New project investigates the global warming hiatus

March 10, 2016

To investigate why the global warming trend varies from decade to decade, scientists from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) will work alongside those from nine other research organisations as part of a major new multidisciplinary research project.

Over the last decade a slowdown, or hiatus, has been observed in the of the earth's surface. Although it is important to note that heat is still accumulating in other parts of the system, such as the deep ocean. Potential causes for these variations include; the effects of volcanic activity, solar radiation, greenhouse gases and atmospheric aerosols and atmospheric and ocean circulation. This new , called "Securing Multidisciplinary Understanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge events," (SMURPHS), will investigate the impact of each of these factors on the observed variation in global warming.

In 2014 scientists at the NOC and The University of Southampton published research showing the important role played by the absorption of heat by the North Atlantic, Tropical Pacific and Southern Oceans in the most recent slow-down of global warming. The world leading ocean models available at the NOC will enable a high quality investigation of the wider role the ocean plays in global warming variability.

Dr Bablu Sinha, who is the project lead for NOC, said "Climate change is recognized as one of society's most pressing problems. The SMURPHS project will address the question of why the rate of surface warming varies on decadal time-scales and will inform government policies on adaptation. This will fill important gaps in the understanding of the different processes controlling climate and how they interact with each other. Absorption of heat by the ocean is one of the most important climate moderating processes. The NOC will provide world leading expertise in observations and models to help ensure the success of SMURPHS."

This Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) funded project began with a kick off meeting in Leeds this week. The University of Leeds are leading the project, and other partners are: the Universities of Southampton, Reading, Oxford, Exeter, Edinburgh and East Anglia as well as the Met Office and the British Antarctic Survey.

Explore further: New study explains the role of oceans in global 'warming hiatus'

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5 / 5 (1) Mar 10, 2016
Jumping the gun has never been a sound approach in Physics. So, why on Earth is looking at a horribly restricted timespan of data suddenly leading to make sweeping conclusions such as lending credence to the slur "global warming hiatus", "substantiated" as: "Over the last decade a slowdown, or hiatus, has been observed in the global warming of the earth's surface."

Let me remind you that the "hiatus" is not a given, but needs to be proven to exist, and as has been demonstrated, there is no statistical foundation for any such assertion. The global average temperature is known to meander around due to various causes. A ten- or even twenty year epoch is horribly insufficient to hang one's hat on. A much more significant "hiatus" in GW happened from about 1940 to 1975, yet not much has been written about it. It appears that this new project is the direct result of a mushrooming in AGW-denial sites wagging fingers at the scientific community, not so much proof of a hiatus.
not rated yet Mar 12, 2016
I hope these folks do realize that our primary number system just happens to be decimal, and that our decades come and go in that system without ever checking with nature whether there is any rhyme or reason in that. It might make more sense to take the solar cycle as the measure in time for anything related to global warming.
Other than that, there is value in looking at the larger picture, comparing longer stretches in time with previous ones, but there really is no 'natural' significance about 10 year long stretches.
not rated yet Mar 14, 2016
"Over the last decade a slowdown, or hiatus, has been observed in the global warming of the earth's surface."

NO!! It hasn't. It wasn't. It is the hiatus that never was. Science articles insist on using this inaccurate terminology and it drives me bananas. There was an apparent lower-than-expected increase in surface temperatures but: it was only air surface temperatures; they were still increasing and; that increase was still statistically significant. That hasn't changed.

Even while it was happening, we knew it wasn't a "hiatus" of "global warming" because of ocean temperatures and other parts of the system.

"The SMURPHS project will address the question of why the rate of surface warming varies on decadal time-scales and will inform government policies on climate change adaptation."

Why? Because our response is different in a La Nina then in an El Nino? Any govt that thought that shouldn't be in govt.

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