In fact, the reason so many scientists accept that Earth is warming is not solely down to changes in surface air temperatures. There is actually a multitude of measurements: of atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases; of atmospheric water vapor; of air temperature near the ground, in the lower atmosphere, and in the stratosphere; of changes in glacier mass balance and polar sea ice; of sea level rise and, importantly, changes in the heat content of the ocean. The accumulation of evidence from all these observations points unhesitatingly to a warming planet.
As the first Met Office report states, "a wide range of climate quantities continue to show changes. For instance, we have observed a continued decline in Arctic sea ice and a rise in global sea level. These changes are consistent with our understanding of how the climate system responds to increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases."
Life on the Ocean Floor Garbage Patch: Photos
The second installment in the trilogy specifically addresses possible causes for the supposed slowdown in near-surface temperature warming. One is that the total amount of heat that the planet is receiving as a result of greenhouse warming is somehow decreasing – which is demonstrably untrue. (In fact, the planet's total heat budget is growing, and greenhouse gases are rising at an increasing rate.) So, absent an unexpectedly strong negative feedback that is counteracting the heating, the other likely cause is that the heat is, at least for now, going somewhere else. And as several recent studies have pointed out, that ‘somewhere else' at least for now appears to be the ocean.