Global warming pause


As the Minnesota Twins took the field for their coldest opening day, I was reminded of a recent comment from one of my college’s most distinguished professors.

“Global warming forecasts,” said Stanford’s Nobel physicist Robert Laughlin, “have the difficulty that one can’t find much actual global warming in present day weather observations.”

Of course, the weather on one day, or even during a year or two, isn’t climate. But a review of global weather statistics from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Data Center shows the average global surface temperature for January 2012 to February 2013 was 1.03 degrees Farenheit above the 20th century average but unchanged from average and stable global temperatures for the 1997 to 2012 period. This continues a 15 year pause in global warming despite a relentless rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

This is confirmed by a new study from Norway reported by Andrew Revkin in The New York Times, “Weaker Global Warming Seen in Study by Norway’s Research Council.” A release from the NRC with the title: “Global warming less extreme than feared?” describes new research finding that global warming from the buildup of greenhouse gases will be on the low end of the projections by other research groups.

Our media constantly reminds us that recent storms and droughts are a consequence of global warming. But as to storms, we note that the seven years between Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy were one of the quietest hurricane periods in the past century. And compare the Long Island Express hurricane of 1938, which killed 600, and the Midwest’s Great Blizzard of 1978. Force 5 hurricanes Andrew (1972) and Camille (1969), along with others, were much stronger than hurricane Sandy.

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service using tree-ring data have identified six major western U.S. droughts between 1750 and 1950. All of them were more severe than anything in recent memory.

A high level of damage from recent storms is the result of the fact that we are putting more stuff on flood plains.

I don’t know the reason for this long pause in global warming. The Norway study also notes that there has been essentially no change in temperatures since 2000.

But we may want a pause in some of those multi-billion dollar subsidized renewable energy programs that produce little usable energy. There is time to spend some of the money on research into what is really happening with our climate.