Dana Nuccitelli (of Skeptical Science fame) and John Abraham (the scientists who destroyed Monckton’s reputation) have started a great new blog on The Guardian. Titled “The Climate Consensus: the 97%” their first article puts to rest the myth that global warming has “paused” and that scientists are puzzled by it:
The rate of heat building up on Earth over the past decade is equivalent to detonating about 4 Hiroshima atomic bombs per second. Take a moment to visualize 4 atomic bomb detonations happening every single second. That’s the global warming that we’re frequently told isn’t happening.
There are periods when the ocean heats up more quickly than the surface, and other periods when the surface heats up more quickly than the oceans. Right now we’re in a period of fast ocean warming and overall, global warming is continuing at a very fast pace.
The confusion on this subject lies in the fact that only about 2 percent of global warming is used in heating air, whereas about 90 percent of global warming goes into heating the oceans (the rest heats ice and land masses). But humans live at the Earth’s surface, and thus we tend to focus on surface temperatures. Over the past 10–15 years, Earth’s surface temperature has continued to rise, but slowly. At the same time, the warming of the oceans – and the warming of the Earth as a whole – has accelerated.
This was the conclusion of a scientific paper I co-authored last year, in which our team found more overall global warming (of the oceans, air, land, and ice combined) over the past 15 years than during the prior 15 years. Just recently, another paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that the warming of the oceans since the turn of the century has been the most sustained in the past 50 years. They also found that, consistent with my team’s research, about 30% of overall global warming has gone into the deep oceans below 700 meters due to changing wind patterns and ocean currents. This accelerated deep ocean warming is also unprecedented in the past 50 years.
We often hear from the media that the (surface air) warming has slowed or paused over the past 15 years. This isn’t a puzzle; climate scientists are well aware of several contributing factors, as a recent Reuters article – “Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown” – eventually discussed. The accelerated warming of the oceans is likely the main contributor.
During years with La Niña events, more heat is transferred to the oceans, and surface temperatures are relatively cool as a result. The opposite is true during El Niño years. During the 1990s, there were more El Niño than La Niña events, which resulted in more surface air warming. One of the strongest El Niño events of the century happened in 1998, which not coincidentally was 15 years ago.
When people say ‘no warming in 15 years’, they’re cherry picking the timeframe to begin in an abnormally hot year. It’s like arguing that your car must have broken down because it hasn’t moved in the 15 seconds while you’ve been stopped at a red light. The argument selects a short timeframe that’s not representative of the whole.