In a recent interview on the Glenn Klein Show on WRJN radio, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, asserted that “the climate hasn’t warmed in quite a few years … that is proven scientifically.”
This statement is entirely untrue but echoes a line of argument that many climate change and global warming skeptics have introduced into the discussion for a number of years. The so-called “global warming hiatus” argument suggests that since the beginning of the present century there has been a slower rate of increase in the global average surface temperature than climate models suggested would be the case.
This is very different from saying that the warming has stopped.
In fact, a recent analysis of 67 years of continuous temperature data by UW scientists has demonstrated that the areal extent of the cold air at 1 mile above the ground during Northern Hemisphere winter has systematically decreased in that time period and that two of the last three winters have had the smallest such areal extent in the entire record.
There is no question that the air temperature just above the surface is continuing to warm at an alarming rate — even in wintertime.
The U.S. National Centers for Environmental Information issued a new State of the Climate report confirming that 2015 surpassed 2014 as the warmest year since at least the mid- to late 19th century. This scientifically accepted report is based on contributions from scientists from around the world and reflects tens of thousands of rigorous measurements. The globally averaged sea surface temperature was also the highest on record, breaking the previous mark set in 2014.
In a clear example of what President Abraham Lincoln intended when he established the National Academy of Sciences, the scientific community has contributed to our nation’s response to this threat by endeavoring to better understand the many dimensions of this complicated problem. It behoves those who proudly invoke the memory of Lincoln to accede to his original intent.