Commenters excoriate a Science paper that denies global warming 'pause'

Perhaps the most inconvenient truth for global warming theorists has been the absence of any statistically significant warming trend in the past 18 years – in spite of rapidly rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.  Many are simply ignoring this unanticipated result – for example, the encyclical letter issued by Pope Francis on June 18.  Conventional climate science, as employed in IPCC models, has been unable to explain these observations. 

Coming to the rescue, Dr. Tom Karl, head of NOAA’s National Climate Data center (NCDC), asserts that the temperature plateau (aka "pause" or "hiatus") is simply an artifact of the data.  After he and colleagues adjust some recent SST (sea-surface temp) readings, they claim an uninterrupted warming trend in the 21st century.  Their paper appeared in Science-Express on June 4 and in Science mag on June 26.

The Karl claims gave rise to many published comments, mostly negative.  There was not a single comment in support of the Karl paper.  Some simply addressed technical details – the fact that atmospheric temperature data, from satellites as well as from balloon-borne radiosondes, have shown no warming trend.  But many other comments questioned the good faith of the authors and implied political motives.

Here is a selection of the latter type of comments (excluding my own), as published in Science:

Megalith Megalith

So, you found a way to fudge the data that proved anthropogenic global warming was a hoax. I'm sure Obama and the Democrat party will reward you with more of my stolen taxes to support your continuing charade.

It doesn't add up

This study has already been debunked by Richard Lindzen: Tisdale and Watts: Judith Curry: Ross McKitrick:

Larry Evans

"Adjusted" = Fake.    Pathetic.

William Adams

There are a lot of genuine criticisms of the methodology used here. One such article is here: after reading all the texts and looking at the data, many data scientists as well as climate scientists are questioning if this is a case of adjusting the data to meet the desired conclusion.

Ted King

This article seems to do nothing more than demonstrate the sheer malleability of these data to fit a politically-driven narrative.

Danley Wolfe

The so called "hiatus" in warming of global mean temperature since the 1990s is a fact. Whether it is temporary or permanent is not known; however, it smells a lot like meddling. If you did it with your PhD dissertation data you would deserve scrutiny or even being dismissed. FACT: if you prepare a simple cross plot of NASA-GISS global mean temperature vs. Mauna Loa - Keeling CO2 from 1997 to-date there is essentially zero correlation which says that all the variability in global mean temperature is due to "not CO2" - other variables. How do you reconcile this with the supposition that "the increase in global temperature" is "predominately due to anthropogenic causes namely CO2." If you look at the entire data set from 1959 (limited by the MLK CO2 data): a) CO2 levels rise monotonically throughout the extended period, b) you find two distinct periods in which temperatures are flat and/or even falling - mid 1940s to mid 1970s and late 1980s to present - representing around two-thirds of the time; and one period (middle) in which global mean temperature increased with CO2. The first period is normally left out of the analysis by consensus / advocacy groups and most emphasis given to the second / middle period but claims made that the third period should be discounted as an anomaly. This is reminiscent of the end of the 1972 Olympics Men's basketball gold medal game in which the Russians were given 3 tries to score the winning goal and take the gold.

Scott Martell

"In all this they are not seeking for theories and causes to account for observed facts, but rather forcing their observations and trying to accommodate them to certain theories and opinions of their own." - Aristotle, On the Heavens II.13.293a

Tom D

Wow! The same thing happened with my GPA. Somehow the university showed a lower GPA than my projection model had predicted.  I easily solved this problem by hacking into my school's computer system and made my grades 'more accurately' reflect my projections.    Global Warming data works the same way.    See, isn't life easy when you get to adjust the data points.

Gregory Girard

I think we can feel reassured that they were able to catch this error when they did rather than years ago, or in the future at some time. The IPCC is the global leadership of a political movement, and the "climate scientists" are partisans will do or say anything to advance the interests of the party. If it was not so menacing to our way of life, pretending this is science would just be laughable on account of how manifestly politically expedient it is.

Dr. Robert Oppenheimer

The preceding comments were brought to you by combined worldwide oil and coal industries, and by The Heartland Institute (a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries INC).

Danley Wolfe

I am sorry to see this kind of crude disfiguration of well meaning people just because they may find reason to question - smears, innuendos and name calling is a primary propaganda as promoted by Herr Dr Jos Goebbles and Willi Minzenberg. I know that the real Dr J Robert Oppenheimer (if he were alive) would not stoop so low. (Note, Michael Oppenheimer, son of Frank, is the nephew of the real J Robert Oppenheimer; J Robert and Michael both are/were Princeton faculty). At this stage in the climate discussion the issues need to be discussed in an adult manner allowing different points of view and in the end data will decide the winner.
According to Norman Davies' Five Basic Rules of Propaganda, in “Europe, a History,” Oxford University Press, 1996, pp 500-501:

Theorists of propaganda have identified five basic rules:
1. The rule of simplification: reducing all data to a simple confrontation between 'Good and Bad', 'Friend and Foe'.
2. The rule of disfiguration: discrediting the opposition by crude smears and parodies.
3. The rule of transfusion: manipulating the consensus values of the target audience for one’s own ends.
4. The rule of unanimity: presenting one's viewpoint as if it is the unanimous opinion of all right-thinking people; including drawing doubting individuals into agreement by the appeal of star-performers, social pressure and by ‘psychological contagion, aka psy-ops.
5. The rule of orchestration: endlessly repeating the same message; in different variations and combinations."

albert parker

The new paper published by Science that negate the “hiatus” in global warming prompts serious questions about the political bias of high impact factor journals. The claim by the authors that “global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC, especially in recent decades, and that the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century” is a dubious statement motivated with a flawed analysis that should not have passed unobserved by the reviewers. There exist multiple measures of lower atmosphere temperature which indicate the existence of a “hiatus” that should have been used to question a biased reconstruction of global temperatures with unidirectional corrections always in the direction of magnifying the warming. There is no scientific value in these arbitrary corrections always in one sole direction to create similarity with flawed model predictions. Genuine artifacts do not only work for the cause of a new world order originated from the climate alarmism.

Thomas Reynolds

Just Kudos and push forward.   Forward, never straight.

Ken Towe

The adjustments to the sea surface temperatures do not seem to have affected the LAND temperatures of the contiguous US 48 states. According to NCDC's data the "hiatus" in the US remains intact. Indeed their latest 2015 data show clearly that since 1998 the annual, winter and fall trends are all down. 2014 was only the 34th warmest year on record for the US.

Paul Axford

Do I understand correctly that the sea surface temperature data was normalized to the ship data even though the buoy data is considered more accurate? If so, what was the rationale for this?

David Simpson

Who can we trust anymore, ever since I witnessed Nixon outright lying , I became a confirmed sceptic, as more people should.

Daniel Villanova

However, the 1998-2012 rate is still non-significant (p>.10). Whoa, what does that mean? That means the corrected or uncorrected rate for that time period STILL (even WITH the corrected upwards estimates) exhibits the pause. The results showing no pause are being driven by 2013 or 2014, or both.   In fact, the new corrections show no statistically significant 1998-2012 warming in any breakdown ( The lack of pause is due completely to the additional 2 years of data.    Conclusion: need more data.

Patrick Michaels
The senior author was the chief climate scientist on the first (2000) National Assessment. In my review, I discovered that the two models they relied upon were literally worse than applying a table of random numbers to the 20th century data. In other words, they were using models that had the dubious ability to produce negative knowledge.  Tom replied that they had in fact done a similar test and found what I did.     They went ahead anyway.     Enough said?

CJ Orach

How to erase the Global Warming Pause
1. Don't use any data that shows the 18 + year pause in global warming or does not agree with your findings including Satellite Temperature Data or Argo Sea Surface Temperature Data
2. Instead use measurements from buoys that were never intended to be used to measure temperatures accurately.
3. Then adjust any data that still may not agree with your premise by claiming the data was inaccurate and needs to be adjusted.
4. To further adjust the data cherry pick the time intervals so the pause is just seem to disappear.
Abra Kadabra OUT Damn Pause

J Peden

Pile up a bunch of hokey, "just so" adjustments, top them off with a p=0.10[!] just for good measure, and...does anyone at "Science" Mag. still do any real science at all?

Alexander Carpenter

If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.

Flame CCT

I'm curious how the editor allowed such a paper to be published. It is easy to see how the only change made was manipulation to the data, downward for the previous years and upward for the more recent years. Makes one wonder what else has NOAA manipulated.

Richard Fletcher

Wouldn't you know it, throw enough money at the problem, and it will take care of itself. What hiatus?

Dan Peyton

Witness the death of Science at the altar of Politics.

Robert Matthews

The authors state: "It is also noteworthy that the new global trends are statistically significant and positive at the 0.10 significance level for 1998–2012".   It's certainly noteworthy for sceptics, as so high a p-value is usually interpreted as meaning the null hypothesis (here, that there is no temp trend) has not been ruled out. Perhaps the authors could explain why this interpretation does not apply here ?

John Torres

So basically, if you don't like the "pause" in global warming all you have to do is fiddle with the numbers until you get the result you want.     Guess the "debate" is finally over.          Thank you, Science.

Adolf Stips

Satellite SST has global coverage (including the mentioned undersampled arctic regions) but as these data do not fit with message given by the authors, they with just one sentence of justification exclude 30 years of satellite observations from their analysis.
I cannot believe this to be true.      Is this serious science?


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