Bob Tisdale has been very effective at keeping us updated on the multi-year surface ocean temperature trends in his posts at
His latest post is very much worth reading
The figures he presents clearly show the effect of ENSO events which are superimposed on a longer term trend. One also does not need to perform a statistical analysis to see a long term increase from 1982 until 1998 following by a step-function type of change after the large El Nino in 1998 and nearly flat trend, or even a slight decline, since, as illustrated in the figure below from Bob’s excellent post.
Roy Spencer adds further perspective to this slight cooling in SSTs in recent years, this time with respect to the lower troposphere, in his post
from which I have reproduced his figure below.
These two pieces of evidence document that global warming has certainly slowed (if we accept that the heat is going into the deeper ocean (without being seen in the upper ocean), or global warming has halted, at least for this time period.
Since the observations show a continued increase of atmospheric CO2 [which has still unknown biogeochemical effects], yet global warming is not behaving as the IPCC claimed in 2007, this suggests a new approach is needed to assess social and environmental risks from extreme weather and other climate effects.
This observational evidence, in which models are not able to adequately explain, is a major reason policymakers should adopt the bottom-up, resource-based perspective that we propose in
Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairuku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2011: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. AGU Monograph on Complexity and Extreme Events in Geosciences, in press
where we wrote the goal should be
“…..the determination of the major threats to local and regional water, food, energy, human health, and ecosystem function resources from extreme events including climate, but also from other social and environmental issues. After these threats are identified for each resource, then the relative risks can be compared with other risks in order to adopt optimal preferred mitigation/adaptation strategies.”
The posts by Bob Tisdale and Roy Spencer illustrate from real world observations why a new approach is needed, since the models are not skillfully simulating the actual behavior of the climate system even in a global average. The continued defense of the dominance of CO2 with respect to climate change on multi-decadal time scales is placing those proponents of that view as increasingly looking as out of touch with the reality of the real-world climate system.