Saturday, September 6, 2014

What global warming hiatus?

Article: Matt Ridley in the WSJ: Whatever Happened to Global Warming?

The original article is behind a paywall. This link has the complete article.
In effect, this is all that’s left of the global-warming emergency the U.N. declared in its first report on the subject in 1990. The U.N. no longer claims that there will be dangerous or rapid climate change in the next two decades. 
Last September, between the second and final draft of its fifth assessment report, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change quietly downgraded the warming it expected in the 30 years following 1995, to about 0.5 degrees Celsius from 0.7 (or, in Fahrenheit, to about 0.9 degrees, from 1.3). 
Even that is likely to be too high. The climate-research establishment has finally admitted openly what skeptic scientists have been saying for nearly a decade: Global warming has stopped since shortly before this century began.
NASA satellite data from the last 35 years is showing about 1 degree F per century. "If this trend continues" is a logical fallacy. However, 0.9 degrees F per 30 years or 3.0 degrees F per century is way over the current trend.
First the climate-research establishment denied that a pause existed, noting that if there was a pause, it would invalidate their theories. [Ed., yes, they have been invalidated.] Now they say there is a pause (or “hiatus”), but that it doesn’t after all invalidate their theories [magical thinking?]. 
When the climate scientist and geologist Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia wrote an article in 2006 saying that there had been no global warming since 1998 according to the most widely used measure of average global air temperatures, there was an outcry. A year later, when David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London made the same point, the environmentalist and journalist Mark Lynas said in the New Statesman that Mr. Whitehouse was “wrong, completely wrong,” and was “deliberately, or otherwise, misleading the public.” 
We know now that it was Mr. Lynas who was wrong. Two years before Mr. Whitehouse’s article, climate scientists were already admitting in emails among themselves that there had been no warming since the late 1990s. 
Part of what Matt Ridley is describing is a preference cascade. One lonely scientist spoke up (like in the "Emperor's New Clothes" fable) and within a short time, it was acceptable to acknowledge the hiatus was real.

Preference cascade 
As described by Glenn Reynolds in a classic 2002 essay [Patriotism and Preferences], a preference cascade occurs when people trapped inside a manufactured consensus suddenly realize that many other people share their doubts.  Preference falsification works by making doubters feel isolated and alone.  In a totalitarian society, the dissenter fears that if he speaks up, his will be a lone voice, easily squashed by the enforcers of the regime.  When dissenters realize they are not alone, and the true strength of their numbers becomes apparent, “invincible” regimes vanish with astonishing speed.
People will say the thing that causes the least conflict, even if they don't believe it. However, when enough people realize that everyone else (even fellow scientists) are skeptical, the belief system will crash quickly.
It has been roughly two decades since there was a trend in temperature significantly different from zero. The burst of warming that preceded the millennium lasted about 20 years and was preceded by 30 years of slight cooling after 1940.
Other global warming links. 

Article: McKitrick paper: no warming for 19 years

Title says it. Not for the math-faint-of-heart.

Article: Climate Models Show Remarkable Agreement with Recent Surface Warming

...If you throw in a lot of processes that seem to have suddenly become important in the last 20 years, but not before.

People desperate to find global warming, when it is not there, will conjure it out of cold air. "The heat is all there, really! It is just hiding. Watch me find it!"

Maybe I should not scoff, he might be right. However, this is getting close to magical thinking. Why didn't these processes work before the hiatus? If they did work, then there is still a hiatus.

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