Call that a Pause?

The length of the “pause”, “hiatus”, slowdown”, or “plateau”, whatever you wish to call it, is of great interest to sceptics and mainstream climate scientists alike, although Global Warming Enthusiasts such as John Cook try to pretend it doesn’t exist and/or is not important.

In this post I am showing the length of time during which the linear trend of temperatures is less than +0.01C per 100 years- i.e. zero or negative.  I use the UAH version 6 data to April 2015 which has been recently released, for various regions of the globe.  University of Alabama (Huntsville) data are derived from satellite radiosonde data for the lower troposphere.  These represent how the bulk of the atmosphere is behaving.

I am well aware of the criticism that commencing the trend calculation near the 1997-1998 El Nino may distort the trend, so these calculations merely show how far in the past we can go to find a zero or negative trend.  (In a future post I intend to exclude the big lump of data around this period for an alternative look at trends.)  In several of these plots there is very little discernible bulge around 1997-1998 at all, so I consider the trends are valid.

Firstly, how long is the pause globally?

Fig. 1:  Global data with zero trend (less than +0.01C/100 years) (Click to enlarge)

uah pause apr 15 globe

This includes the 1997-98 El Nino which may distort the trend calculation.  However, see several plots below which don’t show this effect.

Fig. 2:   North Polar (60 degrees North to 90 degrees North)

uah pause apr 15 npol

Despite claims to the contrary, during this admittedly short period the Arctic has not been warming.

Fig. 3:  Northern Hemisphere (Equator to 90 Degrees North)

uah pause apr 15 NH

Only slightly shorter than for the whole globe. Trend= +0.007C/100 years.

Fig. 4:  Southern Hemisphere (Equator to 90 degrees South)

uah pause apr 15 SH

This includes three years before the 1997-98 El Nino.  The trend is +0.006C/100 years.

Fig. 5: Tropics (20 degrees North to 20 degrees South)

uah pause apr 15 Tropics

The tropics include the Tropical Pacific where ENSO events are identified, and the pause extends well before the super El Nino.

Now you’ve heard that Antarctic sea ice is expanding to new records, but of course this is due to, variously, stronger katabatic winds and/or melt water filling the gaps and freezing over- all due to global warming naturally.  But you may have a suspicion that the Antarctic region is not actually warming as much as global warming enthusiasts would have you believe.  Has there been a pause in Antarctica?

Fig. 6:  South Polar region (below 60 degrees South)

uah pause apr 15 spol

Now that’s a Pause!

I also checked pause length for Australia and the USA.

Fig. 7: Australia

uah pause apr 15 aus

There does not appear to be an unusually large spike during 1997-98.

What about our North American cousins?

Fig. 8: Contiguous USA

uah pause apr 15 usa48

The effects of the 1997-98 El Nino do not have a large influence here either.

Note to Global Warming Enthusiasts: The Pause is real!  Build a bridge and get over it!

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19 Responses to “Call that a Pause?”

  1. Bob Fernley-Jones Says:

    Just a quick opinion: El Nino is of regional origin and whilst it has a global effect, (with quite a lag), its regional influences, as you show, vary.

    WRT the global effect, I think it is wrong to say that a full El Nino cycle is only the bit that goes up from call it the nominal datum. There is generally a rebound in the overall ENSO cycles. The fact that 1998 was a biggy does not rule out the low each side as being inherently part of it. Thus it is OK to take the mean across that cycle and not be blinded by the peak.

    Of course various homogenizations have progressively reduced the inconvenience of 1998 in the surface records globally.

  2. johnnicolJohn Nicol Says:

    Very revealing Ken. The claims by Cook and co really are bizarre and the University of Queensland has almost as much shame – if not more – on its hands as UWA.

  3. Geoff Sherrington Says:

    There is some history from 2009 on this very point. I’ve extracted some short pieces from old emails to/from a very senior BOM guy who is reticent to see his name in lights and me who is extroverted.

    Readers, please email me if you would like to see the whole fascinating email exchange, about 8 pages very wide spaced on paper marked by the BoM senders “Please consider the environment before printing ”

    Apart from this level temperature record material down south, there are a number of other BoM dogma claims that have not lasted from 2009 to 2015. It is interesting reading.

  4. Climatism Says:

    Reblogged this on Climatism.

  5. These items caught my eye – 15 May 2015 | grumpydenier Says:

    […] data for the lower troposphere. These represent how the bulk of the atmosphere is behaving. – Click here to read the full article […]

  6. catweazle666 Says:

    For reference, here is an (incomplete) list of climate scientists who attest to the existence of the “pause/etc.).

    Useful for confounding Warmists with their “no climate scientist etc. etc. etc.

    Dr. Phil Jones – CRU emails – 5th July, 2005 – “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant….”

    Dr. Phil Jones – CRU emails – 7th May, 2009 – ‘Bottom line: the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.’

    Dr. Judith L. Lean – Geophysical Research Letters – 15 Aug 2009 – “…This lack of overall warming is analogous to the period from 2002 to 2008 when decreasing solar irradiance also countered much of the anthropogenic warming…”

    Dr. Kevin Trenberth – CRU emails – 12 Oct. 2009 – “Well, I have my own article on where the heck is global warming…..The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

    Dr. Mojib Latif – Spiegel – 19th November 2009 – “At present, however, the warming is taking a break,”…….”There can be no argument about that,”

    Dr. Jochem Marotzke – Spiegel – 19th November 2009 – “It cannot be denied that this is one of the hottest issues in the scientific community,”….”We don’t really know why this stagnation is taking place at this point.”

    Dr. Phil Jones – BBC – 13th February 2010 – “I’m a scientist trying to measure temperature. If I registered that the climate has been cooling I’d say so. But it hasn’t until recently – and then barely at all. The trend is a warming trend.”

    Dr. Phil Jones – BBC – 13th February 2010

    [Q] B – “Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming”[A] “Yes, but only just”.

    Prof. Shaowu Wang et al – Advances in Climate Change Research – 2010 – “…The decade of 1999-2008 is still the warmest of the last 30 years, though the global temperature increment is near zero;…”

    Dr. B. G. Hunt – Climate Dynamics – February 2011 – “Controversy continues to prevail concerning the reality of anthropogenically-induced climatic warming. One of the principal issues is the cause of the hiatus in the current global warming trend.”

    Dr. Robert K. Kaufmann – PNAS – 2nd June 2011 – “… has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008…..”

    Dr. Gerald A. Meehl – Nature Climate Change – 18th September 2011 – “There have been decades, such as 2000–2009, when the observed globally averaged surface-temperature time series shows little increase or even a slightly negative trend1 (a hiatus period)….”

    Met Office Blog – Dave Britton (10:48:21) – 14 October 2012 – “We agree with Mr Rose that there has been only a very small amount of warming in the 21st Century. As stated in our response, this is 0.05 degrees Celsius since 1997 equivalent to 0.03 degrees Celsius per decade.”Source:

    Dr. James Hansen – NASA GISS – 15 January 2013 – “The 5-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slowdown in the growth rate of the net climate forcing.”

    Dr Doug Smith – Met Office – 18 January 2013 – “The exact causes of the temperature standstill are not yet understood,” says climate researcher Doug Smith from the Met Office.[Translated by Philipp Mueller from Spiegel Online]

    Dr. Virginie Guemas – Nature Climate Change – 7 April 2013 – “…Despite a sustained production of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, the Earth’s mean near-surface temperature paused its rise during the 2000–2010 period…”

    Dr. Judith Curry – House of Representatives Subcommittee on Environment – 25 April 2013 – ” If the climate shifts hypothesis is correct, then the current flat trend in global surface temperatures may continue for another decade or two,…”

    Dr. Hans von Storch – Spiegel – 20 June 2013 – “…the increase over the last 15 years was just 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.11 degrees Fahrenheit) — a value very close to zero….If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models….”

    Professor Masahiro Watanabe – Geophysical Research Letters – 28 June 2013 – “The weakening of k commonly found in GCMs seems to be an inevitable response of the climate system to global warming, suggesting the recovery from hiatus in coming decades.”

    Met Office – July 2013 – “The recent pause in global warming, part 3: What are the implications for projections of future warming?………..Executive summaryThe recent pause in global surface temperature rise does not materially alter the risks of substantial warming of the Earth by the end of this century.”

    Professor Rowan Sutton – Independent – 22 July 2013 – “Some people call it a slow-down, some call it a hiatus, some people call it a pause. The global average surface temperature has not increased substantially over the last 10 to 15 years,”

    Dr. Kevin Trenberth – NPR – 23 August 2013 – “They probably can’t go on much for much longer than maybe 20 years, and what happens at the end of these hiatus periods, is suddenly there’s a big jump [in temperature] up to a whole new level and you never go back to that previous level again,”

    Dr. Yu Kosaka et. al. – Nature – 28 August 2013 – “Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface coolingDespite the continued increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the annual-mean global temperature has not risen in the twenty-first century…”

    Professor Anastasios Tsonis – Daily Telegraph – 8 September 2013 – “We are already in a cooling trend, which I think will continue for the next 15 years at least. There is no doubt the warming of the 1980s and 1990s has stopped.”

    Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth – Nature News Feature – 15 January 2014 – “The 1997 to ’98 El Niño event was a trigger for the changes in the Pacific, and I think that’s very probably the beginning of the hiatus,” says Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist…

    Dr. Gabriel Vecchi – Nature News Feature – 15 January 2014 – “A few years ago you saw the hiatus, but it could be dismissed because it was well within the noise,” says Gabriel Vecchi, a climate scientist…“Now it’s something to explain.”…..

    Professor Matthew England – ABC Science – 10 February 2014 – “Even though there is this hiatus in this surface average temperature, we’re still getting record heat waves, we’re still getting harsh bush fires… shows we shouldn’t take any comfort from this plateau in global average temperatures.”

    Dr. Jana Sillmann et al – IopScience – 18 June 2014 – Observed and simulated temperature extremes during the recent warming hiatus“This regional inconsistency between models and observations might be a key to understanding the recent hiatus in global mean temperature warming.”

    Dr. Young-Heon Jo et al – American Meteorological Society – October 2014 -“…..Furthermore, the low-frequency variability in the SPG relates to the propagation of Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) variations from the deep-water formation region to mid-latitudes in the North Atlantic, which might have the implications for recent global surface warming hiatus.”

  7. kenskingdom Says:

    Thanks Catweazle, that’s a pretty comprehensive list!.

  8. MorinMoss Says:

    Despite your plot showing a clear downward trend for the Arctic, there’s been a dramatic decrease in sea ice and significant melt in Greenland – all during the “pause”.

    The only “hiatus” seen in the Arctic is the departure of ice in extent, area and most significantly – volume.

    Sea Ice Extent Interactive Map

    Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Volume 1979 – 2014 animation

    There’s a 10,000 cubic kilometer difference in minimum Arctic sea ice volume from 1979 to 2015.
    Since the latent heat of fusion of ice / water is 80 cals/gm, I calculate that 93 terawatt-hours are needed to melt ONE cubic km of ice so there’s an implied heat difference of 930,000 TWh between the summer minimums of 1979 and 2014 which at current consumption would provide all the USA’s electricity for 200 years.

    And then there’s Greenland where ice loss has been speeding up for over a decade and is ~360 Gigatonnes or 324 cubic km/yr.

    Greenland’s ice sheet is huge and the annual loss is only a tiny fraction but its acceleration coupled with the dramatic decline in sea ice volume doesn’t support the idea of a cooling Arctic.

  9. kenskingdom Says:

    Nice to see you’re following me. Arctic sea ice decrease is more than matched by Antarctic sea ice increase. Do try to stick to the topic, which is atmospheric temperatures, embarrassing as that may be for you at the moment. Atmospheric temperatures above 60 north have warmed until about 13 years ago, but not since. They have paused or declined for even longer in every other region as well. It is a world wide phenomenon.

  10. kenskingdom Says:

    You did read the post didn’t you? Atmospheric temperature means just as I said above- the temperature of the Lower Troposphere.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      Then I don’t think you can ignore the variance caused by ice melt.
      The troposphere is much thinner at the poles and the UAH data primarily measures below 3000 meters which isn’t much higher than the surface of Greenland.
      I believe that any heat that’s going into melting ice will not be captured by the UAH data and may show spurious cooling.
      Since the temperature monitoring in the Arctic is still quite poor, none of the data sets will capture the variance and the only clue we have is the continual decrease in ice volume.

    • MorinMoss Says:

      I just realized that UAH 6.0 is using 1981 – 2010 as the baseline period but the dataset is barely larger since it only starts from 1979.

      How does that affect the trend, when the baseline and the dataset cover essentially the same period?

      • kenskingdom Says:

        Perhaps you need to ask John Christy and Roy Spencer about this. Or consider the data for the south polar region which shows cooling for practically the whole record. Just a suggestion- how about looking at the pause in other regions.

      • kenskingdom Says:

        And baseline choice will have no effect on trends. Again, this is something you need to take up with UAH authors Christy and Spencer if you don’t like it.

  11. Gail Combs Says:

    MorinMoss has the whole thing backwards.

    FIrst DMI showed lower than normal temps in the Arctic in the summer of 2013 and 2014.

    And this year is not exactly above normal


    Then there is Arctic vs Antarctic SEA ice.

    In Oct 7, 2014, For the third year in a row, Antarctic sea ice has hit a record maximum winter extent.
    “…The Antarctic sea ice extents ANOMALY in October 2013 was over 1.5 Mkm^2 of “excess” southern sea ice extents. ALL of this “excess” sea ice was between latitude 60 south and latitude 59 south. ALL of this “excess” southern sea ice extents covered an area LARGER than the entire area of Hudson Bay (also centered at latitude 60).

    Just remember, at today’s sea ice extents, the “edge” of the Arctic sea is a tiny ring about latitude 78 -82 north in mid-September. The “edge” of Antarctic’s sea ice minimum is also a “ring” – but that ring is about latitude 66 south. Much closer to the equator, much more energy reflected from the Antarctic sea ice, right? Now, at maximum extents, the “edge” Arctic sea ice is at its closest point to the equator is only down to 72 north, not even as close to the equator as the minimum Antarctic sea ice! But at its maximum, Antarctic sea ice extents is much, much higher at 59.2 to 59.0 latitude. Closer to the equator than even the most southern tip of Greenland!
    Now, at the equinoxes, when both Arctic and Antarctic are both hit by the same solar intensity, the Antarctic Sea Ice receives between 2x (Feb-March) to 5x (September-October) the energy that the Arctic sea ice receives. Thus, to reflect equal energy into space, the “gain” of even 1.0 Mkm^2 of southern sea ice extents needs to be balanced by a loss 2 to 5 LARGER in the Arctic….”

    Stolen from RACookPE1978

    All the attention on the Arctic is nothing more than misdirection. The Antarctic not only reflects much more sunlight, but the wind driven Antarctic Circumpolar Current feeds the Humboldt current that snakes up the side of South America and feeds ENSO.

    Also the opening of Drake Passage between the tip of South America and Antarctica is thought to have pushed the earth into the present ICE AGE. And yes we are in a very brief warm spike within an ice age.

    Now what the heck is going to happen if Drake Passage becomes more and more clogged with ice and more and more cold Antarctic water is diverted up the side of South America as a result?

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