From an article by Richard Heinberg at Common Dreams:
The threat of climate change needs no introduction—it’s the mother of all impending environmental crises. And we are already seeing serious impacts, including superstorms, droughts, and the melting of the north polar ice cap. Nevertheless, it’s all not as bad as it might be, were it not for the fact that the warming of Earth’s surface air temperatures has slowed since 1998 (which was an anomalously hot year).
"Global warming hasn’t really ‘paused’; it’s just gone to the depths."
Climate change deniers have seized upon evidence of this “pause” to argue that global warming has essentially stopped. After all, if the greenhouse-gas-laden atmosphere were in fact trapping more heat, where could all that heat be hiding?
Turns out, very little of Earth’s trapped heat warms the atmosphere and land surface; most of it (over 90 percent) is absorbed by the oceans. Part of the explanation for the slowdown in surface warming lies in the heating of deep ocean waters. Global warming hasn’t really “paused”; it’s just gone to the depths. At the same time, there has been a downswing in the Pacific Ocean’s natural temperature cycle, which has also correlated with a cluster of La Nina years (usually associated with a cooling of ocean surface waters). This temperature cycle masks the underlying warming trend. So it appears that, for now at least, Mother Earth herself is playing “The Hero of Haarlem.”
There’s no way to know how long this current cool cycle will last, though the previous Pacific cool phase, which started in the 1940s, continued for about 30 years. If the present cycle is of the same duration, then in about 15 years much of the heat currently being dumped in deep oceans may begin instead to remain in the atmosphere. At that point we will likely see unprecedented rates of climate warming, and far worse episodes of extreme weather.
Deniers have seized on this one bit of information, that surface warming has paused, as their proof that global warming is not a threat. Conveniently, they ignore reading deeper that the heat is going into the deep ocean for now. Temporarily.
Thousands of scientists, qualified in climatology, educated, trained in research, working on the subject for decades, can point this out, but the idiots claim that they are smarter than all those people because they read one data point somewhere by someone, and then the idiots declare it to be ultimate truth about warming.
They’ll even claim that since it appeared on a reputable science site it must be true and therefore global warming is over. Funny how they don’t read the rest of it.
I’ve been accused of being uncivil to people who make these sorts of claims. It’s true. I am and will continue to be uncivil towards stupidity in these matters.