Oceans Refuse To Cooperate: Global “Warming” (1.3ºF over 140 years) “On Pause,” by Teresa Platt

The Daily Mail’s David Rose reported (Oct. 13, 2012) that the United Kingdom’s National Weather Service, the Met Office, had very quietly posted to its website proof that “global warming stopped 16 years ago.”

Mr. Rose explained:

The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare… This stands in sharp contrast to the release of the previous figures six months ago, which went only to the end of 2010 – a warm year. Ending the data then [at the close of 2010] means it is possible to show a slight warming trend since 1997, but 2011 and the first eight months of 2012 were much cooler, and thus this trend is erased.

The new dataset (1997-August 2012), Mr. Rose reported, revealed that the Earth had warmed a miniscule 0.03º Celsius since 1997.  That’s a “warming” of 0.054 of a degree in Fahrenheit, or only half of 1/10 of 1 degree Fahrenheit. Yes, it’s statistically insignificant.

The Met Office issued a statement (Oct. 14, 2012), complaining that this was the second time it had addressed the “misleading” writings of this particular reporter.

“As we’ve stressed before,” said the miffed Met Office, “choosing a starting or end point on short-term scales can be very misleading.”

Yes, but it’s also misleading to release data that ends in a warm year with much fanfare while burying data that ends in a cool year where only the most diligent reporters, like Mr. Rose, will ferret it out.  At the very least, the entire incident implies the agency has an agenda to promote “warming” – while downplaying “cooling” – patterns in datasets.

The Met Office agreed with Mr. Rose in his analysis of the bigger picture, stating:

Over the last 140 years global surface temperatures have risen by about 0.80ºC [1.3ºF].  However, within this record there have been several periods lasting a decade or more during which temperatures have risen very slowly or cooled.  The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15 year long periods are not unusual.

Then the Met Office included a chart ranking the “hottest years to coldest” since 1850, an off-topic graphic that served more to promote the global-“warming”-as-apocalypse agenda than to further advance understanding of the point under discussion, the quietly released dataset (1997-August 2012 average annual global temperatures).  The scale of the chart also makes tiny temperature variations, 0.5 since 1940, look like gigantic changes.  A half-a-degree in close to three quarters of a century? Hardly alarming.

But the Met’s chart, quite frankly, makes it look like the planet is ablaze.


Ignoring the off-topic red-hot graphic provided by the Met Office, here’s what the dataset (1997-August 2012) reveals about global climate, in a cool icy blue chart provided by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF):


Hmmm.  It doesn’t look so frightening, does it?

Dr. Benny Peiser of the GWPF was quoted in The Daily Express:

It is quite scandalous that the Met Office is misleading the public. The latest data proves beyond any doubt that there has been no warming [trend] over the past 16 years.

Sensibly said.


Fluctuations in Climate

So does this mean that our summer and winter days in the USA are now 1.3ºF higher on average than they were in 1850?

Sometimes.  Sometimes not.

As one would expect, there exist long and short-term fluctuations in climate.  What we have actually experienced is a 1.3ºF temperature increase in total over 140 years, hardly alarming.

Toss in the uncertainty over data collection from the earlier years and it’s remarkable that we can even measure these changes – they’re that small.  Add in the fact that the Earth came out of what’s been called “The Little Ice Age” (1350 to 1850), and a 1.3ºF “warming” looks like just one big yawn.



And now for the politics.  Stopping global “warming” is a “save the world” directive imbedded in popular culture and children’s text books, scattered throughout the mission statements of nonprofits and government agencies around the world.

On July 31, 2012 Senator John Kerry gave a speech condemning man for causing temperatures to rise, declaring that catastrophic climate change is “as dangerous” as “nuclear weapons and the possibility of war.”  After listening to these sort of over-the-top statements, we’ve spent billions of taxpayer dollars on this “problem.”

Dr. Judith Curry, an American climatologist at Georgia Tech University’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the co-author, co-editor, respectively, of Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans (1999) and Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences (2002), urged caution when discussing data.

Curry stated,

The data confirms the existence of a ‘pause’ in the warming.  The impact of this pause within the climate dynamic community has been to focus increased attention on the impact of natural variability, particularly the impact of internal multi-decadal oscillations in the ocean.  The new climate model calculations for the AR5 have focused on trying to assess what it would take to accurately simulate these multi-decadal ocean oscillations and how predictable they might be.  These new observations and climate modeling results will hopefully impact the [United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]’s AR5 (Fifth Assessment Report) deliberations so that we do not see the same overly confident consensus statements that we saw in the AR4.

So, as scientists say:

More research is needed.

Clearly politicians should embrace the precautionary principle when making policy related to climate changes that appear to be heavily driven by natural factors such as cyclical changes in ocean conditions.

Take note, take pause: The oceans simply refuse to cooperate.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.