Wednesday, February 12, 2014

About that "Hiatus" in Surface Warming

Climate change denialists have latched fiercely on research showing an apparent hiatus in global surface temperature warming.  They spin it to claim that global warming is over or never was or is just a hoax.

Why not ask the scientist who spotted the hiatus what this means?  It's not what you're being told.

In other words, all that heat is being stored in the ocean - for now.  In a perverse way, we're sort of banking it until, one day, the oceans begin to release that stored heat back into the atmosphere and then, well, we're cooked.


Anonymous said...

A minor quibble - technically, I believe that the crucial mechanism will not be that "the oceans begin to release that stored heat", but rather that (when the anomolously strong trade winds eventually subside) the Pacific Ocean will suddenly stop sucking unusually vast quantities heat out of the atmosphere, all that heat will stay in the atmosphere and atmospheric temperatures will then rise very quickly (over a decade or so, probably) back to where they would have been without the so-called "hiatus" or "pause". (Though in point of fact, of course, atmospheric temps have still continued to rise, even if one cherry-picks 1998 as the starting point.) All that excess heat will stay in the oceans for a really, really long time, with all sorts of nasty knock on effects.

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, are you familiar with Peter Ward's "Under a Green Sky"

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed - this is possibly early days on the way to hypoxic oceans in a Canfield state and the revenge of the sulfate reducing cyanobacteria for whom that all that nasty oxygen currently dissolved in the world's oceans is deadly. Oxygen depletion, warming, acidification - a perfect witches' brew for a very bad long term future.

The Mound of Sound said...

I was afraid you might reply somewhat along those lines.