Road markings appear distorted during a heatwave, in New Delhi, India, 27 May 2015. Photograph: Harish Tyagi/EPA
by John Abraham, "Climate Consensus - The 97%," The Guardian, November 24, 2015
For a long time, climate change contrarians and deniers have insisted that global warming has paused, stopped, or taken a hiatus. This might have been dismissed as the usual denier cherry-picking—since much of it was based on cherry picking the starting year of 1998—an unusually hot year.So we took up the question, first of all, whether the warming had stopped and second, if it had not, why were scientists calling it a pause. Ironically the paper that answered the second question got published first: we showed how contrarian discourse had steeped into the climate science community, so scientists were calling this decrease in the rate of warming a pause, when it clearly was no such thing. If warming continued, as indeed it did, then by definition that is not a pause, nor a hiatus. Our new paper, shows statistically that not only has there not been a pause or hiatus, but that the observed rate of warming is well within the range of previous fluctuations—including some positive fluctuations (i.e. increases in the rate of warming) that did not generate any scientific attention.So the bottom line is: there is no pause, and there has never been one. The rate of global warming does fluctuate—but this has been known for a long time. Whether or not any particular fluctuation has an identifiable cause—like the effects of ocean heat uptake or an El Nino—is an interesting question, but a fluctuation is not a pause, and it is important to be clear that the recent fluctuation is not statistically anomalous compared with other fluctuations we have seen, relative to the longer-term warming trend.