Climate Countdown: T-Minus 5

Five more days until the next IPCC climate science report will be released.  Not only will Power Line’s climate desk analyze the expected 2,000-page document, but we’ll also begin daily pre-coverage with a note about how the IPCC is apparently struggling mightily to explain why global temperatures have flattened out over the last 15 years.  From the AP:

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Scientists working on a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling over how to address a wrinkle in the meteorological data that has given ammunition to global-warming skeptics: The heating of Earth’s surface appears to have slowed in the past 15 years even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising. . .

Scientists and statisticians have dismissed the purported slowdown as a statistical mirage, arguing among other things that it reflects random climate fluctuations and an unusually hot year picked as the starting point for charting temperatures. They also say the data suggests the “missing” heat is simply settling – temporarily – in the ocean.

There is some data to support the hypothesis of ocean warming, but nowhere near enough.  And there are the several anomalies about why the ocean–but not the air–would be absorbing all the heat.  And why the deep ocean, rather than surface waters?  One of the leading “mainstream/consensus” climate scientists told me in June that he was “certain” that ocean warming explained the pause.  I didn’t think to ask him just when or where the climate models had previously predicted that this might happen; that the temperature slowdown and ocean warming were surprises ought to tell us something.

But more important than the unresolved arguments about cause and effect, the role politics is playing is more significant just now.  Remember—the IPCC is supposed to represent the acme of scientific rectitude, but as the AP story makes clear, political factors—not science— are driving what the report is going to say this Friday in the all-important “Summary for Policy Makers” (SPM).  As this story makes clear, this is not a summary for policy makers—it is a summary for news media headline writers, determined by willful policy makers who want to justify their relentless drive to acquire more power over people and resources.  More from AP:

In a leaked June draft of the report’s summary for policymakers, the IPCC said that while the rate of warming between 1998 and 2012 was about half the average rate since 1951, the globe is still heating up. As for the apparent slowdown, it cited natural variability in the climate system, as well as cooling effects from volcanic eruptions and a downward phase in solar activity.

But in comments to the IPCC obtained by the AP, several governments that reviewed the draft objected to how the issue was tackled.

Germany called for the reference to the slowdown to be deleted, saying a time span of 10 to 15 years was misleading in the context of climate change, which is measured over decades and centuries.

The U.S. also urged the authors to include the “leading hypothesis” that the reduction in warming is linked to more heat being transferred to the deep ocean.

The Daily Mail‘s account is more direct about what’s going on:

Scientists working on the most authoritative study on climate change were urged to cover up the fact that the world’s temperature hasn’t risen for the last 15 years, it is claimed.

A leaked copy of a United Nations report, compiled by hundreds of scientists, shows politicians in Belgium, Germany, Hungary and the United States raised concerns about the final draft.  [My emphasis on politicians.]

Tune in again tomorrow for Climate Countdown: T-Minus 4

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