17 Year Surface Temp. Pause Meaningless As 90% of Planetary Warming Happens in the Oceans

Over 90% of all Global Warming happens in its oceans.

Two days ago the headline saying that climate change chief, Rajendra Pachauri had acknowledged a 17-year pause in global temperature rises caught my attention. Dr Pachauri said "The climate is changing because of natural factors and the impact of human actions. If you look at temperatures going back 150 years, there are clearly fluctuations which have occurred largely as a result of natural factors: solar activity, volcanic activity and so on."

Next i searched the topic a bit and found lottsa sensational headlines and news articles in the MSM confirming that a report released recently by Britain's Met Office was the source of all these stories. But what i didn't find was any critique with a clear analysis. So yesterday morning i sent off a provocative email to a long time climate change campaigner friend who, with any luck, would rise to the bait and send me the answers and story links i was looking for. It, a combination of lazy-ness and stupidity [my long suit], worked.

Soon a semi-scathing reply arrived with two great links in it. One from The New Scientist is a question and answer setup that outlines a growing awareness among climate scientists of the importance of natural variability in predicting climate change, especially in the short term, where it can completely obscure the global warming signal. The other from Skeptic Science titled 'Resolving Confusion Over the Met Office Statement and Continued Global Warming' and is even better IMO as it explains in graphic detail why global surface temperatures are not an adequate measure of global warming.because more than 90% of the overall warming of the planet goes into heating the oceans.

As Professor Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Science at America’s Georgia Tech university, and others, have been pointing out for a long time natural influences can and do act to dampen global surface warming saying, "Climate models are very complex, but they are imperfect and incomplete. Natural variability  [the impact of factors such as long-term temperature cycles in the oceans and the output of the sun] has been shown over the past two decades to have a magnitude that dominates the greenhouse warming effect."

But, as my friend pointed out, the Greenhouse Gas Effect isn't based on models and error bars, it's long established, reproducible hard science and natural variability can mask short term effects in both directions. Other studies that considered the warming of the oceans (both shallow and deep), land, atmosphere, and ice, and showed that global warming has not slowed in recent years despite the dampened surface warming trend. Many others point to the recent spate of El Nino events and unusual number of La Nina's as proof of the fact that out current 'pause' is just that, a pause, and that sooner or later the built up potential energy in the oceans will cause another rapid acceleration of surface temperatures.

Distrust of climate models is widespread. They are by their nature only useful as guides toward further scientific research. Any regulations or theories based solely on the results of models are, like Icarus, bound to fall because of they're underlying simplified assumptions about systems that are far more complex than can be modeled. Black Swan events, tipping points and punctuated equilibrium bedevil the linear relationships that models produce. But that's another topic for another day. Right now it's time for my best friend and i to go visit the Blue Herons and the punctuated equilibrium of the waves and wind followed by the serial study of the tipping point of a six pack into a one ended cylinder of hard, brittle, transparent material [glass]