No Statistically-Significant Global Warming For 9 Years 3 Months – Watts Up With That?

By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

The New Pause lengthens and lengthens. On the UAH dataset, the most reliable of them all, there has been no global warming at all for fully seven years:

On the HadCRUT4 dataset, using the published monthly uncertainty interval, it is possible to go back 9 years 3 months – from August 2012 to October 2021 – before finding any statistically-significant global warming. The region of statistical insignificance is shown in pale blue below. Since well before the last-but-one IPCC report, there has been no statistically-significant global warming:

For 7 years 8 months – one month longer than last month’s data showed – there has been no global warming at all on the HadCRUT4 dataset. The least-squares linear-regression trend is a tad below zero:

As always, the trend shown on the Pause graphs is taken over the longest period, compared with the most recent month for which data are available, during which the least-squares linear-regression trend is not positive.

Given the succession of long periods without global warming, each of which begins with a strong el Niño, it is no surprise that the rate of global warming is proving to be a great deal less than the one-third of a degree per decade medium-term warming confidently predicted by IPCC in its 1990 First Assessment Report:

The significance of the succession of long periods without any global warming, of which the current Pause is the most recent, should not be underestimated. It is legitimate to draw from the length of such Pauses the conclusion that, since the climate system is in essence thermostatic, the radiative imbalance inferred from satellite data is either exaggerated or may be exerting a smaller effect on climate sensitivity than is currently imagined.

No small part of the reason why some object so strongly to the fact that there has been no statistically-significant global warming for almost a decade is that it can no longer be credibly maintained that “it’s worser’n we ever done thunk, Bubba”.

In truth, it’s no worser’n it was at the time of the previous IPeCaC assessment report back in 2013. But the flatulent rhetoric must be – and has been – dialed up and up, with totalitarian administrations such as that of the UK whiffling and waffling about an imagined “climate emergency”.

Even in rural Cornwall a local administration has pompously declared a “climate emergency”. Yet there is no more of a “climate emergency” today than there was in 2012, so the only reason for declaring one now is not that it is true (for it is not) but that it is politically expedient.

Whole industries have already been or are soon to be laid waste – coal extraction, distribution and generation (and, therefore, steel and aluminum); oil and gas exploration and combustion; internal-combustion vehicles; a host of downstream industries, and more and more of the high-energy-intensity industries. But it is only in the West that the classe politique is silly enough or craven enough to commit this economic hara-kiri.

The chief beneficiaries of the West’s self-destruction are Russia and China. Russia, which substantially influences the cabal of unelected Kommissars who hold all real power in the collapsing European tyranny-by-clerk, has for decades been rendering Europe more and more dependent upon Siberian methane, whose price rose a few weeks back to 30 times the world price when the wind dropped. As it is, the routine price of methane gas in Europe is six times what it is in the United States.

China has taken over most of the industries the West has been closing down, and emits far more CO2 per unit of production than the businesses the West has forcibly and needlessly shuttered. The net effect of net-zero policies, then, is to increase global CO2 output, at a prodigious cost both in Western working-class jobs pointlessly destroyed and in rapidly-rising fuel and power prices. What is more, now that a Communist has become president of Chile, the last substantial lithium fields not under Chinese control are likely to fall into Peking’s grasping hands, as the lithium fields in Africa, occupied Tibet, Afghanistan, Greenland, Cornwall and just about everywhere else have already done, so that everyone daft enough to buy an electric buggy will be soon paying far more than at present for the privilege.

All of this economic wreckage arises from an elementary error of physics first perpetrated in 1984 by a many-times-arrested far-left agitator at NASA, and thereupon perpetuated with alacrity throughout climatology in the Communist-dominated universities of the West. I gave an outline of the error last month, but there was a careless miscalculation in one of the tables, which I am correcting here.

A simple summary of the error, together with a note of its economic effect, is to be found in the excellent American Thinker blog for December 31, 2021.

Thanks to the error, climatologists falsely assume that every 1 K of direct warming by greenhouse-gas enrichment of the atmosphere will necessarily become about 4 K final or equilibrium warming after accounting for feedback response. In truth, however, that is only one – and not a particularly likely one – of a spectrum of possible outcomes.

For 1850, climatologists (e.g. Lacis et al. 2010, an influential paper explicitly embodying the error) neglect the emission temperature in deriving the system-gain factor, which they take as the ratio of the 32.5 K natural greenhouse effect to the 7.6 K direct warming by all naturally-occurring greenhouse gases up to 1850. Thus, 32.5 K / 7.6 K gives the implicit system-gain factor 4.3 (given in Lacis as ~4). Multiplying the 1.05 K direct doubled-CO2 warming by 4.3, one would obtain 4.5 K final doubled-CO2 warming, also known as equilibrium doubled-CO2 sensitivity (ECS).

The corrected system-gain factor for 1850 is obtained by adding the 255.2 K emission temperature to both the numerator and the denominator: thus, the system-gain factor is in reality (255.2 + 32.5) / (255.2 + 7.6), or 1.095. That simple correction implies that ECS on the basis of the feedback regime that obtained in 1850 would be only 1.095 x 1.06 K, or about 1.2 K. The ECS in Lacis et al. is thus getting on for four times too large.

But what if the feedback regime today were not the same as in 1850? Suppose that the system-gain factor today were just 1% greater than in 1850. In that event, using climatology’s erroneous method ECS would still be 4.5 K, as it was in 1850. But using the corrected method would lead us to expect ECS of 4 K, some 250% greater than the 1.2 K obtained on the basis of the feedback regime in 1850.

Precisely because a mere 1% increase in the system-gain factor would drive a 250% increase in ECS, it is impossible to make accurate global-warming predictions. Climatologists simply don’t know the values of the relevant feedback strengths to within anything close to 1%. Hansen et al. (1984), the first perpetrators of climatology’s error, admitted that they did not know the feedback strength to within 100%, let alone 1%. IPCC (2013), in its table of the principal temperature feedbacks, implies a system-gain factor from unity to infinity – one of the least well-constrained quantities in the whole of physics.

For this reason, all predictions of doom, based on what climatologists’ elementary control-theoretic error has led them to regard as the near-certainty that ECS is large, are entirely meaningless. They are mere guesswork derived from that elementary but grave error of physics.

It matters not that the giant models on which the climate panic is founded do not implement feedback formulism directly. Once it is clearly understood that not a single feedback response can be quantified by direct measurement, so that the uncertainty in feedback strength is very large, it follows that no prediction of global warming based on the current assumption that the system-gain factor is of order 4 can be relied upon at all. For there is no good climatological reason to assume that the feedback regime today is in any degree different from what it was in 1850, not least because the climate system is essentially thermostatic.

Once one understands climatology’s error, one can better appreciate the significance of the pattern of long Pauses in global temperature followed by sharp upticks driven by the naturally-occurring el Niño Southern Oscillation. And one can better understand why it is not worth spending a single red cent on trying to abate global warming. For correction of the error removes the near-certainty of large warming.

Even before correcting climatology’s error, global warming abated by Western net-zero (even if we were to attain it, which we shall not) would be only 1/13 K. Therefore, spending quadrillions to abate what, after correction, would be just 1/40 K of global warming by 2050 is simply not worthwhile. That is far too small a temperature reduction to be measurable by today’s temperature datasets. The calculation, using mainstream data step by inexorable step, is below:

In Britain, ordinary folk are becoming ever more disenchanted with all their politicians, of whatever party, for their poltroonish fear of the reputational damage that the climate Communists have inflicted on all of us who – for sound scientific and economic reasons – have rejected the Party Line on global warming. The first political party to find the cojones to oppose the global-warming nonsense root and branch will sweep the board at the next elections.

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