The Colder Side of Global Warming

There has been a stunning disconnect involving land temperatures globally and CO2, whether man-made or naturally sourced.  The Oceans continue to warm, while the surface record flatlines.

Check out the World temperature record over the past 18 years.   

The Recent Temperature and CO2 Disconnect

It is obvious that the surface records are NOT going up - they are basically in a 0.2C flatline, while Sea Surface temperatures are still somewhat rising, as you see below; (both with an obvious Mt. Pinatubo signal).

This is totally expected behavior in a Ewing-Donn oriented system, as the recently enhanced albedo effects first affect land and only considerably later, do the oceans overcome their heat content lag.

Even going back ten centuries, there have been total disconnects between temperature and the CO2 impact, or lack thereof.  From 1000AD to 1800, over a period of relatively stable CO2 values that bounced around the 280ppm level, temperatures plummeted in the Little Ice Age (LIA) and then rebounded over a century later.  CO2 values neither led nor followed the temperature declines and recoveries.


Huge swings in temperature show no correlation with CO2.  Above, Real Science overlaid Law Dome + Mauna Loa CO2 on the 1990 IPCC temperature graph.

Here’s another source for the same data - the resulting CO2 Temperature Disconnect remains

The mean relative temperature history of the earth (blue, cool; red, warm) over the past two millennia - adapted from Loehle and McCulloch (2008) - highlighting the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA), together with a concomitant history of the atmosphere's CO2 concentration (green).

Loehle, C. and McCulloch, J.H. 2008. Correction to: A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-tree ring proxies. Energy & Environment 19: 93-100.


Now we have CO2 ranges that almost double the maxima reached in the past 4 interglacial periods (over 450,000 years), and temperatures remaining relatively stable for most of the last 10K year span.  CO2 seems to have had little impact in EITHER direction on the observed temperatures over that 10k year period.  Neither have sunspots, for that matter, nor their lack, and their signal is largely absent from the temperature record, except for the LIA Maunder Minimum of the 16-1700s, and the Dalton to a lesser extent.


Now here's a different way of seeing 2011, in that for the recent term, it has been the third coldest of the last 15!  2012 started out even lower, and turned out to be the second “coldest” of the displayed 20 year timeframe.  The chart displayed is not mine, nor is its title.   CO2 warming has not disappeared as stated; rather it continues but has been overcome/overtaken by other factors, and is not the current major driver of atmospheric temperature on the Earth.

The decided 15 year flatline in temperatures is very evident, even as CO2 has continued to increase regularly from 1997's 364 ppm to today's 392 ppm.  Here's the whole “Keeling Curve” up-to-date Mauna Loa CO2 recent 20 year record alongside the World Average Temperature Record for the period :

If CO2 is to be considered a major driver of temperatures, it is doing a counterintuitive dance around the numbers.  Now 18 years should not be relied upon for any trend, but the short term uncoupling of CO2 from temperature is evidence that far greater complexities are at hand and to be found in the climate sphere given appropriate research and analysis.  Albedo effects from a recovering Antarctic and an increasingly open summer Arctic, melted by warming oceans streaming into the Arctic basin, northern hemispheric record breaking snow-cover extents,  decadal diminution of sunspot activity, and a decided La Nina are also among the "Usual Suspects."  

There have been times that CO2 direction paralleled temperature trends, but coincidence is not causation, and the short term uncoupling of temperature from a previous parallel growth assumption has now become totally obvious!