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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Has Anthony Watts just declared he now rejects AGW?

Sou | 11:21 AM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

I'm not sure what to make of this, but I think it means that Anthony Watts has finally fallen off the cliff into utter nuttery.  Seriously.  He himself.

He's been tending that way for a while now.  Despite some vague arm-waving about how he won't let slayers who don't accept physics on his blog, he has been publishing their articles and now is down to a mere handful of utter nutters like Christopher Monckton (birther, curer of AIDS) and Tim Ball (author of the slayers book).

The evidence

Today he writes about a new paper about the role of the eastern equatorial Pacific in recent surface temperatures and writes:
This has important implications for IPCC’s upcoming AR5 report, where they will attempt to give attribution to the warming, which now looks more and more like a natural cycle. See updates below.  – Anthony
Is Anthony Watts saying that he now thinks that global warming is a "natural cycle"?  Or was he just being careless with words and writing that he now accepts climate models and that this one shows the role of the oceans in global surface temperature?  I've archived the WUWT blog article here.

I'll let you know if there's any more info.

I don't have time to write about the paper itself.  If you like you can comment on it.  I'll be back later.  Oh, I should point out that the paper in no way rejects AGW, as if I needed to write that!

Kosaka and Xie Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling, Nature (2013) doi:10.1038/nature12534
Despite the continued increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the annual-mean global temperature has not risen in the twenty-first century1, 2, challenging the prevailing view that anthropogenic forcing causes climate warming. Various mechanisms have been proposed for this hiatus in global warming3, 4, 5, 6, but their relative importance has not been quantified, hampering observational estimates of climate sensitivity.
Here we show that accounting for recent cooling in the eastern equatorial Pacific reconciles climate simulations and observations. We present a novel method of uncovering mechanisms for global temperature change by prescribing, in addition to radiative forcing, the observed history of sea surface temperature over the central to eastern tropical Pacific in a climate model. Although the surface temperature prescription is limited to only 8.2% of the global surface, our model reproduces the annual-mean global temperature remarkably well with correlation coefficient r = 0.97 for 1970–2012 (which includes the current hiatus and a period of accelerated global warming). Moreover, our simulation captures major seasonal and regional characteristics of the hiatus, including the intensified Walker circulation, the winter cooling in northwestern North America and the prolonged drought in the southern USA.
Our results show that the current hiatus is part of natural climate variability, tied specifically to a La-Niña-like decadal cooling. Although similar decadal hiatus events may occur in the future, the multi-decadal warming trend is very likely to continue with greenhouse gas increase.


  1. Yeah, the paper suggests that the Pacific cycle can account for perhaps 0.1°C of the 0.7°C global surface warming since 1950...

  2. But Judith Curry is CROWING about how this completely vindicates he gut feeling that natural cycles maybe mean that less than 50% of ACC is due to CO2 and that therefore she has bee RIGHT ALL ALONG and all the consensus people have just ignored uncertainty and now she finally has proof that she is better than they are.
    Funny because my take on reading what she posted was pretty much the same as yours

  3. Watts describes it as a "Mind blowing paper" after noticing that Judith Curry had stated "My mind has been blown by a new paper ..."

    All that "mind blowing" could explain quite a bit. A wonder if he hears rattles when he shakes his head? :-)

  4. . . . And that heat is going into deeper layers of the oceans for the most part... right?

    And ocean warming isn't the coolest thing either... right?

  5. More in the Scripps press release:

    "When the climate cycle that governs that ocean cooling reverses and begins warming again, the researchers predict that the planet-wide march toward higher temperatures will resume with vigor. The study does not consider when the reversal might happen, but it brings scientists closer to understanding how to look for signs of it."

  6. To be blunt I think that the paper suffers from poor editing.

    The term "hiatus" as used implies a physical pause in the warming of the planet, but all it really is is a statistical variation in the overall surface temperature trajectory - one that results from the complex interaction of physical phenomena. There remains, however, a similarly physical top-of-atmosphere energy imbalance and hence heat content below is still increasing, irrespective of whether it is masked in the surface temperature record by the interaction of heat-transporting phenomena.

    The Earth is still acquiring heat, that hasn't stopped: there is no "hiatus" there. It's warming, just not uniformly. The 'greenhouse' effect is still carrying on as usual, and humans are still increasing its action be continuing to emit carbon dioxide.

    The La Niña shunting of heat away from the surface might be flattening the surface temperature record, but this is not the same as saying that there is a "hiatus".

    A good editor (or reviewer) would have asked for a better phrasing, such as "decreased accumulation of surface heat" or "masking in the surface temperature record of unabated planetary heat accumulation". As it stands the paper is open to serious misinterpretation, amongst them being Curry's unprofessional ejaculations.

    Bernard J.

    1. I have to agree with you here, although it is hardly alone in that. But I sometimes find myself wishing - as now - that the authors of studies which they must surely know may be misrepresented took extra care over their final draft.


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