Nothing provokes a tantrum from the climate campaign quicker than pointing out that global temperatures flattened out after 1998, following a two-decade period of more or less steady increase of about 0.4 degrees Celsius. A couple years of temperature variability would be consistent with the General Theory of the Apocalypse, but a whole decade of flat temps starts to cause problems for the Narrative. Hence, the climate campaign has been in “denialist” mode about this anomaly, and keeps saying “hottest year ever” as often as they can, conveniently noting that the current decade represents a plateau in temperatures, while the models say that on a decadal scale temperature should continue to rise steadily.
Comes now the National Academy of Sciences, which yesterday published a new paper that sets out to explain “why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008.” Apparently the NAS didn’t get the memo from the Center for American Progress that we’re not supposed to acknowledge that global warming has not happened over the last decade.
But not to worry. The NAS has it covered. As the rest of the abstract explains:
We find that this hiatus in warming coincides with a period of little increase in the sum of anthropogenic and natural forcings. Declining solar insolation as part of a normal eleven-year cycle, and a cyclical change from an El Nino to a La Nina dominate our measure of anthropogenic effects because rapid growth in short-lived sulfur emissions partially offsets rising greenhouse gas concentrations. As such, we find that recent global temperature records are consistent with the existing understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors with well known warming and cooling effects.
Translation: China is saving us with their soaring emissions from coal use (sulfur dioxide particles reflect solar radiation). The effect of sulfur dioxide particles, and other atmospheric phenomena (including clouds) is a matter of huge uncertainty in the official climate models the UN employs, but I’ve seen at least one prominent alarmist scientist make a case that sulfur dioxide emissions amplify warming, so this is another good example of the climate campaign unable to keep its story straight. But a couple other items from the article provoke wry smiles as well, especially the fragment about “declining solar isolation.” The warmenists have for years furiously denounced the idea that fluctuations in solar activity have much to do with temperature variation on earth, and solar “forcings” are given a very tiny weight in the formal climate models. But here it’s listed as an excuse for the missing warming.
Just another example of the endlessly shape-shifting, non-falsifiable world of politicized climate science.
P.S. If you want to get a grasp of China’s coal-fired emissions, I’ve done the following motion graphic of China’s coal production from 1980 and projected out to 2035 by the International Energy Agency. Looks like the Chinese are already practicing de facto geoengineering, and will be for a long time to come.