Quantcast

NOAA: There Has Been No 'Pause' or 'Hiatus' in Global Warming

Climate

Just out in Science is a new article by Tom Karl of NOAA's National Climatic Data Center and colleagues driving another stake through the heart of the supposed “hiatus” or “pause,” i.e. what I like to call the “Faux Pause.”

I expect this article will be attacked by climate change deniers who are unhappy to see the demise of a narrative they helped frame, a narrative that arguably took hold due in part to the “seepage” of contrarian framing into mainstream climate science discourse.

To the extent this latest study adds yet another nail to the “warming pause”/“warming hiatus” coffin, I feel it is a useful contribution to the literature and to the larger discourse over human-caused climate change.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Because the discussion of this matter has become so confused and misleading, it is worth clarifying what there is and is not evidence for. As I have commented numerous times before, there never was any "pause" or "hiatus" in global warming. There is evidence, however, for a modest, temporary slowdown in surface warming through the early part of this decade.

As my colleagues and I discussed in our own article in Science earlier this year (see my commentary at ‪#‎RealClimate‬ about the article), that slowdown appears to have been tied to an interdecadal period (through at least 2012) of more La Nina like conditions, stronger trade winds in the Pacific and greater burial of heat beneath the ocean surface.

Does the new article contradict evidence for the slowdown? Upon closer inspection, the answer seems to be no. The authors include the post-slowdown years of 2013 and 2014 which (particularly with 2014) have been warmed by a transition to more El Nino-like conditions.

It is also worth noting that the authors compare recent warming to a baseline warming trend over the latter half of the 20th century. Yet that combines an interval (1950s-1970s) of little or no warming (due primarily to the cooling effect of industry-generated sulphate aerosol pollutants) with a post-Clean Air Act interval (late 1970s-2000) where greenhouse warming dominated.

That late 20th century interval is arguably the more relevant period for comparison, and relative to that period, there was indeed a subsequent short-term slowdown. The temporary slowdown is an interesting feature in its own right as it is relevant to the matter of decadal climate forecasting. But it never contradicted the unabated nature of human-caused warming.

To the extent this latest study adds yet another nail to the “warming pause”/“warming hiatus” coffin, I feel it is a useful contribution to the literature and to the larger discourse over human-caused climate change.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

India Minister: Climate Change to Blame for 5th Deadliest Heat Wave in World History

Santorum to Pope Francis: Police Bedrooms Not Climate Issues

We Could Power Entire World on Renewables by 2025, Says Global Apollo Program

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An artist's rendering of the recomposition facility. MOLT Studios

Washington became the first U.S. state to legalize human composting Tuesday, offering residents a more environmentally friendly way to dispose of their remains, AFP reported.

Read More Show Less
Mr.TinDC / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Adda Bjarnadottir, MS

Many nutrients are essential for good health.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
albedo20 / Flickr

By Pat Thomas

Throughout the U.S., major food brands are trying to get rid of GMO ingredients — not necessarily for the right reasons, but because nearly half of consumers say they avoid them in their food, primarily for health reasons.

But the CEO of Impossible Foods, purveyor of the Impossible Burger, is bucking that trend.

Read More Show Less
People in more than 100 countries are expected to take part in well over 1,000 strikes on May 24 to demand climate action from their governments. @ExtinctionR / Twitter

By Julia Conley

Two months after what was reportedly the largest international climate demonstration ever, young people around the world are expected to make history again on Friday with a second global climate strike.

Read More Show Less
DoneGood

By Cullen Schwarz

Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Asian elephants frolic in Kaudulla Wewa at Kaudulla National Park in central Sri Lanka. David Stanley / CC BY 2.0

When it comes to saving some of the planet's largest animals, a group of researchers says that old methods of conservation just won't cut it anymore.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

A low-fat diet that prioritizes eating healthier foods like fruits and vegetables each day could lower the risk a woman's risk of dying from breast cancer, according to a multi-decade study published this month.

Read More Show Less
smcgee / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Several New York City Starbucks exposed customers to a potentially deadly pesticide, two lawsuits filed Tuesday allege.

Read More Show Less