Readers may recall Jochem Marotzke as the IPCC bigwig who promised that the IPCC would not duck the question of the hiatus in surface temperature rises and then promptly ensured that it did no such thing.
Yesterday, Marotzke and Piers Forster came up with a new paper that seeks to explain away the pause entirely, putting it all down to natural variability. There is a nice layman's explanation at Carbon Brief.
For each 15-year period, the authors compared the temperature change we've seen in the real world with what the climate models suggest should have happened.
Over the 112-year record, the authors find no obvious pattern in whether real-world temperature trends are closer to the upper end of what model project, or the lower end.
In other words, while the models aren't capable of capturing all the "wiggles" along the path of rising temperatures, they are slightly too cool just as often as they're slightly too warm.
And because the observed trend over the full instrumental record is roughly the same as the model one we are cordially invited to conclude that there's actually no problem.
If Carbon Brief is reporting this correctly then it's hilariously bad stuff. Everybody knows that the twentieth century is hindcast roughly correctly because the models are "tuned", usually via the aerosol forcing. So fast-warming/big aerosol cooling models hindcast correctly and so do slow-warming/small aerosol cooling models. The problem is that the trick of fudging the aerosol data so as to give a correct hindcast can't be applied to forecasts. Reality will be what reality will be. The fact is we have models with a wide range of TCRs and they have all been fudged. Some might turn out to be roughly correct. But it it just as possible that they are all wrong. Given the experience with out of sample verification and the output of energy budget studies, it may well be that it is more likely than not that they are all wrong.