About the Lack of Warming…

John Nielsen-Gammon takes a look at claims that the mean surface temperature has stopped warming:

There aren’t that many full-blown El Niño events, but they seem to be following a steady upward trend. There are more La Niña events, and they too clearly follow a steady upward trend. Finally, the many neutral years also so no sign of departing from a steady upward trend. There’s enough scatter in the neutral years that if one had considered the period 1977-1987, or the period 1987-1997, one might be tempted to say that the neutral years had little or no warming. But the past decade fits nicely with the long-term upward trend of 0.16 C/decade shown by all three time series.

The spacing between the lines is a good measure of the impact of El Niño and La Niña. All else being equal, an El Niño year will average about 0.2 C warmer globally than a La Niña year. Each new La Niña year will be about as warm as an El Niño year 13 years prior.

So we see a couple of recent La Niñas have caused the recent global temperature trend to level off. But be honest: doesn’t it seem likely that, barring another major volcanic eruption, the next El Niño will cause global temperatures to break their previous record? Doesn’t it appear that whatever has caused global temperatures to rise over the past four decades is still going strong?

So about that lack of warming: Yes, it’s real. You can thank La Niña.

As for whether this means that Tyndall gases are no longer having an impact: Nice try.


  1. And now we also have the Arctic Oscillation to contend with. The British Met Office determined that the loss of Arctic sea ice and the warming Arctic ocean lie behind a radical change in polar atmospherics that, over the previous six months, brought extreme cold to Europe, cold drought to Britain and left the eastern half of North America basking in a dry, warm winter. How this will interact with the Southern Oscillation and AGW is anybody's guess at this point.

  2. All this gobbeldy-gook is not likely to convince a non-scientists. You could just say: "temperatures rose in the 80's and 90's more than expected, so its only natural for growth to taper off in the next decade." A layman would understand that.
    Moreover your analysis looks odd. ENSO is measured by temperature, so you are saying that recent trends in temperature are caused by recent trends in temperature. Of course they are.

  3. ENSO is traditionally measured by the pressure anomaly difference between Darwin, Australia and Tahiti. A number of other related indices now exist. None is based on global temperature.

    As for convincing people, unlike the opposition we are constrained somewhat by actual truth, which is sometimes more complex than we'd like.

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