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wanderer

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Study: Global warming is slowing down...
« on: May 21, 2013, 10:06:16 AM »
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1836.html

Denialists are cheering - in german Newspapers everyone is talking about this new study, that suggests, that worst case scenarios for this century are off the table, due to the rate of global mean warming has been lower over the past decade than previously.

What do you think?

Anne

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Re: Study: Global warming is slowing down...
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 10:27:09 AM »
The BBC covered this today. Without reading the report it's hard to say. This is the takeaway from the BBC article:
Quote
"We would expect a single decade to jump around a bit but the overall trend is independent of it, and people should be exactly as concerned as before about what climate change is doing," said Dr Otto.

Is there any succour in these findings for climate sceptics who say the slowdown over the past 14 years means the global warming is not real?

"None. No comfort whatsoever," he said.

wili

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Re: Study: Global warming is slowing down...
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 01:44:39 PM »
That's pretty much what I got from the CP coverage of the story:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/05/20/2034261/we-would-all-like-climate-sensitivity-to-be-lower-but-it-isnt-says-lead-scientist-of-new-study/

‘We Would All Like Climate Sensitivity To Be Lower But It Isn’t’ Says Lead Scientist Of New Study

"The researchers say the difference between the lower short-term estimate and the more consistent long-term picture can be explained by the fact that the heat from the last decade has been absorbed into and is being stored by the world’s oceans."
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Vergent

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Jim Hunt

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Re: Study: Global warming is slowing down...
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2013, 04:21:37 PM »
Vergent - You just beat me to it! Perhaps see also:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/watanabe-et-al-2013-another-piece-of-the-puzzle.html

Anne - The "correspondence" is a free download, if you don't mind parting with your email address, which I didn't. One conclusion:

Quote
Caution is required in interpreting any short period, especially a recent one for which details of forcing and energy storage inventories are still relatively unsettled.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

deep octopus

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Re: Study: Global warming is slowing down...
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2013, 04:23:26 PM »
I'm skeptical whenever the media tries to explain scientific studies in dished out articles, and this would have to be another example for why that is.

http://www.uwe-merckens.com/bilder/Wetter/ngeo.pdf

Quote
The most likely value of equilibrium climate sensitivity based on the energy budget of the most recent decade is 2.0 °C, with a 5–95% confidence interval of 1.2–3.9 °C (dark red, Fig. 1a), compared with the 1970–2009 estimate of 1.9 °C (0.9–5.0 °C; grey, Fig. 1a).

A likely value of 2 degrees C is less than the likely value of 3 degrees C from the IPCC, but the range of uncertainty is quite evidently massive from this. It includes a low cut of 1.2 degrees and a high cut of 3.9 degrees. Another small nit to pick is their choice of HADCRUT4, which discounts much of the Arctic, slightly understating the global warming trend compared to the NASA GISTEMP data. Nevertheless, they have a pretty clear caveat:

Quote
We note, too, that caution is required in interpreting any short period, especially a recent one for which details of forcing and energy storage inventories are still relatively unsettled: both could make significant changes to the energy budget. The estimates of the effective radiative forcing by aerosols in particular vary strongly between model-based studies and satellite data. The satellite data are still subject to biases and provide only relatively weak constraints (see Supplementary Section S2 for a sensitivity study).

But this point in the TP article is interesting to me:

Quote
The researchers say the difference between the lower short-term estimate and the more consistent long-term picture can be explained by the fact that the heat from the last decade has been absorbed into and is being stored by the world’s oceans.

Well, of course. And yet, oceanic behavior is still a large, nagging unknown. Our understanding of ENSO and the PDO in controlling the valves of the ocean's recharge/discharge mechanisms has only become better understood in the last couple of decades. We know that El Niños and warm phases of PDO are associated with warming trends at the surface, but when and how these oscillations move is slippery, as evidenced by last year's El Niño no-show. Other questions loom: What role does the Indian Ocean dipole have on initiating or strengthening an El Niño event, when heat is released to the surface? Are stronger trade winds and a weaker Walker circulation evidence of natural variability or the result of anthropogenic changes? Our understanding of the ocean could not be so disturbingly weak given its importance to our climate. I know scientists have already looked into these questions, but it's clear that many (like Trenberth) lament the general lack of oceanic data.

UPDATE: The topic of climate sensitivity, including synopses of various sensitivity studies in recent years, is discussed in this article of Gavin Schmidt's blog:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/01/on-sensitivity-part-i/

So, while this particular paper (which I can't read for it has to be purchased) is very probably going to be a welcome addition to the library in the topic of sensitivity, and to be reviewed for its strong points and its flaws by other scientists, I wouldn't stress too much weight on any single study, simply because we have much more to learn. Such is the nature of science.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 05:49:45 PM by Deep Octopus »

Shared Humanity

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Re: Study: Global warming is slowing down...
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 05:54:25 PM »
That's pretty much what I got from the CP coverage of the story:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/05/20/2034261/we-would-all-like-climate-sensitivity-to-be-lower-but-it-isnt-says-lead-scientist-of-new-study/

‘We Would All Like Climate Sensitivity To Be Lower But It Isn’t’ Says Lead Scientist Of New Study

"The researchers say the difference between the lower short-term estimate and the more consistent long-term picture can be explained by the fact that the heat from the last decade has been absorbed into and is being stored by the world’s oceans."

And given the mass of the oceans, relative to the atmosphere, this slow, inexorable transfer of heat from the atmosphere to the oceans can continue for hundreds of thousands of years if not forever. This is small comfort as this slow absorption, if reversed, will be equally slow. We are altering our climate in a manner that is far outside the human timescale.

SATire

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Re: Study: Global warming is slowing down...
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2013, 08:29:54 PM »
Denialists are cheering - in german Newspapers everyone is talking about this new study, that suggests, that worst case scenarios for this century are off the table, due to the rate of global mean warming has been lower over the past decade than previously.

What do you think?
I think Germans are just tired paying the bill allone. The majority seems to be shifting away from ecology and towards reasonable behaviour. They payed a lot in the past 10 years and nearly all in vain. Now ecological thinking poeple are shy to ask poeple to pay even more and "normal" poeple are angry because they feel like being fooled again by "alarmists tricks". I think that could change once e.g. USA has matched per capita expenses in future.
I want to say actually, that not every angry person writing in that forum is a denialist - they are not that stupid in Germany. Some just have learned their lessons from "Waldsterben" and the ozone hole: if it is not done in world wide effort, it just can not be done. So Germans should quit trying now.

And they are also discussing an article on "pain in the neck" James Hansen (translated from Spiegel - not my words)...
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 08:49:51 PM by SATire »

TerryM

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Re: Study: Global warming is slowing down...
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2013, 11:35:15 PM »
Satire


As a Canadian, i'd assume that the bulk of the German populace would be as put off by their government giving up on climate change as Canadians where when our government shifted gears. There are going to be people complaining no matter what course of action a government takes, but there's some degree of shame involved when you realise that your country is part of the problem, not part of the solution.


The IDU - International Democrat Union - is a Neo-Conservative organization that promotes conservative causes including global warming denial on a global scale. When their parties are elected expect bills to be passed that gut environmental programs in general, and pay little more than lip service to climate change. Their website is available & a few have followed the IDU's history since it was formed by Reagan & Thatcher. Wiki has a good article.
This is the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy".


Terry

Anne

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Re: Study: Global warming is slowing down...
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2013, 11:47:32 PM »
Terry,

Ironic, considering that La Thatch was an early warmist.

Seriously though, Joe Public is never going to be motivated by the science. Let it never be said that anyone has contempt for swivel-eyed loons, but/and self-interest and soundbites will always get there quicker than reasoned argument.

crandles

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Re: Study: Global warming is slowing down...
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2013, 12:39:44 AM »
James Annan says what he thinks is the purpose of the Otto et al energy balance paper:

http://julesandjames.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/more-on-that-recent-sensitivity-paper.html

Quote
Inconveniently for them, the observations of the planetary energy balance are actually incompatible with their preferred choice....

The brilliant solution they have come up with is to write a paper on the planetary energy balance, which in numerical terms of course basically confirms what all the recent papers have said, but describe this with the phrasing that their result "is in agreement with earlier estimates, within the limits of uncertainty."
...
Whoever came up with that wording certainly deserves a Nobel prize...for chutzpah.