Most of the mainstream media offered us a bizarre "story" in the recent two or three days. The absence of global warming in recent years – well, it's really 17 years now – has been "explained" by the Pacific waters. Problem solved, the belief in the global warming ideology may continue unchallenged, we're de facto told.
PDO: warm and cool phase
The claims are based on the paper by Kosaka and Xie in Nature,
The first paragraph says that it's the Pacific Ocean that "slowed" the global warming and the second paragraph tells us why this research is supposed to be important:
Their work is a big step forward in helping to solve the greatest puzzle of current climate change research – why global average surface temperatures, while still on an upward trend, have risen more slowly in the past 10 to fifteen years than previously.I had to laugh. The most important insight of the "modern" climate science research is that the world is warming and the greatest puzzle is why it's not true according to observations. Incidentally, it is not true that one may still find a "warming trend" in the last 10-15 years. One only finds noise and in various subintervals, the cooling and warming trends are about equally represented, as shown many times on this blog and elsewhere.
If you expect that half a degree or a degree Celsius of warming per decade is now inevitable, e.g. because you were brainwashed by the AGW charlatans or because your brain has been damaged in a similar sad accident, then the absence of the warming may look like a "great puzzle". But what about the approach not to be brainwashed by unscientific superstitions? Isn't it a bit more rational approach? In that case, there's no puzzle. The temperatures are doing what they have always been doing: fluctuate by one or two tenths of a degree each decade in pretty random directions; after all, we know it from the historical data from decades when the man-made CO2 concentration was vastly lower than today that the temperatures were doing nothing less than that. CO2 may add a contribution but it's just small enough so that the CO2-induced change remains more or less negligible relatively to the natural variability for 20 years if not much longer than that.
Isn't it a more convincing explanation than the program to identify a huge puzzle and then to "solve" it by naming a culprit?
But I had to laugh throughout Harvey's article, it's just so utterly stupid and irrational. You would say that some analysis of the role of the Pacific Ocean will be presented as the research of a factor that influences the climate as a whole. Instead, we're repeatedly told that what the paper studies is the ocean's influence on the pause in global warming. This completely silly formulation – sometimes with the word "hiatus" replacing "pause" – is repeated many times in the article. It's a classic example of a tail wagging the dog. Climatology – and this paper – studies or should study the climate (which is pretty much equally likely to change in both directions, as empirically shown all the time), not "global warming" or even "hiatuses in this non-existent global warming". But a lie repeated 100 times becomes the truth according to the key beliefs of Fiona Harvey.
However, what I found most comical is the suggestion – permeating Harvey's text and pretty much all similar articles – that the "bad guy" has been found so everything is fine now. It's the evil Pacific Ocean. I can't believe my eyes because a reader must have IQ below 70 to buy this cheap trick. Is it likely that such humans or, more generally, primates have learned to read the Guardian? It is sort of hard to believe.
In reality, these AGW scammers have claimed that the global mean temperature is
Instead, we're sold stories about the Pacific Ocean as a "justification" of the failure. It's no justification. If you totally screw your understanding of the Pacific Ocean, it pretty much means that you screwed your understanding of the climate on most of the globe. The Pacific Ocean covers one third of the Earth's ocean. In fact, this largest ocean's area exceeds the area of all lands on Earth. It's in no way negligible.
So even if you just consider the Pacific Ocean's contribution to the global average of the temperatures, it is a huge contribution that can't be overlooked. The Pacific Ocean was this large and this important even 20 years ago – even millions of years ago. It is no "news" that the Pacific Ocean was important. The global mean temperatures were always meant to include the contribution of the Pacific temperatures with the appropriate weights. It was the global mean temperature that did include the Pacific contribution that the global warming ideology advocates claimed to predict. They just failed. One may try to isolate which parts of the Earth had larger errors than others but it's mostly silly because every sensible person agrees that regional temperature trends can't be predicted for 20 years in advance with currently available tools. That's why you can't really say that "just the Pacific" predictions failed. Moreover, the predictions of every region are based on the same ideas so if one region empirically shows you that you misunderstand how it works, you probably misunderstand how every region works.
Now, despite the huge size, the actual temperature of the Pacific Ocean temperature isn't that important for almost any humans. But almost every elementary school alumnus knew about this fact 20 years ago, too. Nevertheless, the Pacific temperatures have been included in the "important" quantity called the global warming temperature – mainly because the contemporary climatologists are obliged to be obsessed with the greenhouse effect that operates more or less equally on every square mile of the globe. The obsessive focus on the (for the actual climate change not too important) global mean temperature that uniformly depends on each square mile of the globe has always been a key meme of the global warming ideology. You can't just throw it away and claim that nothing about the ideology has to be changed. If you change this thing, you are really proving that it has been rubbish from the beginning.
One may always cherry-pick 1/3 or even 2/3 of the globe where the disagreement with the models is smaller than it is in the rest. But if you claim that a quantity is the most important and you completely fail in predicting it, you have just failed. In scientific disciplines that may be counted as hard science and that have corresponding standards, a hypothesis is really eliminated once any clear disagreement of its predictions with the reality is found. One wrong prediction is enough to falsify an idea. If you want to be satisfied with the agreement between the rough observations of 1/2 of the numbers (that you may cherry-pick a posteriori) and your predictions, then any hypothesis will end up as "viable".
Moreover, the Pacific Ocean influences the globe by more than just this large area that "directly" influences the global temperature averages. The Pacific Ocean is the cradle of the El Niño/La Niña ENSO oscillations which have been known for quite some time to be the dominant contribution to the interannual temperature variability. If the global mean temperature changes significantly from one year to the next, chances are very high that it has something to do with the El Niños or La Niñas.
The Pacific Ocean is important at the decadal scale, too. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation describes one of the most important regional degrees of freedom – if not the most important one (AMO is a possible competitor) – that changes at the timescale comparable to tens of years. In fact, both El Niños and PDOs are mentioned by many of the articles. But they're not able or willing to deduce the most obvious consequence of all these insights, and it is the following:
The more you use natural variations such as El Niño, PDO etc. to explain what's actually going on and what's being observed, the more important the natural drivers become, the more irrelevant the CO2 gets, the more the skeptics who claim that the climate change is mostly natural are shown to be right (many skeptics have talked about the important influence of the ocean cycles and patterns for many decades and most skeptics today are well aware about the tight PDO-global-temperature correlation in the last 100 years), and the more discredited the AGW doctrine becomes along with its defenders.Is that really so difficult for Fiona Harvey to understand this trivial point? Do we have to read all the garbage about CO2 that manifestly has nothing to do with any of the important observations or insights and not even with these not-so-important observations of the recent events in the Pacific Ocean?
Even average U.S. and EU politicians are beginning to understand what the hiatus means (why not journalists in the Guardian?) and they want a credible explanation in the IPCC AR5 summary that will be out in one month from now.