You Ought to Have a Look: Record Global Temperatures

You Ought to Have a Look is a feature from the Center for the Study of Science posted by Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. (“Chip”) Knappenberger. While this section will feature all of the areas of interest that we are emphasizing, the prominence of the climate issue is driving a tremendous amount of web traffic. Here we post a few of the best in recent days, along with our color commentary.

A lot of buzz around the web was generated late this week with the announcement from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that 2014 topped their list as the warmest year since their records began in the late 1800s.

While most of the mainstream media coverage focused on the record-setting temperatures and breathlessly spoke of how this was further indication that humans are warming the climate, the blogosphere was full of articles throwing cold water on this overheated rhetoric by pointing out that despite the past year’s warm temperatures, 1) global warming continues to occur at only a snail’s pace, and 2) this pace is far beneath that projected by the world’s collection of climate models—models developed for the specific purpose of projecting  future climate changes. With each passing year, their performance becomes worse and worse. That is the big story about 2014’s temperatures.

Here are some sites that astutely picked up on that:

Over at Climate Etc., Judy Curry has her say in “‘Warmest year’, ‘pause’, and all that.” Her bottom line?

Berkeley Earth sums it up well with this statement:

That is, of course, an indication that the Earth’s average temperature for the last decade has changed very little.

The key issue remains the growing discrepancy between the climate model projections and the observations: 2014 just made the discrepancy larger.

Speculation about ‘warmest year’ and end of ‘pause’ implies a near term prediction of surface temperatures—that they will be warmer. I’ve made my projection—global surface temperatures will remain mostly flat for at least another decade. However, I’m not willing to place much $$ on that bet, since I suspect that Mother Nature will manage to surprise us. (I will be particularly surprised if the rate of warming in the next decade is at the levels expected by the IPCC.)

At the Global Warming Policy Foundation, David Whitehouse takes on the 2014 temperature record and its implications in this article “2014: Global Temperature Stalls Another Year.” Like Curry, Whitehouse hits the nail on the head:

The only conclusion to be drawn from the addition of 2014 data is that the post-1997 standstill seen in global annual average surface temperature has continued for one more year, making it now about 17 years in duration. This is the opposite of what is claimed in the NASA press release.

It is clear beyond doubt by now that there is a growing discrepancy between computer climate projections and real-world data that questions their ability to produce meaningful projections about future climatic conditions.

And over at Watts Up With That, Bob Tisdale has a guest post titled “Does the Uptick in Global Surface Temperatures in 2014 Help the Growing Difference between Climate Models and Reality?” You’ve probably already guessed his answer:

As illustrated and discussed, while global surface temperatures rose slightly in 2014, the minor uptick did little to overcome the growing difference between observed global surface temperature and the projections of global surface warming by the climate models used by the IPCC.

As you may have noticed, we couldn’t agree more with all of this.

For the background behind these conclusions, be sure to visit each of these fine blogs and have a look!