16 More Years of Global Warming
By Kevin C / skepticalscience.com

Human greenhouse gas emissions have continued to warm the planet over the past 16 years. However, a persistent myth has emerged in the mainstream media challenging this.  Denial of this fact may have been the favorite climate contrarian myth of 2012, first invented by David Rose at The Mail on Sunday with an assist from Georgia Tech's Judith Curry, both of whom later doubled-down on the myth after we debunked it.  Despite these repeated debunkings, the myth spread throughout the media in various opinion editorials and stunts throughout 2012. The latest incarnations include this article at the Daily Mail, and a misleadingly headlined piece at the Telegraph.

As a simple illustration of where the myth goes wrong, the following video clarifies how the interplay of natural and human factors have affected the short-term temperature trends, and demonstrates that underneath the short-term noise, the long-term human-caused global warming trend remains as strong as ever.

In particular, once the short-term warming and cooling influences of volcanic eruptions, solar activity, and El Niño and La Niña events are statistically removed from the temperature record, there is no evidence of a change in the rate of greenhouse warming. This replicates the result of a study by Foster and Rahmstorf (2011) under slightly different assumptions.

The human contribution to global warming over the last 16 years is essentially the same as during the prior 16 years¹. Human-caused greenhouse warming, while partially hidden by natural variations, has continued in line with model projections². Unless greenhouse gas emissions are brought under control, we will see faster warming in the future³.

Implications:

  • The 16-year temperature trend provides no evidence to suggest that the consensus understanding of human-caused climate change is incorrect.

Further Reading:

For details of the method, see the Advanced rebuttal to the myth 'no warming in 16 years'.

The results of this analysis are consistent with a statement by WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud:

"Naturally occurring climate variability due to phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña impact on temperatures and precipitation on a seasonal to annual scale. But they do not alter the underlying long-term trend of rising temperatures due to climate change as a result of human activities"

Credits: Video: Kevin C. Voiceover: Daniel Bailey. Advice: The SkS team.

Teaser graphics: What happened next? Does this look like global warming?

Footnotes:
We have attempted to keep the language in this video at the same non-technical level as the media stories it refutes. As a result, it has been necessary to simplify much of the terminology. The following notes are for technically literate readers.
¹ i.e. If a change in gradient is allowed at 1997 then the change in gradient is not statistically significant (even at the 1σ level).
² i.e. Within the envelope of AR4 trend projections.
³ On the basis of both AR4 projections and that global GHG emissions are increasing.

 

Load Comments
You Might Be Interested In
7 min · Does your industry have billions of dollars worth of profits on the line? Have your PR think tanks told you that the best way to delay action is to simply create doubt in the public's eye? Then it's time to create your own climate change myth! This instructional video will...
34 min · DAMOCRACY: A documentary that debunks the myth of large-scale dams as clean energy and a solution to climate change. It records the priceless cultural and natural heritage the world would lose in the Amazon and Mesopotamia if two planned large-scale dams are built - Belo...
47 min · Monumental Myths unveils the perpetuated myths told at several American monuments and historic sites. Carved in rock or cast in bronze, America’s monuments are intended—by those who commission them—to impart a sense of authority and an unquestionable truth about the people...
177 min · Episode 1 – The Battle Begins In the 1970s the world seemed to be falling apart. From acid rain to overpopulation, ecological concerns were at the fore. And it was at this time that climate change first became a hot political issue. But it wasn’t global warming that...
47 min · In this myth shattering, information packed documentary, learn from physicians and leading researchers about medicinal cannabis and its demonstrated affects on human health.  Topics include: *What the consensus is from over 15000 scientific and medical trials *What conditions...
3 min · This video plugging Avaaz.org exposes the myth of a fundamental clash between Islam and the West as a problem of politics—not cultures. It received over 1.4 million views and 37,000 comments on Youtube (right up there with Star Wars Kid), and helped secure Avaaz.org as the...
6 min · Political performance artists, The Yes Men, have taken credit for today's prank, in which they posed as Chamber of Commerce officials pushing for comprehensive climate change legislation. In a statement from the group offered hours after a fake press conference was held at...
80 min · Grass, narrated by actor/activist Woody Harrelson, takes a highly spirited and innovative look into one of America's most deeply rooted cultural myths: the evils of "pot", "cannabis", "weed", "dubich", "doobie", "shrub", or whatever man. From the story of America's first drug...
6 min · Veggie Propaganda is a quirky, sing-song animation that puts a spotlight on animals, our relationship with them and their rights. It explores childhood myths about animals vs. the reality of their lives in a human-centered world, where our food really comes from and how by...
52 min · Climate change has been hailed as "the biggest challenge to mankind in human history" and has also been called "the biggest swindle". Today many people are confused as to what climate change is and what consequences lie ahead for Ireland in the near and distant future. In...
54 min · IF YOU'RE EXPERIENCING PROBLEMS WITH THE VIDEO ABOVE, YOU CAN WATCH THE FILM AT THE OFFICIAL PBS FRONTLINE WEBSITE. If you think Mitt Romney’s recent threats against PBS were actually about budgets or Big Bird, think again. The reason the right hates PBS is that sometimes it...
9 min · A short film about climate change, energy and nuclear power. If you're confused about whether we need nuclear power to stop climate change, take nine minutes of your time to watch this new film from Green Peace UK. It doesn't just explain why nuclear power can't stop climate...
Velcrow Ripper · It’s the year 2010. Icebergs are melting, forest fires are raging out of control, sea levels are rising, drinking water is becoming scarcer, droughts, famine, conflict — climate related pressures — are growing exponentially. Are you experiencing climate anxiety?...
Alberto · Sandy has blown climate change back on the agenda – and many believe the White House was wrong when it decided in 2009 that climate change was not a winning political message [as opposed to the opportunity of the clean energy economy]. Barack Obama: a 2009...
Yotam Marom · Photo: A mural by the artist Banksy along Regent’s Canal in London. (Flickr/Matt Brown) I suppose it wasn’t really until I was standing on the west side of Hoboken, N.J., in water and oil up to my thigh, that climate change really made sense. And it wasn’t until I was out...
Adbusters · The leaked Heartland Institute documents proved what most people know to be true anyway – that mainstream climate deniers are secretly funded by industry and will stoop to any level to fight science with spin – even brainwashing children through the k-12 curriculum. As one...
Naomi Klein · Unless we come up with some better solutions Klein says, "this crisis will be exploited to militarize our societies, to create fortress continents." AMY GOODMAN: Our guest for the hour is Naomi Klein, journalist and author. Her latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of...
Eco Watch · The Post Carbon Institute released a new report today, Climate After Growth: Why Environmentalists Must Embrace Post-Growth Economics & Community Resilience. The report calls on environmental organizations and p
Yes! Magazine contributors · Corporate power is behind the politics of climate denial, Wall Street bailouts, union busting, and media consolidation, to name just a few. And policies advocated by the 1 percent are bankrupting the middle class. But real people have power, too. Here are some of their most...
Avaaz · Climate change is accelerating, but there’s a massive ray of hope: clean energy is booming, producing nearly 20% of the world's electricity! Incredibly, the US and EU are threatening to stifle this breakthrough -- but together we can stop them. In the last decade the Chinese...
Like us on Facebook?