As El Niño ends, deniers claim “the pause” is back

Denier myths die hard. After 2015 and 2016 have successively smashed the previous records for hottest year, it seemed like the deniers’ cherry-picked claim of “no global warming for 15+ years,” based on cherry-picking the trend since 1998, was finally behind us.

I underestimated their ability to cherry-pick.

David Whitehouse writes at the Global Warming Policy Foundation:

Satellite Data Reinstates Global Temperature Pause

Satellite data indicates a large fall in the temperature of the lower Troposphere back to pre-El Nino levels. This decrease has reinstated the so-called “pause” in lower atmosphere temperature.

The decrease is seen in the land only data. Data from the sea shows a decline but not as much. This is expected given the ocean’s thermal lag. Data from the RSS group that provides satellite temperature services show that late-2016 temperatures have returned to the level it was at post-1998, Fig 1.

This clearly shows the recent El Nino for what it is – a short term weather event. Now that it is over it can easily be seen that the lower Tropospheric temperature displays no long-tern trend between 1999 – 2016.

Marc Morano amplified this claim in a series of posts at Climate Depot.


Satellite temperatures show global ‘pause’ resumes as temperatures plunge


Then David Rose wrote a story for the Daily Mail claiming “stunning new data”:

Global average temperatures over land have plummeted by more than 1C since the middle of this year – their biggest and steepest fall on record.

The news comes amid mounting evidence that the recent run of world record high temperatures is about to end.

The fall, revealed by Nasa satellite measurements of the lower atmosphere, has been caused by the end of El Nino – the warming of surface waters in a vast area of the Pacific west of Central America.

Global average temperatures over land have plummeted by more than 1C since the middle of this year – their biggest and steepest fall on record

Some scientists, including Dr Gavin Schmidt, head of Nasa’s climate division, have claimed that the recent highs were mainly the result of long-term global warming.

Others have argued that the records were caused by El Nino, a complex natural phenomenon that takes place every few years, and has nothing to do with greenhouse gas emissions by humans.

The new fall in temperatures suggests they were right.

This is all badly wrong, for two big reasons.

First, these deniers are highlighting the drop in temperature after El Niño’s spike. But of course every spike in temperature is followed by a drop in temperature. That’s how fluctuations work. Global warming is the long-term warming trend in global temperature. And the reason this El Niño shattered the record was that the fluctuation happened on the background of this trend.

Second, the deniers are cherry-picking one piece of one dataset. They cherry-picked the RSS dataset, which has the lowest warming trend of the many available datasets, and by the way measures temperatures not just at Earth’s surface but up to 8 kilometers above the surface. And instead of using the global data, they used data for land only, leaving out the Arctic Ocean where temperatures were an insane 36°F above normal this month.

If we approach the data without any cherry-picking, looking at the global trend over the entire history of the dataset, here is what RSS gives us:


Looks like warming to me.

UPDATE: Tamino wonders how stupid David Rose  thinks you are.