As 2015 draws to a close bloggers will all be trying to put their stamp on the year. And Then There’s Physics leads off, calling 2015 the hottest year in the temperature record, breaking the brief record set by 2014. He’s right. He also cites the UK Met Office as predicting that 2016 will be hotter still. He’s taking a chance… they haven’t been too fortunate with their recent predictions.
If you’re younger than 30, you’ve never experienced a month in which the average surface temperature of the Earth was below average. (I wonder if I have any readers younger than 30. Heck, I wonder if I have any readers younger than 40.)
It doesn’t rise to the level of alarmist propaganda to be aware of this. And I’m not suggesting that alarm is the proper response. However, to ignore a 30-year unbroken trend of warmer than average temperatures is foolish. It means something.
This does not mean there was no ‘pause.’ James Hansen rightly noted the ‘stalled temperatures’ that lasted at least a decade and the fight over its existence is as silly as ignoring the fact that temperatures have been quite high for quite a long period.
It is now probably as warm as during the peak of the Medieval Warm Period, which lasted from 950-1250 A.D., another phenomenon alarmists want to airbrush out of existence.
Those of us who agree with the small ‘c’ consensus but agitate against adoption of the capital ‘K’ Konsensus (the lobbyists and marketers of NGOs trying to inspire panic about climate change) do ourselves no favors when we ignore the current warming period. It is real.
Impacts of this warming have been negligible. Arctic ice is melting and some strange storms and weather patterns in that part of the world are really interesting. However, the rest of the world has not yet paid a price for this warming. Storms are not yet more frequent or more intense. Sea level rise has not accelerated. Neither drought nor heatwaves have occurred more often or more strongly.
It’s getting warmer. But so far, that’s all that’s happened. It’s just… getting warmer.
I accept that should the warming continue at some point our luck will run out and that indeed storms will become more frequent and more intense, that sea level rise will indeed accelerate, that droughts and heatwaves will become worse.
And I also accept that our emissions of greenhouse gases, alongside our cutting down of forests, conversion of land to agriculture and our emissions of black soot, are contributing significantly to the warming we both see now and expect from the future. Kind of like the IPCC does.
This is a grace period, where the very real warming is doing not much more than greening the planet. I hope we take every advantage of it.