Annual report on global temperature change to December 2014
By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
Global warming is not happening at anything like the predicted rate. The divergence between prediction and reality is now severe. Despite revisions in the terrestrial datasets calculated to cause an unmeasured increase in the warming rate of recent decades, the gulf between the exaggerated predictions in the models and the far less exciting observed reality is in danger of becoming an abyss.
All five major monthly global surface or lower-troposphere anomaly datasets, the latest being HadCRUT4, have now reported their results for 2014. Time, then, for our WUWT annual update on temperature trends. As usual, we shall look at the three principal terrestrial surface datasets (GISS, HadCRUT4 and NCDC) and the two satellite datasets (RSS and UAH).
First, to determine the underlying global warming trend as fairly as possible it is necessary to allow for the ocean-oscillation cycles of 30 years’ warming followed by 30 years’ cooling . The Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere & Ocean at the University of Washington says that the year 2000 marked the transition from the positive or warming phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to the negative or cooling phase:
Using JISAO’s dates and taking the mean of the three terrestrial temperature datasets, the global temperature record from 1890 to 2014 inclusive shows warming during the positive PDO phases but more or less stable temperatures during the negative phases, illustrating very clearly the influence of the PDO on temperatures:
The warming trend of 0.92 Cº since 1890, equivalent to less than three-quarters of a degree per century, occurred almost entirely within the two positive PDO phases.
To establish a fair estimate of the recent trend, one must take the same number of years either side of a phase-change in the PDO. Thus, the period from 1987 to 2014 has 14 years’ positive and 14 years’ negative PDO. The trend on the mean of the three terrestrial datasets since 1987 is 0.41 Cº, equivalent to less than 1.5 Cº/century:
On the combined RSS and UAH satellite lower-troposphere temperature datasets, the trend is statistically indistinguishable from the surface trend:
Taking the mean of all five datasets gives the fairest indication of the underlying global warming trend, which is less than 1.4 Cº/century, or below half the central rate predicted by the IPCC on its “business-as-usual” scenario in 1990:
The individual graphs for each of the five major global-temperature anomaly datasets for the period 1987-2014 are now given, so as to dispel the usual accusations that the data have been cherry-picked:
Starting the trend in 2001, at the turn of the millennium, shows the effect of the negative phase of the PDO in slowing down the warming rate. The rate from 1987-2014 was 0.39 Cº, equivalent to 1.38 Cº/century, but the rate from 2001-2014 was just 0.03 Cº, equivalent to 0.24 Cº century. It is possible, of course, that the gradual decline in solar activity after the near Grand Maximum of 1925-1995, peaking in 1960, may have contributed to the slowdown in warming:
Last year I reported that the trend from 2001-2013 was zero. So the current year has kicked up the warming rate by about a thirtieth of a degree.
There has been no full-blown el Niño Southern Oscillation event since 2010, when McLean, de Freitas & Carter reported that it is the ratio of the frequency of el Niño to that of la Niña events, and not global warming caused by greenhouse-gas emissions, that has proven to be the prime determinant of global temperature variability in recent decades. However, el Niño conditions were prevalent (just about) during the second half of 2014. This may have been enough to cause the slight uptick in what could otherwise have been a flat trend.
CO2 concentration (the characteristic gray dog-tooth curve in gray on the graphs) has continued to rise at its established rate of about 2 ppmv yr–1, but neither the previously-committed or “in-the-pipeline” warming imagined by the IPCC nor the new warming driven by continuing greenhouse-gas enrichment of the atmosphere has driven global temperature up at an alarming or dangerous rate.
The continuing absence of global warming, first admitted by the IPCC in February 2013 in the person of its climate-science chairman, Dr.Pachauri, has at last led the IPCC to abandon the computer models on which it had previously relied without question. It is worth recalling, at Fig. 2, the graphs from the second-order or pre-final draft (upper panel) and final draft (lower panel) of the Fifth Assessment Report to demonstrate not only how substantial the reduction in the mid-range estimate is but also how visibly far below the models’ predictions the IPCC’s new best estimate is:
Figure 2. Near-term projections in the pre-final or “second-order” draft of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (upper panel) show the mid-range estimate of 0.7 K over 30 years. In the final or published draft (lower panel), the former mid-range estimate became the high-end estimate of the new range, and the IPCC’s “expert assessment”, replacing for the first time its reliance on models’ output, was to the effect that about 0.4 K global warming would occur over the coming 30 years.
This new and much-reduced best estimate, equivalent to 0.13 K decade–1, is a little below the 0.14 K decade–1 that was observed over the preceding 30 years, despite continuing increases in CO2 concentration. The IPCC is now actually predicting a standstill, or even a little slowdown, in the rate of global warming.
Now that a full decade has passed since January 2005, the benchmark month for the predictions of near-term global warming to 2050 in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, it is time to take stock with a comparison between the rate of temperature change the IPCC predicted by the IPCC in 2005 and the rate of temperature change that has been observed:
The IPCC’s prediction is that there should have been a sixth of a degree of warming over the past decade. However, there has barely been any at all.
Considering that governments have placed heavy reliance upon the IPCC, and that the environmental-extremist movement has repeatedly said that it was more certain about the future course of global temperature than about anything else in science, the failure of global temperatures to keep pace even with the IPCC’s latest and much-reduced global-warming projections is remarkable.
The failure extends upward even to the climatically-crucial mid-troposphere, where the predicted temperature “hot spot” (which I had the honor to name) has not appeared in observed reality, despite some disfiguring revisionist attempts to make it appear ex post facto.
The failure is evident in all 73 of the models examined by Christy (2013), not only confirming the models’ propensity to exaggerate warming but also reinforcing the observations showing that there has been no global warming for a decade and a half, since theory would lead us to expect a near-tripling of the tropical surface warming rate in the tropical mid-troposphere if there had been any global warming, but no such tripling has occurred:
The question arises: why were very nearly all runs of very nearly all models so very wrong? And why were the errors, almost without exception, in the direction of monstrous but profitable exaggeration?
What are the models missing? Obsessed with radiation from greenhouse forcings and questionable temperature feedbacks, they ignore or poorly parameterize many important climate processes and undervalue the net cooling effect of the following events:
Ø the “parasol effect” of growth in emerging nations’ unfiltered particulate aerosols;
Ø the non-radiative transports such as tropical afternoon convection;
Ø evaporation from the surface, which is observed to occur at thrice the rate per degree of warming that the models predict;
Ø the decline in solar activity since 1960;
Ø the recent fall in the ratio of el Niño to la Niña oscillations;
Ø the current 30-year “cooling” phase of the Pacific Decadal oscillation;
Ø the cooling effect of the recent double-dip la Niña;
Ø the ending late in 2001 of an 18-year period with less global cloud cover than normal (Pinker et al., 2005); and
Ø the natural variability that has given us many long periods without warming in the past 150 years.
All of these influences (of which only the first is manmade) could well have exercised between them a cooling effect enough to match the warming influence of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The models, however, either did not make sufficient allowance for these thermostatic influences or tended to exaggerate the warming effect of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, or both.
The models have been tuned to base their predictions almost exclusively on Man’s influence. Also, the models’ handling of temperature feedbacks may have led to an undue tripling of the global warming rate via the use of a system-gain equation borrowed from electronic circuitry – an equation that has no place in the climate (Monckton of Brenchley et al., 2015, Science Bulletin 60(1): www.scibull.com).
The models’ undue focus on and exaggeration of a single and probably minor cause of warming, while undervaluing or altogether neglecting natural net-negative forcings, has been their undoing.
But the central reason for the models’ error is that they were tuned and inter-compared and tuned again until they all told more or less the same story of ever-faster warming and ever-more-lurid disasters. The curse of intercomparison has brought the models more and more into line with one another and farther and farther away from observed reality.
The very small fluctuations in global temperature over the past 750 million years, and especially over the past 810,000 years, when absolute global mean surface temperature varied by little more than 3 Cº or 1% either side of the long-run mean, rule out the absurdly extreme feedback loop gains implicit (and very carefully unstated) in the IPCC’s estimates of climate sensitivity:
More worryingly for the credibility of the IPCC, even the direct warming from CO2 and other greenhouse gases that should have occurred if its basic understanding of climate dynamics were right has not been observed.
The CO2 radiative forcing over the period 2005-2013 – if the IPCC is right – should have been 5.35 ln(400 ppmv/378 ppmv), or 0.30 W m–2. The IPCC assumes that CO2 accounts for just 70% of all manmade greenhouse-gas forcings, so make that 0.43 W m–2. Then, to allow for warming “in the pipeline”, at around 0.6 of the 2.8 K that the Fourth Assessment Report predicted for this century, bring up the total predicted manmade forcing since 2005 to 0.48 W m–2.
Multiply this alleged manmade forcing by 0.31 K W–1 m2, the instantaneous or Planck climate-sensitivity parameter. Even ignoring any feedbacks of any kind, the total global warming that should have happened since 2005, according to the IPCC’s methodology, is 0.15 K. With feedbacks, make that at least 0.2 K. Yet none has happened.
Two years have passed since the Qatar climate conference at which the inadvertent delegate from Burma announced, to shrieks of astonishment, horror, and dismay from his fellow-delegates, that there had been no global warming for 16 years, and that perhaps it was time to call in some independent scientists to do a review of the science to make sure that these increasingly unimportant climate conferences were still heading in the right direction.
At that time, The Pause was very little known, for it did not fit the official story-line and had gone almost entirely unreported in the mainstream news media. So the delegates shrieked in fury, and in fear that their gravy-train had finally toppled over the Stanton curve at more than the mandatory 15 mph.
How long will the now well-known Great Pause continue? Professor Lindzen answered that one during an important lecture in Colombia four years ago. He said the probability of the world being warmer than the present in 50 years’ time is one-half. It is as likely that the world will not be warmer than today as it is that it will be.
For it remains possible that our true influence on the climate is so minuscule that the continuing diminution in solar activity that is now widely expected will be more than enough to neutralize all our greenhouse-gas forcings for many decades to come.
Finally, many have commented that calling the long failure of global temperatures to rise the “Great Pause” suggests that global warming will one day resume. In truth, we don’t know whether we’re heading up the mountain or down the mountain. So let us from now on call it the “Great Shelf”:
For in the light of the evidence presented here it is to the Great Shelf that the current international program of costly, ineffective measures to make minuscule global warming go away should be permanently consigned.