May 25th, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
A new paper in Nature: Scientific Reports by Santer et al entitled Tropospheric Warming Over the Past Two Decades begins with this:
After a recent Senate confirmation hearing, Scott Pruitt the new Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received a written question regarding observed warming estimates. In response, Mr. Pruitt claimed that over the past two decades satellite data indicates there has been a leveling off of warming. We test this claim here.
Now, exactly how does one scientifically test a claim of “leveling off of warming”?
First, the claim would have to have some unambiguous meaning which can be evaluated quantitatively. Does it mean that warming has decelerated in the last two decades, and is approaching zero? That would be my first interpretation of “leveling off”.
And by “two decades” did Pruitt mean exactly 20 years?
The wording is ambiguous. But the authors decided Pruitt meant “there has been zero warming” for exactly 20 years. They proceeded to evaluate this interpretation with a statistical analysis of the various satellite temperature datasets, as well as with climate models.
The result is a peer-reviewed study which took less than one month to sail through peer review.
Wow. If I only knew earlier that I could get peer-reviewed scientific papers by evaluating the silly climate claims made by politicians (Al Gore, Barack Obama, et al.) over the years.
Oh, that’s right. I’m on the wrong side of the issue. The reviewers would have said, “C’mon, that’s a politician generalizing. You can’t get a peer-reviewed scientific paper out of that!”