RSS considers the cause of a Pause now half the satellite record long
By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
Times are not easy for true-believers just now. The RSS satellite lower-troposphere temperature anomaly for March, just in, shows no global warming at all for 17 years 8 months. This remarkable 212-month period, enduring from August 1996 to March 2014, represents half of the entire 423-month satellite record since it began in January 1979.
Figure 1. The remarkable 212-month absence of global warming, notwithstanding a record rate of increase in CO2 concentration. The Pause – the least-squares trend on the data for the past 17 years 8 months – now extends to just over half the entire 423-month Remote Sensing Systems satellite record since January 1979.
Yet we should not crow. A strongish el Niño – we are rather overdue for one – may well shorten the Pause quite a bit, but probably only until the subsequent la Niña a year or two later, whereupon the Pause may resume and perhaps continue embarrassingly to lengthen for a decade and more. Or so my model tells me, and that means it must be right. Right?
To appreciate the sheer magnitude of the credibility problem the modelers and their host of fawning apologists now face, we can look at the crisis faced by the paid propaganda merchants at “Skeptical” “Science”. They are proud of their tacky little alarmo-ticker, which – so they assert – demonstrates how many “Hiroshima bombs” of global-warming energy have been trapped in the atmosphere since – for some reason – 1998.
The labeling of that useless widget with the word “Hiroshima” is a downright offensive and insulting exploitation of the death and acute suffering of hundreds of thousands of innocent, non-combatant citizens of Japan in one of the most disgraceful atrocities in the dismal history of warfare.
It is all of a piece with the characterization of scientific skeptics as “climate deniers”, a hate-speech term that maliciously invites comparison with the most disgraceful atrocity in the history of warfare – the slaughter of almost six million innocent, non-combatant citizens of Europe by Hitler’s goons.
For this reason, let us talk no more of “Hiroshima bombs”. Let as talk, as followers of the scientific method should, of the radiant energy theoretically retained in the atmosphere by the influence of Man on the climate – and not just since 1998 but since the Pause began in August 1996.
CO2 concentration in 1996 was about 363 ppmv. Now it is more like 398. We may assume either that temperature feedbacks are net-zero or that, over so short a timescale as 17 years 7 months, they will not have had much opportunity to operate.
In that event, using the IPCC’s method, the additional radiant energy retained in the atmosphere thanks to CO2 is 5.35 times the logarithm of the proportionate CO2 concentration change in Watts per square meter, divided by the fraction of total anthropogenic forcing represented by CO2, which the IPCC reckons at 70%. That gives 0.704 Watts per square meter.
All of this is mainstream IPCC climatology. No ifs or buts. That, at minimum, is the quantum of anthropogenic radiative forcing that should have warmed the system since September 1996 – if the IPCC were right. According to NASA the volumetric mean radius of the Earth is 6371 km. Surface area, then, is around 510 Tm^2. So the additional energy flux in the Earth-atmosphere system since the Pause began is close to 360 TW. That’s a lotta Watts.
In a zero-feedback regime the instantaneous and equilibrium warmings are equal. By the IPCC’s own method, then, the central estimate of the global warming that should have occurred since September 1996 is 0.313 x 0.704. That works out at 0.22 Cº. But the observed, real-world outturn is 0.00 Cº. So, where on Earth did all those terawatts go? RSS have been working on that. This is what they report [with comments from me in square brackets]:
“Over the past decade, we have been collaborating with Ben Santer at LLNL (along with numerous other investigators) to compare our tropospheric results with the predictions of climate models. [Three cheers: they’re doing some good, old-fashioned science, checking the models’ output rather than just believing it].
“Our results can be summarized as follows:
“Over the past 35 years, the troposphere has warmed significantly. The global average temperature has risen at an average rate of about 0.13 Kelvin (0.23 Fº) per decade. [Actually, make that closer to 0.12 K/decade: the Pause is long enough to slow the rate a little more].
“Climate models cannot explain this warming if human-caused increases in greenhouse gases are not included as input to the model simulation. [But the warming is well within natural variability, so the inability of models to “explain” the warming without Man merely shows how bad they are at representing natural influences].
“The spatial pattern of warming is consistent with human-induced warming. See Santer et al., 2008-12, for more about the detection and attribution of human induced changes in atmospheric temperature using MSU/AMSU data. [Note the use of one of the usual suspects’ favorite weasel-phrases, “consistent with”: the spatial pattern of warming is also “consistent with” natural variability, and an honest scientist would have said so].
“But the troposphere has not warmed as fast as almost all climate models predict. [Their emphasis. Hurrah! Some intellectual honesty about the Pause at last].
“To illustrate this last problem, we show several plots below. Each of these plots has a time series of TLT temperature anomalies using a reference period of 1979-2008.
“In each plot, the thick black line is the measured data from RSS V3.3 MSU/AMSU temperatures. The yellow band shows the 5% to 95% envelope for the results of 33 CMIP5 [Climate Model Inter-comparison Project, version 5] model simulations (19 different models, many with multiple realizations) that are intended to simulate Earth’s climate over the 20th century.
“The mean value of each time series average from 1979-1984 is set to zero so the changes over time can be more easily seen.
“For the period before 2005, the models were forced with historical values of greenhouse gases, volcanic aerosols, and solar output. After 2005, estimated projections of these forcings were used. If the models, as a whole, were doing an acceptable job of simulating the past, then the observations would mostly lie within the yellow band.
“For the first two plots, (Fig. 2 and Fig 3), showing global averages and tropical averages, this is not the case. Only for the far northern latitudes, as shown in Fig. 4, are the observations within the range of model predictions.
“Figure 2. Global (80S-80N) mean TLT [tropical lower-troposphere] anomaly as a function of time. After 1998, the observations are likely to be below the simulated values, indicating that the simulation as a whole are predicting too much warming. [Honesty again].
“Figure 3. Tropical (30S-30N) mean TLT anomaly as a function of time. Again, after 1998, the observations are likely to be below the simulated values, indicating that the simulation as a whole are predicting too much warming. [Yet more honesty].
“Figure 4. Northern Polar (55N-80N) mean TLT anomaly as a function of time. For this latitude band, the observations remain within the model envelope. [But latterly on the low side].
“The reasons for the discrepancy between the predicted and observed warming rate are currently under investigation by a number of research groups. Possible reasons include increased oceanic circulation leading to increased subduction of heat into the ocean, higher than normal levels of stratospheric aerosols due to volcanoes during the past decade, incorrect ozone levels used as input to the models, lower than expected solar output during the last few years, or poorly modeled cloud feedback effects. It is possible (or even likely) that a combination of these candidate causes is responsible.”
Just a little honesty there, too. Just one off-the-cuff suggestion (volcanoes, which have not been particularly active globally in the past decade), but no fewer than three possible modeling errors are suggested.
At last, at long last, the Pause is having its effect. The modelers, and those – such as the IPCC – who have until recently placed a naïve and complete faith in them to which no mathematician would have subscribed for an instant unless he had been very well paid to do so, are beginning, just beginning, to wake up and smell the coffee. Will somebody tell the politicians before they squander any more of your money and mine?