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Originally posted on DeSmogBlog.

With the release of a major climate science report by the United Nations coming this week, the self-proclaimed climate "skeptics," better referred to as the climate deniers or flat-earthers, are kicking it into high gear for their fossil fuel clients and right wing ringleaders.

The likes of Tom Harris, better known for his lobbying work on behalf of the Canadian energy industry, and Fred Singer, formally a tobacco company expert-for-hire, are trying to make headlines again claiming that the warming of our planet has significantly slowed down. As Harris, a man with absolutely no scientific background in climate change, reassures us like a bunch of schoolchildren, "don't be scared."

I wish it were the case that the rate of global warming has significantly slowed and that we don't have to "be scared" of more extreme weather events, droughts and flooding.

But according to the scientific community, the experts who have decades of training in the field of atmospheric and climactic study, our planet continues to warm. In fact, this has been the hottest decade ever recorded. Not only has it been the hottest decade recorded, it has occurred despite the presence of major cooling factors, like La Nina's and reduced solar activity. Such events should result in a significant dip in the earth's temperature, but they are only having a relatively slight cooling effect.

Not good. And not at all what the flat earth society is trying to tell you.

For more on Tom Harris, see hisprofile on DeSmogBlog.  And for a look at Fred Singer, check out this handy sharable graphic from the Climate Denial Playbook series:

And for a look at Fred Singer, check out this handy sharable graphic from the Climate Denial Playbook series: 

(click here to see a larger version)

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Comment Preferences

  •  I propose a bill -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nils o

    to deprive carbon dioxide of its heat-trapping qualities.  Since Congress is unwilling to transition away from the capitalist system (which is ultimately necessary), or to keep the grease in the ground (which is what comes somewhat close to advocating), what we clearly need is a legislative amendment to the laws of quantum physics.  This will allow 85 million bbls./day of crude oil and a carbon-equivalent of coal to be continue to be burnt into the atmosphere every day without serious ill effects for planet Earth.

    "it makes no difference which one of us you vote for. Either way your planet is doomed. Doomed!" -- Kang

    by Cassiodorus on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 01:52:02 PM PDT

  •  Key distinction: surface temperature (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, HiKa, Guy Baisan

    "The warming of the planet has significantly slowed down" is neither true nor false, just unlikely.

    What has happened over the last decade is that the rate of warming of air temperatures over land has significantly slowed down - though as the diarist points out, surface temps have still run higher than they did the decade before. But the air at the surface is not the whole of the planet.

    There are reasons why we would expect the rate to slow down. As the diarist indicated,  those include both La Nina conditions and the remarkably quiet sun, which ought to be at the peak of its cycle about now and instead is behaving quietly as a lamb.  Volcanic activity, which has a cooling effect, has also been a bit higher than usual. The puzzle for scientists is that, even when you take those into account, it doesn't explain all of the slowdown.

    An explanation being batted around lately is that, perhaps due to the unusual length of the La Ninas, Pacific Ocean surface waters are being mixed in deeper, warming deep ocean rather than atmosphere. Too little is known about deep ocean temperatures to draw any firm conclusions at this point. But if they're right, then the warming of the planet hasn't slowed down a bit; only the warming of the air above the surface. And eventually deep waters will well up again and we'll get all of that heat back.  The next El Nino could be a real sockdollager.

    The physics is far simpler than the complex dynamics of air and ocean, and the physics say heat has been added to the planet at an essentially undiminished rate. The only puzzle is where the planet has been stowing it.

    •  Very Important Point (0+ / 0-)

      IIRC, the extra heat from CO2 trapping of solar radiation partitions about 90% into the ocean and 10% into the atmosphere.  

      Thus a relatively small change in the oceanic uptake can leave a big mark on the atmospheric uptake, creating the superficial "trend" that has the denialists crowing with victory.

      As you point out, the heat partition will fluctuate in the other direction before long - and the consequences are going to be ugly.

  •  Saw this article in LA Times (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and I wondered, are the Koch Brothers making noises about buying the LA Times again? Is this a little Koch tease to say "buy me, buy me please"?

    My head is boggled. Global warming 'hiatus'? Most of the indicators are moving faster than the predictions. The hottest years on record were 2005 and 2010.

    When the global temperature drops back down to year 1900 temps and stays there for a few decades, then it'll be time to talk about a warming hiatus.

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