This article, in Nature magazine, ought to have been front page news – and might have been, had it suggested that global warming was worse than we had thought. Instead, it underlines the sound science behind an inconvenient truth: that there has been a 15-year hiatus in global warming. To those of us who have been following the debate, this is no surprise.
In 2007 I pointed out that it was curious that in recent years the global annual average temperature had not increased at a time when greenhouse gasses were increasing rapidly and when the media was full of claims that the earth’s temperature was getting higher and higher. I proposed no explanation but said that it was a curious observation that would probably change in the near future. I was lambasted for being a denier and liar. Yet in the following years the global temperature did not increase.
Some vocal scientists spent more time saying it was wrong than actually looking at the data. While many in the media portrayed the phenomenon as a desperate weapon used by sceptics to undermine climate science, real scientists took notice and began to study the warming pause. It was not long before it was being discussed at conferences and in scientific journals. Something was clearly different about the nature of global temperature change since 1997 than it had been in the previous two decades. It was not only slower, but not increasing at all for many years. Indeed it was said in the prestigious scientific journal Nature that the “pause” or “hiatus” is the biggest problem in climate science.
The study of the warming hiatus is cutting-edge climate science not the “settled science” of the greenhouse effect and mankind’s input of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. It is not complicated. The three main global temperature datasets are freely available to anyone and there are many, not just professional climate scientists, who have the scientific and statistical skills to analyse what is after all not a great deal of data.