By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
The latest UAH temperature anomalies show that the New Pause has lengthened by another two months to 6 years 10 months. As usual, the Pause is defined as the longest period, up to the most recent month for which data are available, during which the linear-regression trend on the monthly global mean lower-troposphere temperature anomalies shows no increase.
The HadCRUT4 dataset is no longer being updated monthly. For last month’s column I had to kick them into producing the data for the first three months of 2021, reflected in the graph below, which shows no warming at the surface for 7 years 1 month. They are now another three months behind. The HadCRUT5 dataset is even worse: it has not been updated since the end of 2020.
Pauses have no predictive purpose. Just because there has been no global warming for more than seven years (HadCRUT4) or almost seven years (UAH), that does not mean there will be no global warming in future.
Nevertheless, they are helpful in putting into context the occasional severe-weather events that the Marxstream media seize upon in telling us we’re a’ doomed unless the hated capitalist West is shut down.
For instance, the unspeakable BBC has been bed-wetting on and on about the heatwave in the north-western United States, and the Economist, which has trashed its reputation as a serious journal both by its unhinged opposition to Brexit and still more by its relentless unwillingness to publish any information that questions the Party Line on the climate question, has just issued a lurid warning to the effect that ever more frequent and ever more severe heatwaves are to be expected. Yet despite that heatwave there has been little warming globally.
It is worth reproducing the ever-diligent John Christy’s graph showing the annual frequencies of daily record-high temperatures among the US Historical Climate Network stations with more than a century of data. Heatwaves were a great deal more common in the Grapes of Wrath years of the 1920s and 1930s than they are today. But that is the sort of information that the unspeakable BBC and the untrustworthy Economist now routinely and deliberately deny to their audiences.
In response to last month’s update on the New Pause, Chris Schoneveld wrote –
“I was inspired by your latest contribution to WUWT and thought of expanding your retrospective analysis further backwards. I know there are people who are critical of your approach, calling it cherry-picking, etc. I, however, think it is the most honest approach.
“I repeated your exercise from the point where your most recent non-warming period began, as far backwards as 1944. It is clear that each warming pause is initiated by a strong El Niño. The La Niñas are apparently not strong enough to cancel the warming effect of those strong El Niños.”
In Chris’ graph, I have highlighted the most prominent el Niño in each of the four Pauses in global warming that he has identified. Each record-breaking el Niño appears near the beginning of its Pause.
One reason is that the El Niño spike will itself modestly influence the length of the subsequent Pause – though, since the method of deriving least-squares linear-regression trend-lines takes account of every monthly anomaly and not just those at the beginning and end of the period, prominent El Niño spikes have less of a Pause-lengthening effect than some would like us to believe.
The diagram is similar to the global-warming “escalator” that is often trotted out at Thermageddonite websites to try to reassure true-believers that there really will be some warming again, someday. But it does make the point that in a staircase, if the ratio of the run to the rise of each stair increases, the steepness of the stair decreases.
Since IPCC predicted in 1990 that there would be warming over the following decades at a rate equivalent to 0.34 C°/century, there have been two risers in the staircase, caused by the unusually large el Niños in 1998 and 2016:
According to Wu et al. (2019), the anthropogenic contribution to global warming from 1990-2013 was 53%. Since the subsequent period was dominated by the naturally-occurring el Niño event of 2016, one may take it that the anthropogenic contribution to warming from 1990 to the present is unlikely to exceed 50%.
A forthcoming paper by some of my distinguished colleagues will shortly provide further evidence tending to confirm that the anthropogenic contribution to the warming of recent decades is no more than 50%. In that event, warming of only 0.7 C°/century equivalent since 1990 is attributable to our sins of emission. Yet IPCC had predicted a medium-term anthropogenic contribution equivalent to 2.8 C°/century at midrange (in one place) and 3.4 C°/century equivalent (in another). These midrange predictions were respectively four times and five times the 0.7 C°/century equivalent anthropogenic contribution to warming since 1990. But the BBC and the Economist will make quite sure that you never hear any such inconvenient truths.
The fact that there are so many long Pauses is a good way to demonstrate that nothing like the rate of global warming originally predicted by IPCC in 1990 has come to pass. Even IPCC was eventually compelled to admit this, which is why it cut its medium-term warming predictions by almost half in the 2013 Fifth Assessment Report. Yet with monstrous inconsistency it failed to make any commensurate reduction, or any reduction at all, in its long-term, equilibrium-sensitivity prediction. In fact, the entire interval of that prediction is likely to have increased, which seems less than honest.
The longest Pause of all in the instrumental record ran from 1850 to 1930 –
Last month I said that Wu et al. (2019) had concluded that 70% of all warming since 1880 was anthropogenic. A Thermageddonite objected. So here is a slide from a presentation by Aixie Hu, the paper’s second author, given at a conference jointly sponsored by NCAR, the U.S. Energy Department and the National Science Foundation. The second bullet-point confirms the explicitly-stated conclusion of the paper itself that 70% of the observed industrial-era changes in global mean surface air temperature came from greenhouse gases, with 30% from Atlantic multidecadal and Pacific decadal variabilities:
There was, after all, very little fluctuation either side of the long-term trend in the increase in greenhouse-gas concentrations: unlike the temperature trend, it was strikingly monotonic and very close to linear, as NOAA’s accumulated greenhouse-gas index shows:
Wu projects a warming rate of 0.43 °C/100ppmv CO2. Therefore, warming from doubling the preindustrial 278 ppmv would be less than 1.2 C°. Using the energy-budget method in Gregory (2004), as simplified in Lewis & Curry (2014), I had said equilibrium doubled-CO2 sensitivity (ECS) would be 1.1 C°. Not much difference there, then.
The 1.1 C° ECS derived from recent mainstream midrange industrial-era climatic data for 1850-2020 implies a unit feedback response (per degree of reference temperature or sensitivity) of about 0.1. And that is precisely the unit feedback response implied by the data for 1850, for 2020, and for 1991-2020. Contrast the correctly-derived unit feedback responses with those implicit in official climatology’s method of predicting future warming.
The question arises: why are occasional very large el Niño events happening more frequently and more intensely these days? The Party Line, of course, is that that is what one would expect as a consequence of global warming.
However, Chris’ graph suggests there may be something else going on. At present, climatology cannot explain why, every five years or so, there is a sharp el Niño increase in ocean temperature in the tropical Eastern Pacific, which is then carried across the Pacific and then all round the world by the thermohaline circulation, and still less why two or three of these spikes are so very substantial.
Could it be that some of the el Niño warming is coming from below? There are thought to be some 3.5 million subsea volcanoes on Earth. So few of these volcanoes have ever been visited that we do not even know how many of them are active, let alone how much variability in their output contributes to ocean temperature change.
One illustration of just how little the seabed volcanoes have been studied is that the largest volcano by ground surface area in the entire solar system was discovered only a few years ago. It is not on Mars. It is under the Earth’s ocean a couple of hundred miles off the coast of Japan.
The likeliest places for subocean magmatic intrusion are the mid-ocean divergence zones, shown in red on the projection below, where the upthrust of magma from beneath the seabed drives apart the great tectonic plates that are then subducted beneath the land, generally at or near the coasts.
The East Pacific divergence zone has three relevant properties. First, it does not run down the middle of the Pacific: in the tropics it runs quite close to the East coast, right through the NINO 1,2 and NINO 3 regions where el Niños originate (blue on the map). Secondly, a spur from the ridge runs eastward to the Pacific coast. Thirdly, the rate of divergence of the tectonic plates in precisely those regions is greater by an order of magnitude than the global mean divergence rate.
One possible reason for quasi-periodic variances in the divergence rate in subocean magmatic intrusion and hence, perhaps, in corresponding quasi-periodic warming of the NINO 1,2 and NINO 3 region that begins each el Niño cycle is tidal forces from our sister planet the Moon, to some extent modulated by rotation of the Sun about the gravitational barycenter under the influence of the orbits of the two gas giants Jupiter and Saturn.
Might it be that the very large recent el Niños, particularly those of 1998 and 2016, are to some extent influenced not by anthropogenic global warming but by magmatic intrusion modulated by celestial mechanics? This is the kind of testable hypothesis that anyone not mesmerized by the “settled-science” mantra might at least be willing to think about. A good start would be to dive on the Pacific mid-ocean divergence ridge and measure ocean temperatures in the benthic strata, and perhaps to keep watch along the ridge to see what is going on.
It is by such direct observations, rather than by messing about with giant computer models that are proven incapable of telling us anything at all about how much global warming we may cause, that the truth about global warming – that our contribution was, is and will continue to be small, slow, harmless and net-beneficial – will eventually be discerned.