The significance of the 17-year pause in global warming

As of the end of October, the “pause” in global warming has reached 17 years according to the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) satellite data sets.  The temperature plot below is from  November 1, 1996 to October 31, 2013; that’s 204 months =17 years. The significance of this is discussed in detail here.  I will summarize:


In spite of steadily rising emissions and atmospheric content of carbon dioxide, the global temperature has failed to rise in lockstep as predicted by climate models. The temperature spike in 1998 is attributed to a “super” El Nino.

Some climate scientists, attempting to explain away the lack of warming, claimed that pauses of 10 years or so is just natural variation and would not falsify the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.  In 2011, Santer et al., wrote a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters titled:  “Separating signal and noise in atmospheric temperature changes: The importance of timescale.”

The paper concludes: “Because of the pronounced effect of interannual noise on decadal trends, a multi-model ensemble of anthropogenically-forced simulations displays many 10-year periods with little warming. A single decade of observational TLT [temperature of the lower troposphere] data is therefore inadequate for identifying a slowly evolving anthropogenic warming signal. Our results show that temperature records of at least 17 years in length are required for identifying human effects on global-mean tropospheric temperature.”  So, 17 years became to new magic number.

Well, it has now been 17 years with no net warming.  No signal of a man-made warming due to carbon dioxide emissions has been identified. This shows at the very least that the climate models, upon which all dire predictions are based, are wrong.

It also indicates that any warming attributable to carbon dioxide is very small compared to natural variation and should not be cause of concern.  All the regulations attempting to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are fighting a phantom menace.  And the billions of dollars spend on climate research and supposed mitigated of the phantom menace have been wasted.

See also:

More evidence that climate models are wrong

Mystery of the missing heat

Obama’s Climate Action Plan is Clueless and Dangerous

For some real climate science see:

Climate Change Reconsidered II – A major new report on the state of the climate



  1. Climate deniers seem to like to start history in 1998 which broke all previous records for global temperatures. They ignore that every year since then was above the 20th century average and we have just had the hottest decade on record. The physics hasnt changed – reenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and oceans and we have the highest levels of CO2 in human history. If you wish to deny this that is your privilege but do not obstruct those who are searching for practical alternatives to fossil fuels so that their children have a chance at a sustainable future and a hospitable climate in which to raise their children.

    1. As usual, you ignore the point. Warmists said we could not have a period of static temperature for 17 years if the models were correct. BTW, in 1998 there was step in global temperature brought about by a change in the PDO. Prior to that, temps were fairly steady but at a lower level for about 15 years.

  2. Excellent article. Thanks for blanket permission to repost, of course with accreditation and link to original, which we always do anyway.

  3. OHC data shows that the climate system continues to gain heat at an undiminished rate, primarily as a result of our greenhouse gas emissions. The UAH temperature series shows the fastest rate of warming in the satellite era at just over 0.17C per decade. This is why we have accelerating meltdown of Arctic sea ice, the ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica, and mountain glaciers worldwide. It’s why we have thawing permafrost all over the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere. It’s why sea level rise is accelerating and extreme heatwaves have increased by more than an order of magnitude. With global temperature rising 40 times faster than the average rate of warming during the last deglaciation, it’s now a race against time to mitigate this growing climate catastrophe as best we can, and adapt to the chaos that is already inevitable.

    1. Heat content is different from temperature. Roy Spencer shows that decrease in cloud cover is responsible for at least one-third of the heat content rise: see

      And, the rise is apparently confined to the northern hemisphere, see:

      Heating of the oceans is mainly by direct primary sunlight which can penetrate hundreds of feet. The infrared radiation coming from carbon dioxide back-radiation can penetrate less than one millimeter, so it does not play much of a part in ocean heat content.

      1. The sun heats the oceans and the atmosphere modulates the loss of that heat to space, which is why our enhanced greenhouse effect has been causing heat accumulation in the oceans during half a century of falling solar irradiance.

    2. TROLL ALERT !!!

      Warning: Icarus62 is a professional climate alarmist. Everything he says is a LIE! Our CO2 emissions have virtually nothing to do with climate change. For a true representation of the earth’s climate over the last thousand years see the following chart, which actually comes from the first IPCC climate assessment report from 1990:

      The climate history of the last 100+ years is sufficient to disprove this entire hoax. See:….

      From the 1940’s through the mid 1970’s our use of hydrocarbon based fuels was increasing at the fastest rate ever recorded, yet for that entire 25 year period our temperatures were falling by a comparable rate. So much for all of this CO2 nonsense….

      Climate change occurs naturally, the primary direct cause being ever changing cycles of solar activity (sun spots), with volcanic activity also playing a minor supporting role.

      The alarmists are also lying about ocean acidification. It’s just as bogus as man made global warming, & they always bring it up whenever mother nature isn’t cooperating with their BS predictions.

      We’ve all grown used to seeing this kind of propaganda:

      It helps keep it in perspective if we remember that only 35 years ago, we were hearing the same bull$hit in reverse:

      I’m certain that within the next 20 years or so they’ll change their tune once again. It’s been going on since time immemorial, when the first shamans & witch doctors told their flocks that the floods, or the droughts, or the earthquakes, or the wildfires would continue or get even worse if they didn’t do what he claimed god told him they must do… It’s almost always about a single or a small group of sociopaths trying to gain power over their fellow men…. with a compliant media helping to promote the lie as well because…. catastrophes sell newspapers.

      Don’t believe any of this climate change bull$hit… When you hear someone pushing this crap, simply smile & say:

      It’s the sun stupid!



  4. Fossil fuels are the biggest contributor to global warming, but it is the heat emissions not the CO2 by-product, that are four times the amount of heat that can be accounted for by the actual measured rise in temperature. CO2 may indeed capture infra red radiation but how significant is that? The models do not even concede that heat emissions are a factor to be considered. Physics hasn’t changed, but ignoring obvious contributors makes a mockery of “science”. Fossil fuels must be replaced by acceptable alternatives but by not recognizing which components of fossil fuel combustion are important leaves us with the cry for carbon capture and sequestration. CCS, and the promotion of nuclear power which emits twice the total heat as its electrical output. The pause in warming may be due to the melting of a trillion tons of glaciers a year which moderates the rise in temperature.

  5. The earth cooled between 1965 and 1975. Their model says that cant happen either. So far 95% of their predictions have proved wrong. In the new report instead of admitting their model is wrong they say we just need more time. They should throw out the current model and start over.

    1. The first IPCC report back in 1990 predicted 0.8C of warming by today (above 1900 temperature), based on the observed forcing history, and we have actually seen 0.9C of warming, which is within the margin of error of observations – i.e. spot on.

  6. They used to call what has happened in the climate scholarship community “Group Think”. It was a psychological disorder.

    The computer model became the measure of the truth. Amazing that scientists are so invested in a computer model that has so many estimates/variables that it can not be anything but a wild guess. That wild guess is then used to push the politics of big government international control of all kinds daily actions. And President Obama has bought in with his administrative order last week. In short, big government international power grab. Period.

  7. And in spite of this alleged increase, the temperature has not increased. BTW, the WMO forgot to mention water vapor, the strongest GHG.

Comments are closed.