Here is the more substantive reply. The gist of David Evans article – originally published in Australia on July 16th – is that ocean temperatures are a more reliable indicator of climate change, and they have shown “a slight cooling trend since at least late-2004, and possibly as far back as mid-2003.” That should immediately set off alarm bells. 5 years is, of course, not a long enough period to be able to plot a trend line for anything. Ah, says Mr. Evans, “ocean temperatures were not properly measured until mid-2003” with the deployment of the Argo network. Alas, he says, “the Argo data is extraordinarily difficult to find on the Internet” (despite the fact I found it in 30 seconds).
To this end, Mr. Evans relies on others work of which, funnily enough, he doesn’t link to (more alarm bells). Boiled down though, Evans is using data from Josh Willis (a real climate scientist!). Evans quotes Willis “There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant”. It would be nice to see what else Willis had to say in March 2008. And voila here is the full quote: “There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant,” Willis says. So the buildup of heat on Earth may be on a brief hiatus. “Global warming doesn’t mean every year will be warmer than the last. And it may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming.”
Now we see why Evans didn’t link to Willis directly…classic quote-mining. Here’s more Willis: “The comings and goings of El Niño, La Niña and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation are part of a longer, ongoing change in global climate,” said Josh Willis, a JPL oceanographer and climate scientist. Sea level rise and global warming due to increases in greenhouse gases can be strongly affected by large natural climate phenomenon such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. “In fact,” said Willis, “these natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.”
At the end, Evans states “It is worth bearing in mind that there is no actual evidence that carbon dioxide was the main cause of recent warming—it’s only an assumption, and the calculations of future temperature rises derive most of their warming from an assumed water vapor feedback for which there is only counter-evidence.”
This provokes this response from a real climate scientist: “(1) Evans’ assertions are contrary to the basic laws of physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, i.e. the infrared absorption/emission resonance effect of well mixed long-lived greenhouse gas molecules (H2O,CO2, CH4, N2O, O3, CFC) according to the Stefan-Boltzmann law1. (2) Water vapor constitute feedback effects, strong in the tropics but weak over deserts and almost lacking over the poles, which despite very low vapor levels are warming the fastest. (3) The solar effect since the mid-20th century was limited to +/- 0.1 Watt/m2 oscillations due to the sunspot cycle. (4) The paleoclimate record indicates intimate relationships between climates and atmospheric CO2 levels. (5) The above is consistent with the observations of leading research orgnizations (Hadley, Tyndall, NASA, Potsdam, CSIRO, NSIDC) and thousands of peer-reviewed scientific papers. Dr Andrew Glikson Earth and paleoclimat scientist Australian National University”
The simple fact of the matter is 97% of active climatologists agree that human activity is causing global warming