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The “Pause” Returns

Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Jul 19, 2016 at 8:43 AM
Climate Change

The climate science community had been troubled by an extended “pause” in global warming prior to two events in the Spring of 2015: the onset of a major El Nino in the NINO region of the Pacific; and, the publication of Karl et al 2015 (Possible Artifacts of Data Biases in the Recent Global Surface Warming Hiatus’), the “pause buster” reanalysis of global sea surface temperatures (ERSSTv4). As the result of one or both of those two events, the “Pause” paused, though it was frequently said to have ended.

However, the end of the 2015/2016 El Nino and the disappearance of the Pacific “Warm Blob” off the West coast of North America have restored the pause in the satellite anomaly products produced by UAH and RSS, to 23 years and 1 month and 22 years and 8 months respectively, through May 2016. The pause has also been restored in the HadCRUT near-surface temperature anomaly product, to 11 years and 2 months; and, in the HadSST sea surface temperature anomaly product to 19 years and 10 months, through April 2016. The pause has not yet been restored in the NASA GISS LOTI (land/ocean temperature index) temperature anomaly product through May 2016, nor in the NOAA NCEI combined anomaly product through April 2016. This is likely the result of the sea surface temperature revisions in NCEI’s ERSSTv4 sea surface temperature product, as well as near-surface data “adjustments”.

It appears likely that the pause will ultimately be restored in the NASA GISS and NOAA NCEI combined temperature anomaly products as both near-surface and sea surface temperatures continue to drop with the end of the 2015/2016 El Nino and the “Blob”; and, with the anticipated onset of the 2016/2017 La Nina, though the increased sea surface temperatures resulting from the Karl et al 2015 reanalysis will likely delay the restoration by several months in both combined anomaly products.