By Michael Bastasch
A group of climate scientists authored an analysis of 2017’s global average temperature, suggesting that trends over the next decade could create the “impression” of a renewed global warming “hiatus.”
Former NASA climate scientist James Hansen, also known as the “godfather of global warming,” and co-authors wrote that while “2017 probably was the second warmest year,” meaning there’s been 1.07 degrees Celsius of warming since “the beginning of 2018 relative to 1880-1920.”
NASA ranked 2017 as the second warmest on record, while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ranked last year as the third warmest, owing to slight differences in how NASA and NOAA calculate global temperature anomalies.
The announcement sparked widespread media coverage, all of which pointed out that 2017 was not an El Nino year. That incomplete narrative aside, Hansen and his co-authors weren’t particularly concerned with one year’s temperature, as opposed to what could be ahead.
What Hansen and his co-authors, which include current NASA scientists, suggest is that the El Nino-driven record warmth in 2016 and lower solar activity could mean “the next 10 years of global temperature change will leave an impression of a ‘global warming hiatus.’”
Scientists wrote that “the peak warming and cooling effects of solar maximum and minimum are delayed about two years after irradiance extrema.” Solar irradiance has trended down since 2015, which puts some pressure on temperature.
The “hiatus” was a roughly 15-year period in the surface temperature record with little to no warming. It eventually became a flashpoint of debate between global warming alarmists and skeptics over the veracity of the climate models.
Indeed, during that time global average temperature ran below the climate model mean. Temperatures only came more in line with the average of climate model predictions when the El Nino hit in 2016.
Now that 2017 temperatures are in, we can compare them to climate model projections. In general, they were pretty close to the average of all the models (black line) and well within the envelope of model projections (grey area). pic.twitter.com/gthKgYCY4s
— Zeke Hausfather (@hausfath) January 18, 2018
Satellite-derived temperature measurements of the bulk atmosphere also showed a “hiatus,” but this one was longer at about two decades. El Nino warming ended the “hiatus” in satellite data, and it remains to be seen if the current La Nina will induce more cooling.
2017 was the third warmest on record for the bulk atmosphere, according to University of Alabama-Huntsville satellite data. Data compiled by Remote Sensing Systems scientists ranked 2017 as the second warmest — both satellite data sets are running cooler than climate models predict.
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