Dana Nuccitelli at the Guardian's 97% blog has a post looking back on a 2008 paper by a group of German scientists led by Noel Keenlyside that predicted the global temperature would cool by 2015 due to oceanic natural variability. According to the paper, the oceans would likely offset any increase in greenhouse effect.
At the time, the scientists at Real Climate were skeptical of the paper's claim. And, to make it clear just how little faith they had in the cooling prediction, the scientists offered Keenlyside et al a pair of € 2500 bets—one for temperatures during 2000-2010 and another for 2005-2015. Now that 2015 is winding down and looking fairly certain to be the hottest year on record, it’s clear the study authors made the right choice in deciding not to put their money where their mouths were, as they'd be down € 5000.
In his article, Nuccitelli asks if it would ever “be smart to bet against global warming,” a question he answers by citing a study from earlier this year that compares temperatures since 1860 in 15 year increments. If you had bet on warming you'd win every year since 1970—this point is particularly salient given that natural factors (ocean cycles, solar activity, aerosol pollution) have all been exerting a cooling effect on temperatures. Despite this, greenhouse gas emissions have continued to push temperatures ever higher, overcoming natural cooling forces year after year.
This means that when it comes to climate change, deniers might talk about a coming cooling period (and they do), but the reality is that the upward trend is continuing. So although it’s a safe bet that deniers will continue going all-in on cooling, they’d be better off folding, because it’s only a matter of time before the thermometer calls their bluff and they end up busted.
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