Don’t say “pause”, either. Update: Nor (see this post) “natural variability”.
What a mistake it is to use these words! There is no possible meaning of them which is sensible in the context of the (operationally defined) global temperature series.
Look, sisters and brothers, if we (as in climate scientists) knew what the temperature was going to be, we would have been able to skillfully forecast it. We were not able to skillfully forecast it, so we did not know what the temperature was going to be.
To speak of a “hiatus” or “pause” logically implies we knew the “hiatus” or “pause” was going to be there, that it was expected, that we knew in advance its causes. We did not know. If we did know, we would have predicted it. Which we didn’t.
To say there is a “hiatus” is to say that, eventually, we know not when, the temperature will continue its inexorable rise. What evidence is there for this belief?
It cannot be in the models we currently possess, because these models did not foresee what actually happened. The incontrovertible evidence is that these models are wrong. That they should not, in their current state, be trusted. That whatever they say is subject to extreme reasonable rational doubt. That decisions should not be made based upon their predictions (except the decision to produce better models).
To say there is a “pause” is to say that the models were right after all, even though Reality differed from the models. To say there is a “hiatus” is to say Theory is better than Reality. This is to commit the Deadly Sin of Reification.
There is no hiatus, there is no pause. At least, we can’t say so now—or maybe we will never be able to say so. We might someday look back and see that we now were living in a hiatus. Then again, we might look back and say, “I miss when it was warmer.”
There is no hiatus. There is only what the temperature actually did. Way back when, it wiggled to a fro, it went up a little more than down, but for these eighteen or so years, it stayed about the same. Why it did these things is an entirely separate different matter than saying what it did.
To say there was a “pause” is to say we know why the temperature did what it did. But again, if we knew, we would have known the “pause” was coming, which we didn’t.
Anybody who says “hiatus” or “pause” non-ironically or non-derisively is reifying theory, promoting it above reality. This is nuts, scientifically speaking.
“But look here, Briggs. Isn’t it true that man is injecting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and doesn’t carbon dioxide absorb radiation?”
Yes, it’s true.
“Is that all you’re going to say?”
That’s all you asked.
“Don’t play cutesy, fella. You’re just as aware of the implied question as I am. Adding carbon dioxide warms the planet, yes or no?”
I don’t know. And neither do you, and neither does anybody else. If you instead say we do know, then you have to explain why this knowledge led to such awful models.
It is true that man injects carbon dioxide, all right, and even other gases. And he also changes the land, say, by growing crops. But every species influences the climate to some extent. This is trivially true.
Now if we held everything constant—via some crude approximations—and only considered the increase of CO2, then temperatures should rise. Since they didn’t uniformly do so, it’s clear that this “hold everything constant” ploy is an awful rendering of reality.
Since our predictions failed, it must be that some thing or things we didn’t and don’t well consider should be considered. Maybe the extra CO2 is causing a boom in plant or plankton growth or whatever, species which then interact with variable X and then X interacts with Y, which modifies Z, and which, after a few more Latin letters, pushes the temperature to lower levels.
Hey. You can’t rule this out. The opposite is true: you must accept it, or accept some other alternative to the status quo, if you value truth.
God help the environmentalists if it turns out CO2 is actually a net benefit!
Meanwhile, don’t say “hiatus” or “pause.”