The Unmaking of "Settled Science" !

By steven d keeler | Jan 18, 2014


The biggest mystery in climate science today may have begun, unbeknownst to anybody at the time, with a subtle weakening of the tropical trade winds blowing across the Pacific Ocean in late 1997. These winds normally push sun-baked water towards Indonesia. When they slackened, the warm water sloshed back towards South America, resulting in a spectacular example of a phenomenon known as El Niño. Average global temperatures hit a record high in 1998 — and then the warming stalled.


This article tries to "shift and flavor" an argument and illustration that had been presented years ago by skeptics, an argument and illustration that had been dismissed by global warming enthusiasts. Tollefson now is linking it to Trenberth and Fasullo.  One point needs to be made right from the get go.  It appears that no one interviewed for the Nature article claimed the hiatus in surface warming was not happening. That previous article is an attempt to explain the growing differences between the model simulations and measured global average surface temperatures.  One problem with Tollefson’s article: it only discusses the hiatus in surface temperature warming. It does not address the absence of warming of the Pacific Ocean and North Atlantic to depths of 2000 meters, for the period of 2003 to 2012. Only the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans show warming to depth.

Man made greenhouse gases cannot select which ocean basins they decide to warm.

And the Tollefson article, unfortunately, offers as much misinformation as information.

The first problem, as noted above, was the article does not address the “missing heat” in the depths of the Pacific over the last decade, and that is where the heat would have to be appearing if Trenberth and Fasullo (2013) were correct.  The second problem has to do with using Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) data as a metric for the strength, frequency and duration of El Niño and La Niña events. It’s the wrong dataset.  El Niño and La Niña events are the primary focus of the article. Tollefson acknowledges this, but then he presents Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) data as the metric for El Niños and La Niñas. He’s likely taking his cue from Trenberth and Fasullo (2013) for that.  El Niño and La Niña events take place in the tropical Pacific, but the Pacific Decadal Oscillation dataset is an abstract form of sea surface temperature data derived from the extratropical North Pacific, not the tropical Pacific.

The sea surface temperatures of the North Atlantic are governed by another mode of natural variability called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation or AMO, which has been overlooked by Jeff Tollefson. The AMO is the reason why the sea surface temperatures there warmed at a much higher rate than the rest of the global oceans from the mid - 1970s to the early - 2000s. But the sea surface temperature data for the North Atlantic indicate the AMO may have already peaked. If history repeats itself, and there is no reason to believe it will not, then the sea surface temperatures of the North Atlantic will show no warming and actually cool for a few more decades, assuming the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation has, in fact, peaked.

Ask the current governor of Washington State if the "science is settled" !


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