As world leaders, climate activists, and a swarm of media commentators converged on Paris for COP 21, the UN’s extravagant climate-change summit, they unleashed a torrent of heated rhetoric about the supposed, still-imminent global-warming catastrophe. Hyperbolic expressions such as “catastrophe,” “apocalypse,” “disaster,” “final warning,” “last chance for humanity,” and “existential threat” flowed freely.
But one all-important word was conspicuously not on the lips of the assembled alarmists: hiatus. They studiously avoided that word like the plague, and with good reason; it threatens their entire agenda. Various dictionaries define “hiatus” as a break, gap, or interruption in time or continuity. As it pertains to “climate change,” the “hiatus” refers to the widely accepted fact that the most reliable temperature data, from orbiting weather satellites, show no warming for nearly two decades.
Yes, despite the constant barrage of hyperventilating headlines of a melting planet and the unceasing clamor of climate catastrophists and computer modelers, global temperatures have not been rising as predicted — except in the always-wrong computer models. It is important to note that this is not just the view of a few fringe scientists relegated to what the alarmists rancorously dismiss as “deniers”; it includes most of the top alarmists themselves, including individual scientists, institutions, and organizations — as we will show. While “hiatus” is the most commonly accepted label, other frequently used terms for the temperature phenomenon include “pause,” “standstill,” “slowdown,” and “lull.”
Over the past few years, an amazing process has been playing out in climate “science” circles, as the alarmists have struggled to explain the huge discrepancy between the real, observed temperature data and their falsified computer predictions. The general public, however, is only beginning to realize the enormous importance of this issue, as the alarmist media has, in the main, censored news regarding the hiatus and/or swamped any coverage of its impact on the falling “consensus” regarding the theory of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming, or AGW.
First, we’ll examine the evidence for the hiatus, and then we’ll look at some of the notable admissions by top alarmists that the pause is real. Until the end of the 20th century, it was not possible to obtain a reliably accurate picture of global average surface temperatures, owing to the fact that so much of the Earth’s land and sea surface remained unmonitored by traditional thermometer recordings. The southern hemisphere, especially, was very poorly covered. Even today, combined sea and land areas representing half of the planet’s surface are not monitored by traditional methods. In addition, the methods used to record temperatures — thermometers aboard ships, buoys, or radiosondes (weather balloons), or located at land-based weather stations — suffered from (and continue to suffer from) lack of uniformity, continuity, and maintenance, as well as the severe problem of encroaching “urban heat island effect,” which biases temperatures in the warming direction. To top it off, the “scientists” at various government agencies have engaged in blatant tampering (they call it “adjusting”) of the temperature readings, always tilting the bias toward ever-hotter temperatures.
Since the late 1970s, however, we have had access to reliable lower troposphere temperature records for 99 percent of the globe, obtained from highly accurate microwave sounding instruments aboard a series of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather satellites. There are two main datasets that record, post, and analyze these global temperature measurements: the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS). Both of these datasets, comprising the most reliable global temperature data available, show no detectable global warming over the past 19 years. The RSS satellite dataset shows no global warming at all for 225 months, from October 1996 to June 2015.
For much of the past decade, the AGW alarmist lobby was in denial of the hiatus. In other words, they were the real “deniers,” a smear label they have tried to affix to skeptical scientists, to imply that AGW skeptics are the equivalent of Holocaust deniers. In the past few years, however, they have been forced by the evidence to shift their tactics, switching from denying the hiatus to making feeble attempts to explain it away. The “they” we refer to are some of the biggest guns and loudest voices in the AGW catastrophe choir: James Hansen, Phil Jones, the U.K. Met Office, The Economist, Washington Post, New York Times, New Republic, and, even the UN’s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The Economist, the very influential British journal, is one of the most notable examples of an establishment alarmist organ admitting the hiatus, while still stubbornly clinging to the AGW thesis and trying desperately to account for the “puzzling” lack of predicted warming. In a series of articles in 2013, The Economist wrestled with the thorny problem, and made some surprising concessions.
“Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar,” The Economist reported in a March 30, 2013 article entitled “A sensitive matter.” “The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750,” the article continued. “And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, ‘the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.’”
So, not only is the temperature record defying the fright-peddling scenarios of the alarmist computer models, it is also falsifying the claim that man-made CO2 is responsible for causing the (non-existent) global warming “threat.” The troublesome hiatus explains why a number of years ago the alarmists rebranded “global warming” with the newer, preferred “climate change” label.
But The Economist has more. “The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now,” says the journal, and “the puzzle does need explaining,” it admits. The Economist then presented a welter of competing explanations from top “experts” that it confesses only adds to the confusion, not to mention that it also destroys the supposed “consensus” that “the science is settled.” James Hansen, for instance, actually posited that the warming pause is being caused by the massive increases in coal burning by China and India! What? But isn’t the burning of evil coal causing AGW? Isn’t that what we’ve been told — repeatedly, for years? Well, Hansen, referred to by many as “the grandfather of global warming,” has a novel and convenient explanation for this inconvenient truth. The soot and nitrogen from coal, says Hansen, is masking the warming in the short term, but long term we will see a “doubling down” of the “Faustian debt,” with terrible consequences. An interesting theory, but one based on wild speculation and literary references, not on science. NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, NOAA’s Ryan Neeley, and other veteran alarmists suggest that gas emissions from volcanoes are responsible for the hiatus. Perhaps the most popular explanation is that “the oceans ate the global warming.” Kevin Trenberth, a top “expert” for the IPCC, is one of the most prominent advocates of this claim that the missing heat went into the deep oceans, but it will be coming back at us with a vengeance — someday.
In a June 2013 article on the hiatus, “The Cooling Consensus,” The Economist conceded, “There’s no way around the fact that this reprieve for the planet is bad news for proponents of policies, such as carbon taxes and emissions treaties, meant to slow warming by moderating the release of greenhouse gases.” The reality is “that the already meagre prospects of these policies ... will be devastated if temperatures do fall outside the lower bound of the projections that environmentalists have used to create a panicked sense of emergency.” They “will become harder, if not impossible, to sell to the public, which will feel, not unreasonably, that the scientific and media establishment has cried wolf.” As indeed they have.
Photo at top: weather satellite
This article originally appeared in The New American's special report on climate. To order the report in either PDF or print format, click here.