On the basis of such uncertainty - a lack of that hallowed consensus - we are going to eschew the cheap, dense fossil fuels that have made possible the exponential leap in human advancement over the last two centuries, and deliberately orchestrate the decline of our civilization.It's generally accepted that the planet is warming up, but in fact it isn't. Global warming in the sense of surface temperatures actually stopped well over a decade ago. A new report just out says that it may stay stopped for some time yet.The Met Office climatologists say that the long-awaited El Nino is finally brewing in the Pacific, which ought to heat the world up noticeably. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation, another mechanism active in the Pacific, also looks set to warm things up.Unfortunately for people desperate to see a return to a warming world (for instance at the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services, dependent on global warming for its raison d'être) there's a third powerful mechanism in play: the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, or AMO, which varies up and down on long timescales.The AMO has actually been heating the world up since the mid-1990s, but now it looks set to swing into a negative phase and cool the planet off, probably for a long time, as AMO phases typically last several decades. The Met Office's new report (pdf), just out today, has this to say about the AMO:The current warm phase is now 20 years long and historical precedent suggests a return to relatively cool conditions could occur within a few years ... Observational and model estimates further suggest AMO shifts have an effect on global mean near-surface temperatures of about 0.1°C. A rapid AMO decline could therefore maintain the current slowdown in global warming ...The Met Office doesn't care for phrases such as "hiatus" or even "pause" to describe the absence of global warming for the last fifteen years or so: it describes the flat temperatures as a "slowdown".But it's all the same thing. One should note that the Met Office report is strongly hedged – its title even ends in a question mark, in the style of headlines-to-which-the-answer-is-no.But it isn't just the Met Office that believes the AMO may be headed into a cold spell. Scientists studying Atlantic hurricanes have noted that these massive storms have been mostly less common and less powerful in recent years, and the suggestion is that this trend may be set to continue, with the underlying mechanism being a switch in the AMO to a negative phase.
Our daily proof that Chesterton was spot-on.