It’s snowy here today in Washington, D.C., so it’s a great day to list the reasons why climate scientists think the global warming — which Al Gore said would melt the polar ice caps by now — has been on hiatus for the past 17 years.
Climate scientists have been stumped by the “pause” in global warming, which virtually none of the climate models predicted. Explanations from declining solar activity to oceans absorbing excess heat to Chinese use of coal have been thrown around as reasons for why the global surface temperatures stopped warming since the late 1990s.
Here are the top eight reasons why climate scientists believe that the Earth is no longer getting warmer:
1) Declining solar activity — Some scientists and climate experts have been pointing to declining solar activity for the lack of warming during most of the last two decades. The basic idea is that solar activity reached its maximum during the late 1990s and has since declined at a very fast rate — which would explain rising global temperatures during the latter half of the 20th century and the slight global cooling since the late 1990s.
In fact, German scientists found last year that solar activity and the 65-year Atlantic and Pacific Ocean oscillation cycle account for virtually all of the global warming since 1870 — when the “Little Ice Age” ended. Now with solar activity declining and ocean oscillation in its cooling phase, we could be in for a cold century.
2) Oceans ate up all the warming — Some climate scientists have argued that the oceans have “eaten up” all of the warming that has occurred since the late 1990s, which is why global surface temperatures have not risen since then.
“The increase in the amount of heat in the oceans amounts to 17 x 1022 Joules over the last 30 years,” according to the RealClimate blog, which is written by climate scientists. “That is so much energy it is equivalent to exploding a Hiroshima bomb every second in the ocean for thirty years.”
Though one has to wonder if the ocean has absorbed so much heat, why didn’t the climate models predicted catastrophic global warming by now take this fact into account?