Climate Alarmists Admit: They’re Flummoxed

warmingby James A. Bacon

Well, well, well, Justin Gillis with the New York Times has acknowledged an inconvenient truth: “The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.”

What is a climate alarmist to make of such a revelation? Gillis admits that climate scientists are stumped. (I may be wrong about this, but I do not believe that the New York Times is subsidized or controlled by the climate change-denying Koch Brothers, so Gillis’ reporting cannot be impugned.)

The slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists. … Given how much is riding on the scientific forecast, the practitioners of climate science would like to understand exactly what is going on. They admit that they do not, even though some potential mechanisms of the slowdown have been suggested. The situation highlights important gaps in our knowledge of the climate system, some of which cannot be closed until we get better measurements from high in space and from deep in the ocean.

Despite the “important gaps in our knowledge of the climate system,” Gillis remains ever-optimistic that the world climate remains on a disastrous trajectory. One theory for the lull in rising temperatures is that “aerosols” — particulate pollution — from China are reflecting sunlight that otherwise would have warmed the atmosphere. Another is that the heat is hiding in the ocean deep, where our sensors cannot readily detect it.

The stubborn refusal of temperatures to rise as forecast by climate models may mean that climate processes are a tad more complex than previously thought. “In a climate system still dominated by natural variability,” Gillis writes, “there is every reason to think the warming will proceed in fits and starts.”

If past is prologue, this current plateau will end at some point, too, and a new era of rapid global warming will begin. That will put extra energy and moisture into the atmosphere that can fuel weather extremes, like heat waves and torrential rains.

We might one day find ourselves looking back on the crazy weather of the 2010s with a deep yearning for those halcyon days.

A man can always dream, can’t he? It’s hard to imagine a fate worse than being forced to concede that Rush Limbaugh was right!

In all seriousness, do 15 years of stagnant temperatures prove that global warming is a hoax? Not at all. Gillis actually might be right on this point: The lull may reflect natural variability. The points that I would emphasize are this: (1) The stagnant temperatures were not predicted by the climate models, and (2) our understanding of climate dynamics is incomplete.

It would be folly to conclude on the basis of current evidence that human-influenced global warming is not occurring. As I’ve always said, follow the science. But one conclusion I feel safe in drawing is this: The science is not “settled.”

26 Responses to Climate Alarmists Admit: They’re Flummoxed

  1. I will let you in on a little secret, Jim. Just between you and me. People for a very long time have been flummoxed by God’s work.

    Surely its been going on for a very long time, this flummox has been going on far longer than our first glimpse into the rise of intelligent human consciousness. This is obvious from the earliest human art etched in stone.

    But Moses made it crystal clear, etched it into our consciousness with absolute startling clarity 2800 years ago, when his oral history was recorded by his people of the Book, memorials of wisdom preserved in written words.

    I suspect the climate experts will be the last to know. But if your report of these folks being stumped and realizing their own limitation some 3000 years after Moses is true, its progress, however meager. Settled science is the brew of witch doctors and flimflam artists, people never to be trusted.

    • Reed:

      I am afraid that your poetic description of faith is probably lost on Jim. As an avowed atheist I don’t expect Jim to put a lot of stock in Moses, people of the book, etc.

      Too much time in “walkable communities” – that’s the problem.

      A few early mornings in a kayak on the Choptank with the herons and Bald Eagles might push Jim back to agnostic.

      Some things are just too beautiful to be a coincidence.

    • Okay, if we’re quoting Moses here… Lev. 25:23-24. The land is Mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Throughout the country that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.

      Seems God wants us to be good stewards of God’s green earth.

      Then again, Moses also passed along in Lev. God’s command to not eat animal fat or blood (Lev 3:17), but what Red Blooded Rush Limbaugh American is giving up his rare cut of sirloin? Seems by these standards, maybe Christians should be looking to emulate vegans, who are also by and large I would think are climate change subscribers as well.

      Or, you know, when discussing hard science, that which is conducted by educated people using numbers and evidence (oh my!) we could leave the Bible out of it. Just a thought.

  2. More and more CO2 is going to break something. I agree that the science is not settled and the models are first generation. However, you just can’t keep changing the gas mix in the atmosphere without something going “bang” in the night.

    As a devotee of the Chesapeake Bay I see variations all the time. Lately it’s been an odd influx of red drum (or, redfish if you are from the South) in the mid-Bay. Nobody knows why there are more red drum in the mid-Bay than ever before. Nobody knows why there are fewer bluefish, more cow nosed rays, fewer oysters (although that’s improving), lots of rockfish and a steady supply of blue crabs.

    The models are crap.

    However, the basic trends are real. Keep upping the CO2 level and something will suck eventually.

  3. Richmond’s hallowed streets will be sizzling in January and Bacon will still come up with scraps of denial. Hah!

  4. re: “…. forced to concede that Rush Limbaugh was right!”

    Good Lord… !!!!!

    re: ” More and more CO2 is going to break something”

    yup.. sorta like saying: ” Jesus, I’m up to 3 packs a day and I still don’t have lung cancer!”

    re: “models are crap”

    how about some perspective ? Lets try: “Hurricane models are crap because even though there are dozens of different ones, not a single one can go back and given the original weather conditions predict the exact track of not a single past hurricane”.

    This is why we now have “Hurricane Deniers”….. NOT! We often, quite uselessly evacuate entire regions based on those hopelessly “flawed” models.

    re: putting one’s faith in GOD.

    I dare say that GOD himself is shouting down at the more obtuse among us and saying: ” I said believe in me but don’t do idiot and stupid things and think I’m going to save your _ss.” ” If you think you can drop a NUKE bomb and I will protect people from you – you need to revisit the Bible big time”. “Oh, and one more thing, Limbaugh is NOT God’s gift to the world”.

    Anyone who thinks:

    1. that mankind cannot screw up the earth – is not playing with a full deck

    2. the “models are wrong” narrative is abjectly and willfully ignorant of the purpose and reality of modelling.

    3. Models do NOT have to be dead-on 100% accurate to render important insights and information to those who are willing to open their minds to information – even when some of it conflicts.

    4. Gambling that every increasing levels of greenhouse gases will not ultimately result in unpleasant consequences at some point is like betting that you can smoke 3 packs a day and not get lung cancer. You might, but the odds are really stacked against you. It’s almost like telling the doctor that is urging you to quit that you probably already have gone to far and are doomed anyhow.

    5. finally – what scientists know and armchair versions apparently don’t – Weather is NOT Climate.

    • The problem is that the progressives have no plan. Their approach seems to be shaming people into “believing in science” when the science is a science more like economics than physics.

      The conservatives won’t acknowledge a secular trend in climate change and the progressives won’t acknowledge the many unknowns in the models.

      Meanwhile, the measurable levels of CO2 continue to increase.

      The onus is on the progressives. They are declaring a crisis. What constitutes their recommended plan of action?

      More government meddling in free enterprise along climate change lines – Solyndra?

      Just stop exploring for fossil fuels and hope for the best – Keysone, off-shore drilling in Virginia?

      Hyper-enrich crony capitalist game players with carbon credit trading – Al Gore?

      Finally, where is the progressive leadership on this? Gore has completely discredited himself. Obama doesn’t care. Biden is in la – la land. Hillary is trying to salvage her reputation enough to run for president in 2016. Bill is operating as Hugh Hefner’s understudy.

      Progressive leaders use vague talk of climate change as a method of getting out the base but offer no systematic plans to address the matter.

      • re:

        ” The problem is that the progressives have no plan. Their approach seems to be shaming people into “believing in science” when the science is a science more like economics than physics.”

        not true. it betrays an ignorance about science and models but worse it frames the issue as a partisan one instead of one on the merits

        when you get right down to it – the folks who don’t believe cite a global conspiracy as the reason for their mistrust. That’s loony tunes in my book. “Consensus” of the most of the worlds scientists is called a “herding conspiracy” or some such.

        that’s like saying that if the majority of the worlds doctors agree that smoking causes lung cancer that they are “colluding” to “lie” so they ” can get more grant funding”.. that’s how dumb this argument is.

        “The conservatives won’t acknowledge a secular trend in climate change and the progressives won’t acknowledge the many unknowns in the models.”

        that’s simply not the truth. The “believers” don’t know the exact answers but they subscribe to the view you expressed earlier ” you can’t have the increases in the gases without something breaking” – and the lunacy is that because we cannot predict with dead on 100% accuracy what will break when and where is again like someone saying that unless you can show the date that they will get lung cancer from smoking 2 1/2 packs a day -that you are fraud.

        “Meanwhile, the measurable levels of CO2 continue to increase.

        The onus is on the progressives. They are declaring a crisis. What constitutes their recommended plan of action?”

        they are hand-wringing – like you DJ -.. you worry that something is going to break – does that make you a “progressive”?

        You have a recommended plan of action – from the same people who recommended a plan of action with the Ozone Holes.

        We believed them then but not now? why?

        “More government meddling in free enterprise along climate change lines – Solyndra?”

        grade A blather guy… the original Solyndra was the transcontinental rail system.

        “Just stop exploring for fossil fuels and hope for the best – Keysone, off-shore drilling in Virginia?”

        you START to TRANSITION to fuels and energy that have a smaller green-house gas footprint – AND you increase conservation like LED lights, more/better insulation, etc. There is no one answer and it does have to make
        some kind of economic sense.

        when you pick the most extreme left wing positions and claim that it is the position of ALL “progressives” – you’ve accomplish little that is worthwhile other than to continue to roil the waters – why?

        “Hyper-enrich crony capitalist game players with carbon credit trading – Al Gore?”

        you want “crony” capitalism? Ask why Keystone has the power of eminent domain over US property owners.

        “Finally, where is the progressive leadership on this? Gore has completely discredited himself. Obama doesn’t care. Biden is in la – la land. Hillary is trying to salvage her reputation enough to run for president in 2016. Bill is operating as Hugh Hefner’s understudy.”

        blah blah blah… WHO is “leading” the skeptics? Limbaugh, Beck, Cruz, Bachman?

        “Progressive leaders use vague talk of climate change as a method of getting out the base but offer no systematic plans to address the matter.”

        so.. because “progressives” offer no “leadership” (sic) then that justifies the folks to their right to be complete idiots about climate change?

        • I am not the president of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, either of the two US Senators from Virginia, etc.

          There are two kinds of people in power in the US -

          Those who doubt the science and, therefore, believe that no major action is required and …

          Those who accept the science but lack the personal courage to do anything.

          The latter are worse than the former in my opinion.

          Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe catastrophic climate change threatens the very existence of humanity on Earth but don’t have enough time to do anything about it?

          Really, LarryG?

  5. re: ” I am not the president of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, either of the two US Senators from Virginia, etc.

    There are two kinds of people in power in the US -

    Those who doubt the science and, therefore, believe that no major action is required and …

    Those who accept the science but lack the personal courage to do anything.”

    how did that play out with the CFCs and the Ozone holes?

    got some heroes you’d cite?

    “The latter are worse than the former in my opinion.”

    sure if all you are doing is playing a blame game. There ARE recommendations and there ARE people who DO want to START doing SOME THINGS – that’s leadership.

    when the other side is unalterably opposed to ANYTHING – then you have gridlock.

    “Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe catastrophic climate change threatens the very existence of humanity on Earth but don’t have enough time to do anything about it?”

    they’ve not tried to do something? Have you checked lately about how proposals make it through Congress these days?

    Really, LarryG?

    REALLY DJ. When Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are the de-facto leaders of the opposition – what do you really expect to happen?

    If these guys were doing their thing back during the CFC/Ozone Holes what would have happened?

    We have people that are anti-science, anti-govt, and pro-conspiracy theory who have no intention of finding a middle ground from which to go forward even on the slimmest of compromises.

    that’s the “inconvenient” fact here – and the real non-leaders are the ones who know the right is wrong but they either defend them or keep quiet.

    this is the modern day version of Massive Resistance.

  6. Burning dirty energy leads to carbon pollution, which warms the planet. This is a reality scientists have understood for decades. http://clmtr.lt/cb/tnE0AU

  7. DJ said it right – you can’t increase the greenhouse gases without something breaking.

    yet the argument against doing ANYTHING at all is that we are not able to precisely predict what will happen.

    re: your link

    when 97% of scientists agree – and the subject is climate – it’s either herd mentality or a global conspiracy… either way -we just can’t let these conniving corrupt scientists deter us from our right to denial…after all.. it’s in the Constitution and the progressives would deny us the right to deny if they could…

    ;-)

  8. Larry said (quoting Don), “You can’t increase the greenhouse gases without something breaking.”

    Larry, you don’t even understand the arguments of your own side of the GW debate. Nobody disputes that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. But everyone, including the guys on your side of the debate, acknowledge that it is a very weak greenhouse gas. Your side’s argument is that an increase in CO2 leads to a small increase in temperature, which leads to feedback effects — such as increased water vapor in the atmosphere, also a greenhouse gas; a shrinkage of the icecaps that reflect the sun, etc. — which magnify the temperature rise. Much of the scientific debate centers on those feedback mechanisms. Do they exist? How strong are they?

    If it turns out that the postulated feedback loops do not exist, then the increase in CO2, acting by itself, is trivial. Meaningless. No threat whatsoever. Therefore, in the absence of documented feedback effects, the statement that “you can’t increase the greenhouse gases without something breaking” would be totally false.

  9. Larry said (quoting Don), “You can’t increase the greenhouse gases without something breaking.”

    Larry, you don’t even understand the arguments of your own side of the GW debate. Nobody disputes that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. But everyone, including the guys on your side of the debate, acknowledge that it is a very weak greenhouse gas. ”

    not true Jim.

    “Your side’s argument is that an increase in CO2 leads to a small increase in temperature, which leads to feedback effects — such as increased water vapor in the atmosphere, also a greenhouse gas; a shrinkage of the icecaps that reflect the sun, etc. — which magnify the temperature rise. Much of the scientific debate centers on those feedback mechanisms. Do they exist? How strong are they?”

    well.. it’s not “my side” guy. there are a bunch of people with a lot of different views about what is the problem and what is the effect – just like there is when you see 20 different hurricane models and hundreds of meteorologists giving their own views of how a storm will track or not.

    what’s not really at dispute among those who are concerned is that the downstream outcome is not benign.

    we are going to see some changes. we already are. the question is how extensive they might be and how soon and what we might be able to do about it – or not.

    that’s the OPPOSITE of DENIAL.

    “If it turns out that the postulated feedback loops do not exist, then the increase in CO2, acting by itself, is trivial. Meaningless. No threat whatsoever. Therefore, in the absence of documented feedback effects, the statement that “you can’t increase the greenhouse gases without something breaking” would be totally false.”

    from an armchair scientist point of view – perhaps but science requires more than reading a few “skeptic” blogs to truly appreciate the risks.
    How can you be SO SURE guy that you KNOW? Why would you rule out ALL of it when you really do not know and cannot know ?

    the problem is that we see changes… troubling changes and we hear from 97% of scientists that these changes could be serious and should not be ignored – the very same advice we got for the Ozone Holes.

    what boggles my mind is why we believed and took the advice of scientists for the Ozone Holes but not now?

    what changed?

    we do not know the future. we cannot reliably predict the future. But we know when a hurricane pops up that it has the potential to cause widespread destruction – OR it could VEER OFF. But why would we ever DENY the potential because we can easily point at the models and show their flaws?

    this makes no sense… you have clear warnings… that things are amiss…and yet we are in denial… it’s like these fools that hold hurricane parties.

  10. Please, Larry, that “97% of all scientists” meme is totally bogus, a number concocted by a Warmist zealot with no more objectivity or credibility than, say, Rush Limbaugh. That guy made his own judgment of whether a particular scientific paper supported the man-made global warming thesis or not. Do you seriously contend that he was making an objective evaluation?

  11. pick a number Jim – but it’s a pretty large number for a variety of different sources.

    It’s the vast majority of the world’s scientists – and the opposing narrative speaks of global conspiracies – not arguments that it’s 50-50.

    Do YOU think it’s 50-50?

    what have you read in terms of the percentages?

    I’ve seen multiple sources beyond the “warmist” guy that say it’s a significant majority …

    what have you heard?

    conspiracy, herd or a significant majority?

  12. here’s a list of scientists who question global warming

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

    in the next post, I’ll provide a link to those that support it and you can decide

  13. so Jim… do you think a SOLID MAJORITY of scientists believe that Global Warming is real or do you think that it’s instead a global conspiracy or a “herding” type phenomena?

    I think back to the Ozone Holes and how many scientists dissented, pointed out model flaws, etc, and there were some but as I recall it was a similar situation with a solid majority of scientists telling us that not only was there such a thing as Ozone Holes but that if ignored could grievously harm us AND they DID recommend specific actions – which the rest of us believed – and followed.

    what has changed? were the scientists back then much different than now?

  14. Here Jim: ozone hole controversy:

    http://www.wunderground.com/resources/climate/ozone_skeptics.asp

    there’s one under wiki also

Leave a Reply