Revisiting “Pause Deniers Busted”


The original post and updates were done in October 2015.  Now Radford Neal has done a complete deconstruction of the published paper in his post (here): Critique of ‘Debunking the climate hiatus’, by Rajaratnam, Romano, Tsiang, and Diffenbaugh .  Neal says:

Climatic Change appears to be a reputable refereed journal, which is published by Springer, and which is cited in the latest IPCC report. The paper was touted in popular accounts as showing that the whole hiatus thing was mistaken — for instance, by Stanford University itself.

You might therefore be surprised that, as I will discuss below, this paper is completely wrong. Nothing in it is correct. It fails in every imaginable respect.

Original post and updates October 3 and 30 below

With Paris COP drawing near, the lack of warming this century is inconvenient and undermines the cause.

As Dr. Judith Curry said, “I have been expecting to start seeing papers on the ‘hiatus is over.’ Instead I am seeing papers on ‘the hiatus never happened.’”

One that was trumpeted came out of my Alma Mater, Stanford.  They garnered the expected headlines from the usual places:

Global Warming “Hiatus” Never Happened: Eos

There never was any global warming “pause.”:  Washington Post

The text is here: Debunking the climate hiatus

The write up has statistical razzle-dazzle and lots of opaque sentences, but let’s not get lost in the weeds.

Let’s not talk about the multiple tamperings to the land records they chose to study.  Let’s even overlook their including the bogus upward adjustments to the SSTs by Karl et al.  Bob Tisdale dissected that here:

We don’t need to get into the technicalities of why they stopped with 2013 data, the suitability of the tests applied or their interpretations of the results.

Here’s what you need to know about this study:

They ignored the satellite records (RSS and UAH), the gold standard of temperature measurements, because the absence of warming there is undeniable.

For the land and ocean datasets they analyzed, they ignored the huge divergence between observations and the predictions (projections) from climate models.


Natural variability in the climate system has neutralized any warming from increased CO2 this century, and also offset most, if not all of the secular rise in temperature since the Little Ice Age.  The models did not forecast this; they can only project warming, and do so at rates several times higher than observations.  The models fail for three reasons:  high sensitivity to CO2; positive feedback from water vapor; and lack of thermal inertia by the oceans.

For more on climate models and temperature projections:

The Stanford football team was impressive beating highly-rated Southern Cal on their home field last Saturday.  The work of the research team, however, looks like pandering rather than science.  They need to up their game: No cookies.

Update October 3

I found the time to look into the details of this paper and the statistical trick comes to light.

They took as the null hypothesis: “Temperatures are not rising.”  After applying several statistical tests, they conclude that the statement is not supported by the data, so we cannot say with certainty temperatures are not rising.

And what about the other null hypothesis: “Temperatures are rising.”  Silence.

I suspect they didn’t want to admit that the same statistical tests would also disprove that statement.

A reasonable person concludes: When you can not say for sure that temperatures are not rising, or that they are rising, that would surely indicate a plateau in temperatures.

Update October 30–Another classic from Josh

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