Britain’s Met Office says it is a 50-50 call that one of the next five years will see global temperatures leap by almost half a degree centigrade to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The tidings were of course faithfully reported by mainstream media, keen, as always, to support the political messaging behind Net Zero. But curiously missing from the coverage was the fact that the absurd prediction relies on a base of heavily adjusted past temperature records, and the future occurrence of one of the most powerful natural El Niño weather fluctuations ever observed.
It is on El Niño that the bet mostly relies. A powerful fluctuation in 2016 ended a lengthy temperature pause and raised the reading temporarily by up to 0.2°C. El Niños are natural weather fluctuations that draw heat from the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and distribute it around the atmosphere. There was also a powerful El Niño spike in 1998 and since that date, global warming has run out of steam.
Not at the Met Office of course. As we have reported, the Met Office removed an off-message pause from around 1998 by two major adjustments in 2013 and 2020 to its HadCRUT global temperature database. In total, the adjustments added about 30% more recent warming. This trend was exacerbated by cooling the temperatures recorded earlier in the 20th century. Similar adjustments were made by other important global temperature datasets. All surface datasets are complex blends of reported temperatures, proxies, estimates and modelled data.
A recent essay in the Watts Up With That climate science site run by the American meteorologist Anthony Watts clearly shows the adjustments. First we look at the satellite data, generally considered the most accurate representation of global temperature.
The near flatline from around 1998 is clearly shown along with the El Niño jump in 2016. Since that one-off event, the line moves sharply downwards. The University of Alabama in Huntsville data is part compiled by Dr. Roy Spencer and appears every month on his personal web page. This site was recently demonetised by Google AdSense on the grounds he published “unreliable and harmful claims”.
Now consider the Met Office latest database.
The near flatline of the satellite record has become a pronounced rise, while the decline since 2016 is less steep. A comparison of the two graphs shows that HadCRUT has doubled the warming revealed by the satellites.
But the Met Office is not the record that differs most from the satellites. Here is the graph for the NASA GISS database.
There is a massive improvement here for Thermogeddon fans. There is much more warming over the last 25 years at NASA, and the added bonus that the temperature has continued to rise since 2016.
If the Met Office ’50-50′ call is to come true, the lines on all three graphs would have to rise near vertically almost off the page. Global warming is unlikely to provide a boost and it can be argued it is a 50-50 call that temperatures will start to fall. All that is left it seems is a hope that the largest El Niño ever recorded will come riding to the rescue. Absurd, doesn’t begin to cover it.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor