Apparent pause in global warming blamed on 'lousy' data

coastal_flooding_homepageEuropean Space Agency scientist says annual sea level rises since 1993 indicate that warming has continued unabated

By: Stuart Clark

A widely reported “pause” in global warming may be an artefact of scientists looking at the wrong data, says a climate scientist at theEuropean Space Agency.

Global average sea surface temperatures rose rapidly from the 1970s but have been relatively flat for the past 15 years. This has prompted speculation from some quarters that global warming has stalled.

Now, Stephen Briggs from the European Space Agency’s Directorate of Earth Observation says that sea surface temperature data is the worst indicator of global climate that can be used, describing it as “lousy”.

“It is like looking at the last hair on the tail of a dog and trying to decide what breed it is,” he said on Friday at the Royal Society in London.

Climate scientists have been arguing for some time that the lack of warming of the sea surface is due to most of the extra heat being taken up by the deep ocean. A better measure, he said, was to look at the average rise in sea levels. The oceans store the vast majority of the climate’s heat energy. Increases in this stored energy translate into sea level rises.

Read the rest at The Guardian UK

25 Responses to Apparent pause in global warming blamed on 'lousy' data

  1. Neilio June 15, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    This is a fascinating article on several items of interest to me. The one that pops out the most is that it admits that CGM’s (Global Circulation Models, or Computer Models) have been getting it wrong all along. Which verifies, validates, and vindicates what I’ve been saying about computer models and their parameters all along.
    Another is that this article basically says that everything we’ve been told about how global warming works is wrong. Granted it doesn’t come out and say it, but I think that is the unintentional point of it. I mean, I thought it was CO2 trapping heat in the atmosphere warming us up like a fever! But wait, wait… no. It’s the oceans absorbing and, somehow eluding the laws of thermodynamics, retaining all that heat and making the oceans expand causing sea levels to rise 3mm a year! Yeah, that’s it! That’s globalwarmingclimatechangedisruption continuing unabated! Send me some grant money!

    • johnC. June 16, 2014 at 8:07 am #

      Sea level experts point out that rising sea levels change the diameter of the earth and change its rotational speed in the same fashion that a figure skater slows a spin by extending the arms. No unusual change in rotational speed has been observed. Ergo, sea levels are not changing in any unisual way. This is fundamental, readily measurable and not subject to the fudging found in tide guages and satellite measurements. A more fruitful line of research would be to determine why the fudge factors are so inconsistent and so often leading to contradictory conclusions.

      • Neilio June 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

        That is an excellent point. I think sea level measurements are unreliable at best due to the fact that the measuring stations are not vertically static. The land experiences changes in altitude due to isostatic rebound, and tectonic movement, not to mention the fact that the Earth’s crust is floating on a molten mantle. My personal feeling is that we can’t really even say if the ocean levels are changing at all without knowing how much, and in which direction, the land the measurements are taken from have moved.

      • JB June 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

        What sea-level experts? Do you have any data to back up your argument? (I’m not patronizing you, I would actually like to see the results)

        Sure, the Earth is 70% covered with water, but water still represents a very small percentage of the Earth’s mass.

        Also, your spinning-skater argument isn’t exactly on point either because, unlike in that example, energy is being added to the system. Increased energy could allow a free body spinning in a vacuum to retain a constant angular velocity even as its mass moves away from its center.

        • jimswed June 22, 2014 at 9:14 am #

          JB-your argument that energy added to a free body spinning is only correct if that heat energy can be converted to mechanical motion to aid the spinning. heating up the spinning object does not change its rotational velocity in any way it just makes it a warmer object spinning at the same speed. So exactly what mechanisms would convert the heat energy into motion energy? Please be specific.

          • Neilio June 22, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

            He’s talking about conservation of angular energy. But the analogy is of the Earth like a spinning skater. If the oceans rise then the Earth should slow down, and if the oceans subside then the Earth should spin faster just like a skater moving her arms in and out. I’m not a scientist but I even get that! I don’t know how much that is an actual effect on the Earth’s rotational period but I know the effect is real. If you sit in a chair that spins, and spin yourself with your arms held outward, then draw your arms inward, you’ll spin faster. Go ahead and give it a try, it’s fun! Whoooooohooooo! Uh oh, now I’m dizzy.

          • Hamin' X June 22, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

            I’m actually replying to Neil’s comment below, but since there is no reply button below his post, I’ll put it here.

            It would seem that your logic is backwards from reality, Neil. I think that as the oceans rise, the earth’s rotation should speed up. Think about it: The oceans rise because of melting ice, which is residing above sea level. As the ice melts, the water flows down to the ocean.


          • Neilio June 22, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

            I see what you’re saying. But most of that ice is at the poles which is basically close to the axis of the spin which would have a diminished effect on the conservation of angular energy, whereas the oceans raising or lowering would have a greater effect because it would raise or lower the level at the areas of the globe that are the farthest away from the axis. But John C’s comment was not about melting ice. He was referring to the story where the scientist is saying the oceans are rising due to thermal expansion, and that is evidence of this whacked out, last gasp, theory they have about all the missing heat being trapped in the ocean depths.
            But I think John C’s comment was tongue-in-cheek and the ocean levels would have to raise or lower significantly, on the order of 100’s of feet worldwide, in order to have an effect on the rotational speed of the Earth. But What do I know? I’m not a scientist.
            (I edited this 6/23. It read “JB’s comment.” I meant John C’s comment. Woops!)

          • Neilio June 23, 2014 at 9:36 am #

            I did a little experiment. I sat in my desk chair and got spinning as fast as I could with my arms extended outward. Then I raised my arms extended out over my head. The effect was the same as pulling my arms into my sides, I spun faster. It seems that it does not matter where the mass is vertically in relation to the axis, it only matters that the mass is extended, or drawn horizontally to the axis. So melting the ice at the poles would only move mass vertically, or pretty much vertically, in relation to the axis and would have little effect on the rotational speed. Whereas the same amount of mass being moved an equal distance horizontally to the axis would have a greater effect. So with all due respect, I think my logic was not backwards. I still think that the amount the oceans have risen in the last 1000 years is probably negligible, or within the margin of error for any instruments designed to measure Earth’s rotation. In other words it is probably so small that we can’t measure it. (And Feister bemoans the fact that I am not a climate scientist. Tell me I’m wrong on the science of this Feister.)

          • Hamin' X June 22, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

            Well, make that the comment above.

          • Hamin' X June 23, 2014 at 11:36 am #

            You are probably right, as I did not consider that most of the ice is concentrated around the poles.

          • Neilio June 23, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

            Well, there is Greenland, and the farther south you go the more of an effect there could be. But, like I said, I don’t think it is actually affecting the Earth’s rotation given the mass of the Earth. I think you would have to raise sea levels quite a bit in order to see even a small effect. So this whole thing is really just a little bit of fun.

        • NEILIO June 25, 2014 at 5:22 am #

          Why would it matter if a spinning mass was in a vacuum or not? I think you are wrong about that. If the Earth had arms and she placed them outstretched horizontally to the axis of spin she would slow down vacuum or not. I still think, however, that ocean levels would have to raise, or lower an incredible amount to affect the Earth’s rotation.

    • JB June 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm #


      You are drawing wrong conclusions from the article. CO2 converts radiant energy (light) into kinetic energy (heat). After that, the energy is free to transfer to any substance it encounters, including water.

      The article is about figuring out how to best measure the average temperature of the Earth – not an easy task. Should you measure it at the surface? Deep underneath? In the atmosphere?

      The oceans aren’t evading any laws of thermodynamics by retaining heat because more energy is constantly being added to the ecosystem by the sun.

      Now, I’m not saying that we are in immediate danger, but I am willing to admit that it’s possible and the statistics are frightening.

      • Neilio June 16, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

        Sorry, I know you’re trying to sound all smart and stuff, and I’m sure you think you are, but heat is not kinetic energy. I’m in heating and AC so I know these things, it’s my job to know this, heat energy propagates three ways, 1. radiation, 2. convection, and 3. conduction. The one that I think you mean is convection, that’s the one where warm air rises and it carries the heat along with it. Kinetic energy is the energy of an object in motion, like a pool ball hitting another and transferring its kinetic energy. Heat/energy is not an object. Heat is the transfer of energy from one body to another as a result of a difference in temperature, or a change of phase. I think you are drawing from the analogy of billiard balls describing how the greenhouse effect works. I have heard that before and it is a flawed analogy.
        Heat transfers through fluid via convection, and only convection. There is some conduction at the surface from the atmosphere, and there is some radiative heating at, and just below the surface, but that heat will only transfer through the water itself through convection. That is scientific fact. Now that we have established that, let me ask you. How, do you suppose, the heat from the surface, which by the way it says in the story that the surface temperatures have remained flat for 20 years, has made its way down to the depths below which we can’t measure the temperature? If the only way for the heat to transfer to the rest of the ocean is convection, and heat rises in convection currents, how does the heat stay down there? It can’t! By its very nature heat has to move! It can’t stay in one place for long periods of time. This whole theory of the oceans retaining heat is the last gasp of breath for the whole globalwarmingclimatechangedisruption theory. And you know it.

        • Fietser June 22, 2014 at 3:54 am #

          You’re in heating and AC’s. So you’re not a climate scientist. Well, that figures.

          • Neilio June 22, 2014 at 9:05 am #

            Never said I was a scientist. And you’re in what? School? Which means you know nothing about anything except for studying materials that you are given in your classes, and taking tests on how well you’ve learned the materials given to you in your classes. School is not where you learn things. School is where you are prepared to begin learning things. And only fools assume that everything that is being taught in school is the truth. Because I can assure you it is not all truth, and you are thinking exactly what you are told to think. You sound like an obedient little drone for the global warming elitists. Quoting, verbatim, the propaganda that has been force fed to you your entire life. I feel sorry for you.

  2. L. E. Deaux June 16, 2014 at 12:29 am #

    Oceans have significantly more to do with climate than land by vurtue of their size (70% of the earth’s surface, and then Land contributes to the realities of climate based on the shape, size and locations of continents. But the single biggest factor is Cosmological. The sun drags the earth on it’s journey around the galaxy in and out of gas and dust clouds, and it also varies with respect to the amount of energy it emits. All this added to cosmic encounters (catastrophes) and minor changes that produce various wobbles in the earth and sun rotations relative to each other all factor into climate.

    CO2 has almost nothing to do with climate. Just do the math. So what if CO2 has increased by 33% in 100 years and had not done that in the last several hundred thousand years. It HAD DONE IT in the more distant past. It has done it several times in the last 35 million years since the earth cooled down considerably and the earth began having polar ice caps and regular/cyclical ice ages. Mathematically, I could easily prove that H2O is the really significant mover and shaker of global climate, but that is for another time and post I suppose.

    Suffice to say, CO2 is NOT driving climate change. There simply is no physics that can cause it except in a controlled laboratory, not an enormous and significantly more open system filled with responsive botanical moderators that increase over time in order to equalize the temporary but rapid increase in CO2. Basically, the earth will get greener over time.

    The models are just that, models! H They are human contrived scenarios used as predictors, prophecies being spit out of machines that manipulate human interpretations of data points. They are not fact, but tower shapoed crystal balls and little more. Their output is completely dependent on the weighted value placed on assumptive data.

    Here is what we do know from real actual greenhouses used to create real actual greenhouse conditions. Though frankly a warmer, the wetter earth would be better than the present as deserts would decline and mid latitudes green up. Major storms such as typhoons and hurricanes would likely decrease (not increase). They cannot form with a higher Tropospheric wind shear that results from the slightest expansion of the upper atmosphere post heating of a few degrees.

    Ice ages are long, around 100,000 years each, while these interglacial are 10-15,000 years long….significantly shorter, and we are running rapidly towards the end of the current one. Where will the MARXIST LEFT be when the earth begins the rapid 150 to 300 year plunge into the dark cold world of advancing ice and 6 month winters in New York City? THAT’s the climate model everyone should be concerned about.

    • JB June 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

      Please do the math, I am curious.

      Even assuming that water is a bigger driver of climate change, that doesn’t mean CO2 can’t have an effect as well. Big changes in the ecosystem can happen with slight changes in temperature, and global temperature has historically varied directly with CO2 levels from the data that I have seen. Also, it’s true that CO2 levels have been this high in the past, but the change happens really gradually. The math says CO2 varies by about 100 parts per million every hundred thousand years or so. We’ve gone up by more than that amount in the last ONE hundred years. I’m no expert, but I would guess that it is better for the Earth to have more time to correct for that kind of change.

      You could be right that a warmer, wetter climate is better. Maybe it was better at one time, but will today’s species of fish and wildlife have time to adapt? Hopefully things will get better, but the consequence of being wrong is our annihilation.

      You seem like a smart guy, and you probably have a lot to say about climate change, but I would like to see the science behind it. I came to this site looking for information, but all I’ve seen so far are conclusions backed up with more conclusory statements or bad data. I am honestly looking for the other side of the argument, but so far I’m not finding it here. Also, what does Marxism have to do with climate change?

      • Neilio June 22, 2014 at 9:18 am #

        graphCO2 recordI’d like to respond to you but I don’t know what your sources are for the “math” you talk about. where do you get CO2 varies by about 100 parts per million every hundred thousand years or so? Because that is not what I see in the charts above. With all due respect to your precious math, 1+1 does not =3.

  3. Rob N. Hood June 19, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    This April was the second-warmest April on record globally, and marked the 350th month in a row (29 years and counting) that saw above-average temperatures.

    Temperatures continue to rise across the planet.

    In Australia, the last two years have been the hottest ever recorded, and there’s no sign that the heat wave is going to stop any time soon, according to a recently released report. According to data compiled by Australia’s Climate Council, the period from May 2012 to April 2014 was the hottest 24-month period ever recorded in the country, and the trend is increasing.

    New NOAA data shows that this past April tied 2010’s April as the hottest April since recordkeeping began, and Tropical Cyclone Amanda in the Pacific was the strongest May hurricane ever recorded.

    • Neilio June 19, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      Ok, what is your source(s) for these statistics? I find these numbers dubious at best. I think you might be making it up. The line about 350 months in a row that saw above average temperatures I was wondering if those same months had any below average temperatures? And what is the baseline for the average? That is just inane. You do know that an average is just taking a certain number of readings, adding them together then dividing by the number of readings. Of course there will be above average temps, and below average temps too! It’s an average!That is so stupid I forgot to laugh. What are you reading?

  4. Fietser June 22, 2014 at 3:49 am #

    What pause??? Oh wait, let’s cherry pick on the biggest El Nino of the century. Not one year before or not one year after but exactly on that year. Have fun with it until the next super El Nino as that will illustrate one thing, there is no pause. Averaging out the last 20 years shows the same. Duh!

  5. ScottinVA October 20, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    “It is like looking at the last hair on the tail of a dog and trying to decide what breed it is,”

    Sort of sums up the whole “global warming” scam, no?

  6. DNA December 2, 2015 at 6:35 am #

    If scientists may be looking at the wrong data with regards to the pause then what’s saying the data they’re looking at which conjured up this global warming scenario is infallible?

    Are these scientists the new Gid’s whom we must bow Fien and worship without question?

    Sorry but I only believe in one God. Science is not a perfect science as man can always make errors of judgement

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