The Pause Deniers Are Back – More Than 200 Peer Reviewed Studies Are Wrong


That’s basically how Roger Pielke Jr. describes the latest effort to erase the Pause, or Hiatus, or Slowdown.

The New Left Wing Fail this time leads the charge of the main stream media to report that:

Global warming is WORSE than we thought because the famous ‘pause’ between 1995 and 2013 never happened . . . . . .

Oh no, it’s worse than we thought! Hey, that’s new; haven’t heard that before.

But seriously, these ‘experts’, these ‘scientists’ (Mann, Rahmstorf, Risbey, Lewandowsky, Oreskes, Cowtan et al) are telling us that over 200 peer reviewed scientific papers published on the ‘alleged climate pause’ are all wrong basically because of something called ‘selection bias’, which leads to dodgy statistical analysis combined with political pressure from climate deniers and fossil fuel companies.

The two papers can be referenced here and here.

Here is what the authors of one of those papers say about the ‘false narrative’ which is the alleged Pause:

With the ‘pause’ (or ‘hiatus’), a false narrative about an alleged inconsistency between natural fluctuations of global temperature and ongoing global warming was inserted into climate discussion. Once the notion of a ‘pause’ was established, some of the major journals gave prominent feature to articles about it (Nature 2017). The IPCC formalised the ‘pause/hiatus’ for the climate community in its 5th assessment report by defining and accepting it as an observed fact about the climate system (Stocker et al 2013) [Box TS.3]. Many climatologists also adopted the ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’ into their own language about climate change. The adoption of these terms by the mainstream research community gave the ‘pause’ further legitimacy, even though they often explained that it was not unusual in the context of natural variability.

In hindsight, with current GMST datasets, there is no statistical evidence for a ‘pause’. That is the case regardless of which dataset is used and even using statistical tests that inflate the significance of the results. Global warming did not pause in observations (according to any common usage of the term or in statistical terms), but clearly we need to understand how and why scientists came to the conclusion that it had in order to avoid future episodes of this kind. 

So, apart from alleging that inappropriate statistical analyses, the use of ‘wrong’ datasets and not being able to foretell the future (i.e. that an entirely natural warming event – a super El Nino – would bust the Pause in 2015/16), the author’s argument also rests upon the assertion that the natural decadal fluctuations in climate were not at all unusual or unexpected and thus a 15 year ‘pause’ was entirely predictable – except it wasn’t. No models were predicting a pause of 15 years prior to it happening, nor indeed in the years after it happened, because of fluctuations in the rate of natural decadal/multidecadal warming and cooling.

I questioned Stefan Rahmstorf on this precise point on Twitter:

Stefan replied:

After which, Twitter silence was the very loud reply. It would seem that, contrary to the author’s assertions about natural variability, a Pause lasting 15 years or more was an event either not predicted by the models beforehand or extremely rare in model simulations performed after the event; certainly not ‘entirely expected’ and explicable with reference to current knowledge regarding natural decadal variability, as claimed.


Update 21/12/2018

This is a very interesting thread on the two Pause denial papers, with Richard Betts defending the academic integrity of colleagues who published studies on the Pause. Goes up and down from this tweet.




  1. Seeing that this is another Lew paper tells a reader all one needs to know. Don’t need wasting time with what will be tortuous word manipulation or what will be dodgy maths analysis. No doubt, Nic Lewis will pull it to bits in a hour or so if he wanted to be bothered.


  2. ‘back’, yes, indeed three of the team were on Lewandowsky’s ‘seepage’ paper that pursued the same theme. These papers all rely upon the theory that the entire discipline of climate science can be hi-jacked by political bias and the ‘seepage’ of persuasive but wrong memes. I don’t think that spreading an understanding of this (correct) theory, is going to have the effect they think it will. Narratives compete, and for any that are sufficiently powerful to hi-jack science in any particular domain, it’ll be the one that carries the most emotive punch (with consequent biases) plus is propagated by the highest / greatest number of authorities, which will win regarding the direction of that hi-jack. For the climate domain that one would be the catatstrophe narrative; so these folks are helpfully laying the ground for people to grasp that the catastrophe narrative could indeed hi-jack science.

    On another note, using the word ‘deniers’ encourages still more the inappropriate framing this word invokes, and its continued take-up as a weapon for any side in any conflicted domain.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. }sigh{
    Yet another derivative reactionary paper designed to police thinking about the climate consensus, and avoid honestly considering the data and especially avoid honestly considering the interpretation of the data that underlies the consensus.
    Same authors, same pre-conceived conclusions, same contrived conspiratorial claptrap by Lewandowsky.


  4. Well there’s a silver lining – it puts a bloody great hole below the waterline in the ‘good’ ship Climate Consensus. And it’s self inflicted. An early and unexpected Christmas present.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I wonder when the alarmists will realise that having Lewandowsky and Oreskes on their team is gifting goals to the opposition, It is really hard to have any credibility (even with the uninterested public, if those two are promoted as top line climate scientists.


  6. Lol

    We are facing an unprecedented global emergency. The government has failed to protect us. To survive, it’s going to take everything we’ve got.
    The Government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.

    The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.

    A national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.


  7. A national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

    By which they mean, of course, not a democracy.

    One of the main Greens was pushing this in New Zealand recently. A non-elected non-representative Panel should be entasked with ensuring NZ met all its climate responsibilities, with power to direct industry and consumers. That it is basically an authoritarian solution to the nasty problem of voters not doing what he wants is, I presume, a feature not a bug.


  8. “Democracy fit for purpose” is quite the latest euphemism apparently. But what they call for fits in with the criminalization of living that Figueroa has declared.
    How did weather become “climate”, and how did climate concern become the loophole that is rapidly becoming a noose?
    And will the rational sane people finally wake up and end the climate madness in time?


  9. CHESTER DRAWS says:
    23 Dec 18 at 2:48 am

    “A non-elected non-representative Panel should be entasked with ensuring NZ met all its climate responsibilities, with power to direct industry and consumers.”

    We already have that in the UK. It’s called the Committee on Climate Change.


  10. Part of Richard Bett’s tweet:

    “IMO it’s pretty serious & insulting to accuse fellow scientists of bowing to political pressure”

    Well I never…
    Defra, Science Directorate, Management Support and Finance Team

    5.1 Alignment of the Climate Prediction Programme with Defra’s business and science objectives

    “The Climate Prediction Programme was not an academic research programme; its work plan and deliverables was driven by Defra’s requirements for science to inform UK government policy on climate change mitigation and adaptation.

    As the policy requirements changed, so did the research programme objectives.”

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Well the author list for this paper did not unnecessarily raise my expectations, which it appears have been met. I guess maybe we should cheer that a fairly large group of scientists appears to acknowledge that a fairly large body of climate science work fell victim to selection bias. It does raise the question if the ~200 papers on the pause are wrong, should they be retracted or corrected?

    I would argue that the problem here is that the data is noisy and models are inadequate leading to divergences of opinion and susceptibility to selection and confirmation bias.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This by Lewandowsky: Not sure if deeply condescending is his best look in talking to climate scientists..

    “There are lessons here for the media, for the public, and for scientists.

    For scientists, there are two lessons: first, when you get to know a dataset by using it repeatedly in your work, make sure you also still remember the limitations you read about when first downloading it. Second, remember that your statistical choices are always part of a cascade of decisions, and at least occasionally those decisions must be revisited.” – Lewandowsky

    yes. cli-sci Lewandowsky is ‘schooling you’

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Yes Barry, that’s very ironic advice from Lew. The authors could set an example for others by bringing in an independent statistician for their paper. They didn’t do that.


  14. What I think is needed in climate science is a permanent set of statistical and CFD experts to fact check papers for obvious errors. The recent Replandy case shows its needed. I doubt Nic Lewis has the time to delve into more than a few of the ones that directly affect his work on TCR/ECS.

    The selection bias bit is something that I believe is quite common in climate science particularly with model based papers. Recently as the problems have become glaringly obvious, science and scientists have had no problem admitting that there is a bias problem in their field even in top flight journals like Nature. Climate science stands out here as being very unwilling to admit biases or political influences. Maybe this new paper will start a trend toward more open discussions of this topic.


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