Category Archives: Global Warming

Global warming’s 19 year pause

Global temperatures measured from the antarctic ice showing stable, cyclic chaos and self-similarity.

Global temperatures measured from the antarctic ice shows stable chaos and self-similarity.

The global climate is, as best I can tell, chaotic with 100,000 year ice-age cycles punctuated by smaller cycles of 1000 years, 100 years, etc. On the ice-age time scale shown at left, the temperature rise of the last century looks insignificant and very welcome; warm seems better than cold in my eyes. But the press and academic community has focused on the evils of warmth — global warming. They point out that temperatures have risen 1 1/2 °C since the little ice age of the early 1600s, and that 1/2 °C of this has occurred since 1900. Al Gore won a Nobel prize for his assertion that the rate of rise had accelerated to 4°C per century — a “hockey-stick change” caused by industrial CO2. This change was expected to bring disaster by 2015: The arctic was supposed to be ice-free, and Manhattan was expected to sink. I’ve posted a “Good Morning America” clip from 2008 highlighting this “inconvenient truth”.

Our 19 1/2 year global warming pause; plot from Andrew Watts with Al Gore's prediction shown in red. During the time shown, the atmospheric CO2 content has gone up by about 25%, but the prediction has not come to pass.

Our 19 1/2 year global warming pause; plot from Andrew Watts with Al Gore’s prediction shown in red. So far, the prediction has not come to pass.

As it happens, not only hasn’t global warming accelerated, it seems to have paused. There have been no significant temperature changes since late 1997, as shown.  The main explanations are clouds and solar variation: variations that the Obama administration claims will end any day now. The problem, as I see it, is that climate is fundamentally chaotic, and thus unpredictable except on the very long, ice-age, timescale. It will thus always make fools of those who predict.

This is not to say that pollution is good, or that CO2 is, but it suggests our models and remedies are flawed. The CO2 content of the air has increased 25% over the past 19 years. It now mostly comes from China and India, countries that enthusiastically endorse having us reduce our output. My thinking is that lowering US production will, in no way, protect us from the dire predictions below.

Despite pressure from China and India, the US pulled out of the Paris climate accord last month. It now seems several other countries will pull out as well.

Robert Buxbaum, July 27, 2017. I’ve also written about how the global warming of the mid 1800s lead us to have the president’s Resolute desk.

Global warming and the president’s Resolute desk

In the summer of 2016, the Crystal Serenity, a cruse ship passed through the Northwest passage, going from the Pacific to the Atlantic above the Canadian arctic circle. It was a first for a cruise ship, but the first time any modern ship made the passage, it was 162 years ago, and the ship was wooden and unmanned. It was the British Resolute; wood from that ship was used to make the President’s main desk — one used by the last four presidents. And thereby hangs a tale of good global warming, IMHO.

President Trump meets with college presidents at the Resolute desk. Originally the front had portraits of Queen Victoria and President Hayes. Those are gone; the eagle on the front is an addition, as is the bottom stand.

President Trump meets with college presidents at the Resolute desk. Originally the front had portraits of Queen Victoria and President Hayes. Those are gone; the eagle on the front is an addition, as is the bottom stand. The desk is now 2″ taller than originally. 

The world today is warmer than it was in 1900. But, what is not generally appreciated is that, in 1900 the world was warmer than In 1800; that in 1800 it was warmer than in 1700; and that, in 1640, it was so cold there were regular fairs on the frozen river Themes. By the 1840s there were enough reports of global warming that folks in England thought the northwest passage might have opened at last. In 1845 the British sent two ships, the Erebus and the Terror into the Canadian Arctic looking for the passage. They didn’t make it. They and their crews were lost and not seen again until 2014. In hopes of finding them though, the US and Britain sent other ships, including the Resolute under the command of captain Edward Belcher.

The Resolute was specially made to withstand the pressure of ice. Like the previous ships, and the modern cruise ship, it entered the passage from the Pacific during the peak summer thaw. Like the ships before, the Resolute and a partner ship got stuck in the ice — ice that was not quite stationary, but nearly so, The ships continued to move with the ice, but at an unbearably slow pace. After a year and a half captain Belcher had moved a few hundred miles, but had had enough. He abandoned his ships and walked out of Canada to face courts martial in England (English captains were supposed to “go down with the ship”). Belcher was acquitted; the ice continued to move, and the ships moved with it. One ship sank, but the Resolute, apparently unscathed, passed through to the Atlantic. Without captain or crew, she was the first ship in recorded history to make the passage, something that would not happen again till the Nautilus nuclear submarine did it under the ice, 100 years later.


The ghost ship Resolute was found in September 1855, five years after she set sail, by captain Buddington of the American whaler, George Henry. She was floating, unmanned, 1200 miles from where captain Belcher had left her. And according to the law of the sea, she belonged to Buddington and his crew to use as they saw fit. But the US was inching to war with Britain, an outgrowth of the Crimean war and seized Russo-American property. Franklin Pierce thought it would help to return the ship as a sign of friendship — to break the ice, as it were. A proposal for funds was presented to congress and passed; the ship was bought, towed to the Brooklyn Navy yard for refitting, and returned to Britain as a gift. The gift may have worked: war with Britain was averted, and the seized property was returned. Then again, Britain went on to supply the confederacy early in the Civil War. None-the-less, it was a notable ship, and a notable gift, and when it was broken up, Parliament decided to have two “friendship desks” made of its timbers. One desk was presented to President Hayes, the other to Queen Victoria. One of these desks sits the British Naval museum at Portsmouth; its American cousin serves Donald Trump in the Oval office as it has served many president before him. It has been used by Coolidge, Kennedy, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama before him — a reminder that global warming can be good, in both senses. If you are interested in the other presidents’ desks, I wrote a review of them here.

As for the reason for the global warming of the mid 1800s, It seems that climate is chaotic. ON a related note, I have proposed that we make a more-permanent northwest passage by cutting thorough one of the islands in northern Canada. If you want to travel the Northwest passage in 2017, there is another cruise scheduled, but passage is sold out.

Robert Buxbaum, March 16, 2017.

18 year pause in global warming

Here is an updated version of the climate change graph. It’s now 18+ years, and as was true with last year’s version, 17+ years of no climate change, I see no significant climate change. Similar to this: Global Warming takes a 15 year rest.

18 years of Global Temperature anomaly to July 2015

18+ years of Global Temperature anomaly to July 2015. The climate seems to have stopped changing.

Though the average planetary temperature has remained constant, there is local variation. It’s been warm in California for the past 2+ years, but cold in Michigan. Before that, it was warm in Michigan and California was cold. The Antarctic ice is at record high levels while the arctic ice has shrunk enough that we should make a Northwest passage.

Climate vs weather from the blog of Steven Goddard

Climate vs weather, from the blog of Steven Goddard. It’s funny because…

Theory suggests we should see global warming because of increased CO2 trapping of atmospheric heat 2 miles up or so. The problem with the theory is that it doesn’t include clouds. A few extra clouds, e.g. from Chinese industry, could have more cooling power than a lot of CO2 has heating power. It seems that the effects cancel, and temperature 2-3 miles up is about what you’d expect from entropy.

My biggest climate fear, BTW, is global cooling: a new ice age. They come every 110,000 years or so and we seem overdue.

Global temperatures measured from the antarctic ice showing stable, cyclic chaos and self-similarity.

Global temperatures from the antarctic ice show ice ages every 110,000 years. cyclic chaos and self-similarity.

Robert Buxbaum, July 22, 2015. You may not have noticed, but there have been relatively few hurricanes — something that could change at any minute. Here’s a link to 1/2 hour lecture by a Nobel physicist, Ivar Giaever on the subject. Like me, he notices no change, and thinks warmer is better.

Can you spot the man-made climate change?

As best I can tell, the only constant in climate is change, As an example, the record of northern temperatures for the last 10,000 years, below, shows nothing but major ups and downs following the end of the last ice age 9500 years ago. The only pattern, if you call it a pattern, is fractal chaos. Anti-change politicos like to concentrate on the near-recent 110 years from 1890 to 2000. This is the small up line at the right, but they ignore the previous 10000 or more, ignore the fact that the last 17 years show no change, and ignore the variation within the 100 years (they call it weather). I find I can not spot the part of the change that’s man-made.

10,000 years of climate change based on greenland ice cores. Ole Humlum – Professor, University of Oslo Department of Geosciences.

10,000 years of northern climate temperatures based on Greenland ice cores. Dr. Ole Humlum, Dept. of Geosciences, University of Oslo. Can you spot the part of the climate change that’s man-made?

Jon Stewart makes the case for man-made climate change.

Steven Colbert makes his case for belief: If you don’t believe it you’re stupid.

Steven Colbert makes the claim that man-made climate change is so absolutely apparent that all the experts agree, and that anyone who doubts is crazy, stupid, or politically motivated (he, of course is not). Freeman Dyson, one of the doubters, is normally not considered crazy or stupid. The approach reminds me of “the emperor’s new clothes.” Only the good, smart people see it. The same people used to call it “Global Warming” based on a model prediction of man-made warming. The name was changed to “climate change” since the planet isn’t warming. The model predicted strong warming in the upper atmosphere, but that isn’t happening either; ski areas are about as cold as ever (we’ve got good data from ski areas).

I note that the climate on Jupiter has changed too in the last 100 years. A visible sign of this is that the great red spot has nearly disappeared. But it’s hard to claim that’s man-made. There’s a joke here, somewhere.

Jupiter's red spot has shrunk significantly. Here it is now. NASA

Jupiter’s red spot has shrunk significantly. Here it is now. NASA

As a side issue, it seems to me that some global warming could be a good thing. The periods that were warm had peace and relative plenty, while periods of cold, like the little ice age, 500 years ago were times of mass starvation and plague. Similarly, things were a lot better during the medieval warm period (1000 AD) than during the dark ages 500-900 AD. The Roman warm period (100 BC-50 AD) was again warm and (relatively) civilized. Perhaps we owe some of the good food production of today to the warming shown on the chart above. Civilization is good. Robert E. Buxbaum January 14, 2015. (Corrected January 19; I’d originally labeled Steven Colbert as Jon Stewart)


17+ years of no climate change

Much of the data underlying climate change is bad, as best I can tell, and quite a lot of the animosity surrounding climate legislation comes from the failure to acknowledge this. Our (US) government likes to show the climate increasing at 4-6°C/century, or .05°C/year, but this is based on bad data of average global temperatures, truncated conveniently to 1880, and the incorrect assumption that trends always continue — a bad idea for stock investing too. We really don’t have any good world-wide temperature going back any further the 1990s, something the Canadian ice service acknowledges (see chart below) but we do not. Worse yet, we adjust our data to correct for supposed errors.

Theory vs experiment in climate change data

Theory vs experiment in climate change data; 17 years with no change.

High quality observations begin only about 10 years ago, and since then we have seen 17+ years of no significant climate change, not the .05°C per year predicted. Our models predicted an ice-free Arctic by 2013, but we had one of the coldest winters of the century. Clearly the models are wrong. Heat can’t hide, and in particular it can’t hide in the upper atmosphere where the heat is supposed to be congregating. The predictive models were not chaotic, and weather is, but instead show regular, slow temperature rises based on predictions of past experimental data.

In Canada and Australia, the climate experts are nice enough to put confidence bars on the extrapolated data before publishing it. Some researchers are also nice enough to provide data going back further, to late Roman times when the weather was really warm, or 20,000 years ago, when we had an ice age (it’s unlikely that the ice age ended because of automobile traffic).

Canada's version of Ice coverage data. The grey part is the error bar. Canada is nice enough to admit they know relatively little of what the climate was like in the 70s and 80s. We do not.

Canada’s version of Ice coverage data. The grey part is the error bar. Canada is nice enough to admit they don’t know what it was like in the 70s and 80s. We do not.

So what’s so wrong about stopping US coal use, even if it does not cause global warming. For one, it’s bad diplomatically — it weakens us and strengthens countries that hate us (like Iran), and countries like China that burn lots of coal and really pollute the air. It also diverts the US from real air pollution and land use discussions. If you want less air pollution, perhaps nuclear is the way to go. Finally, there you have to ask, even if we could adjust the earth’s temperature at will, who would get control of the thermostat? Who would decide if this summer should be warm or cold, or who should get rains, or sun. With great power comes great headaches.

Robert Buxbaum, June 21, 2014