Slowdown in global warming merely a ‘pause,’ expert says

 

 
 
 
 
Shaun Lovejoy, a physics professor at McGill, has recently published a study showing that a recent cooling trend is a natural fluctuation and not proof that man-made global warming is waning.
 

Shaun Lovejoy, a physics professor at McGill, has recently published a study showing that a recent cooling trend is a natural fluctuation and not proof that man-made global warming is waning.

Photograph by: Allen McInnis, Montreal Gazette

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McGill University physics professor Shaun Lovejoy, already a global warming denier’s worst enemy, has done it again with his latest statistical analysis showing that a recent slowdown in global warming is merely a “pause” — and not any kind of proof that man-made global warming has waned.

Lovejoy already regularly gets hate mail from global warming skeptics, so he figures this will just give them more ammunition.

“I don’t get death threats but I do get a lot of nasty emails. There are some people with vested interests who are not going to be convinced by rational arguments,” said Lovejoy, whose last study, in April, elicited a response from one of the more distinguished skeptics: Lord Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, who referred to Lovejoy’s work as an emanation “of the forces of darkness.”

That was Lovejoy’s study which proved conclusively, he says, that there is such a tiny probability that what we are experiencing is natural warming — probably less than 0.1 per cent — that it can be dismissed.

He has followed it up with a statistical analysis of average global temperatures between 1998 and 2013, which shows the slowdown in global warming during this period is consistent with natural variations in temperature that occur historically every 20 to 50 years.

In a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, Lovejoy concludes that a natural cooling fluctuation during this period is largely masking the warming effects of a continued increase in man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

So yes, he said, while it may seem contradictory, the statistical methodology he has developed has ruled out the possibility that global warming is just a natural fluctuation in the Earth’s climate, while at the same time showing that a recent deceleration in rising temperatures is actually a natural cooling.

While the focus of his research has largely been on atmospheric variability, Lovejoy has focused on the issue of global warming recently, saying in an interview that his methodology of disproving natural warming is possibly more indisputable than the traditional approach of trying to prove the hypothesis that warming is man-made.

His most recent study addresses the argument raised by skeptics that, since greenhouse gases have continued to rise in the last 15 years while there has been a deceleration in rising temperatures, it must dispute the theory that global warming has been caused largely by man-made emissions.

But Lovejoy says his study concludes there has been a natural cooling fluctuation of about 0.28 to 0.37 C since 1998.

“Being based on climate records, this approach avoids any biases that might affect the sophisticated computer models that are commonly used for understanding global warming,” he said.

And while his new finding may sound encouraging because it may mean the Earth isn’t heating up as quickly as scientists had forecast, Lovejoy also believes it is likely to be short-lived.

“The chances of it continuing much longer are small,” he said.

kseidman@montrealgazette.com

Twitter: KSeidman

 
 
 
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Shaun Lovejoy, a physics professor at McGill, has recently published a study showing that a recent cooling trend is a natural fluctuation and not proof that man-made global warming is waning.
 

Shaun Lovejoy, a physics professor at McGill, has recently published a study showing that a recent cooling trend is a natural fluctuation and not proof that man-made global warming is waning.

Photograph by: Allen McInnis, Montreal Gazette

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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