Climate report struggles with temperature quirks (Update)

Sep 19, 2013 by Karl Ritter
In this Tuesday Aug, 16, 2005 file photo an iceberg melts in Kulusuk, Greenland near the arctic circle. Scientists who are fine-tuning a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even as greenhouse gas emissions keep rising. Leaked documents show there is widespread disagreement among governments over how to address the contentious issue in Sept. 23-26 stock-taking report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (AP Photo/John McConnico, File)

Scientists working on a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling over how to address a wrinkle in the meteorological data that has given ammunition to global-warming skeptics: The heating of Earth's surface appears to have slowed in the past 15 years even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising.

For years, skeptics have touted what looks like a slowdown in surface warming since 1998 to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that humans are cooking the planet by burning coal, oil and natural gas.

Scientists and statisticians have dismissed the purported slowdown as a statistical mirage, arguing among other things that it reflects random climate fluctuations and an unusually hot year picked as the starting point for charting temperatures. They also say the data suggests the "missing" heat is simply settling—temporarily—in the ocean.

But as scientists study the issue, the notion of a slowdown has gained more mainstream attention, putting pressure on the authors of the new U.N. report to deal with it.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is expected to assert that global warming is continuing. It is also expected to affirm with greater certainty than ever before the link between global warming and human activity.

Leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press show there are deep concerns among governments over how to address the purported slowdown ahead of next week's meeting of the IPCC.

"I think to not address it would be a problem because then you basically have the denialists saying, 'Look, the IPCC is silent on this issue,'" said Alden Meyer of the Washington-based advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists.

In a leaked June draft of the report's summary for policymakers, the IPCC said that while the rate of warming between 1998 and 2012 was about half the average rate since 1951, the globe is still heating up. As for the apparent slowdown, it cited natural variability in the climate system, as well as cooling effects from volcanic eruptions and a downward phase in solar activity.

But in comments to the IPCC obtained by the AP, several governments that reviewed the draft objected to how the issue was tackled.

In this July 19, 2007 file photo an iceberg melts off Ammassalik Island in Eastern Greenland. Scientists who are fine-tuning a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even as greenhouse gas emissions keep rising. Leaked documents show there is widespread disagreement among governments over how to address the contentious issue in Sept. 23-26 stock-taking report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (AP Photo/John McConnico, File)

Germany called for the reference to the slowdown to be deleted, saying a time span of 10 to 15 years was misleading in the context of climate change, which is measured over decades and centuries.

The U.S. also urged the authors to include the "leading hypothesis" that the reduction in warming is linked to more heat being transferred to the deep ocean.

Belgium objected to using 1998 as a starting year for any statistics. That year was exceptionally warm, so any graph showing global temperatures starting with 1998 looks flat. Using 1999 or 2000 as a starting year would yield a more upward-pointing curve. In fact, every year after 2000 has been warmer than the year 2000.

Hungary worried the report would provide ammunition for skeptics.

Many skeptics claim that the rise in global average temperatures stopped in the late 1990s, and their argument has gained momentum among some media and politicians, even though the scientific evidence of climate change is piling up: The previous decade was the warmest on record and, so far, this decade is even warmer, albeit slightly. Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice shrank to a record low last year, and the IPCC draft said sea levels have risen by 7.5 inches (19 centimeters) since 1901.

Many researchers say the slowdown in warming is related to the natural ocean warming and cooling cycles known as El Nino and La Nina. Also, a 2013 study by Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research found dramatic recent warming in the deeper oceans, between 2,300 and 6,500 feet.

"The heat is not missing," said University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver, who is also a Green Party member of the British Columbia parliament. "The heat is there. The heat is in the ocean."

The idea is that the energy trapped by carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases has to go somewhere on Earth, said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer. But that heat energy will eventually make its way to the ocean surface and the air, putting surface warming back on the increasing track, he said.

In this July 19, 2007 file photo, an iceberg melts off the coast of Ammasalik, Greenland. Scientists who are fine-tuning a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even as greenhouse gas emissions keep rising. Leaked documents show there is widespread disagreement among governments over how to address the contentious issue in the Sept. 23-26 stock-taking report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (AP Photo/John McConnico, File)

"Energy will hide out in the ocean for a while before it pops out into the atmosphere," Oppenheimer said.

For scientists studying the last 10 years, what's been happening "is a cool question," said U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Gabriel Vecchi. But "anybody who tries to use the past 10 years to argue about the reality of global warming—which is based upon century-scale data—is just being distracting."

Jonathan Lynn, a spokesman for the IPCC, declined to comment on the content of the report because it hasn't been made final, but said it would provide "a comprehensive picture of all the science relevant to climate change."

The IPCC draft report says it is "extremely likely" that human influence caused more than half of the warming observed since the 1950s, an upgrade from "very likely" in the last IPCC report in 2007.

A final version will be presented at the end of the panel's meeting in Stockholm next week.

The IPCC's conclusions are important because they serve as the scientific basis for U.N. negotiations on curbing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. A global climate treaty is supposed to be adopted in 2015.

Explore further: Human activity is 'almost certainly' driving climate change, IPCC leaked report says

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User comments : 41

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antigoracle
2 / 5 (42) Sep 19, 2013
As the decades of lies from the AGW Cult comes home to roost, the ignorant Chicken Littles are still in denial.
Sinister1811
3.4 / 5 (23) Sep 19, 2013
And the illuminati are reading this from their UFO base.
ryggesogn2
1.9 / 5 (30) Sep 19, 2013
"The bottom line is that the sun has gone unusually quiet and no one really knows why or how it will last."
http://timesofind...9807.cms
deatopmg
2 / 5 (33) Sep 19, 2013
If you read the latest "Summary for Policy Makers" AND the leaked AR5 report from earlier this year one has to scratch ones head since, there is no relationship between what is in the report and what is written in the SPM.

The only increased certainty here is that from AR1 to AR5 over the past 20 or so years is, just like CO2, the distortions of reality (which are solely based on failed climate models, not hard, real world data) reported by the IPCC in the SPMs have increased. Pathetic!

Hopefully, this will be last IPCC report and the "climate science" parasites involved will be put out to pasture.
joefarah
1.7 / 5 (29) Sep 19, 2013
"most years have been cooler [than 1998]" You certainly wouldn't have guessed that from any climate change article before this one. The "promotion" of Climate Change gives the impression that each year has been warmer than the previous.
I've got a suggestion for IPCC: Why not claim that the reduction in warming is due to the successful promotion of CC, and the reduction by the population in general in using fossil fuels or other CO2 producing energy. I know, that might give the wrong message, but how else are you going to stay credible enough to suck $$$ out of the governments of the world.
hemitite
1.9 / 5 (32) Sep 19, 2013
More bad news for the Climate Change Industry!
VendicarE
3.2 / 5 (19) Sep 19, 2013

"The bottom line is that the sun has gone unusually quiet and no one really knows why or how it will last." - RyggTard

Who knows. Maybe the quite sun is being caused by RyggTard's Acne.

When you engage in magical thinking, the spectacularly ignorant - like RyggTard - can thinked up all kindz of raisins for anyfin.
VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (21) Sep 19, 2013
"The "promotion" of Climate Change gives the impression that each year has been warmer than the previous." - JoeTard

The promotion of ignorance is the goal of every warming denialist and other associated enemies of science.
VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (20) Sep 19, 2013
"The only increased certainty here is that from AR1 to AR5 over the past 20 or so years is, just like CO2," - deatoTard

Look Ma. No Warming....

http://www.woodfo...rom:1970

Oh wait...... I forgot... American Conservatives are so stupid that they can't understand graphs.

Graphs are the devils work.

Lurker2358
1.9 / 5 (32) Sep 19, 2013
Venditard:

The ice increased in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere this year.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" - Oz.
thermodynamics
3.4 / 5 (21) Sep 19, 2013
Venditard:

The ice increased in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere this year.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" - Oz.


Lurker, can you please explain the implication of increasing northern ice in the year after an anomalously low ice year? Is this some trend we should be concerned about? Yes, this is sarcasm.
runrig
4 / 5 (17) Sep 19, 2013
Venditard:

The ice increased in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere this year.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" - Oz.


SO?

You are aware that sea-ice has more than one variable to it's formation?
That would be salinity (Antarctic) + divergent winds from the coast.

Weather in the case of the Arctic - last year was an extreme outlier melt. - SO you would expect another extreme the following year? really?

And that somehow invalidates AGW theory.
Give me strength.
Ignorance reins.

How have humans achieved what they have?

Lurker2358
1.7 / 5 (28) Sep 19, 2013
RunRig:

The volume and area are both above any of the past few years, not just last year.
runrig
3.8 / 5 (17) Sep 19, 2013
RunRig:

The volume and area are both above any of the past few years, not just last year.


In the the case of the Arctic (which is most sensitive to GW) 3rd/4th lowest in thickness/volume.
My assertions of the argument's invalidity in rebuttal of AGW science stands.

http://psc.apl.wa...anomaly/
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (18) Sep 19, 2013
They will be really haunted when in a few generations the interglacial is over and they are burning all the fossil fuel they can get their hands on. Or perhaps we'll have a nice initiating event
http://sincedutch...e-swarm/
VendicarE
3.2 / 5 (16) Sep 19, 2013
"The ice increased in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere this year." - LurkerTard

Clearly the melting ice caps on Mars must be producing this effect.

You, Poor, Moron. Do you actually think that a warming earth will produce a monotonic reduction in ice year after year?

Believing such a thing is spectacular stupidity isn't it?

So what is your excuse? Early onset Alzheimers?

VendicarE
3.6 / 5 (14) Sep 19, 2013
"The volume and area are both above any of the past few years" - LurkerTard

Americans like Lurker are growing dumber with every passing year.

What is the decadal trend? Moron.
Twin
2.9 / 5 (29) Sep 19, 2013
The above thread is an example for the reason I seldom visit Phys.Org anymore.
Rants and name calling are poor substitutes for discussion.
VendicarE
3.1 / 5 (16) Sep 19, 2013
"Rants and name calling are poor substitutes for discussion." - Twin

There can be no discussion with congenital liars.

I have never encountered a conservative who wasn't a perpetual and congenital liar.
Twin
2 / 5 (25) Sep 19, 2013
Your view of "all" conservatives indicates your distorted perception of reality.
VendicarE
3.3 / 5 (15) Sep 19, 2013
i didn't use the word all. And the observation still remains valid.

I have never encountered a conservative who wasn't a perpetual and congenital liar.

Three can be no discussion with congenital liars.
Twin
2 / 5 (25) Sep 19, 2013
My last comment: You must live in a tiny world.
Howhot
3.2 / 5 (16) Sep 19, 2013
The IPCC report looks to be bad. It's a much worst situation than the conservative estimates of 2010. We are talking "Soylent Green" levels global warming by 2100. For those not familiar with this classic futurists movie, basically climate changes has destroyed most all food sources, the world is over populated and the wealthy make by. Here is the spoiler ending.

http://youtu.be/8Sp-VFBbjpE

So while it's not that bad... yet... it's looking mighty grim for many of the coastal cities. Its the same stuff the deniers will deny and the planet gets worst off.


VENDItardE
1.2 / 5 (23) Sep 19, 2013
My last comment: You must live in a tiny world.


actuallly, Scott is just a raving lunatic and a closet socialist
VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (13) Sep 19, 2013
"You must live in a tiny world." - Twin

You mean criminal Tim Delay didn't have his conviction overturned by a corrupt Republican Texas court today?
VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (13) Sep 19, 2013
"Scott is just a raving lunatic" - VendiTard=ParkerTard

ParkerTard doesn't show up so much since I posted his address.

If I were he, I would also fear a public hanging for his kind of treason.
Lurker2358
2.1 / 5 (22) Sep 19, 2013
"Scott is just a raving lunatic" - VendiTard=ParkerTard

ParkerTard doesn't show up so much since I posted his address.

If I were he, I would also fear a public hanging for his kind of treason.


You should be arrested for making a comment like that.

Threatening someone with harm or death, or implying that others should want that person's harm or death is a crime, you know.
david_king
1.2 / 5 (22) Sep 19, 2013
Woohoo! things are heating up nicely here. Maybe all that hot air just gets trapped under server farms?
antigoracle
1.5 / 5 (25) Sep 20, 2013
My last comment: You must live in a tiny world.

Nope. VendicarE lives in the normal world, just he got a tiny penis and no brain or is the reverse...
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (15) Sep 20, 2013
"Scott is just a raving lunatic" - VendiTard=ParkerTard

ParkerTard doesn't show up so much since I posted his address.

If I were he, I would also fear a public hanging for his kind of treason.


You should be arrested for making a comment like that.

Threatening someone with harm or death, or implying that others should want that person's harm or death is a crime, you know.
I think you should be arrested for wanting to restrict his freedom to post stupid stuff, a freedom which you yourself regularly abuse. You know?

For instance you promote the practice of superstitious beliefs which condone human sacrifice, cannibalism, self-mutilation, and martyrdom, in a public forum. You should be ashamed.
VendicarE
3.5 / 5 (11) Sep 20, 2013
"VendicarE lives in the normal world, just he got a tiny penis" - Anti-Gore-Tard

The Anti-Gore-Tard knows that it has lost the argument and has nothing left.

What a moron.
VendicarE
3.4 / 5 (10) Sep 20, 2013
"Threatening someone with harm or death, or implying that others should want that person's harm or death is a crime, you know." - Lurker

Lurker would rather not have criminals punished for their crimes against humanity.

I would rather not have sycophants like Lurker existing in the same universe as myself.
Czcibor
1.5 / 5 (16) Sep 20, 2013
Technical question concerning rules of debate - if in let's say next year temperature will finally go up, would skeptics also be allowed to call that a "statistical mirage"? ;)

(Yes, I understand existence of concept of random fluctuations. But from their nature they should work in both direction.)
thermodynamics
3.8 / 5 (10) Sep 20, 2013
Technical question concerning rules of debate - if in let's say next year temperature will finally go up, would skeptics also be allowed to call that a "statistical mirage"? ;)

(Yes, I understand existence of concept of random fluctuations. But from their nature they should work in both direction.)


That is a great question and should be answered. The answer should be that the statistics should be the same for all of us. From my perspective I would call a single year of rising temperatures weather. In the case of the arctic melt from 2012 I call that weather. This year's gain in ice is weather. However when I go to the trend lines for 30 years that is climate. And, since we don't really fully understand this Universe of ours, I expect that we will continue to learn interesting things that influence our interpretation of the trends. This is a process and denigrating the progress that has been made is counterproductive. If someone doesn't like it, write your papers
Neinsense99
2.4 / 5 (17) Sep 20, 2013
"Scott is just a raving lunatic" - VendiTard=ParkerTard

ParkerTard doesn't show up so much since I posted his address.

If I were he, I would also fear a public hanging for his kind of treason.


You should be arrested for making a comment like that.

Threatening someone with harm or death, or implying that others should want that person's harm or death is a crime, you know.

He did neither of those things. He suggested there that someone has a reasonable basis for fear, or should be fearful, not that anyone should do anything, or that any such actions were imminent, or even encouraged. It is not a crime to predict that yelling something like "Shias suck!" in downtown Tehran would be a dangerous move, likely resulting in trouble. It's hardly implying that the yeller should be lynched or accosted or anything. Perhaps you went to the same law school as mememe69 of 'Climate science is a war crime' fame?
ryggesogn2
1.4 / 5 (20) Sep 21, 2013
when I go to the trend lines for 30 years that is climate.

What is the 'normal' temperature of the Earth?
antigoracle
1.2 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2013
"VendicarE lives in the normal world, just he got a tiny penis" - Anti-Gore-Tard

The Anti-Gore-Tard knows that it has lost the argument and has nothing left.

What a moron.

Yep, he's got no brain. Thanks for the confirmation.
VENDItardE
1 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2013
"Scott is just a raving lunatic" - VendiTard=ParkerTard

ParkerTard doesn't show up so much since I posted his address.

If I were he, I would also fear a public hanging for his kind of treason.


wrong, as you always are, Scott. When are you gonna bring your chicken sht, little a$$ up to Minneapolis? You are so tough at your keyboard, you fkn pu$$y.
Neinsense99
2.6 / 5 (17) Sep 22, 2013
"VendicarE lives in the normal world, just he got a tiny penis" - Anti-Gore-Tard

The Anti-Gore-Tard knows that it has lost the argument and has nothing left.

What a moron.

Yep, he's got no brain. Thanks for the confirmation.

Some 'no brain' antigoracle quotes:
"-- runrigTurd
Now sink back into the darkness, from whence you rose, like a true Turd"
"-- magganusTurd"
"Do you Turds know how to read far less comprehend?"
"And so, the Turd quickly sinks back into the darkness.."
"OK, that one just made you my favorite Turd."
"I believe if I close my eyes and try really...really... hard I may be able to squeeze a small Turd out that falls for that."
"At last, the penny has dropped and stuck in the Turd."
"Turd Stool"
"OMG I can just imagine how fast the GW Alarmist Turds would appear..."
"That's the level I must descend to, so that I may communicate with the GW Alarmist Turds."
"Green, you gotta love green, well.... unless you're a Turd."
On secondthoughtthinkagain
1 / 5 (14) Oct 31, 2013
I think those comments above saying that 30 years is adequate time frame to distinguish weather from climate are somewhat short sighted. I think 100 years is barely enough to remove noise from the system.

We have a definite 30 year cycle in weather and I think another cycle of 100 years approximately and there may well be a lot more cycles to the weather. When we hit all highs or all lows in these cycles we will obviously get exceptional years.

The Hadcrut4 data only goes back to 1850. 1850 - 1900 almost flat 1900 - 1950 up but not that exceptional. 1950 - 2000 up but not very steep 2000 - now fairly flat with a lot of noise.

1850 to 2020 slight rise with a few level parts.

It is just that I see people cherry picking and then accusing their opponents of cherry picking and it gets annoying.
1970 - 1990 steepest rise in temperature and quoted often by those that want to highlight the rise.
1940 - 1970 flat or down temperature if you want to say global cooling.
VendicarE
5 / 5 (3) Oct 31, 2013
"What is the 'normal' temperature of the Earth?" - RyggTard

As you can see from the following plot...

http://www.iupui...._LRG.gif

The normal temperature of the earth from 1880 is 0'C

You asked the same question almost a year ago. Sadly, you are incapable of learning from your mistakes.