Coming Soon to Climate Change: The “Rewind” Button?

As is well known—except to readers of the major media, which means most of the public—someone hit the “pause” button on global warming about 15 years back. We’ve covered some of the theories behind the pause several times here on Power Line (this post is the most recent, with links to the previous installments), including the leading theory that the “missing heat” is not missing at all, but is going into the deep ocean.

Never mind that climate orthodoxy told us incessantly that it was the atmosphere we could expect to warm up rapidly (settled? did you say settled?) or that the deep ocean theory was highly convenient because we lack enough data with which to validate it. It keeps the climatista camp stoves burning (so to speak), which is the important thing.

Some evidence to support the deep ocean hypothesis is dribbling in, such as in Science magazine this week, but with the caveat that the “pause” may last another decade or longer. Here’s how The Telegraph reports the story:

The “pause” in global warming may last another decade before surface temperatures start rising again, according to scientists who say heat is being stored in the depths of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans.

Global average surface temperatures rose rapidly from the 1970s but have been relatively stable since the late 1990s, in a trend that has been seized upon by climate sceptics who question the science of man-made warming.

A new study, published in the journal Science, suggests that a natural cycle of ocean currents has caused the phenomenon by drawing heat from shallow waters down almost a mile into the depths of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans.

The cycle naturally produces periods of roughly 30 years in which heat is stored near the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, leading to warmer temperatures, followed by roughly 30 years in which it is stored in the depths, causing cooler surface temperatures, it suggests.

Well okay then. Oscillations in ocean behavior? Who would’ve thunk it? Actually Mark Steyn did thunk it:

I felt vaguely that I’d read about this climate cycle – natural variability, 30-year cooling periods, 30-year warming periods – somewhere before …oh, years ago, it was. But for the life of me I couldn’t recall which eminent climate scientist had advanced the proposition. And then I remembered. It was IPCC lead author, Nobel Laureate and Fellow of the Royal Society Professor Mark Steyn just over five years ago:

If you mean the argument on “global warming,” my general line is this: For the last century, we’ve had ever-so-slight warming trends and ever-so-slight cooling trends every 30 years or so, and I don’t think either are anything worth collapsing the global economy over.

Things warmed up a bit in the decades before the late Thirties. Why? I dunno. The Versailles Treaty? The Charleston?

Then from 1940 to 1970 there was a slight cooling trend. In its wake, Lowell Ponte (who I believe is an expert climatologist and, therefore, should have been heeded) wrote his bestseller, The Cooling: Has the new ice age already begun? Can we survive?

From 1970 to 1998 there was a slight warming trend, and now there’s a slight cooling trend again. And I’m not fussed about it either way.

I’m tempted to start making book on when we’ll stop hearing about the global warming “pause” button being pushed, and when we start hearing about the global warming “rewind” button being pushed. Maybe around next March 1 if the predictions of another hard winter come to pass. (Yeah, yeah, I know, a hard winter in north America doesn’t actually mean anything about the global climate, but when you dine out on every warm weather anomaly and strong storm as proof of catastrophic climate change, then you deserve what you get when local circumstances become . . . inconvenient. Heh.)

Responses