The journal Science, which is peer reviewed up the wazoo, has an interesting new study purporting to explain the 17-year "pause" in global warming, and, indeed, predicting how long it's likely to continue:
The "pause" in global warming may last another decade before surface temperatures start rising again, according to scientists.
Really? Why would that be? Well, the study suggests that there is a natural variability in the global climate that leads to three-decade warming periods followed by three-decade cooling periods:
The cycle naturally produces periods of roughly 30 years in which heat is stored near the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, leading to warmer temperatures, followed by roughly 30 years in which it is stored in the depths, causing cooler surface temperatures, it suggests...
"When the internal variability that is responsible for the current hiatus switches sign, as it inevitably will, another episode of accelerated global warming should ensue," the study concludes.
Prof Ka-Kit Tung of the University of Washington, one of the report's authors, said: "Historically the cool period lasted 20 to 35 years. The current period already lasted 15 years, so roughly there [are] 10 more years to go."
No disrespect to Professor Ka-Kit Tung, but I felt vaguely that I'd read about this climate cycle - natural variability, 30-year cooling periods, 30-year warming periods - somewhere before ...oh, years ago, it was. But for the life of me I couldn't recall which eminent climate scientist had advanced the proposition. And then I remembered. It was IPCC lead author, Nobel Laureate and Fellow of the Royal Society Professor Mark Steyn just over five years ago:
If you mean the argument on "global warming," my general line is this: For the last century, we've had ever-so-slight warming trends and ever-so-slight cooling trends every 30 years or so, and I don't think either are anything worth collapsing the global economy over.
Things warmed up a bit in the decades before the late Thirties. Why? I dunno. The Versailles Treaty? The Charleston?
Then from 1940 to 1970 there was a slight cooling trend. In its wake, Lowell Ponte (who I believe is an expert climatologist and, therefore, should have been heeded) wrote his bestseller, The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive?
From 1970 to 1998 there was a slight warming trend, and now there's a slight cooling trend again. And I'm not fussed about it either way.
Now I don't consider myself a big credentialed expert or anything. I simply looked at a graph Michael E Mann hadn't been anywhere near and drew the obvious conclusion. Gave it two minutes' thought, if that. The reason it's taking climate science so much longer to draw that obvious conclusion is because ideology and the ideological enforcers like Mann got in the way.
Consider, for example, the context in which I made my 30-year-hot-30-year-cool observation half-a-decade back. I'd written a column in which I remarked en passant:
I don't know how [New York Times climate alarmist Thomas] Friedman defines "young" but let's be generous: If you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life. If you're graduating high school, there has been no global warming since you entered first grade. There has been no global warming this century. None. Admittedly the 21st century is only one century out of the many centuries of planetary existence, but it happens to be the one you're stuck living in.
The great George Will chanced to read that and quoted it in his own column. At which point Big Climate went bananas. They recognized it as a catchy line and they didn't want it catching on. Their general line was the same as Michael Mann's in DC Superior Court - an appeal to authority. Why, Steyn is an obvious know-nothing unqualified to offer an opinion:
In order further to induce skepticism about global warming, George Will now invokes the words of Mark Steyn, a man with no apparent education or expertise on climate science.
Oh, well, we can't have that, can we? Ezra Klein in The Washington Post:
I've gotten a bunch of requests for a response to George Will's assertion that "If you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life." I'm actually puzzled enough by that comment to not really know how to respond... George Will appears to have gotten this devastating rejoinder from Mark Steyn. Steyn is not, as you might imagine, a climate scientist. He's a polemicist best known for writing a celebrity obituary column in The Atlantic... I'm not sure I'd use him for a source on global warming.
The lads at Think Progress deplored Will's editors even publishing such dangerous deceptions:
If George Will quotes a lie, it's still a lie.
And then there were George Soros' shrill castrati at Media Matters:
George Will repeated Mark Steyn's false claim that "If you're 29, there has been no global warming for your entire adult life." In fact, climate experts reject the notion that global warming has slowed or stopped.
Actually, no. In public,"climate experts" rejected the notion. But in private - in fact - they well knew that "global warming has slowed or stopped". They just weren't prepared to say so to the gullible rubes at Media Matters, Think Progress and The Washington Post. A few months after my column appeared, Climategate broke, and among the leaked emails was this one from Dr Mann's bestest buddy, Phil Jones, head of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. July 5th 2005:
The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn't statistically significant.
Oh, okay then. So the only chaps lying were Jones and his fellow members of the climate alarmism industry. In private, they agreed with me. But they weren't willing to let Ezra Klein know that. So, at the time I was breezily talking of 30-year cool/warm cycles of natural climate variability, the Big Climate enforcers were denying that any such cooling cycle was taking place. And their worshipful saps among the media and climate activists enthusiastically jumped in the back alley anyone foolish enough to advance such a notion - like George Will - and clubbed him to a pulp with their hockey sticks. Only recently have they ceased "rejecting the notion" that "global warming has slowed or stopped". And only even more recently have they begun making any effort to explain what they call, as it prepares to enter its third decade, "the pause" - heat being retained by the ocean, etc.
This is the tragedy of "climate science". Imagine if it hadn't fallen into the hands of a cabal of insecure, neurotic, ideological enforcers like Michael E Mann. Imagine if, instead of serving as eunuch cheerleaders, the guys at Think Progress had said, "Yeah, this Steyn guy's an assh*le, but these climate models don't seem to be panning out. Maybe we should look into it..." As it is, it took the "denialists" and skeptics and lukewarmers to open up the conversation in the face of a closed-minded "hockey team" and media fan club that did everything it could to shut it down. Five years on, the climate mullahs are belatedly changing their tune. Me, I'm still using my old high-school line, and if anything the passing years have made it even catchier:
Guest-hosting for Rush a few days ago, I said if your kid is graduating from high school this week there has been no global warming his entire life. And immediately the usual drama queens emailed that I was a know-nothing denialist. But, just to nail it down, there has been no global warming for 17 years and nine months. That's since September 1996. The High School Class of 2014 has been blessed to have lived its entire life in a warming-free world.
I conclude that 2009 30-year-cycle post by asking this:
In the mid-nineties, which climatologist and which model predicted the cooling trend of the turn of the century and the oughts? And, if they didn't, on what basis do you trust their claims for 2050 or 2100?
I'm currently thinking about courtroom strategy for the upcoming trial of the century. If I were just playing it for laughs, I'd pick climate-science assertions by Mann and me from the last 15 years and invite his witnesses to discuss which ones are closer to where the science is today. But the reality is you don't really need to "predict" terribly much - not if you believe, as I did then and as I do now, in natural climate variablity. Judging from that Science study and other recent papers, natural variability is back in - which means Mann is increasingly out. Because his main contribution to the debate was abolishing the very concept of natural variability:
Mann's "hockey stick" shows that there was no such thing as "global warming" until the Industrial Revolution took off bigtime. So, in Mann's science, 100 per cent of "global warming" is anthropogenic. In that case, where did it all go in the 21st century? See Tony Allwright's graph above: China and India industrialized in double-quick time, and it made no difference. One obvious explanation is that there is a non-anthropogenic element in play, something called "natural climate variability".
But Mann and the other Warmanos can't admit to that. Because the important and influential part of Mann's hockey stick is not the blade (as Steve McIntyre says, very few people dispute that it's warmer now than 200 years ago) but the shaft. In abolishing the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, Dr Mann wound up abolishing the very concept of "natural climate variability". To the point where all his rube celebrity pals believe there was a millennium-long stable climate until industrial, consumerist humans came along and broiled the planet.
They believe that because that's what the hockey stick told them.
~Speaking of Steve McIntyre, he has resumed his series on the multiple misrepresentations of Dr Mann's so-called "exonerations" by official bodies. Along the way, he noticed this Tweet by one of the few scientists still willing to be associated with Mann, Gavin Schmidt, explaining why Doctor Fraudpants had no choice but to sue:
Saying that ppl are frauds is per se defamatory. Goes beyond disagreement/error/dislike
That's Mann's position. To a scientist an accusation of fraud - even from an unschooled disc-jockey dropout who quit school at nine (such as myself) - is professionally damaging. But, as Steve McIntyre points out, the EPA report Mann trumpets as one of his multiple "exonerations" addresses this very point. Mann had accused McIntyre and his colleague Ross McKitrick of "pure scientific fraud", which by Schmidt's lights is "per se defamatory". Aw, lighten up, says the EPA:
Mann's statements reflect his scientific judgment that the McIntyre and McKitrick (2005) paper was flawed. As discussed thoroughly in our previous responses (e.g., 3-23), it is entirely acceptable and appropriate for scientists to express their opinions and challenge papers that they believe are scientifically flawed.
So it's "entirely acceptable and appropriate" to dismiss something as "fraud" if you believe it's "scientifically flawed". Hey, that's great to know. Thanks a lot, EPA! Can't wait to see you on the witness stand.
~Thank you for your continued support of my pushback against Mann via the Steyn store and our SteynOnline gift certificates. It's a tough grind in the clogged toilet tank of DC justice, but I like the way the case is going, and even more so the way the broader debate is going.