SkepticalScience Needs to Update their Escalator

The SkepticalScience animation The Escalator has been around for a couple of years, and it has appeared in dozens of their posts and in blog posts by other carbon dioxide-obsessed alarmists.  Their intent with The Escalator animation was to show that the instrument temperature record includes many short-term absences of global warming, while, in their minds, manmade greenhouse gases caused the long-term trend of global warming.  With Kevin Trenberth now saying strong El Niño events caused global warming to occur in steps, SkepticalScience needs to revise their escalator animation. The steps are not only how skeptics view global warming…one of the leading ENSO and global warming researchers is now presenting global warming in El Niño-caused big jumps, and he also has written in at least two peer-reviewed papers that El Niños are fueled by sunlight.

So here’s my suggested replacement for SkepticalScience’s The Escalator.  For lack of a better title, we’ll call it…


Trenberth Global Warming Staircase

Feel free to link it anywhere you like…especially where the CO2-obsessed have presented the SkepticalScience animation “The Escalator”.

For more information about Kevin Trenberth’s discussion of the how the warming of global surface temperatures occurred “instead of having a gradual trend going up, maybe the way to think of it is we have a series of steps, like a staircase” or in “big jumps” see the following posts. The first post also includes quotes from and links to the papers where Trenberth states that sunlight provides the warm water for El Niños:

If this topic is new to you, see the free illustrated essay The Manmade Global Warming Challenge (42MB). And if you’d like more information, my ebook Who Turned on the Heat? is available.  It goes into a tremendous amount of detail to explain El Niño and La Niña processes and the long-term aftereffects of strong El Niño events.  Who Turned on the Heat? weighs in at a whopping 550+ pages, about 110,000+ words. It contains somewhere in the neighborhood of 380 color illustrations. In pdf form, it’s about 23MB. It includes links to more than a dozen animations, which allow the reader to view ENSO processes and the interactions between variables.

I’ve lowered the price of Who Turned on the Heat? from U.S.$8.00 to U.S.$5.00.  Some readers spend more on a cup of coffee. Please buy a copy. You might even learn something. A free preview in pdf format is here.  The preview includes the Table of Contents, the Introduction, the first half of section 1 (which was provided complete in the post here), a discussion of the cover, and the Closing. Take a run through the Table of Contents.  It is a very-detailed and well-illustrated book—using data from the real world, not models of a virtual world. Who Turned on the Heat? is only available in pdf format…and will only be available in that format.  Click here to purchase a copy.  Thanks. Book sales and tips will hopefully allow me to return to blogging full-time once again.

About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
This entry was posted in CAGW Proponent Arguments, El Nino-La Nina Processes. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to SkepticalScience Needs to Update their Escalator

  1. Thanks, Paul. Good animation.
    I don’t see how “The Consensus” can say that an ever-increasing, continuing, CO2 forcing causes stronger, or longer-lasting, or more frequent, or all of the above, El Niños.

  2. lolwot says:

    The consensus says that without manmade global warming global temperatures would collapse further in years following an El Nino than they actually do.

  3. Bob Tisdale says:

    Thanks for the laugh, lolwot. What consensus? Climate models do not properly simulate ENSO. Climate models cannot simulate sea surface temperatures over any timescale.

    Have a good day.

  4. Your blog is much appreciated, Bob.

    Confirms the work of others who base decisions on empirical scientific evidence.

    G’day lolwot. According to the UN IPCC’s data on its reviewers, your consensus is five people. See page 13 of Appendix 2, here:!.html

    And page 4 of Appendix 5 at same link.

    lolwot, those who lack the empirical scientific evidence use appeals to authority like “the consensus says …”.

    Your language gives you away as unscientific.

    If you had the empirical scientific evidence you’d present it and that would end the discussion.

    You don’t, you can’t.

    BTW, lolwot, can you please specify where on Skeptical Science there is any empirical scientific evidence that HUMAN CO2 caused Earth’s latest modest cyclic global ATMOSPHERIC warming from 1976-1998?

    I asked John Cook the question. His response was to giggle and run away.

    A radio station challenged his boss Ove Hoegh-Guldberg to debate me. Ove ran. I invited John Cook to debate me instead. Silence.

    Malcolm Roberts

  5. Pamela Gray says:

    You and I have exchanged pleasantries over your step function, which I consider to be a key discovery in how heat builds up. That also means there might be something interesting in how heat is released and not recharged because of a lack of clear sky La Nina’s.

    I would like to draw your attention to this piece of research (models with well-reasoned caveats). It demonstrates that volcanic eruptions large enough to cause eventual cooling may first trigger an extended/serial El Nino condition. Which means that solar insolation at the sea surface would be reduced, first because of volcanic debris but also because the calm El Nino conditions cause heat release along with cloud formation.

    Your step up function is plausible because La Nina’s are recharging, as usual to a lesser or greater degree, and the heat storage from a previous long La Nina put a lot of heat into the oceans. The rise and now the pause in land heat is the result of an oceanic heating charge/recharge system trying to work its way to a balance it can never keep.

    Here is my speculation regarding the steps down into the Little Ice Age. Given the seesaw but unequal mechanics of the equatorial oceanic/atmospheric oscillation, combined with your step function and the movement of equatorial water to other places around the globe, it seems plausible to me that an initial large volcanic pulse with continued burps and gurgles could result in steps down the other direction leading to the Little Ice Age and its up and down, but mostly down, temperature trends.

    Once the volcanic activity finally died down (there were many eruptions during the time span called the Little Ice Age) clearing the skies of aerosols, the less warmed waters floating around the globe (which explains cold episodes all over the globe) came to an end. Why? Because the equatorial waters again received their full amount of solar insolation without a sulfuric ash filter during recharge episodes, and trade winds once again blew La Nina into its now you see me now you don’t life, thus ending the Little Ice Age.

    There have been many articles published on the short lived consequence of volcanic eruptions, and just as many trying to explain why the LIA lasted as long as it did. None fully consider the plausible charge/recharge disruption and the cooler waters circulating around the globe during the LIA. Most fall back on a slowed overturning circulation and growing Arctic ice cap along with a full bag of this or that left over additions to explain the breadth of colder conditions during that time span. This paper below comes very close to looking at ENSO issues as the major disruption but fails to consider more fully how that can explain continued cold episodes interspersed with some warming inbetween the many LIA volcanic eruptions.

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    Hi Pamela. Your reasoning sounds plausible, however…. I shy away from discussions of climate before the period of the instrument temperature record.

    Additionally, in looking at the ocean heat content data for the tropical Pacific, it’s difficult at best to find El Chichon and Mount Pinatubo signals in them.

  7. Pamela Gray says:

    That is true Bob. However the Little Ice Age episodic volcanic activity dwarfs both Chichon and Pinatubo. The 1258 eruption is considered to be the strongest in the past 7000 years and may have had at least two large pulses plus smaller burps and gurgles. Most research is in accord with what you say. Many volcanic eruptions don’t necessarily show up in proxies. But the really big ones do, and especially so during the Little Ice Age, considered to be the most active period of activity in the ancient to modern human history timespan.

  8. Pamela Gray says:

    Though the explosions are not named, here are the ice core records. The 1258 explosion is the clear winner between 500 and 2000 AD. The interesting thing about equatorial explosions is that they don’t have to be stratospheric to cut out the sun. I am guessing that 1258 explosion kept pumping. And in fact several pyroclastic flows are identified connected to the Samalas Volcano 1258 blow.

  9. Pamela Gray says:

    Here is the newest Ice Core Volcanic index, again showing the Samalas’ extreme explosion compared to all others. Now that we know this was an equatorial location, it stands to reason that an aerosol loading along the El Nino equatorial region could be calculated and then applied to the normal solar insolation calculation (thus reducing it substantially) within this very important area of recharge in the ENSO process. I think this is the mechanism of continued global cooling after the aerosols had been rained out or migrated to the poles. There was no recharge while the aerosols were still in the atmosphere, thus the equatorial belt received far less insolation than it normally did, thus sending much less warmed waters out to the rest of the world during the LIA.

    All this is to say that the step function you speak of probably has a knee as the initial loading source of heat dies out and recharge can’t keep up. That may be happening now under current extended weak recharge events not keeping up with discharge, which could be the reason for this extended pause, and may help explain the LIA, which is the same process but on a catastrophic level. Let’s hope we don’t get a ride down that sliding step function any time soon.

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