Missing Heat 2 – The Climate Coincidence Revisited

The Missing Heat of homeo-climate-path Kevin Trenberth is not just a matter of increasing the number of measurement points. Something else is…amiss.

As noticed by David Whitehouse of the GWPF for quite some time (my emphasis):

In the past decade the atmospheric CO2 levels have increased from 370 ppm to 390 ppm and using those figure the IPCC once estimated that the world should have warmed by at least 0.2 deg C. The fact that the world has not warmed at all  means that all the other climatic factors have had a net effect of producing 0.2 deg C of cooling.

But there is more. The counterbalancing climatic factors have not only compensated for the postulated AGW at the end of the decade they have kept the global annual average temperature constant throughout the past 10-15 years when the AGW effect wants to increase it. The key point that makes this constancy fascinating is that for every value of CO2 there is an equilibrium temperature that is higher the greater the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. In other words, the higher CO2 concentration at the end of the decade exerts a stronger climate forcing than at the beginning of the decade.

This makes what has happened in the past decade all the more remarkable. Because the greenhouse effect wants to force the temperature up which in the absence of a cooling influence is what would have happened, the fact that the temperature has remained constant indicates that whatever has been cooling the planet has had to increase in strength at precisely the same rate as the CO2 warming in order to keep the temperature a constant straight line.

This means that for 10-15 years the combined effect of all the Earth’s climate variability factors have increased in such a way as to exactly compensate for the rise in temperature that the increased CO2 would have given us. It is not a question of the earth’s decadal climate cycles adding up to produce a constant cooling effect, they must produce an increasing cooling effect that increases in strength at exactly the same rate as the enhanced greenhouse effect so as to keep the earth’s temperature constant.

Can it really be the case that over the past 15 years the sum total of all the earth’s natural climatic variables such as changes in solar irradiance, volcanoes, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the Arctic Oscillation, all of which can change from cooling to warming over decadal timescales, have behaved in such as way as to produce a cooling effect that is the mirror image of the warming postulated by the anthropogenic climate forcings from CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, from the changing water vapour, from tropospheric ozone, and from a clearing aerosol burden?

This can be visualized as following. Imagine there is a quantity ExpT that can be computed beforehand (x(t)=x(t-1)+0.1) (blue in the graph). Consider also the actual measured MeasT values (y(t)=0.5*rand()) (red). Fix x(0)=y(0)=1 and plot their evolution (and divergence).

Now, of course DiffT=y(t)-x(t) (yellow) becomes increasingly larger as x(t) increases whilst y(t) hovers around 0.5. A centered running 5-point average AvgDiff5Cent (green) will mimic ExpT, entering progressively more negative territories. In fact the correlation between AvgDiff5Cent and ExpT is for all intents and purposes, one.

So if ExpT is going up because of CO2 emissions, what kind of magic is intervening to generate the AvgDiff5Cent counterforcing so that the total is zero on a decadal timescale? (And yes, the small small small amount of warming actually reported should obviously be taken as close to undetectable, ie zero).

Even if we had perfect 100% coverage of the whole planet, this question would remain open.

I’m sure Kevin “saying it is natural variability is not an explanation” Trenberth understands this point. It’s a case of missing physics, more than heat.

(Just noticed Judith Curry has hit on the same nail – great minds really think alike 🙂 )