A commonly-made global warming–denier argument is that there was an 18-year pause in global warming which started in 1998. Some argue that this outright disproves global warming, while others say that it shows climate-change alarmism to be unjustified. Others reach the related conclusion that the alleged pause means that scientists and climate models are untrustworthy and over-exaggerate the warming trends.
Here, I'm going to examine the many flaws in this argument, with the key point being that this global warming pause was based upon biased, inaccurate data that has since been rejected and corrected by the scientific community. Once biases are removed, the 18-year pause in global warming vanishes—and thus, the bedrock supporting the denier's conclusion ceases to exist, causing the entire argument to crumble.
I'm also going to make some points about how we should and shouldn't look at data to reach conclusions, and I'll address the idea that these data corrections are part of a fraudulent conspiracy by devious scientists to make it look like global warming is occurring.
Katie Tubb, writing for The Heritage Foundation, attempts to introduce the 18-year pause in a weirdly poetic way:
"A whole generation of people have been born, learned how to walk, ride bikes, drive cars, graduated from high school, celebrated 18 birthdays, and are now considered legal adults while the data show there has been no global warming over their lifetimes."
Oh, it's such...beautiful prose! I was choking back tears when I read this...because I was crying from boredom. Jesus Christ, I thought that list would never end!: "...learned how to walk, ride bikes, had their first kiss, cheated on their boyfriend, had an abortion, became a crack addict, had her car re-possessed, got in a bar fight with a lesbian, went to jail for two months...", alright, lady! We get it!: 18 years. My goodness, it almost took me 18 years to read that introduction!
When it comes to climate change deniers who make terrible arguments, Aaron Bandler of The Daily Wire is the cream of the crap. In a 2016 article, he writes the following:
"There has simply not been a lot of global warming in recent years. As The Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro has written:
'For example, The Economist reported in 2014, "Between 1998 and 2013, the Earth’s surface temperature rose at a rate of 0.04°C a decade, far slower than the 0.18°C increase in the 1990s." That forced the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to come up with a whole new way of evaluating its data to fight those results. It also forced global warming advocates to claim that the oceans somehow ate up all of the excess heat in the air.'"
Let me just pause right here to say that Ben Shapiro seems like exactly the type of person who would be getting his climate change information from reading The Economist. It's no wonder he's so misguided on the subject!
As Bandler continues:
". . . This trend continued in 2015, which was nowhere near the hottest year recorded by satellite, meaning that there has been an 18-year pause in global warming."
The data used by Bandler to support this claim about the global warming pause is provided in a ClimateDepot article by Christopher Monckton—in this painfully low-resultion image.
They've also been keeping track of this alleged warming pause in a very... interesting way: "The Freedom Clock edges ever closer to 20 years without global warming."
The Freedom Clock! Who knew that climate change denialism could be so patriotic? What a cheap attempt this is to link your argument with a positive-sounding term like "freedom."
Let's begin, as I often do, by assuming that this argument and this information is all correct, and we say: Yes, there has been an 18-year pause in global warming. Even if this was the case, what would this really mean? You don't study or reach conclusions about a long-term process like climate change by viewing small chunks of temperature data in isolation, just as we don't draw conclusions about the general trend of the stock market by looking only at stock prices from the last month.
If you expect to see a perfectly straight, upward line, you're just not thinking realistically about the subject. Climate is a complex process, and there will inevitably be year-to-year, even several-year fluctuations. The key question is: What is the long-term trend?, and if you look at any temperature data that goes back over a hundred years, an upward trend is unmistakable. Deniers are looking at a small chunk of data by itself when what they really should be doing is paying attention to the overall trend.
And the IPCC points out something important about the year 1998, the start of the alleged pause in global warming. As Thomas Karl et al write in a 2015 Science publication:
"IPCC acknowledged that trends since 1998 were tenuous because the period was short and commenced with a strong El Niño."
And for those who don't know or didn't watch Bill Nye in junior high school, El Niños are these complex natural events that happen every few years where we see dramatic changes in ocean temperatures and worldwide weather. The NOAA writes that:
"El Niño and La Niña can cause the 'seasonal climate' -- the cumulative effects of the weather over a season -- to deviate from normal at many places around the globe."
So basically, the starting year of this 18-year pause is a very high spike brought about, at least in part, by an El Niño. And of course, if you start recording your data right when a very high peak occurs, it's easy to make it look like there's a flat or even downward trend, because relative to this spike, the following years will appear lower in comparison. This isn't just cherrypicking right here; this is statistical malpractice.
Christopher Monckton attempts to defend himself against accusations of cherrypicking when he writes the following:
"Our latest topical graph shows the . . . trend on the RSS satellite . . . dataset for as far back as it is possible to go and still find a zero trend. The start-date is not 'cherry-picked' so as to coincide with the temperature spike caused by the 1998 el Niño. Instead, it is calculated so as to find the longest period with a zero trend."
Dude, that's exactly what cherrypicking is!—selecting a specific subset of data that gives you the conclusion you're looking for. This guy's like: "I'm not cherrypicking. This is what I'm doing," and then he goes on to basically provide a textbook definition of cherrypicking.
This would be like barging into my room to find me in bed with your girlfriend, and I'm like: "Dude, relax! I'm not fucking your girlfriend; I'm just sticking my penis in her vagina and thrusting!" Ridiculous!
Let me show you how easy it is to play this game: Here is NASA temperature data that dates back to 1880. (Ignore the complete lack of an 18-year pause; we'll get to that later.) Obviously the overall trend is that temperatures are rising over time.
What I decide to do is isolate a section where there's a momentary flatline, or even decline, in global warming. Let's go with the 10-year period from 1900 to 1910. I show you only this portion of the data and say: "Uh, temperatures actually decreased here for ten years, so what happened to all that global warming?", and then deniers in the audience applaud until their hands are red and Fox News offers me a job.
Would anybody take me seriously if I did this? Would any climate scientist watching be like: "I gotta say, man: I'm impressed!" Of course not.
A lot of climate change deniers are also Republicans, so let's imagine that I were to make an analogous argument with the stock market. They point to the stellar gains we've seen since Trump's election as proof of how good his policies are for the economy.
I say: "Oh yeah? Did you know there was a two-month period from January to March 2018 where the stock market actually declined?" What would they say in response to this? "Brilliant point"? "Time for me to rethink my beliefs on the stock-market trend"? No, they'd be like: "You fucking idiot!: You have to look at the long-term trend—which is clearly upwards!"
Believe it or not, there's also a second layer of cherrypicking going on here. Not only has the specific period of time been cherrypicked, but the source of the data has also been carefully selected to show us the lowest rate of warming. Monckton is showing us data from one particular set of satellites—RSS. Whenever a person shows you data from only one very specific source among many, pun intended, that should give us pause.
Long-term temperature measurements come from a variety of different sources including land stations, ocean buoys, and yes, satellites as well. There is a real prospect that one specific source of temperature data could be inaccurate, for whatever reason, so you're likely to get the most accurate results by pooling and averaging the data from these many different sources.
Indeed, Monckton later in the article does show us data from HadCRUt, the National Climate Data Center, and NASA GISS, and as we can see, this temperature data does show that there was warming over the same 18-year time period. Yet it's the RSS data that's the source of the title and punchline of his article.
Now there's a serious discussion to be had about whether satellite data is more trustworthy than land-station data—and I'm sure Monckton would argue that he spotlighted this data because he thinks it's the most accurate. That said, there is a real possibility that he looked through all the data, found the one that showed the lowest rate of warming, and then—after the fact, whether he was aware of it or not—crafted an explanation for why that source of data is the most trustworthy one. This is a cognitive bias that we're all susceptible to.
If the situation was reversed and it was the land-station data which showed no global warming over this time period, there's a good chance that he would be showcasing this data in his article.
In the interest of fairness, I should also point out that this RSS data doesn't appear to come from just a single satellite; as we see on the RSS website, for most of the time, there was overlap between at least two satellites recording this temperature data. Even still, as we'll soon see, relying on one specific source of data like this can lead you astray.
The argument about the 18-year global warming pause is flawed for a more straightforward reason: the data that originally showed the pause has since been retracted and thoroughly rejected by the scientific community. Let's start out with the RSS satellite data, which is the basis for Monckton's primary ClimateDepot graph.
As we read in a 2017 CarbonBrief article:
"Researchers from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) . . . have released a substantially revised version of their lower tropospheric temperature record.
After correcting for problems caused by the decaying orbit of satellites, as well as other factors, they have produced a new record showing 36% faster warming since 1979 and nearly 140% faster (i.e. 2.4 times larger) warming since 1998."
And here in this graph produced by CarbonBrief, we see the new, corrected data compared against the old data, showing that the warming trendline is significantly steeper after you account for the orbital bias.
After the correction, you find that there is a 2.4x faster warming rate since 1998. And note that 1998 is precisely the year that this alleged global warming pause began. Also note that the revisions were published by the very organization whose data was being used by deniers to substantiate the pause!
This point really needs to be underscored: When the very group that has collected a set of data comes out and says "this data is not accurate," we should listen to them and we should take them seriously, because who would know better about the accuracy of a data set than the people who collected this data set?
Think of it like a company is recalling an automobile: Imagine Ford holds a press conference where they explain that their 2018 Mustangs have been experiencing catastrophic brake failures. This is the company that's responsible for manufacturing this car; I would trust them when they say: "The brakes are fucked up; come in to get them repaired."
"Pfft, yeah, like I'm gonna trust Ford when they tell me that Mustangs are malfunctioning. What do they know about their own cars?" Alright, man: Have fun plowing your speeding car into a brick wall. But hey, look on the bright side: That's one less carbon-emitting vehicle on the road!
Here's a more detailed explanation from CarbonBrief on what motivated the changes to the RSS data:
"As these satellites circle the Earth, their orbits slowly decay over time due to drag from the upper atmosphere. While the satellites are designed to fly over the same spot on the Earth at the same time every day – a precondition to accurately estimating changes in temperatures over time – this orbital decay causes their flyover time to change. . . . Some satellites have fairly large orbital drifts, going from measuring temperatures at 2pm to 6pm or 8pm. Since the temperature changes since 1979 are on the order of 0.6C or so, it is relatively easy for bias, due to changing observation times, to swamp the underlying climate signal.
. . . To account for changes in observation times, the RSS group used a number of different approaches and models to try and estimate what the temperature would have been if the measurement time remained constant. This involves a combination of satellite observations (when different satellites captured temperatures in both morning and evening), the use of climate models to estimate how temperatures change in the atmosphere over the course of the day, and using reanalysis data that incorporates readings from surface observations, weather balloons and other instruments."
"But aha!", you might point out, "it's not just this RSS satellite data which showed a global warming pause; so did other data from other organizations—including the IPCC!" Technically this other data showed a slowdown in the warming rate—not an actual flatline. As we read in a 2015 Science publication by Thomas Karl et al:
"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report concluded that the global surface tem-perature 'has shown a much smaller increasing linear trend over the past 15 years [1998–2012] than over the past 30 to 60 years.' The more recent trend was 'estimated to be around one-third to one-half of the trend over 1951–2012.' The apparent slowdown was termed a 'hiatus' and inspired a suite of physical explanations for its cause."
The thing is, they go on to explain in the paper that this original data is not accurate, and that the global warming "slowdown" is largely explained by several sources of instrumentation bias. Here's one example of such bias:
". . . there have also been advancements in the calculation of land surface air temperatures (LSTs). The most important is the release of the International Surface Temperature Initiative (ISTI) databank, which forms the basis of the LST component of our new analysis. The ISTI databank integrates the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN)–Daily data set (20) with more than 40 other historical data sources, more than doubling the number of stations available. The resulting integration improves spatial coverage over many areas, including the Arctic, where temperatures have increased rapidly in recent decades."
There's also another source of bias that's explained in a Science publication by Zeke Hausfather et al in 2017:
"Up until the last two decades, most [sea surface temperature] measurements were taken by ships, first with buckets thrown over the side and increasingly through engine room intakes (ERIs) after 1940. Since 1990, the number of buoy-based SST measurements has increased around 25-fold, whereas the number of observations from ships has fallen by around 25%. In the last 25 years, SST assay methods have changed from 80% ship-based in 1990 to 80% buoy-based in 2015."
I'll explain how this created a bias in the data, but first, I'm gonna play high school teacher here for a minute—and by that, I mean I'm going to have sex with your children. Relax, though: I only fuck the ones that are 18 years or older. And my after-sex pillow talk is usually about something that'll be on the test, like The War of 1812, so Daddy's Little Girl is in good hands.
No, I'm gonna play high school teacher here in the sense that I'm inviting you to ask if you can figure out why ship-collected data might be different from buoy-collected data. And yes, this will be on the quiz tomorrow.
This instrumentation bias is explained on Berkeley.edu by Glen Martin:
"It turned out modern buoy-based marine measuring systems tend to report somewhat cooler temperatures than the ship-based temperature readings that were the norm decades ago. This made sense, since shipboard measurements were taken from ocean water piped through intake valves into hot engine rooms.
When scientists adjusted for the 'cold bias' of buoy-based systems, they found that average ocean temperatures had actually warmed 0.12 degrees Celsius per decade since 2000—almost twice as fast as the hiatus-supporting data indicated. Correct for the bias, in other words, and the hiatus disappeared."
So basically, because a much larger percentage of earlier measurements were taken using this biased ship-board method, they are going to look warmer relative to the later, more accurate measurements, which were mostly taken using the buoy method. The net result of earlier data points looking warmer is that the warming trend is underestimated.
Think about it in terms of the slope of a line, with point A at 1998 and point B at 2016. If point A is inaccurately plotted higher on the Y-axis than it actually should be, then the slope of the line connecting the two points is going to be less steep and more flat than it otherwise would have.
After correcting for these sources of bias, Karl et al explain that the warming rate throughout this period is much higher than originally thought:
". . . for 1998–2014 our new global trend is 0.106°± 0.058°C decade –1, and for 2000–2014, it is 0.116°± 0.067°C decade –1. This is similar to the warming of the last half of the 20th century."
That is to say, after you correct for these sources of bias, not only is there shown to be no global warming pause, but the data doesn't even show a global warming slowdown!
And here, in Table 1 from the paper, we see the new warming trend over this time period compared against the old trend: 0.106*C per decade versus 0.059*C per decade. In other words, after correcting for these various sources of bias, the warming rate is shown to be twice as rapid as originally thought.
Not surprisingly, many global warming deniers refuse to accept this revised data and cling tenaciously to the old data which shows a pause. You might even argue at this point that these bias corrections are bogus, and there's a vast conspiracy in the scientific community where NASA, the IPCC, RSS, and all of these other organizations simply went back and altered their data to make it look like temperatures are increasing!
This is what Ben Shapiro seemed to suggest might be occurring when he wrote the following:
"'[The global warming pause] forced the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to come up with a whole new way of evaluating its data to fight those results. It also forced global warming advocates to claim that the oceans somehow ate up all of the excess heat in the air.'"
In a classic example of weasely, lawyer language, he doesn't say it outright, but the door is left open to the possibility that this was a deliberate campaign to deceive the public by fraudulently modifying their data. Many deniers do believe exactly this, which I find amusing, because when they debate the subject online, they pretend to be all about the evidence and facts—yet here they are presenting a starkly delusional, evidence-free conspiracy theory that would involve virtually the entirety of the mainstream climate science community.
Do you have any idea how many people collaborate to work on climate science at organizations like the NOAA, IPCC, NASA, and so forth? We're talking about literally hundreds of people working in concert to knowingly lie about data—which is basically the cardinal sin in science; it is the one thing that will forever tarnish your reputation as a researcher.
How does this even work? Does the NOAA just hold a staff meeting one day where a hundred people show up and they're like: "Alright, people! Let's get started. So, you know how climate science is the field that we've all dedicated our lives to studying? Well today we're gonna discuss lying about our findings and systematically deceiving the entire world." And everyone just casually nods along like "Yeah, cool, sounds good"? Nobody involved in this sinister campaign to revise the data objects or blows the whistle to the media?
To believe that this is what's happening is to abandon your sanity. This is right up there with believing that the moon landings were faked.
Anthony Watts, when he writes the following, also makes clear that he doesn't think these data adjustments are legitimate.
"Cruz’s hearing . . . was the same year the [NOAA] released its 'pause-busting' study. The study by lead author Tom Karl purported to eliminate the 'hiatus' from the global surface temperature record by adjusting ocean data upwards to correct for 'biases' in the data," with the word biases in square quotes.
Notice the clear suggestion that these scientists are operating in bad faith when they adjust data to correct for bias.
And what's with all of this tapdancing around the issue and beating around the bush? Deniers seem perfectly comfortable strongly hinting that such data corrections are done dishonestly, but why do they almost never come right out and say: "These scientists are deliberately and dishonestly modifying the data to make it agree with their preconceived conclusions"? Do they just not have to courage to say exactly what it is that they believe about the subject?
Or perhaps they realize—maybe subconsciously—that if they came right out and said something like this, it would make them look like an irrational crackpot—so they restrict themselves to making implications and snide remarks? This approach also has the added benefit of allowing them to walk back their position if they're pressed on how flatly ridiculous their suggestions are: "Whaaat, who, me? I never said such a thing and you're misrepresenting my position! That's a strawman, sir! I only hinted at it in the most overt fashion possible!"
"Oh, yeah, they're correcting for 'biases' in the data, alright!" This is a conspiratorial dog-whistle right here. Why not just come right out and say what you believe?
There's another article—on hockeyschtick.blogspot.com—entitled "Updated list of 63 excuses for the 18-26 year 'pause' in global warming."
The first thing to notice is that the graph they show us to illustrate the pause doesn't even show a pause in global warming! The trendline very clearly is headed in an upward direction, and they're like: "Whattaya think about that?", as if we're supposed to be impressed or something! Their own chosen data makes clear that they're misusing the word "pause" here.
Let's pretend like you have friends and you're walking down the street with one of them. He's like: "Hey, you see that parked car over there?", and you're like "You mean the car that's driving at 20mph?", and he's like, "Yeah! That's the one."
If we were interested in using accurate terminology and language here, we wouldn't call this a global warming "pause"; we'd call it a "cherrypicked, minor global-warming slowdown"—which, I might add, evaporates when you correct for data biases.
The whole point of this article, however, is basically to collect a huge list of different explanations that have been put forth to explain the so-called global warming pause. "63 excuses for the . . . 'pause' in global warming." They apparently think this shows how desperately the scientific community is scrambling to explain away this inconvenient data. They don't even make an argument here in the article; they literally just list off the explanations and apparently think that it's such a self-evident point that it makes itself.
I would argue it proves a completely different point. By compiling this list, what they're demonstrating here is that there are literally dozens of potential explanations for this data. The responsibility of the person who cares about the truth is to sort through these competing explanations to determine which ones are accurate. This is not at all what the climate-change denier does; he simply assumes, as his default position, that the global warming pause is real—and that's the end of the conversation for him.
Any other potential explanation is fit for little more than thoughtless mockery. It doesn't deserve a serious consideration; there's no point in looking at the strength of the evidence; to him, any explanation that contradicts his belief is—by definition—not accurate, absurd, a desperate lie by the scientific community, and should be effortlessly pushed aside and discarded like yesterday's newspaper.
So when deniers compile a list like this and laugh at it, rather than illustrating the falsity and absurdity of these competing explanations, what they're really doing is publicly announcing to the entire world that they're not interested in entertaining any alternative explanations and they don't care about evaluating the merits of these ideas and the strength of their evidence. They might as well put a flashing banner on the top of the article that says: "I'm extremely close-minded and I want everybody to see it."
And they're also confusing making "excuses" with providing potential explanations. When a person makes an excuse, they're usually trying to lessen the blame that they receive, they're failing to take responsibility for their own inadequacies and they pass these onto somebody or something else. For example, imagine that your boss asks you: "Why were you late for work this time?", and you say "I overslept," or "traffic was terrible," or "my alarm clock had a flat tire."
"Ya know, I would've been here on time, sir, but I was too busy fucking your wife!", and then I shotgun a beer right in front of him, and I'm like "Alright, well, I'm gonna take my lunch." He's like "Take your lunch? You just got here!", and, I'm like "Hey: a man's gotta eat!"
So when you make excuses, what you're doing is refusing to take responsibility for your failures and shortcomings. This is not what these scientists are doing; what they're doing is saying: here is some set of observations; what are some potential explanations for these observations?
Imagine, by analogy, that you show me a video on YouTube of what you and the uploader claim is a ghost, and I say: "Here's what I think explains this: This might've just been a patch of fog that their headlights reflected off of; or maybe it was a planned hoax with somebody dressed up in a ghost outfit; or maybe this is some sort of video-processing malfunction?" You respond by saying: "Excuses, excuses!" What? No, I'm not making excuses; I'm trying to provide reasonable explanations for what happened here. There is a very big difference.
When you're presented with an explanation like ship-based measurement bias, it's not enough to just be like: "Pfff, yeah right. Like I believe that!" In order to seriously reject this explanation, you have to actually demonstrate that there's something wrong with it. You would have to show, for example, that shipboard temperature readings aren't actually warmer than buoy measurements, or you'd have to show that the ratio of measurement types used over time has stayed exactly the same. This is how you would seriously call into question this data revision—and this is not at all what climate change deniers are doing.
What they're basically doing is scoffing, and rejecting this data correction for no particular scientific reason. They don't like the results of this finding, it doesn't agree with their narrative, so even if they have no good reason to do so, they just say "I don't buy it" and that's the end of the conversation for them. This approach is unscientific to the core.
Just try to imagine a reputable scientist conducting himself in this way: He's confronted with data from a study that he doesn't like, so he holds a press conference and he's like: "It's a conspiracy; fake news; these people are liars"—with zero evidence to support these very large claims other than his say-so. This would be completely unthinkable because such an approach is so flatly childish and absurd that none of us can imagine a serious scientist acting in this way. This would be the stuff of a Sunday cartoon show.
Climate change deniers love to play scientist: they dress up in their little scientist outfits and use scientific terminology in their blog posts and comments, but when you look at how they actually think and argue, you see that the scientific method is of no interest to them. What they care about is rejecting anything and everything which disagrees with their preconceived conclusions—and this, ironically, is exactly what they accuse these scientists of doing!
Here's another very important point to make and understand: Deniers argue that when climate scientists correct their data in this way, they're doing it to make the data look how they want the data to look.
In order for this to be a valid argument, data corrections made by these climate science organizations would have to be universally one-directional. If we saw that every instance of correcting data to account for bias always happened to correct it in the direction of making it appear that temperatures are increasing, I'd be happy to concede that they might be onto something here. Even if they weren't doing it intentionally, even if it wasn't a vast conspiracy, perhaps this could simply be a cognitive bias that influences their approach towards the subject.
Here is the crucial point to understand: These data corrections are bi-directional. That is to say, climate scientists sometimes correct the temperature data and account for bias in a way that ultimately makes the temperature readings appear cooler than they originally did. This fact completely undermines the climate change denier's position.
Here's just one example of such a data correction, described on SkepticalScience.com:
"When compiling temperature records, NASA GISS go to great pains to remove any possible influence from the Urban Heat Island Effect. They compare urban long term trends to nearby rural trends. They then adjust the urban trend so it matches the rural trend. The process is described in detail on the NASA website.
. . . They found in most cases, urban warming was small and fell within uncertainty ranges. Surprisingly, 42% of city trends are cooler relative to their country surroundings as weather stations are often sited in cool islands (eg - a park within the city). The point is they're aware of UHI and rigorously adjust for it when analysing temperature records."
If the goal of data corrections was to make it appear that warming was happening more rapidly than it actually is, data corrections like this that move the temperature points downwards would be counter-productive and would make absolutely no sense. This is a very clear indication that they're correcting for bias not to deceive the public or make the data agree with their pet conclusions, but that they correct for bias simply to make the data more accurate.
And there's also another massive hole in the denier's conspiratorial thinking here: If the goal of the climate science community was to lead people to believe that global warming is occurring, and if they're willing to falsify data to make people believe this, why wouldn't they have just falsified the original data in the first place? Why release data for the entire world to see which shows an 18-year pause in global warming, and only later go back and modify the data to agree with their conclusions?
Think about how comically stupid this approach would be. This tactic would be unthinkable if the goal is to convincingly deceive the public. "I know! We'll start out by telling them the exact opposite of what we want them to believe!" What kind of a bumbling and incompetent conspiracy is this?
It'd be like saying: "I'm gonna go hit on this gold-digger at the bar by letting her know that I'm jobless and live with my parents." Good luck with that.
"Hey, baby. Wanna buy me a drink?"
"Do I wanna buy you a drink? No. I don't."
"Aw, come on. Tell ya what, what do ya say we get out of here, take the bus back to my mom's place, and see what happens? She made spaghetti!"
As we've seen, the argument about the 18-year pause in global warming is flawed for many different reasons. First and foremost, it's based upon inaccurate data which was skewed in the direction of non-warming by several sources of bias. After these biases are accounted for, the alleged pause disappears, and we see that the warming trend has continued unabated.
There's also no merit to the idea that these data corrections are part of a grand scientific conspiracy, because it'd be virtually impossible to get so many researchers to collaborate in this sinister way, and it would foolish to go about this conspiracy by retroactively modifying the data. We can also reject the less absurd idea that these data revisions are simply the product of an unconscious, cognitive bias in these scientists, because data corrections like this are bi-directional.
Finally, even if there was a temporary warming flatline, it's misleading to cherrypicking small chunks of data like this, because climate-change is a long-term trend, with short-term fluctuations. You can deceptively make it appear like no warming is occurring if you carefully select the start and the end years, but this is not how accurate conclusions are reached. For these and other reasons, this argument should be rejected.