A Headline That Will Make Global-Warming Activists Apoplectic
The BBC is responsible. The article, by the climate correspondent Paul Hudson, is called “What Happened to Global Warming?” Highlights:
For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise. So what on Earth is going on?
According to research conducted by Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University last November, the oceans and global temperatures are correlated.
The oceans, he says, have a cycle in which they warm and cool cyclically. The most important one is the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO).
For much of the 1980’s and 1990’s, it was in a positive cycle; that means warmer than average. And observations have revealed that global temperatures were warm too. But in the last few years it has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down. These cycles in the past have lasted for nearly 30 years.
So could global temperatures follow? The global cooling from 1945 to 1977 coincided with one of these cold Pacific cycles. Professor Easterbrook says: “The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling.”
So what does it all mean? Climate change sceptics argue that this is evidence that they have been right all along. They say there are so many other natural causes for warming and cooling, that even if man is warming the planet, it is a small part compared with nature.
Let the shouting begin. Will Paul Hudson be drummed out of the circle of environmental journalists? Look what happened here, when Al Gore was challenged by a particularly feisty questioner at a conference of environmental journalists.
We have a chapter in SuperFreakonomics about global warming and it too will likely produce a lot of shouting, name-calling, and accusations ranging from idiocy to venality. It is curious that the global-warming arena is so rife with shrillness and ridicule. Where does this shrillness come from? Some say that left-leaning activists have merely borrowed their right-leaning competitors from years past. A reasonable conjecture?
In other climate-change news, here’s an interesting piece in today’s Times by Andrew Revkin and Clifford Krauss about the apparently large value in stemming even small leaks of methane at natural-gas facilities. That’s because methane is far more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.