The question: Why, despite steadily accumulating greenhouse gases, did the rise of the planet’s temperature stall for the past decade?
The short (and obvious) answer: Because trivial changes in the abundance of an essential atmospheric trace gas are not a significant driver of climate.
This, however, appears too complex for “climate scientists”
Provoked Scientists Try To Explain Global Warming Standstill – … The hunt for this missing energy, and the search for the mechanisms, both natural and artificial, that caused the temperature hiatus are, in many ways, a window into climate science itself. Beneath the sheen of consensus stating that human emissions are forcing warmer temperatures — a notion no scientist interviewed for this story doubts — there are deep uncertainties of how quickly this rise will occur, and how much air pollution has so far prevented this warming. Many question whether energy is missing at all.
For answers, researchers across the United States are wrestling with a surge of data from recent science missions. They are flying high, sampling the thin clouds crowning the atmosphere. Their probes are diving into deep waters, giving unprecedented, sustained measures of the oceans’ dark places. And their satellites are parsing the planet’s energy, sampling how much of the sun’s heat has arrived, and how much has stayed.
“What’s really been exciting to me about this last 10-year period is that it has made people think about decadal variability much more carefully than they probably have before,” said Susan Solomon, an atmospheric chemist and former lead author of the United Nations’ climate change report, during a recent visit to MIT. “And that’s all good. There is no silver bullet. In this case, it’s four pieces or five pieces of silver buckshot.”
This buckshot has included some familiar suspects, like the Pacific’s oscillation between La Niña and El Niño, along with a host of smaller influences, such as midsize volcanic eruptions once thought unable to cool the climate. The sun’s cycles are proving more important than expected. And there are suspicions that the vast uptick in Chinese coal pollution has played a role in reflecting sunlight back into space, much as U.S. and European pollution did decades ago. (GWPF)