AGW True Believers Debunk NOAA’s Pause-denying Research

Published March 4, 2016

Climate Change Weekly #205

The old saying, “even a broken clock is right twice a day,” came to mind recently when I read that a team of researchers, including noted doyen of the climate alarmists set, Michael Mann, has a new study in Nature Climate Change debunking the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) recent claim there has been no extended pause in rising global temperature.

While every other global data set shows a 15- to 18-year hiatus in rising temperature, in a controversial June 2015 study in Science, NOAA claimed the hiatus never occurred. NOAA’s claim always reminded me of a bit from an episode of the BBC series “Black Adder.” In the episode, Black Adder, on a ship hopelessly lost at sea, confronts the Captain:

Black Adder: Look, there’s no need to panic. Someone in the crew will know how to steer this thing.
Captain: The crew, milord?
Black Adder: Yes, the crew.
Captain: What crew?
Black Adder: I was under the impression that it was common maritime practice for a ship to have a crew.
Captain: Opinion is divided on the subject, milord.
Black Adder: Oh, really?
Captain: All the other captains say it is; I say it isn’t.

As noted by Reason‘s Ronald Bailey, Mann crowed about NOAA’s study when it was first published :

Just out in Science is a new article by Tom Karl of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center and colleagues driving another stake through the heart of the supposed “hiatus” or “pause,” i.e. what I like to call the “Faux Pause.” I expect this article will be attacked by climate change deniers who are unhappy to see the demise of a narrative they helped frame. …

It is with no small degree of surprise for myself (and maybe for Mann himself) to find Mann among the group of scientists debunking NOAA’s claim. The new paper’s abstract states:

It has been claimed that the early-2000s global warming slowdown or hiatus, characterized by a reduced rate of global surface warming, has been overstated, lacks sound scientific basis, or is unsupported by observations. The evidence presented here contradicts these claims.

Nature News quotes the lead author of the study, John Fyfe, of Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis, saying “There is this mismatch between what the climate models are producing and what the observations are showing. We can’t ignore it.”

Expanding on Fyfe’s statement, co-author Ed Hawkins of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of Reading, says, “Overall, there is compelling evidence that there has been a temporary slowdown in observed global surface warming, especially when examined relative to our expectations …”

Note Hawkins’ claim the slowdown is temporary. Why such confidence the warming will commence again? It seems despite their research debunking the notion temperatures have risen as predicted by climate models, the authors remain firmly rooted in the climate alarmist camp. They still can’t explain the hiatus, but they are confident the extended period of stable temperatures during a period of rising carbon dioxide emissions in no way undermines the theory rising carbon dioxide levels lead to warming temperatures.

Bailey asked the question I have often asked when debating climate alarmists concerning the consistent mismatch between model temperature projections and actual temperature measurements; between model-generated predictions of increased species losses, crop failures, droughts, hurricanes, floods, and weather-related deaths, and the evidence none of these things has occurred: “At what point do the models and projections of catastrophic warming get called into question by mainstream researchers?”

The answer, as far as I can tell, is never. The theory of human-caused climate disaster is religion (for some), a money-generating scheme (for others) and, for most, a means of imposing upon a recalcitrant, unrepentant, and uncooperative public the alarmist vision of how people ought to live.

— H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: Nature News and Reason


Science Committee chairman Smith expands NOAA investigationMolten salt reactor could boost nuclear power’s fortunesParis climate deal won’t dent temperaturesDecade of failed dire polar bear predictions


U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, is expanding the scope of his investigation into NOAA’s research claiming there has been no hiatus in warming temperatures. He cited the “slow pace and limited scope” of NOAA’s response to the committee’s October 2015 subpoena for documents related to that research. NOAA has provided more than 300 pages of e-mails and other documents produced by political appointees and by NOAA’s director of communications, but the agency refuses to hand over records of its internal scientific deliberations.

In his letter notifying NOAA of the expanded probe Smith writes, “The speed with which NOAA has conducted these searches and produced documents creates the perception that the Agency is deliberately attempting to impede and hinder the Committee’s oversight.” Originally focused on whether NOAA’s research satisfies the high standards required by the 2001 Data Quality Act to “ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information, including statistical information,” the House committee probe now asks to what extent, if any, the Obama administration and NOAA are collaborating to manipulate research in order to push the political agenda of fighting climate change.

NOAA issued a press release touting its “no pause” finding just as EPA launched its controversial Clean Power Plan and as the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris was looming. Were any Obama administration officials communicating with NOAA about the substance or timing of the study and press statements prior to issuing them? Smith hopes to find out.

“It’s perfectly reasonable for the committee to have oversight over any sort of political influence over the science,” the journal Nature quotes Michael Halpern, program manager for the UCS Center for Science and Democracy, as saying.

SOURCES: Nature and Fox News


The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $40 million grant to Southern Co., which co-owns and operates six nuclear reactors facilities in Alabama and Georgia, to develop Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs). The full $40 million is not guaranteed but rather will be paid out over time if DOE is satisfied with the project’s progress at various stages. In an MSR, the nuclear fuel is immediately dissolved in salt and continuously circulated, creating non-stop fission. In contrast to conventional nuclear reactors, which use only about 3 percent of the nuclear fuel, MSRs use almost all of the nuclear material, producing far less spent nuclear fuel. The spent material left over from an MSR is substantially less radioactive than conventional spent nuclear fuel, requiring safe storage for only a few hundred rather than 10,000 years. MSRs have an additional characteristic that promises to prevent Fukushima-style incidents, since the salt in which the fuel is mixed keeps it cool even if the reactor shuts down.

Erich Schneider, an associate professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers with whom he collaborates, say the safety characteristics of MSRs make them considerably less expensive to build than conventional reactors, resulting in electric power produced at lower costs than even natural gas- fired power. Schneider foresees a day when MSRs would replace natural gas as the dominant partner of variable, intermittent, renewable sources of electricity like wind and solar power, cutting carbon dioxide emissions to near zero from electric power operations.

SOURCES: Energy Biz and Grand Forks Herald


Danish researcher Björn Lomborg says the commitments countries made in Paris to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will fall far short of the goal of keeping temperature increases well below 2°C over the next century. Even if carbon dioxide has a direct effect on temperature and all commitments are met, Lomborg calculates the deal’s 2016–2030 carbon-dioxide-cutting promises will reduce temperatures by just 0.05°C by 2100. Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus on Climate project finds the best long-term strategy for reducing the threats of climate change is to end green energy production subsidies for wind and solar power and instead dramatically increase investment in green R&D. In the short term, Lomborg says the world needs to embrace fracking to produce and use more natural gas to generate electricity.



Polar bear researcher Susan Crockford of the University of Victoria, British Columbia, has assembled a list of 10 dire –and failed – polar bear predictions. Despite grim predictions, the global polar bear population appears to be stable or growing with as many as 31,000 bears in existence. Crockford notes, “while polar bears may be negatively affected by declines in sea ice sometime in the future, so far there is no convincing evidence that any unnatural harm has come to them.”

One prediction shown false is polar bears in the Chukchi Sea will be harmed by summer sea ice declines. A recent study of Chukchi bears found them to be fatter and healthier now than they were in the 1980s when there was more ice over longer periods. The bears in the region were also reproducing well. There have been no confirmed reports of polar bear drowning deaths since the single event in 2004 that sparked concern for bears, although two of the lowest extents of summer sea ice occurred in 2007 and 2012. Crockford also disproves the prediction summer sea ice would consistently and rapidly decline as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise. Carbon dioxide levels have risen but there has been no declining trend in sea ice in the arctic region since 2007.

Crockford concludes, “Polar bears are not fragile canaries in an Arctic climate-change coal mine but resilient and adaptable predators remarkably suited to their highly variable habitat.”

SOURCE: Polar Bear Science

The Climate Change Weekly Newsletter has been moved to Please check there for future updates!