As you can see from the UAH graph (right), global temperatures are rising at a catastrophic rate. Or maybe not.
There has been over a decade of barely perceptible warming, which none of the models were able to forecast. Why? Because they fail to take into account the many unknowns in the natural climate cycles of the planet and obsessively focus on CO2. Emissions keep rising, but temperatures don’t.
Graham Lloyd in The Australian considers the predicament:
‘‘Not only are nations failing to close the gap between their actions and the two degrees goal,’’ says Union of Concerned Scientists director Alden Meyer, ‘‘but the gap is actually widening.’’
Last month’s Hurricane Sandy, which flooded New York City, has been widely cited as evidence that climate change is about bigger storms, not just higher temperatures. For climate change campaigners this is fortunate because the most recent global temperature record, released this week, shows the average global temperature f ell last year for the second year.
The decline is not considered statistically significant — temperatures remain well above the long-term average — and is explained by the strong La Nina weather patterns that caused rain havoc across eastern Australia. But it is nonetheless counterintuitive to claims that global temperatures are spinning out of control, just as increasing ice cover in Antarctica runs counter to the high level of scientific concern at increased ice melt in the Arctic.
The Antarctic ice growth does not necessarily undermine anxiety about the melting ice in the Arctic, but it does highlight the fact gaps remain in scientific understanding and that climate models don’t always work.
The British Met Bureau was forced to furiously deny reports in Britain last month that the latest temperature data showed global warming stopped 16 years ago.
The bureau argues the trend is still unambiguously up, with global surface temperatures having risen by about 0.8C in the past 140 years. ‘‘However, within this record there have been several periods lasting a decade or more during which temperatures have risen very slowly or cooled,’’ the bureau said. ‘‘The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15-year-long periods are not unusual.’’
In short, there is agreement that the rising trend has stalled.
Many scientists accept there are natural processes at work that are not properly factored into the global temperature models.
German environmentalist Fritz Vahrenholt, a former Social Democrat Party senator, founder of wind-energy company REpower and president of the German Wildlife Foundation, has been particularly outspoken.
‘‘According to the IPCC climate models, there should be an increase in global temperature of 0.2C per decade,’’ he says.
‘‘But if you look at the data series of satellite-based temperature measurements and the data from the British Hadley Centre (HadCRUT), you find that since 1998 there has been no warming; the temperature has remained at a plateau. We know how mainstream climate scientists would answer this question: 15 years is not a climate signal; it must happen for 30 years,’’ Vahrenholt says, ‘‘But there must be an explanation for the unexpected absence of warming.’’
Vahrenholt’s answer is that the exclusion of solar activity and decadal oscillations from climate models leads to erroneous results. Vahrenholt’s point is not that climate change shouldn’t be addressed but that fear-driven energy policy works against the interests of nature, the poor and economic good sense. He says there is time to find solutions that work.
This is the background against which governments will meet in Doha to negotiate a globally binding agreement to cut carbon emissions, as agreed at last year’s meeting in Cape Town, South Africa.(source)
And my prediction is that the talks will achieve as much as all the previous climate talks, i.e. precisely nothing.