The Washington Post verifies 'the pause' in global warming

Jason Samenow sends word of a new article in WaPo that does some of the same sort of surface temperature analyses we see right here on WUWT. Seeing what a good job Matt Rogers did in his defense against claims of cherry picking, statistical significance woes, and Trenberthian masking, it made me wonder; “How long before he gets called into the chief editors office at WaPo and reassigned to be the correspondent covering Botswana?”

Global warming of the Earth’s surface has decelerated – Matt Rogers, Capital Weather Gang

The recently-released National Climate Assessment (NCA) from the U.S. government offers considerable cause for concern for climate calamity, but downplays the decelerating trend in global surface temperature in the 2000s, which I document here.

Many climate scientists are currently working to figure out what is causing the slowdown, because if it continues, it would call into question the legitimacy of many climate model projections (and inversely offer some good news for our planet).

An article in Nature earlier this year discusses some of the possible causes for what some have to referred to as the global warming “pause” or “hiatus”.  Explanations include the quietest solar cycle in over a hundred years, increases in Asian pollution, more effective oceanic heat absorption, and even volcanic activity. Indeed, a peer-reviewed paper published in February estimates that about 15 percent of the pause can be attributed to increased volcanism. But some have questioned whether the pause or deceleration is even occurring at all.

 Verifying the pause

You can see the pause (or deceleration in warming) yourself by simply grabbing the freely available data from NASA and NOAA. For the chart below, I took the annual global temperature difference from average (or anomaly) and calculated the change from the prior year. So the very first data point is the change from 2000 to 2001 and so on. One sign of data validation is that the trends are the same on both datasets.  Both of these government sources show a slight downward slope since 2000:

(Matt Rogers)

You can see some of the spikes associated with El Niño events (when heat was released into the atmosphere from warmer than normal ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific) that occurred in 2004-05 and 2009-10. But the warm changes have generally been decreasing while cool changes have grown.


Read it all here, well worth your time – Anthony


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James Strom

Commenters here often, rightly, mention the old practice of adding an epicycle to explain some divergence of observation from theory. The use of ad hoc hypotheses is clearly a weakness in a scientific theory, but it’s not always the fatal error that we sometimes think. The Ptolemaic theory had a kind of elegance to it, in that if a planet were found to misbehave, a correction could be added in the form of an additional circular or spherical motion. There was a uniformity in the corrections, and to that extent the theory was rather elegant, even if wrong. But now, look at the corrections that have been introduced into the CAGW theory, according to the Post’s writer Matt Rogers:
“Explanations include the quietest solar cycle in over a hundred years, increases in Asian pollution, more effective oceanic heat absorption, and even volcanic activity.”
And of course this is only a small sample of the theoretical tinkerings that have been proposed. They are multiple in kind and sometimes even in contradiction with each other. What this suggests is a theory flailing for support and grasping at anything that could possibly help.


Props to Matt Rogers and The Washington Post for writing and publishing an honest look into the details of the current pause. I wonder if they will take a large hit similar to the one FiveThirtyEight did for publishing Pielke, Jr. I can only hope enough people in WaPo’s circle of readership continue to read beyond the opening sentences – merely evidence of an open mind as opposed to a fundamentalism.

Steve Case

Good news, but there’s a long way to go. The “Global Warming” juggernaut isn’t going to go gently into the night anytime soon..


We need deep ocean thermometers so we can measure the water coming from rifts and mantle aquifers.

Sweet Old Bob

Opening the door to an escape route . The smart ones will take advantage of it ,the Zealots won’t …

David Ball

That is unsettling. 🙂


I just paid 500 English pounds car tax to run my 4.2 litre jag for another year. I’m told that’s to stop global warming so it must be that.


Seems to me an attempt to square himself with the scientific truth without tooooo very much casting doubt on the AGW theory. In other words, Rogers wants it both ways- one foot in the truth camp and one foot in the fiction camp. This does not increase my regard for the wp.


I agree Gregory.
I have a question along those lines for anyone here with the knowledge/skills to give me the answer.
Supposing that the inner workings of the core of our planet are at least basically understood, how much C02 and other gases are generated by the “burning fossil fuels” in there…and how much of that pent up gas would HAVE to “vent” to the surface in order to keep the planet from expanding….and absent any venting…exploding? I mean obviously there has to be naturally occurring pressure valves, mechanisms at work, and there has to be at least some reasonable speculation on how much pressure they’d have to release. Any guesses or calculations that can be applied to a timescale?
Obviously hot springs, volcanoes, submarine trenches etc are evidence that heat and gas IS escaping. I guess my question is, can we quantify the amount that would HAVE to be being released, and then SUBTRACT from that amount the known/measured venting occurring on the surface to establish how much we have not found to measure?


Hey mpainter, I believe I needed to present the data- which shows the pause/deceleration- in a very balanced way to have the best chance of it being understood and actually seen by both sides. -Matt Rogers

Did the labeling function fail to put “La Nina” on the graph?


Kudos! Of course, he was obliged to provide a link to a denial that warming has paused at all. Would that he had also included a link to evidence a 17+ year lack of warming, just for balance you see. Probably the editors insisted he toss a bone to the warmists.

Looks more like he is squirming. The datasets are not the same, and that is worth investigating.


One of the warmists theories on the pause…”more effective oceanic heat absorption”.
Well, since water has obviously evolved into becoming more effective at trapping heat, all the warmists need to do is figure out how to effectively release that heat, then they can have their warming continue.
Actually, come to think of it, there must be tremendous energy savings, if I can do something to water to make it more effective at trapping heat. After all, if I have a pot of water on the stove, just think of the energy saved, if I can do something to the water to make it boil faster. Any ideas? We could save tons of emissions.

Alan Robertson

Listening to: Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship– “Blows Against the Empire”


Jorma is my hero!


Oops, Jorma wasn’t on there, it was Peter.


“…(and inversely offer some good news for our planet).”
In acknowledging this publicly, Matt Rogers places himself on the side of the angels.
Beware those for whom verification of CAGW or falsification of “the Pause” would be good news.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

WaPo has an article worth reading. Wow.
Did DC freeze over?


That’s a pretty bold article. Look at what has happened to others who suggested that there isn’t a looming disaster, like Caleb Rossiter and Lennart Bengtsson. Kudos for a little balance in the press if WxMatt is the author and still paying attention to these comments.

Janice Moore

@ Anyone coming here to verify facts of WaPo article: The article GROSSLY UNDERSTATES THE CASE AGAINST AGW.
“… the slowdown stop in warming, {} if it continues, {} would call into question the legitimacy of many climate model projections… .”
(above WaPo article)
{edits mine — statement still grossly inaccurate, though}
To address just one of the WaPo’s mistakes….
…. contrary to what was timidly put forth above,
Climate Models ARE Complete Failures
1. “The discrepancy between models and observations is not a new issue…just one that is becoming more glaring over time.”
Dr. Roy Spencer, Here: (
2. “New peer reviewed paper finds the same global forecast model produces different results when run on different computers.”
{See thread Comments for some EXCELLENT ANALYSIS}
3. “… climate models being used by the IPCC for their 5th Assessment Report have very little practical value because they cannot simulate critical variables of interest to the public and policymakers. … model outputs bear little relationship to the data. … climate models create imaginary climates in virtual worlds that exhibit no similarities to the climate of the world in which we live.
******************* Game Over ******************


Thanks and per that other commenter, yes I should have shown the La Niña years too. Big ENSO influences in there. -Matt


Want some fun? Read the voluminous and vociferous comments to the WaPo story. To paraphrase Dear Leader – “clinging to their warming” for dear life.

I see from the bio in the article that Matt Rogers is a “meteorologist/forecaster”. I have read that working meteorologists, especially weather forecasters, are more skeptical of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming than those who are “climatologists” and that may be because they actually look at past weather patterns as part of their forecasting job. After all, any honest look at the unadjusted real world data would show a fellow that we have seen nothing unusual at all over the last 40 years.
I am surprised that Mr. Rogers was able to see this article published by that propaganda outfit; but then crazy things do happen. I wonder what his readers thought.


Read the article at WaPo. He keeps using the word “decelerating”. I don’t think it means what he thinks it means. lol The trend line in his own graph goes DOWN. That’s not a deceleration, that’s a cooling trend.

Mark wagner

Wxmatt & all: keep in mind when hearing explanations about volcanism, pollution, etc for “the pause:”
If you’re going to invoke such “non CO2” forcings for cooling, you also have to be willing to accept that the same forcings acting in reverse (lower volcanism, lower pollution) must have been responsible for at least part of the observed warming. And the more warming attributed to such causes, the less warming attributable to CO2.


Matt says:
June 20, 2014 at 10:57 am
I think the deceleration he is referring too is broader in scope than the graph shows. The graph simply shows the pause, but if you look back further there is still an upward trend (just a slowing one).


Matt says:
June 20, 2014 at 10:57 am
Read the article at WaPo. He keeps using the word “decelerating”. I don’t think it means what he thinks it means. lol The trend line in his own graph goes DOWN. That’s not a deceleration, that’s a cooling trend.

Well, it depends on the time scale. I suspect he was using the 2000-present timetable to show what’s happening lately, since it’s so visually impressive. However, on any longer scale (earlier than, say, 1997), the trend is still increasing, so the recent cooling would have a “decelerating” effect on that longer trend. I doubt many people would rely on just the last 17 years to make any grand pronouncement about where the climate is going (well, the warmists would, but only if going in an upward direction).


Good Evening, Anthony and all. I’ve just read an article from Financial Times regarding Putin’s role in EU’s anti-fraking movement.
It suggests that Putin, who wants and needs Europe dependant on Russian gas for reasons that will be obvious to most people in the western world has been involved with certain green movements. If proven true, it could severly damage cpecifically, the anti-shale gas movement, and the NGOs involved in deciminating Putin’s disinformation about the subject.
It’s definitly worth a read to anyone that’s interested. Obviously, everything tied to the current geo-political issues has to be taken with a pinch of salt, but this is something that I’ve suspected for a long while.

And in related news the Wash Po reconfirms that oxygen is not a toxin; and that water is wet. Thanks Po. Your warm propaganda, along with your other dialectical garbage ad-infinito, has been invaluable for brainwashed minds.


The graph is a change on the anomaly- not the actual data. The data itself is slightly warming (+0.01C). So the increases are slowing down or decelerating.
And yes many operational meteorologists I know and work with are skeptical of climate model projections mainly because they seem to be too sensitive to CO2 and disregard large scale influencers like ENSO, PDO, AMO, etc. We appreciate the chaos theory just a tad more.


Mark Stoval says:”I have read that working meteorologists … Are more skeptical …”.
About 9 years ago I attended a local Christian men’s association meeting. The guest speaker was a meteorologist from the local office of the US Weather Service. After his talk during the Q&A, someone asked him to comment on AGW. His answer was pretty cagey, but basically he intimated that it is impossible to get grant money to do any kind of research that might cast a bad light on AGW. He would not elaborate, and he ended the Q&A with that comment.
Looking back on it, I think he was a skeptic. But wouldn’t it be more natural for somebody who has more than a little knowledge about weather/climate to be skeptical, than it would be for an average person?

Tom O

“Matt says:
June 20, 2014 at 10:57 am
Read the article at WaPo. He keeps using the word “decelerating”. I don’t think it means what he thinks it means. lol The trend line in his own graph goes DOWN. That’s not a deceleration, that’s a cooling trend.”
Let’s face it Matt, if he had said “cooling,” the article probably wouldn’t have been printed. I thik he chose the right word. After all, it IS decelerating all the way passed zero.
As for reading the comments, yes, there were a few supportive comments, but not many. I also thought he did a fair job of fending off the worst of the attacks. I particularly loved the commenter that kept asking a question that was responded to, and when asked how long does a pause have to continue before he would consider that the models might be misleading ( my words here, not theirs), all he did for an answer was say that he answered that question, but the author hadn’t answered his. I am willing to bet that had God appeared before him with the truth, what ever that might be, if it wasn’t of the church of AGW, he would have denied the existence of God.


how long has it been since someone used the word “unprecedented” ?


My response to the WAPO article.
Why does any true scientist really believe that an accurate climate model can be programmed at this time considering the woeful lack of knowledge science has about the factors that influence climate in the long run? You don’t know all of those cyclic events that impact climate and you don’t know the impact of those cycles on other cycles and on the cycles that you are unaware of. Observational information available is generally for an insignificant time of reference and is often incomplete, unavailable or has been adjusted in a way to often make its reliability suspect. The equipment used to measure temperatures has not been uniform and the environment of sensing devices has not always been ideal for establishing an accurate record.
And yet, knowing this, many ascribe to calls for action, expenditures of vast sums of money and resources and disruption of billions of peoples lives based on what is, at best, responding to what if scenarios that cannot be confirmed or validated by the scientific community.

I agree with mpainter’ that this doublespeak is bad and doesn’t promote understanding. How long are people going to speak with forked tongues? It’s not that I don’t appreciate the work, this just minimises it a little bit, it in my view

Mark Hladik

I would have spent more time on the comments at WaPo, but it did not take long to see which way that wind was blowing.
My message to WxMatt is this: it does not make any difference what you believe or how you think. Post here at WUWT, and if you have a chance, check out JoNova also (I spend time there when able). You are welcome at WUWT, whether you are a “skeptic” or a “believer”.
That someone like me would be barred from SkS, “Real” Climate, et al, should speak volumes to you.
Mark H.


My interest in the whole AGW issue was ignited by two things: 1). “The debate is over”; and 2) “unprecedented extreme weather events”, none of which were unprecedented. When I heard the warmers say those thing, I felt that they were and are desperate people who will say anything to keep their scam going.


I think of the predicting scientists like those two vultures sitting on a limb in the ’70s “head” poster. One vulture says to the other “Patience, my a_s! I’m going to kill something.” Some climate scientist proclaimed “Uncertainty my a_s! I’m going to predict something!” Then others, emboldened, jumped aboard. Then they “got relijun” and started praying that temperature tracked CO2. Worth the gamble, but hasn’t paid off.

David A. Evans

To the detractors I say give the guy a break, he’s got this in WaPo FFS!
To WxMatt. Thanks mate.

Pamela Gray

The Appendix he refers to is an opinion rag of talking points. So many spun graphs I don’t know where to begin a critique.

sleeping bear dunes

Good for you. Not all skeptics are right wing nut jobs as they are frequently portrayed. I was agnostic 6 years ago when I took the time to really dig into the issue. At the very minimum, a reasonable person should be asking more questions than are generally being asked in the MSM. After one digests all the hysterical and cataclysmic projections and then compare them against the observational data, the divergence becomes troubling. I predict by 2020 there will be a lot of red faces and we will see a lot more robust scientific inquiry. The world will be a better place for it.

Mac the Knife

Q: What sound does a flat tire make, as you slow down and pull over to the curb?
A: WaPo WaPo WaPo WaPo WaPo WaPo WaPo WaPo WaPo …..

johann wundersamer

Thx Matt Rogers, Anthony Watts: open visor!
brg – Hans


12 years of data is not sufficient to show a “decelerating trend.” There was a large El Nino in 1998, and the trend will likely “accelerate” again after the next El Nino event. Also there have been “pauses” throughout the 20th century, but the underlying global temperature trend remains clear.


>One of the warmists theories on the pause…”more effective oceanic heat absorption”.
OK I’ll go with that. But someone tell me why the reason for the pause now is ocean currents/wind/El Nino, yet there is no way possible that the predominance of El Nino’s from the late 70’s through 1998 had anything to do with the “great warming” of .4-.6C. They ruled every single causative factor so a change of in 1 in 10,000 parts of the atmosphere to CO2 has to be the cause. It’s the oceans now, but it wasn’t the oceans then.
Skepticism is simple.


Barium says:
June 20, 2014 at 1:13 pm
Well then, start from 1998, and include the el niño… It is really fair they didn’t, because the trend down would have been larger.


Hi Barium, there have been 4 El Niño events after 1998 already and that has not reversed it yet. You say 12 years is not sufficient. How many years do you need to see before you personally may question the modeling too?
Yes, Glenncz, they do make it so simple!
-Matt Rogers

george e. conant

Yes, the cooling is not deniable!!!! However, I stepped into a bucket of pee over at , I been getting thrashed for saying that the Antarctic Sea Ice is at all time high extent , that polar bears are fine, that Arctic Sea Ice is with in historical norms and that May 2014 being the HOTTEST ever is non-sense …. Wow , I really angered some people there! A little off topic. SO two nights ago I had an inspiration, a way to get Warming Enthusiasts and Skeptics to get along with an informal survey of sorts, I would like to start a forum that is just a place for everyone everywhere to log in their daily / nightly High and Low Temps using commonly available thermometers. The idea being that we can all equally assess what’s being reported by NASA and NOAA et al. Just a thought… could be interesting.