One thing that CAGW sceptics and alarmists seem to agree on is that, as both sides say, ‘weather is not climate’. Each camp trots out that line whenever the other cites a particularly hot or cold spell to support its position. And whilst the aphorism is true in general, its power in the hands of alarmists is waning — a case study in the law of diminishing. I’ll return to this point later.
At about this time last year and the year before, Gavin Schmidt, the soon to-be-redundant, number-crunching head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a catastropharian nonpareil, revealed his agency’s very elastic global surface temperature record. This is always accompanied by the gleefully morose warning ‘this year is likely to be the hottest ever recorded’. Under his watchful eye and, it must be said, his hand (or is it merely a thumb on the scale?), so it proven to be.
Here’s how it played out in 2014. On January 16, 2015, NASA GISS issued a statement jointly with NOAA NCDC announcing that 2014 was the ‘warmest year in the modern record’. As there is no shortage of scientifically semi-illiterate and terminally credulous reporters, this was trumpeted by the global media as yet further “proof” the planet was speeding toward its sweaty death throes. However, on closer examination, it turned out that 2014 beat the previous record (2010) by a mere 0.02C, well within the margin of error of 0.10C. Schmidt later conceded that they were only 38% certain that 2014 was, after all, a record. You can read all about this from a number of sources, but why not use the one least likely to call out any irregularities on the part of true ‘climate scientists’? That would be the ABC, in other words. the ABC.
Gavin must have learned his lesson because 2015 presented a different story. Here’s how this one was reported by Climate Central, benignly described described by Wikipedia as a “non-profit news organization that analyzes and reports on climate science” but, as the casual visitor to its website will discern at a glance, a bottomless pit of warmist alarmism.
2015 Shatters Hottest Year Mark; 2016 Hot on its Heels?
It’s official: 2015 was the hottest year on record, beating out 2014 by the widest margin in 136 years of record keeping, U.S. government agencies announced Wednesday.
The year’s incredible heat serves as a stark reminder of how much the Earth’s temperature has risen due to the steady build-up of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities like power generation, transportation and clear cutting of forests. That temperature reached the point in 2015 where it was 1°C (1.8°F) above that of the late 19th century at the same time as carbon dioxide levels likely permanently rose above 400 parts per million.
“2015 was remarkable even in the context of the larger, long-term warming trend,” Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in a statement.
Both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that 2015 easily took over the top spot from 2014.
So the difference between 2014 and 2015 was a whopping 0.13C, just outside the margin for error. What all this means is that 2015 could have been cooler than 2014 by 0.03C or hotter by 0.23C.
Well here we are at the end of November, 2016, and Schmidt is yet to produce his annual alarm that things have never been hotter, the need for more funding and research never more urgent and the need for places to hide from well-versed sceptics beyond urgent. Perhaps he is busy sending out resumes. But let us give Schmidt the benefit of the doubt. Sooner or later, as sure as the sun comes up tomorrow, he will be swearing blind that “the science” leaves no doubt 2016 has been the all-new and improved ‘hottest ever’. But at a local level what do we see?
I spent the last week in October in Adelaide. It was cold. I have just returned from a couple of weeks in Perth and surrounding districts, including Kalgoorlie. On a number of occasions we had the heater on at night and never felt tempted to go for a swim. This was a direct contrast with the same time the previous year. In fact, the southern corner of Western Australia had its coldest spring for many years. It’s been much the same around here in Kiama, where I live. My Quadrant Online editor in Melbourne has been likewise shivering, his heater working overtime to the delight of the household cat and his power supplier. From further afield I hear that Tokyo had November snow for the first time since 1962.
This is where I say, where’s all that global warming? To which the alarmist will reply, you guessed it, ‘weather is not climate’. The problem for your parroting alarmist is that the more the weather refuses to confirm doom-laden prognostications of catastrophic warming, the weaker becomes the ‘weather is not climate’ defence. Sure, Age and Sydney Morning Herald reporters will still believe it, but that is to be expected from two of Australian journalism’s most conspicuous sheltered workshops.
Catastrophic warming, as opposed to beneficial warming bestowed by an increase in growth-promoting atmospheric CO2, is premised upon a putative amplification of normal warming above some idealised norm. Amplification should be agnostic. Warming that occurs naturally through regular El Nino events should be just as amplified as CO2-induced warming. For the outcome to be catastrophic warming, each year should be noticeably hotter than the last, not hotter just around the margins. That hasn’t happened for almost 20 years.
And even as I write, the satellite temperature data shows ‘the steepest drop in global temperature on record’ — steeper than the crash following the intense 1998 El Nino, up to then the most severe of the recorded era. If there is an amplification effect, why hasn’t it kicked in? The years 2010, 2014 and 2015 were not noticeably hotter than each other but, at least from my experience, the latter part of 2016 was noticeably colder than last year.
The alarmist workaround for this inconvenient truth is that the “missing” heat has hidden itself in the lower ocean. And if it is not hiding in the briny deep, well then it must be manifesting itself as an increased incidence of that extreme weather we keep being told is everywhere and growing, especially when news of bushfires fills the front pages. The problem with this scenario is that if CAGW is predicated on additional heat being trapped in the atmosphere then, before it wreaks havoc with rising sea levels or extreme weather, it must first appear as additional heat in the atmosphere. And the radiosonde record clearly shows that it hasn’t.
President-elect Donald Trump has branded global warming a gigantic hoax. Wouldn’t it be nice if members of the Turnbull government tapped reserves of intestinal fortitude, aired their private doubts and did likewise — perhaps by alerting the Victorian government that there will be funding consequences if it persists with plans to shut down a brown-coal generator that supplies better than 20% of the state’s electricity.
Yes, I know, with this lot it is simply too much to hope for. Sigh.