999, while studying recent glacial fluctuations on Mt. Baker in the North Cascade Range, a pattern of recurring advances and retreats became apparent. In the wee hours one night, I came across a 1997 paper by Mantua, et al., “A Pacific interdecadal climate oscillation with impacts on salmon production,” an early recognition of the PDO. The PDO is an index, not a measured value, based on about a dozen or so parameters that are related to cyclical variations in sea surface temperatures in the NE Pacific. The term “Pacific Decadal Oscillation” (PDO) was coined by Steven Hare (1996). It has two modes, warm and cool, and flips back and forth between them every 25 to 30 years.

The Mantua et al. curve looked so similar to my glacial curve that I superimposed the two and was surprised to see that they corresponded almost exactly. I then compared them to global temperature and all three showed a remarkable correlation (Fig. 1).

The significance of this correlation is that it clearly showed that the PDO was the driver of climate and glacial fluctuations on Mt. Baker. Each time the PDO mode flipped from one mode to another, global climate and glacier extent also changed. This discovery was significant in itself but was to lead to a lot more. At this point, it was clear that PDO drove global climate (Figs. 2,3), but what drove the PDO was not apparent.


Figure 2. 1945-1977 PDO cold mode and 1977-1998 warm mode. (Easterbrook 2011 modified from D’Aleo)


Figure 3. PDO fluctuations from 1900 to August 2012. Each time the PDO was warm, global climate warmed; each time the PDO was cool, global climate cooled. (modified from

In 2000, I presented a paper, “Cyclical oscillations of Mt. Baker glaciers in response to climatic changes and their correlation with periodic oceanographic changes in the Northeast Pacific Ocean” at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA). The following year at the GSA meeting, I presented another paper “The next 25 years: global warming or global cooling? Geologic and oceanographic evidence for cyclical climatic oscillations.

Since this recurring pattern of PDO fluctuation and global climate held true for the past century, what might the future hold? If the pattern continued, then might we project the same pattern into the future to see where we are headed, i.e., the past is the key to the future. If we want to know where we are heading, we need to know where we’ve been. Each of the two PDO warm periods (1915-1945 and 1978-1998) and the three cool periods (1880-1915, 1945-1977, 1999-2014) lasted 25-30 years. If the flip of the PDO into its cool mode in 1999 persists, the global climate should cool for the next several decades. Using the past durations of PDO phases, I spliced a cool PDO (similar to the 1945-1977 cool period) onto the end of the curve and presented the data in a paper at the 2001 Geological

Society of America meeting in Boston. In this paper, I proposed that, based on the past recurring pattern of PDO and global climate changes, we could expect 25-30 years of global cooling ahead (Fig. 4). With memories of the 1998 second warmest year of the century, the audience was stunned at such a prediction, especially since it directly contradicted the IPCC predictions of global warming catastrophe.



Figure 4. (Top) PDO fluctuations and projections to 2040 based on past PDO history.

(Bottom) Projected global cooling in coming decades based on extrapolation of past PDO recurring patterns.

My first projection of future global cooling was based on continuation of past recurring PDO fluctuations for the past century. But what about earlier climate changes? Because climate changes recorded in the oxygen isotope measurements from the GISP2 Greenland ice core had such an accurate chronology from annual layering in the ice, it seemed a perfect opportunity to see if similar changes had occurred in previous centuries, so I plotted the oxygen isotope accelerator measurements made by Stuiver and Grootes (1997) for the past 450 years. Oxygen isotope ratios are a function of temperature, so plotting them gives a paleo-temperature curve. This was a real eye-opener because the curve (Fig. 4) showed about 40, regularly-spaced, warm/cool periods with average cycles of 27 years, very similar to the PDO cycle. There was no way to determine what the PDO looked like that far back, but the GISP2 warm/cool cycles were so consistent that correlation with PDO 25-30 year cycles seemed like a good possibility. Historically known warm/cool periods showed up in the GISP2 curve, i.e., the 1945-1977 cool period, the 1915-1945 warm period, the 1880-1915 cool period, the Little Ice Age, Dalton Minimum cooling, the Maunder Minimum cooling, and many others, lending credence to the validity of the GISP2 measurements.


Figure 5. Warm and cool periods to 1480 AD from oxygen isotope measurements from the GISP2 Greenland ice core. The average length of a warm or cool cycle is 27 years.

When I presented this data and my climate projections at the 2006 GSA meeting in Philadelphia, Bill Broad of the NY Times was in the audience. He wrote a feature article in the NY Times about my data and predictions and the news media went bonkers. All of the major news networks called for interviews, then curiously all except CNN, MSNBC, and Fox abruptly canceled, apparently because my data posed a threat to IPCC predictions of catastrophic warming.

Nine additional papers expanding the geologic evidence for global cooling were presented from 2007 to 2009 and several longer papers were published from 2011-2014, including

Multidecadal tendencies in Enso and global temperatures related to multidecadal oscillations,” Energy & Environment, vol. 21, p. 436-460. (D’Aleo, J. and Easterbrook, D.J., 2010).

Geologic Evidence of Recurring Climate Cycles and Their Implications for the Cause of Global Climate Changes: The Past is the Key to the Future,” in the Elsevier volume “Evidence-Based Climate Science; p. 3-51. (2011)

Relationship of Multidecadal Global Temperatures to Multidecadal Oceanic Oscillations,” in the Elsevier volume “Evidence-Based Climate Science; p. 161-180. (D’Aleo, J. and Easterbrook, D.J., 2011)

Observations: The Cryosphere,” in Climate Change Reconsidered II, Physical Science (Easterbrook, D.J., Ollier, C.D., and Carter, R.M., 2013), p. 645-728.

Reprints of any of these publications may be obtained from or by emailing dbunny14 “at”

During these years, important contributions were made by Joe D’Aleo, who showed that during warm periods, warm El Nino phases occurred more frequently and with greater intensity than cooler La Nina phases and vice versa. He also documented the role of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), which is similar to the PDO. The AMO has multi-decadal warm and cool modes with periods of about 30 years, much like the PDO.

So the question now becomes how could my predictions be validated? Certainly not by any computer climate models, which had proven to be essentially worthless. The obvious answer is to check my predictions against what the climate does over several decades. We’ve been within my predicted cooling cycle for more than a decade, so what has happened? We’ve now experienced 17 years with no global warming (in fact, slight cooling) despite the IPCC prediction that we should now be ~1° F warmer (Figs. 6, 7, 8). So far my 1999 prediction seems to be on track and should last for another 20-25 years.


The ‘mysterious pause’ in global warming is really not mysterious at all. It is simply the continuation of climatic cycles that have been going on for hundreds of years. It was predicted in 1999, based on repeated patterns of cyclical warm and cool PDO phases so it is neither mysterious nor surprising. The lack of global warming for the past 17 years is just as predicted. Continued cooling for the next few decades will totally vindicate this prediction. Time and nature will be the final judge of these predictions.

What drives these oceanic/climatic cycles remains equivocal. Correlations with various solar parameters appear to be quite good, but the causal mechanism remains unclear. More on that later.


Figure 6. Temperature trend (°C/century) since 1996. Red = warming, blue = cooling.


Figure 7. Global cooling since 2000 (Earth Observatory)


Figure 8. Winter temperatures in the U.S. 1998-2013. 46 of the 48 states were significantly colder.


UPDATE 1/24/14, Dr. Easterbrook writes in with this update:

Here is an updated version of my 2000 prediction. My qualitative prediction was that extrapolation of past temperature and PDO patterns indicate global cooling for several decades. Quantifying that prediction has a lot of uncertainty. One approach is to look at the most recent periods of cooling and project those as possibilities (1) the 1945-1975cooling, (2) the 1880-1915 cooling, (3) the Dalton cooling (1790-1820), (4) the Maunder cooling (1650-1700). I appended the temperature record for the 1945-1975 cooling to the temperature curve beginning in 2000 to see what this might look like (see below). If the cooling turns out to be deeper, reconstructions of past temperatures suggest 0.3°C cooler for the 1880-1915 cooling, about 0.7°C for the Dalton cooling (square), and about 1.2°C for the Maunder cooling (circle). We won’t know until we get there which is most likely.


This updated plot really doesn’t change anything significantly from the first one that I did in 2000.



D’Aleo, J. and Easterbrook, D.J., 2010, Multidecadal tendencies in Enso and global temperatures related to multidecadal oscillations: Energy & Environment, vol. 21, p. 436-460.

Easterbrook, D.J. and Kovanen, D.J., 2000, Cyclical oscillations of Mt. Baker glaciers in response to climatic changes and their correlation with periodic oceanographic changes in the Northeast Pacific Ocean: Abstracts with Programs, Geological Society of America, vol. 32, p.17.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2001, The next 25 years: global warming or global cooling? Geologic and oceanographic evidence for cyclical climatic oscillations: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Program, vol. 33, p. 253.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2005, Causes and effects of abrupt, global, climate changes and global warming: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Program, vol. 37, p. 41.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2006a, Causes of abrupt global climate changes and global warming predictions for the coming century: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Program, vol. 38, p. 77.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2006b, The cause of global warming and predictions for the coming century: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Program, vol. 38, p.235-236.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2007a, Geologic evidence of recurring climate cycles and their implications for the cause of global warming and climate changes in the coming century: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, vol. 39, p. 507.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2007b, Late Pleistocene and Holocene glacial fluctuations: Implications for the cause of abrupt global climate changes: Abstracts with Programs, Geological Society of America, vol. 39, p. 594.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2007c, Historic Mt. Baker glacier fluctuations—geologic evidence of the cause of global warming: Abstracts with Program, Geological Society of America, vol. 39, p.13.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2008a, Solar influence on recurring global, decadal, climate cycles recorded by glacial fluctuations, ice cores, sea surface temperatures, and historic measurements over the past millennium: Abstracts of American Geophysical Union annual meeting, San Francisco.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2008b, Implications of glacial fluctuations, PDO, NAO, and sun spot cycles for global climate in the coming decades: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, vol. 40, p.428.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2008c, Global warming’ is over: Geologic, oceanographic, and solar evidence for global cooling in the coming decades: 3rd International Conference on Climate Change, Heartland Institute, New York.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2008d, Correlation of climatic and solar variations over the past 500 years and predicting global climate changes from recurring climate cycles: Abstracts of 33rd International Geological Congress, Oslo, Norway.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2009a, The role of the oceans and the sun in late Pleistocene and historic glacial and climatic fluctuations: Abstracts with Programs, Geological Society of America, vol. 41, p. 33.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2009b, The looming threat of global cooling – Geological evidence for prolonged cooling ahead and its impacts: 4th International Conference on Climate Change, Heartland Institute, Chicago, IL.

Easterbrook, D.J., ed., 2011a, Evidence-based climate science: Data opposing CO2 emissions as the primary source of global warming: Elsevier Inc., 416 p.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2011b, Geologic evidence of recurring climate cycles and their implications for the cause of global climate changes: The Past is the Key to the Future: in Evidence-Based Climate Science, Elsevier Inc., p.3-51.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2011c, Climatic implications of the impending grand solar minimum and cool Pacific Decadal Oscillation: the past is the key to the future–what we can learn from recurring past climate cycles recorded by glacial fluctuations, ice cores, sea surface temperatures, and historic measurements: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs

Easterbrook, D.J., 2010, A walk through geologic time from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay: Chuckanut Editions, 330 p.

Easterbrook, D.J., 2012, Are forecasts of a 20-year cooling period credible? 7th International Conference on Climate Change, Heartland Institute, Chicago, IL.

Easterbrook, D.J., Ollier, C.D., and Carter, R.M., 2013, Observations: The Cryosphere: in Idso,C.D., Carter R. M., Singer, F.S. eds, Climate Change Reconsidered II, Physical Science, The Heartland Institute, p. 645-728.

Grootes, P.M., and Stuiver, M., 1997, Oxygen 18/16 variability in Greenland snow and ice with 10-3– to 105-year time resolution. Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 102, p. 26455-26470.

Hare, S.R. and R.C. Francis. 1995. Climate Change and Salmon Production in the Northeast Pacific Ocean: in: R.J. Beamish, ed., Ocean climate and northern fish populations. Can. special Publicaton Fish. Aquatic Science, vol. 121, p. 357-372.

Harper, J. T., 1993, Glacier fluctuations on Mount Baker, Washington, U.S.A., 1940-1990, and climatic variations: Arctic and Alpine Research, vol. 4, p. 332‑339.

Mantua, N.J. and S.R. Hare, Y. Zhang, J.M. Wallace, and R.C. Francis 1997: A Pacific interdecadal climate oscillation with impacts on salmon production: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 78, p. 1069-1079.


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Craig Moore

Nothing but net with that 3 point shot. We don’t need any stinking models when we have real science. Thanks professor.



“but what drove the PDO was not apparent”
Natural variation of the Hadley Heat Hidey Hole, first postulated by some guy named Trainbreath (I think Jethro Tull produced song about him) and later confirmed by Al Gore who once found a warm spot while swimming off Cabo. When temperatures are stable, it means the H4 is gorging itself on heat somewhere deep inside the ocean. It apparently reaches right up through the intervening layers of the ocean and snatches the heat right out of the atmosphere La Nija style. When the PDO flips the other way, the H4 is disgorging itself of all that stored heat.
Pretty simple really. Now lets all open our wallets and send in all of our money if we want to make the bad heat stop.

Alan Robertson

Not buying it at all… it’s still all my fault and I should be made to pay pay pay.

Rhoda R

How timely. I just got my 10 Dec through 10 Jan heating bill. I WANT my global warming back!


Ahh, that’s better…
Thank you Alan, thank you….
I felt dark and bereft of light without my self-loathing…


Don Easterbrook, an interesting walk through time and equally an indictment of the effect of a small group of climatologists using a political agenda and pressure behind the scenes and the sorry role of the media who had their fingers in the political process rather than the best interests of their readers.
Sadly an indictment also on the associations of science and scientists who were oblivious to the waste and detrimental impact on science by following such a contrived meme.! Especially so when those involved in evidence based observational science had clearly and succinctly reported the true facts, acknowledged the unknowns, that made it clear consensus was a contrived artefact to cover other agenda, and science suffered, and that is a real travesty.


Global Warming has stopped.
It is only a pause if it starts again, which it hasn’t.
It has stopped for at least 16 years and probably longer, a significant length of time which was not predicted in any of the IPCC models, so we can say, with 95% confidence, that they don’t know what they are doing, no matter how they attempt to dress it.


You almost had me with the data and logic you presented so tellingly Don until I cleverly spotted you weren’t a climatologist in a climatology dept and then I knew instantly you were in the pay of Big Oil. You can fool some of the people some of the time with cunning data and logic but…

Russ R.

Well done.
Geologists ROCK!

Bbbbut mapping the past into the future is not supposed to work. CCCCCCCCCCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO2222222222222222222222!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


If this prediction holds, it will be difficult for the climadrama to keep the show on the road. I find it curious that something as erratic as climate will end up saving out arses from ourselves.Too much of a close call. Just imagine if, by chance, warming had continued to increase…

Mac the Knife

Dr. Easterbrook,
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
This really presents well the natural variability essence of the PDO driving multidecadel climate warming and cooling trends over centruries, long before the despised Industrial Revolution. It also emphasizes a time testable prediction of cyclic cooling that is already showing positive cooling trend results, trumping all of the computer models used to shout “Unending Warming Ahead Unless Mankind Stops Exhaling CO2!”
I will direct as many engineers, scientists, politicians, and laymen to this blog post as I can, as it is so well constructed, illustrated, and presented in easily understandable terms. As I live in the Seattle area, the inclusion of the Mt. Rainier glacial advance/retreat correlations adds to the local interest and (we can only hope) understanding!
With highest regards,


Then we need to figure out what drives the roughly 200 year cycle between successive Grand Solar Minima, and the roughly millennial cycle between the Minoan, Roman, Mediaeval and Modern climatic maxima.


Great job. It’s certainly looks like vindication for your predictions.

And despite the 17 year pause in warming, Michael Mann hints that he wants to report skeptics to the Dept of Homeland security. Mann wrote: We scientists are citizens, too, and, in climate change, we see a clear and present danger. The public is beginning to see the danger, too. My Real Science comment:
Um, the public either thinks your climate change hooey is total bunk, or they think it’s not important, that there will certainly be no catastrophe, if anything at all. What much of the public does see, however, is the clear and present danger presented by the wacked out climate scientists and leftist politicos that want a communist takeover of the United States. No joke. What is the real danger here, Michael Mann??


have been hoping this would gets its own thread today, as LAY people get this!
6:28: 17 Jan: BBC: Has the Sun gone to sleep?
Scientists are saying that the Sun is in a phase of “solar lull” – meaning that it has fallen asleep – and it is baffling them.
History suggests that periods of unusual “solar lull” coincide with bitterly cold winters.
Rebecca Morelle reports for BBC Newsnight on the effect this inactivity could have on our current climate, and what the implications might be for global warming.

Clay Marley

“Figure 2. 1945-1977 PDO cold mode and 1977-1998 warm mode. (Easterbrook 2011 modified from D’Aleo)”
Precisely. 1945 to 1977 constituted the entirety of the cooling period that led to some fears of “Global Cooling” or another Ice Age, that hit the pop-sci press in the late seventies. Of course in some data sets today this cooling doesn’t exist anymore because of the data manipulation required to make global warming appear more significant.
Then 1977 to 1998 constitute the entirety of the warming period that led to the “Global Warming” fears. For a brief time global temperatures rose and correlated with rising CO2. That short period of time isn’t much of a foundation to rest a global shakedown of the world’s economies. And every year that goes by without warming reduces the correlation between CO2 and world temperatures (AKA the “Climate Sensitivity”).

Steven Goddard did a post on how the BBC is reporting on the strange “solar lull” and that climate scientists are talking about “it’s implications for global warming.” My comment:
Yeah, they are looking for excuses, to excuse close to 17 years of no warming, the record ice growth or extent at both poles, and all their climate models having totally failed.
But don’t let ‘em just rattle off the random excuses.
The fact is there is no proof that CO2 works as their theoretical model says it does. None. If temperatures were rising at a good clip, then we could say possibly you’re right, but it probably natural, and you still have no proof. But with flat or declining temperatures for nearly two decades, when their models predicted rapid temperatures increases, we can tell them flat out to stop with the excuses and mann up and admit that their whole theory is insane. There’s was never any proof that CO2 would do what they said it would, and now that CO2 hasn’t done what they said it would do, it’s clear that their theory is bunk, period, end of story. No more excuses. No epicycles until the cows come home. No mas!

Clay Marley

So how are the PDO and AMO related to El Niño and La Niña? Looks like, from Fig 2, a PDO cold phase would correspond to a strong La Niña and a PDO warm phase to a strong El Niño. But does PMO drive the ENSO process frequency or amplitude, or is it the other way around? Is it possible a good understanding of PDO oscillations would help predict the ENSO changes (frequency or magnitude)?
PS: Would it be possible to change the graphics links so that clicking on a thumbnail would bring up a larger image?

David L. Hagen

Don Easterbrook
Congratulations on making your scientific predictions in the face of intimidation by the politically correct insisting it would warm. “Wisdom is proved right by her children.”

john robertson

Thanks Don Easterbrook for persevering with empirical science, nice to see the beginning of the end of this CAGW madness.
There is nothing wrong with trumpeting “I told you so” to the consensus crowd, as they will give no credit to other peoples discoveries, not voluntarily, based on their behaviour to date.
You make another good observation, that the cycles were there for all to see, even in the unadjusted temperature records.
Yet these self appointed experts, threw out the null hypothesis and attacked everyone who doubted their theory of the magic gas.
Buy popcorn, as the animosity these charlatans and their fellow travellers have spread around is going to come home with a vengeance, the costs imposed have been enormous, the damage to civic institutions yet to be calculated.
The damage done to taxpayer confidence in government, bureaucratic fiat and planet saviours is yet to become apparent, I suspect good times are coming for all these parasitic groups.

Jeff L

Message to climate scientists :
1) Ignore the geologic record at your own peril !!
2) Geologist Rule …. Climatologists drool !! :)))


According to the text Figure 4 is supposedly the graph presented at the 2001 Geological Society of America meeting in Boston comparing Easterbrook projected cooling to the IPCC projected warming from 1998. The projection in this graph we are told “stunned” the audience. Why then does the graph show actual temperatures up to 2014.

Don Easterbrook will be disappointed with the post I just published, which once again confirms that the PDO is the wrong dataset to use for this discussion.

Bill H

What I find interesting in Fig 5 is that each long and deep cooling period is always preceded by a high double peaked warm period. It is also consistent in percentages. If one looks at the Maunder minimum, its preceding warm period is less pronounced than our current warming period. It makes me wonder if the cooling were about to see will be as pronounced as the high we just experienced.


16 Jan: Huffington Post: Sean McElwee: How the SEC Can Fight Climate Change
Several corporations sit on the boards of powerful business and trade organizations that take positions contrary to the companies’ purported stance on climate change, finds a new Union of Concerned Scientists report. They are able to do this without public accountability because, currently, trade associations aren’t required to disclose their funders and corporations are not required to disclose their political spending. The report’s author makes clear that in the crucial arena of climate change policy, “the public is still in the dark when it comes to how companies and their trade associations influence government decisions.”
There is a simple way to start to fix this lack of transparency and accountability. The U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) should proceed with its rule making that would require companies to disclose their political activities…

Proud Skeptic

Labeling this “The Pause” is completely misleading. It suggests that it is a short term interruption in an inexorable rise in the temperature of the Earth. It MAY be a pause. But nobody will know for decades if it was one. Until then I think it should be called the “Current Cooling Trend”.

I’ve changed the “Pause” to the “Stop” in Global Warming and the “Start” in Global Cooling.
Please make a note for future reference.


This article is just a little bit crazy. Not entirely, but certainly overconfident. The bottom line is we still don’t know the root cause of the pause. Full stop.
Then there’s this bravado:

With memories of the 1998 second warmest year of the century, the audience was stunned at such a prediction, especially since it directly contradicted the IPCC predictions of global warming catastrophe.

The problem the IPCC has is it is fixated, obsessed, even, with temperature rise and temperature is a terrible indicator of the Earth/Sol energy balance as this article shows. The energy is arriving as it always has, but it is stashed here and there by the equivocal PDO process, and some equivocal thing causes all those energized molecules of what ever to form a crowd like lemmings and dash for the eastern Pacific and causing warming of the atmosphere. Ignoring the IPCC temperature curve, what if it were actually representative of energy imbalance that has not yet manifested itself as identifiable temperature rise? That seems very plausible since that is exactly what your discovery details.
Finally – we have no reason to celebrate these intervening cold years coming up if all the lemmings come home to roost in 2035. It is certainly looking like the climate is warming in the long term but in PDO-driven staircase steps and that those of you still alive in 2035 will see it unfold in real time. My own life will end in 10 to 15 years if left to nature so I’ll miss the fun.

Leon Brozyna

With a possible extended period of reduced solar activity before us, it should make for an interesting period of study on the cyclical activity of the PDO … such as, will reduced solar activity result in weaker warm periods and stronger cool periods for the PDO during the period of reduced solar activity.
Makes this climate thingy a bit more complicated than projecting that CO₂ is making the climate warmer … probably just a bit player on a big stage with many larger, more potent actors driving things.

Joe Chang

The 2001 Chinook salmon run in Alaska was good. When I looked into making another trip in the last several years, the run was poor, but I heard Oregon and WA had good runs in those years. So I take it the PDO means this will continue in the cool phase?

I think the PDO is the loose end of a fire hose, jetting this way and that, perhaps jumping sides of the Pacific Rise in response to Nino tides. The Pacific is the mother of all oceans, the Panthalassa. Its influence knows few bounds.

Mike Bentley

Like both of you as tough fighters. I still bet on Don – you have to be really tough to endure the rain in Bellingham!
(from a cougar from WSU transplanted to Colorado)


Will the last person
believing CAGW –
turn out the lights.

Box of Rocks

Ouch that one is going to leave a mark.

For predictions of the timing and amount of the coming cooling based on the recent warming peak being a peak in both the 60 year PDO cycle and the 1000 year cycle in the temperature data see several posts at

This is priceless. What do we pay these bureaucrats for if they can’t even answer a simple question?
EPA Head Unable to Defend President’s Warming Claims While Imposing Job-Crushing Climate Regs


I remain somewhat skeptical about the projected cooling. Humans have immense ability to see patterns where there are none. The climate remains inherently unpredictable. Anyway I rather hope it stays warm. Cooling is going to hurt.

Don Easterbrook: The color coding for your Figure 6 is wrong. You’ve presented trends. Just as long as the values are above zero, the trend is positive, meaning that global surface temperatures warmed during those 10-year periods. So the only time there is cooling in this graph is when the trend is less than zero! That is, cooling is not occurring from the peak around 2001 through 2010 as your color coding states.
Easterbrook Figure 6
And what kind of magical dataset did you present in your Figure 4?
Easterbrook Figure 4
There are no long-term global surface temperature reconstructions where the dip during the 1998-10 La Niña came close to reaching the values in the 1940s. Did you splice TLT data onto HADCRUT data? That’s what it looks like. Whatever it is, it’s bogus!

Correction, that should read 1998-01 La Nina.

Mike Bentley, see my comment above to Easterbrook.


Nothing but net on the 3-pt shot indeed. As a Meteorologist, I also figured this out some years ago.
Thanks Don! Great, great post.


Ha! That BBC video ( ) mentioned by Eric Simpson and pat is just perfect for a quality late night laugh. I love how they all act as if this were brand spanking new, hot-off-the-press stuff. “NEWS FLASH (DATELINE, LONDON): IT HAS JUST BEEN DISCOVERED THAT THERE WAS ONCE THIS THINGY-DINGY CALLED THE MAUNDER MINIMUM…IT SEEMS THAT LOW SOLAR ACTIVITY CAN CORRELATE WITH LOWER TEMPS HERE ON EARTH…”
That’s not even the best part. (Gimme a sec — I’m laughing again, and I’m not just saying so to make a funny. Seriously.) Okay, I’m back. After saying over and over that reduced solar activity could make things relatively MORE cold, they never once even casually mention the logical flip side that increased solar activity might make things relatively LESS cold. Of course such dangerous thoughts would lead to the little people having dangerous thoughts of their own — can’t have that. I refuse to accept that everyone on that clip is truly too thick to have considered this, yet not a peep.
I have no idea how much value to place in any of the current hypotheses regarding the solar-climate link, but that a correlation (I didn’t say “causation”) has been documented on serial occasions in what is essentially very recent history is … hmm, how to put this … known to every climatologist on the planet? (Oh, God — here comes Leif. I’m in trouble now! :^> )
All of that is a long way to go to get to my real point, which is this: no matter what turns out to be the real, live ground truth as to what effects CO2 actually has on climate, the hard core warmists themselves do not believe in their own propaganda, even in reduced intensity format. People with the courage of their convictions do not tie themselves into knots keeping inconvenient facts from the public. When you truly believe the truth will set you free, you embrace pertinent facts and share them openly, convenient or not.
Apologies for what may seem an arrogant statement, but if you don’t get this simple, eternal truth of human nature, perhaps in order for you is the following tonic: one refresher on the scientific method, another on the practice of obscurantism, an epistemology course or two, and most importantly — a re-reading of Orwell. Time’s a wastin’ — chop chop!


Makes sense. Well done !

John F. Hultquist

Several people (Easterbrook, D’Aleo, Joe B., to name 3, but there are others) seem to willfully not learn about the PDO. I’ve mentioned this a couple of times and Bob Tisdale has done so repeatedly. Now we have what likely could be a good report sent spinning topsy turvy into the dust bin because, because, ?? And Clay Marley @ 6:59 asks “does PDO drive the ENSO process” – Bob has answered this many times. I do agree with Clay about larger clear images.

Brian H

We will shortly rue all the resources misspent on warming mitigation.

Clay Marley says:
January 17, 2014 at 6:43 pm
“Figure 2. 1945-1977 PDO cold mode and 1977-1998 warm mode. (Easterbrook 2011 modified from D’Aleo)”
I had pictured the warm trend as 1976/77 till 2006/07 approx. The 30+ year trend really fits well for the length of the graph. That would place the cool end around 2037, unless there is a shift at the 1/4 cycle around 2022. The CET graph clearly shows, in several places, 1/4 cycles where the first 15+ years is cool, then the next 15+ years is warm.

Clay Marley says: “Looks like, from Fig 2, a PDO cold phase would correspond to a strong La Niña and a PDO warm phase to a strong El Niño. But does PMO drive the ENSO process frequency or amplitude, or is it the other way around?”
The PDO is an aftereffect of ENSO. It’s actually inversely related to the sea surface temperatures of the North Pacific, where it’s derived, which makes it physically impossible for it to be doing what Easterbrook claims,. For more info on the PDO, what it is, and what it isn’t, see the posts here:
And here:
And here:
Keep in mind, Clay, that the PDO is also standardized (i.e. divided by it’s standard deviation). The standardization basically multiplies the “raw” PDO data by a factor of about 5.5, which increases it’s perceived value. That another reason it’s misunderstood.

UK Sceptic

Global warming has stopped and it’s a travesty Trenberth and his ilk continue to furiously doctor the models in a futile attempt to explain away the “pause” in CAGW parlance.