Media enable denier spin 1: A (sort of) cold January doesn’t mean climate stopped warming

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"Media enable denier spin 1: A (sort of) cold January doesn’t mean climate stopped warming"

I fully understand why the spreaders of climate disinformation have hyped up a (sort-of) cold January as if it somehow provided scientific evidence to support their campaign to undermine the well-established scientific understanding of human-caused climate change. That’s their job (literally, in many cases).

But I can’t understand why the media keep treating such disinformers as if they were a genuine part of the scientific process who deserve free publicity, rather than as dangerous serial misleaders who don’t believe in either science and real-world observations (but who repeatedly misuse one or the other to confuse to the general public).

Our deep understanding of the climate is, as I’ve noted, based on hundreds of peer-reviewed studies that themselves are based on countless real-world observations over decades (and paleoclimate data extending back hundreds of thousands of years). It can’t be undercut by a few weeks of cool weather – and the really annoying thing, you may be surprised to learn, is they haven’t even been remarkably cool!

So I don’t understand why the usually thoughtful Andrew Revkin would enable the disinformers write a NYT article titled “Climate Skeptics Seize on Cold Spell,” or the usually thoughtful WSJ blog would write a similarly misguided piece, “Little Ice Age? Cold Snap Sparks Cooling Debate.” Seriously. Who cares what non-climate-related factoid or piece of pseudo-science so-called ‘Climate Skeptics’ seize on? And the only “debate” that has been sparked is one created by the disinformers and the media.

[I will come back to the media critique at the end. In Part II I’ll discuss, one more time, why they do not deserve the label “skeptics,” and why I’m finally persuaded “deniers” isn’t a great term. Let’s call them “disinformers,” for now, though a good case could be made for “would-be climate destroyers.”]

This internet meme began with a misleading post by a meteorologist about how cool January 2008 was compared to January 2007 (but who made no connection to global warming). It got picked up by the climate disinformers at dailytech.com (what else would you call people who publish articles like “Solar Activity Diminishes; Researchers Predict Another Ice Age“). They wrote an article titled, “Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling,” with the subhead “Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming.” The Drudge Report linked to it, and the traditional media got suckered picked it up with blaring subheads like “An Unusually Cold Winter.”

You might think from all this that 2007 was a cold year, surely much colder than 2006, or even that we’ve had an unusually cold winter. NOT! Let’s start with the relevant facts that I didn’t think needed to keep being repeated, but obviously do.

INFORMATION VS. DISINFORMATION

As NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies explains, “The eight warmest years in the GISS record have all occurred since 1998, and the 14 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1990.” What about 2007? NASA explains “2007 tied with 1998 for Earth’s second warmest year in a century” (NOAA puts the 2007 ranking slightly lower, at a close fifth). NASA’s James Hansen explains:

As we predicted last year, 2007 was warmer than 2006, continuing the strong warming trend of the past 30 years that has been confidently attributed to the effect of increasing human-made greenhouse gases.”

nasa-2007.jpg

Are you confused yet? It certainly seems like the climate has kept warming. And the best way to convince yourself the climate is going to keep warming is to challenge anyone to make a $1000 bet that the next decade will not be warmer than this one. Heck give them 2-to-1 odds. That should be a no-brainer for anybody who repeats the nonsense that human-caused global warming isn’t really or has somehow stopped. Yet nobody ever takes the bet.

But the New York Times says we’ve had “an unusually cold winter.” If this were actually true in any meaningful sense of the word “unusually” it would still have no bearing on the climate issue. But is it true? To check, let’s go to maybe the best source for analyzing and comparing historical trends in monthly data — I hate to reveal this secret data source, but circumstances demand it.

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) issues a report each and every month. So let’s see what their taxpayer-funded analysis concludes. Winter begins in December. How bitterly cold was December?

the globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the eighth warmest on record for December.

Now NCDC did note that it might get a wee bit colder in coming months since, “Cold phase (La Ni±a) ENSO conditions intensified during December.”

Okay, well, how bitterly cold was January?

The contiguous U.S. temperature during January 2008 was near average….

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for January was the 31st warmest on record [since 1880], 0.32°F/0.18°C above the 20th century mean.

The 31st warmest on record? Are you really confused yet??? As the old saying goes, anybody who isn’t confused here doesn’t understand what is going on.

So what exactly is the news here? What is all the fuss about?

The major answer is big media swallowed the spin of disinformers. The minor answer is two sow’s ears of relatively meaningless weather-related factoids that the disinformers have spun into a climate disinformation silk purse:

First, while January 2008 was not especially warm compared to recent years and only 0.18°C (+0.32°F) warmer than the 1961-1990 mean, January 2007 just happened to be the warmest January in recorded history, a full 0.83°C (1.49°F) warmer than the mean. That means the difference between January 2007 and January 2008 was anomalously large, over a full degree Fahrenheit. This made for a factoid that was interesting from a weather/ meteorological perspective, but totally irrelevant from a climate science perspective.

You can call this a twelve-month long drop if you inclined to such meaningless hype, but only a disinformer would say this drop is “large enough to wipe out most of the warming recorded over the past 100 years.” Even the meteorologist who uncovered the original weather factoid disavowed that statement and posted:

There has been no “erasure”. This is an anomaly with a large magnitude, and it coincides with other anecdotal weather evidence. It is curious, it is unusual, it is large, it is unexpected, but it does not “erase” anything.

Second, what of the cold winter? Well, it turns out that the January 2008 temperature data just for the land was only the 63rd warmest globally, essentially right at the 1961-1990 mean, and it was the the 70th warmest (60th coolest) for the northern hemisphere’s land, a full 0.17°C (0.31°F) below the global mean. That is interesting. Not surprisingly, this has lead to some interesting weather phenomena, such as snow in Baghdad in January, as the NYT notes in their story.

But part of the planet being somewhat cool for one month certainly has no meaningful bearing on the astonishing trends in global climate in recent decades. It certainly provides no evidence whatsoever against the scientific understanding about human-caused global warming. And to repeat a point NASA made in Demcember (blogged on here), not only are we in the”cool phase of its natural El Ni±o — La Ni±a cycle,” we are also at a solar irradiance minimum:

nasa-solar-fixed.jpg

As NASA notes, “The natural variations of the Southern Oscillation and the solar cycle thus have minor but not entirely insignificant effects on year-to-year temperature change.” No surprise the land was a bit cool in January. Except to big media.

Yes, the point that this is “mostly good old-fashioned weather” is something the NYT eventually gets to. But for the large number of people who just read headlines and maybe skim the opening paragraph or two, they would see this:

Skeptics on Human Climate Impact Seize on Cold Spell

The world has seen some extraordinary winter conditions in both hemispheres over the past year: snow in Johannesburg last June and in Baghdad in January, Arctic sea ice returning with a vengeance after a record retreat last summer, paralyzing blizzards in China, and a sharp drop in the globe’s average temperature.

It is no wonder that some scientists, opinion writers, political operatives and other people who challenge warnings about dangerous human-caused global warming have jumped on this as a teachable moment.

“Earth’s ‘Fever’ Breaks: Global COOLING Currently Under Way,” read a blog post and news release on Wednesday from Marc Morano, the communications director for the Republican minority on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The truth of the matter — that this is just weather hyped as climate, is buried. And we are still stuck with the blaring sub-head: “An Unusually Cold Winter,” which can’t be considered true unless you define the phrase “unusually cold” as “warmer than average.”

The WSJ blog post is even more problemmatic:

Little Ice Age? Cold Snap Sparks Cooling Debate

There’s snow in Baghdad, and global temperatures have seen their biggest one-year change–in this case, downward–in recorded history. So is global warming kaput?

Well, the first sentence isn’t even true in any meaningful sense. We had a very hot January that just happened to be followed by a warmish January. Then the WSJ presents disinformer spin from, of all places, the widely debunked Planet Gore [to see how widely debunked just run “Planet Gore” in quotes in the Climate Progress search engine]:

Hopefully this will cool the hysteria in the U.S. Congress and parliaments around the world so that we can understand the science of our climate before we pursue policies that could wreck our economy and quality of life.

Seriously. Then the WSJ ‘balances’ this out with a quote from Environmental Defense:

Global warming is a process that occurs over decades. It can’t be proven or disproven by a single month’s temperature.

Duh. But then the WSJ says:

There are theories for all tastes….

I kid you not. Yes, and there are theories for all tastes on whether or not the moon landings were faked. And yet for some reason I believe the “theory” that we landed men on the moon a bunch of times.

The bottom line question for journalists (and bloggers) for any story is — am I providing useful and accurate information to the public starting from the headline and first sentence through the end of the piece, including the figures? If so, run it. If not, then you may be confusing the public and helping to spread disinformation. And that’s not your job. That’s the (often well-paid) job of the disinformers.

I actually have a bit more to say about how the media enable the denier/disinformer spin, but I’ll save that for Part 2.

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53 Responses to Media enable denier spin 1: A (sort of) cold January doesn’t mean climate stopped warming

  1. Jay Alt says:

    Disinformer works, but the root suggests something they aren’t.

    Confusionist is very clear and it alliterates with climate.

  2. Hmm says:

    Uh, where do you get the figure that it’s only one month that’s been cold? Looks like 12 to me.

  3. Joe says:

    January was cold — though not relative to the mean. 2007 was hot.

  4. Elbarto says:

    2007 global land and ocean monthly temperature (ºC) anomalies from NCDC.

    2007 1 0.8314
    2007 2 0.6254
    2007 3 0.6077
    2007 4 0.6728
    2007 5 0.5261
    2007 6 0.5078
    2007 7 0.4676
    2007 8 0.4685
    2007 9 0.5289
    2007 10 0.4991
    2007 11 0.4484
    2007 12 0.3975
    2008 1 0.1779

    source: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/monthly.land_and_ocean.90S.90N.df_1901-2000mean.dat

    All well above mean, a slight trend down at the end of 2007 consistent with strengthening la nina. Jan 08 still above mean. Given minimum solar activity and relatively stong la nina, temps should be below average. Lets see what happens in 2010-11 with peak solar + el nino.

    I predict denialism will evaporate along with our water supplies.

  5. Hmm says:

    “Denialism” is a term people use to describe holocaust deniers. Surely you have a better word to describe thousands of recognized scientists. “Skeptic” maybe?

    Elbarto: GISS, Hadley and both of the atmospheric satellite monitoring services note a downtrend. Lower atmospheric temperatures are typically mirrored by land/sea trends a year later. I won’t even bother to cite the dozens of studies that show NOAA has bad data problems (urban heat island, poorly calibrated monitors)

    Or do you disagree with every scientist on both sides of the argument that atmospheric temperatures have decreased in the last year?

  6. John Mashey says:

    Actually, somebody just did do a bet, as reported by James’ Empty Blog or Durango Herlad.

    Roger Cohen is a retired ExxonMobil exec who has been challenging people to bet, and somebody finally got him to take a plausible one:

    Global average 2005-2007 vs 2015-2017, with all bets off if VEI>=5 volcano happens after 2012. Presumably they figured to take their cahnces with El Nino / La Nina..

  7. Elbarto says:

    NOAA GISS HADLEY(HADCrut3)
    2007 1 0.8314 0.87 0.632
    2007 2 0.6254 0.63 0.520
    2007 3 0.6077 0.59 0.441
    2007 4 0.6728 0.66 0.473
    2007 5 0.5261 0.55 0.374
    2007 6 0.5078 0.53 0.376
    2007 7 0.4676 0.51 0.404
    2007 8 0.4685 0.56 0.369
    2007 9 0.5289 0.50 0.410
    2007 10 0.4991 0.55 0.360
    2007 11 0.4484 0.49 0.265
    2007 12 0.3975 0.40 0.202
    2008 1 0.1779 0.12 0.037

    sources:
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/monthly.land_and_ocean.90S.90N.df_1901-2000mean.dat
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3gl.txt

    The datasets are quite similar. HADCrut3 are 1961-1990 anomalies hence the offset between the other two datasets. All are significantly above mean except jan 08 which is close to mean.

    A month of average temperature during a la nina at a solar forcing minimum does not constitute a cooling trend.

    This was the point of Joe’s post.

  8. Andy Revkin says:

    Hi Joe,

    Picking on a heading for a graphic seems a bit forced, considering that my entire article essentially says precisely what your headline says — that a little short-term cooling and telegenic snow, while it may produce headlines, doesn’t mean climate has stopped warming.

    There’s not a single scientist in the piece who supports the assertions of the political operative, including one from his own camp.

    When you complain that I only “eventually” get around to saying this, you avoid mentioning it comes a mere 140 words into the story. If a reader can’t get that far, then we’re doomed regardless.

    Also, you seem to think this only is a story because some clever media manipulator floated a ‘meme’ on the Web. Are you telling me that with all that coverage of Chinese blizzards and all, no one’s been asking you what’s up with the weather/climate?

    Maybe it’s just the bane of climate reporters, and not energy-climate bloggers, to have heaps of people asking them all the time about such things whenever extreme weather events make the news.

    I personally think it’s useful, for all those folks out there who might find cold snaps and warming talk confusing, to explains what’s up (or down). The introductory paragraphs lay out context that’s hard to avoid, hopefully engage readers who’ve been wondering about weather and hype, and frame the rest of the story.

    And our graphic, by Jonathan Corum is simply superb, showing both the short-term wiggle and setting it in long-term (warming) context.

    To have my story lumped in with a quick blog post that did cite some of the spin as fact is neither accurate nor useful.

    I look forward, nonetheless, to Par 2.

    – Andy

  9. Joe says:

    Andy — Thanks for you comment and I take your points. Yet, in fact, nobody has asked me about the short sort of cold spell we’ve had. But then I have blogged many, many times on the general issue.

    I was told, at least on the blogosphere, a lot of people never get past the headline. And after that, a lot of people don’t get past the first few sentences.

    I thought the same was true for newspapers. My father was a newspaper editor for 30 years.

    So that shapes my writing. Blogs do have the luxury of more repetition and links back to earlier/other articles, so they can say more with less.

    And, of course, I write my own headlines, and I know that is rarely the case with the traditional media.

  10. Ronald says:

    We’ve got somebody predicting that the artic may disappear this summer. Don’t know the guy or the organization, maybe it’s all made up, but somebody from Norway might know something about the artic.

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-03/01/content_7696460.htm

    I haven’t read of any guesses lately of the year the artic polar cap disappears. Somebody thinks it’s this summer.

  11. Paul K says:

    I think “Disinformer” is a winner. Climate science now has a recent annual peak (1998) and monthly peak (Jan. ’07). GISS annual rankings differ from other rankings. One reason may be in the difference in what 30 years are used for the mean. Another may be changes made in the way they computed the annual global temperature that were not made by the others. When computed by the method that had long been employed, the 2005 temperature appeared to be cooler. Adjustments were made and these improvements enabled GISS to compute 2005 as, in fact, much warmer. GISS is an outsider in 2007 as well.

  12. Jay Alt says:

    Paul K-
    One difference is the GISS has more data from polar regions. The Hadley data set uses mostly weather stations, they’re sparse up north. But NASA now has satellites that are calibrated to record near-surface temps in remote areas. So the GISS data set includes a few of those measurements, along with polar temps measured more traditionally. That raises the contribution of Arctic measurements (and Antarctic) into line with the real proportion of polar surface area. And since the Arctic has had the fastest recent warming, GISS numbers have run slightly higher than Hadley. Similarly, if an ‘immanent ice age’ should somehow appear, GISS would give the first warning. ( But as mentioned, don’t bet on it . . . )

    Andy –
    Denialists misuse any information and your explanation works for me. Recently a local forum included one of the atmospheric scientists you quote. He was asked for his thoughts on the cold and hard winter. The question came from a broadcast meteorologist who has clearly dealt with the same question(s) from the public. His response suggested he was put off by the question and he merely noted that ‘weather wasn’t the same as climate.’ That of course is true. I’m glad you can bring to a wider audience his more considered response. (And also that he didn’t ban you from his mailing list, as punishment for your ‘third way’ article. :)

  13. Mark Lazen says:

    This is a subject I’ve addressed–with a little black humor–in the past:

    “…First, how is it that the overwhelming majority of scientists have come believe that man made global warming is a reality?

    Let us dismiss the obvious: it is not because of the weather. Let it snow in July or broil in December, we can never reliably attribute any individual weather event to global warming. Even an anomalous season, or ten such seasons in a row is of dubious import. This is perhaps the only thing that climate change skeptics and believers agree upon. If the public does not display the same sangfroid towards hurricanes in June, the experts must bear some blame. They pay lip service to the statistical insignificance of singular examples. But like recovering alcoholics on a booze cruise, they cannot resist the opportunity when nature sends the drink tray around again, delivering the warmth, the cool, the rain, whatever supports their cause. Their hands shake and beads of sweat bud upon their brows. Maddened, they pounce, appearing on CNN to score their points with the public. How they loathe themselves in the morning.

    The fact is we really don’t understand the weather, and even less the cycles within cycles within cycles, oceanographic, geologic, and atmospheric over centuries and eons, that impact the weather. Weather is hopelessly complicated and infinitely sensitive, the penultimate poster child of nonlinearity. It may be that every weather phenomenon we’re experiencing, however odd, is just the product of natural cycles that haven’t been recognized. Even if we are barreling towards a climate catastrophe, it may have nothing to do with car exhaust or ovine flatulence. It may be that god is sick of us and has decided to call it a day.

    Who could blame him?…”

    The rest is here: http://onlysayin.blogspot.com/2007/08/nuclear-holocaust-was-better-than.html

  14. Sam says:

    Thanks for this Joe-

    Andy, Why not write an article every above average temperature day (It’s 54 today in NYC)?

    These types of pieces confuse the public, which I would think is the exact opposite of your job.

  15. Uosdwis says:

    I know it’s a tired cliche, but I’m sure a lot of doomed people thought “Great, we’re not going to sink!” when the Titanic split in two and the stern briefly leveled out.

  16. Sorghum Crow says:

    Thanks Joe. This is a great explanation and analysis.

  17. Bob says:

    Really, now it is the sun that is causing cooling? The sunspot minimum? Show me someone, anyone, who predicted that. The 11-year solar cycle has a minuscule impact on forcings relative to GH gasses.

  18. Bob says:

    Re: Jay Alt: GISS doesnt have more data in the Arctic, they simply extrapolate existing land data and estimate temps in the Arctic Ocean. Look it up, it is on their web site. Others don’t do that. Whether it is appropriate or not is a matter of opinion.

  19. Peter Foley says:

    Your response “denies” the problems with the quality of the the ground stations data over the the last 30 years in the US, One could backtrack through the various blogs to see how every datum that could be stretched to support the AGW dogma was emphasized and every contrarian fact was back paged.
    One of the fundamental problems with the whole idea of carbon “forced” AGW is the science behind it just doesn’t fit the observed data very well.
    Long term trends such as the ever rising sea levels and urbanization of weather stations are used to present the idea as fact.
    Obvious experiments to confirm GISS data sets haven’t been done–siamesing urban stations with an up wind rural data point crosses the mind of a dilettante. Part timers have show the ground station data has been corrupted to fit the carbon model.
    Historical weather facts that don’t support the mania are expunged from the working reference base.
    Please post what it would take for you to rethink the need for ending the use of carbon based fuels. What if the global temps stabilise at +0.5 degrees? are we still going to cut off our economic legs to return to a ‘natural’ temp average?
    If you actually believe that we’re on a one way trip to the hot zone, why don’t you support the development of Geo-engineering to return temperatures to “normal”. Almost every scheme postulated would cost only a fraction of the cost of decarboning our world in the manner desired by the greens.
    I’d suggest you study the post non-event disintegration of other millennium groups whose Armageddon events failed to eventuate. Society needs to learn how to reintegrate the anti-productive AGW cultists back into rational society. Some unfortunately will remain beyond our mental health care industries ability to reshape into productive units of the community and will remain as a financial and social burden for the balance of their lives.

  20. Mike says:

    How about “climate ostriches”?

    Not as punchy but how about “the Neros of Climate”…fiddling while Rome burned..

    Peter,
    Accusing others of mental illness when you use language so oddly is perhaps an indication of what they might call “projection” in the psychology field. I’ve been told that what they call a “thought disorder” displays itself in the stilted use of language…maybe you’re the one in the need of a little “integration” as you call it.

    On the other hand, in the murk of your prose there is a valid question about geo-engineering. The most intelligent discussion of geo-engineering can be found here:
    http://www.ted.com/speakers/view/id/172
    It may function as a rip cord to be pulled once we have set ourselves on the course of reducing our carbon emissions. It is not something to be undertaken lightly and though it looks “easier”, the consequences of direct manipulation of the climate are largely unforeseeable given the complexity of the climate system.

  21. Thanks for another good piece. Here in Sweden, the breaking news tonight was not a great surpise: this winter actually WAS the warmest this country has seen in a century. My skis and skates are stowed away nice and dry in the attic, while flowers were blossoming in February. Yes, know, this is not proof of anything but an extreme anomaly. The good thing about this one, though, is that it at least keeps the disinformers quite for a few months.

  22. Peter Foley says:

    Nick, I think some of the fuzzy AGW logic has infected my thinking. Maybe I should have used Social worker instead of Mental Health Care. Could you just be suffering from a intelligence deficit–I can’t follow a derivatives traders methodology, but does that make him a head case?
    If my questioning the AGW dogma has me classified as a Denier, I think that frees me to disregard some of the conventional conversational manners. But the returning fringe lunatics to even a slightly more rational world view should have some social utility. I might of went just a little over the top with the irony. Maybe some sort of tax on green taxes to fund a reeducation camp. We could get some input from the UN WHO of course.
    All kidding aside, we are looking at a real problem when the mania collapses causing some members to have a physic break.

  23. Ronald says:

    Peter,
    You really don’t give people enough credit. What will happen to climatologists after this whole global warming being human made is exposed as a hoax? Most will go back to being subprime mortgage brokers that they were before. Some will go to the UN and try to drum up a new Oil for Food program. Some will run those internet and phone banks in Nigeria that is making them so much money. They certainly can’t go back to academia since they were exposed as frauds so easily, who would want to hire them, it’s makes it so much harder to get federal funding for another fake cause.

    And what of the Climatologist groupies? They’ll probably latch on to some communist or socialist group. Then there is all the save the whales and save the trees money to be made.

    Do you really think the fraud from climatology is that bad? It might be possible to fake out a few countries of scientists. But we have world wide agreements about the problem. I can’t do justice to summarize the science, but you maybe, just maybe might want to do a full study of it. It may take a large amount of thought, but it’s very important to do the work.

    My view is that most people study questions of how the world is with at least these 4 categories, Science, Philosophy, Psychology and Politics. What people have a hard time doing is separating the 4 areas, their science is influenced by their psychology and politics. They don’t want global warming to be true because of their politics. They don’t want it to be true because that might admit that they and people they listen to aren’t powerful enough to solve problems in a complicated world. What they do then is to believe in their minds that those who think that global warming is human caused are not real human beings, but caricatures of real human beings who are helpless in a complicated and demanding world. But truly, as much as you need to believe that those who have thought the problem thru as human made are not capable, that is not true. There are some things that humans don’t do very well, but human beings science is getting very good.

    You may have heard that saying ‘If we can land a man on the moon, how come we can’t do something about. . (insert here some problem that we should have solved) . . The reason we were able to land a man on the moon was because NASA could hire and fire because of competence. Making change in Society and Politics is a lot harder than landing on the moon because those who are part of it aren’t fired if incompetent, or even deceitful.

    There’s just to much on the side of human caused global warming to not be concerned.

  24. Peter Foley says:

    Ronald, The fraud is the( If A is true then society must do D,E,F, and G to stop A). While the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is important just for its effects on the rate of plant growth,(some part of the change in plant zones will most likely be attributed to CO2 rise.) its correlation to a global temperature changes is weak and getting weaker daily. The idea that AGW can be used to force human civilization to turn to an anti-technology negative growth commune offends me, and I won’t permit my culture to be obliterated to slow a minor crisis.
    If AGW is true let us just pull the soot filters off the coal plants– soon we’ll have global cooling. And still have a financial future. The greens as group see this alleged crisis as a means to impose their questionable world view.
    The AGW ers have more in-common with jihadists now then concern citizens trying to prevent a problem from worsening. Let us have some more measurable science and less believing. Leave the faith driven movements to the priests and con-men.
    I think the massive over reaction is a result of a generation of teaching ecology with out any hard sciences- no math, science, chemistry, statistics, and logic. Without the ability to judge the alleged science on any level of expertise, the victims of the crappy schools must trust the media for its opinions which is usually just as shallow.
    I am concerned about the environment but the world doesn’t need another DDT ban that still kills 500,000 Africans a year. Or the banning of CFC–oops it was the sodium bromides that actually damage the Ozone. MTBE anyone? we got to have it to cut smog in LA.
    I spent some time studying the science, The sea temps pre 1979 are nearly non existent. the southern Hemisphere is mostly here be dragons pre 1970. How do we have a long term base line? We had similar delta Ts at least three times in the last two thousand years with out a disaster.
    I think some of the problem is just the med students’ disease combined with a little Munchhausen’s by planet proxy disease. Even scientists want attention.
    As a society we need to redirect the efforts of the AGW groupies toward more productive ends. It might be like herding cats, but even cats kill more wild birds every day then all the nasty wind mills do all year long world wide.–That was a poke at the Anti wind-mill Audubon bird lover greenies.

  25. David B. Benson says:

    Peter Foley said “DDT ban that still kills 500,000 Africans a year. Or the banning of CFC–oops it was the sodium bromides that actually damage the Ozone.”

    False. DDT is continues to be used in the malarial zones of Africa.

    False again. It was, and continues to be, the florines.

    You might actually do some research and determine the facts, rather than demonstrating your ignorance here, which others then need to correct. Jeez.

  26. Jim Clarke says:

    I am no longer surprised when I find a website like this, pretending to be authoritative about climate science, while spending most of the time contemplating the best ad hominem to launch at legitimate atmospheric scientists. What would be unusual would be finding an author supporting the consensus view that didn’t launch personal attacks at those who disagree. Anybody know of such a site?

    The above article mischaracterizes what is being reported. The NYT reported that the weather has been unusually cold in many places, not that the planet has been unusually cold. No one is claiming that the last year was colder than the 60 year average, just that it was cooler than before in many areas. The crisis skeptics all readily admit that one year does not a trend make, yet the above article blames them for sending out disinformation. What exactly have they said about the recent trends that is incorrect?

    I guess if the planet cools, climate crisis skeptics should not be allowed to call attention to the fact, since it is not proof that they are right about climate change. The rule seems to be that AGW crisis supporters can speculate without proof and demand that all must sacrifice, but crisis skeptics can not even talk about the real world measurements least someone get the wrong impression. That sounds fair!

    The article is basically arguing that a cooling trend is not defined by falling temperatures, but by temperatures falling below an arbitrary mean!
    Means are irrelevant in determining a trend. Also, cooling trends must start at the end of warming trends, so the first several time periods of the cooling trend will be nearly as warm as the warmest readings. No matter how you spin it, the recent cooling does not support that the planet is still warming. In fact, the temperature must return to and surpass the warmest readings of the last decade before one can say that the long-term warming trend has resumed.

    While recent cooling does not refute an AGW crisis, it certainly doesn’t bolster it. It does however, lend some credibility to those who have been predicting global cooling when the Pacific Decadal Oscillation returned to its negative phase. I first heard Dr. Bill Gray (Hurricane Climatologist) make the prediction at least 15 years ago. Many others have made similar arguments over the last 10 to 15 years. If you weren’t aware of such predictions, then you may not be that well informed about climate change science. The ‘comprehensive’ reports of the IPCC tend to ignore a lot of science!

    Now, about that wager… Where do I sign up?

  27. Peter Foley says:

    David B. Benson, DDT use in Africa could save nearly 600,000 kids a year. Uganda was threatened by the EU over DDT use.
    Bromines are 60 X as reactive to Ozone as chlorine. The CFC scare did push atmospheric chemistry along though. A little learning is a dangerous condition.
    But there is more than one road to ZPG. Dar-fur and Idi Amin have nothing on the failure to make DDT available for Malaria control.

    If you want to help people, stop the DDT insanity.

  28. Dano says:

    I am no longer surprised when I find a website like this, pretending to be authoritative about climate science, while spending most of the time contemplating the best ad hominem to launch at legitimate atmospheric scientists.

    Ahhh, good ol’ Jerel/Jim Clarke and his arguments from incorrect premises.

    Welcome Jim and his FUD, everyone.

    BTW, society has moved on to solutioning. You can quibble if you want, but please quibble about how you don’t like solutions because they reject your chosen worldview – don’t quibble about the science you need to misrepresent to have an argument. Societal direction, not denialist quibbling. Thank you in advance.

    And there are numerous wager sites out there Jim. You of course know about them – how much have you wagered so far?

    Best,

    D

  29. Joe says:

    Jim — just what bet are you prepared to go for. Next decade not warmer than this? Pick an accepted global T database. Or we can use all 4.

  30. Jim Clarke says:

    Dano, how ya doin? I hope you didn’t strain yourself hand waving at any of the points I made. I am a little worried about carpal tunnel syndrome.

  31. Jim Clarke says:

    Joe,

    Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. It has been a busy couple of days.

    On one hand, I could really use an extra $1,000 because Exxon has yet to send me one penny of the zillion dollars they are supposedly sending to all the other crisis skeptics. Go figure!

    On the other hand, it would be nobler to pledge my winnings to charity. So how about this? We take the monthly global anomalies from one of the satellite data basis from January, 1998 to December 2007, add them all up and divide by 120, giving us the average monthly anomaly for the ten year period. We do the same for January 2008 through December 2017 and see which number is bigger.

    If the latter is bigger, I donate $1,000 dollars to a charity of your choice. If it is smaller, you do the same for a charity of my choosing. Said charities must be recognized as legitimate by the federal government and can not include legal defense funds!

    The charity fund raiser can be canceled by either party in the event of a climate altering volcanic eruption, global nuclear war, asteroid strike or other exceptional event, provided said event can be quantified as large enough to impact the outcome of the fund raiser.

    Corrections in the satellite data will be applied upon publishing. The average monthly anomaly for each decade will be recalculated based on the latest understanding of the science, but no corrections will apply if published after December 31st, 2017.

    The winner will be declared after the temperature anomaly for December, 2017 has been made public and entered into the calculation.

    Does this sound okay with you?

  32. Dani of Great Reliability says:

    If I was in an internet bet I’d want someone neutral to hold the stakes. How ’bout both of you send your money to me, and I’ll hold it for the 10 years? I modestly note that I am willing to do this without any compensation, and I’ll even be willing to act as mediator for any controversies there may be in determining the winner! Couldn’t ask for a better deal than that, could you?

  33. John Lederer says:

    The essential global warming prediction is that the earth will continue to get warmer because of man.

    Therefore we need to do something, or as it warms, there will be serious human and economic costs.

    The prediction is not that earth will stay as warm as it is. Though there have been minor costs, there have also been gains, and overall we are not suffering at thre present temperatures.

    For the last ten years 3 of the 4 major global temperature records, the two satellite records and one of the instrumental temperature records, have essentially show no warming trend. One , GISS, has continued to show warming.

    Now, that may be fluke, it may be “noise” in a long term record, or it may indicate that warming has peaked and is no longer increasing. I know of no way to know between the two possibilities for a decade or two.

    To pretend that it is other than weak evidence that global warming is not continuing to occur is an error. To pretend that the evidence is not quite weak is also an error.

    While we “wait and see”, it might be quite valuable to try to determine why GISS is an outlier, so far as trend goes, from the other records. If GISS is a better record, then that ends the argument. If there is something wrong about GISS’ portrayal, let’s track it down and fix it.

  34. Joe says:

    Warming has continued throughout this decade — hence the unbelievable collapse in Arctic ice. “Wait and see” = destroy the planet’s livability, at least if one believes in science.

  35. Peter Foley says:

    Joe, just what proof do you have that the arctic ice didn’t melt out occasionally pre WWII? How do you explain the reversal in ice area on both Hemispheres?
    I’d like to see some non- Russian’s data from the central Siberian region to confirm the FSU isn’t playing the AGWers for their economic gain. Wait and See = The US economy growing at least 1% more per year, thus all possible futures will have more money to throw at any problem. A 3% real growth rate leads to 2 to 4th power GNP increase every 96 years. That’s 1600% for the products of our public schools. (This explains how a state with low tax rates always ends up with more money for the government to spend/waste on the poor and deadbeat government employees then a socialist/communist system.) JFK and Reagan won the cold war by lowering income tax rates allowing the USA to outspend the USSR’s economy in the pot-latch of military spending. It’d be foolish for the USA to beggar itself in misguided attempt to unilaterally lower CO2 10 to 15 PPM in the next 100 years. Even if you’re right about AGW your responses are nationally self-destructive. I’d come up with a list of objectives you could support and a rational actor that doesn’t believe the Oceans are/going to rising/rise 1 foot a year could support
    .

  36. sparky says:

    Jim Clarke, John Lederer, Peter Foley,

    You deniers are hilarious! Climate change denial is so *1990s* — it’s almost quaint! If you can ever come up with a new argument that hasn’t been refuted a hundred times before, let us know. Good luck with that.

    For the rest us, let’s play Skeptic Bingo!
    http://timlambert.org/2005/04/gwsbingo/

    Sad, very sad.

    –Sparky

  37. Peter Foley says:

    Sparky, Wake up and check the average global temps. The heart of your movement’s reason to exist is just an exaggeration of the ongoing warm up during the interglacial era. If you truly believe spend your own money to forward the notion. Quit stealing from the public to react to some immature sciences notion of the week. Crack open a new spreadsheet including the last 10 years of data. Why haven’t we orbited more sensors to “prove” your theory?
    Here is a head scratcher, What is the typical “Brownian” variation from the long term average temps? Just what is an exceptional temperature excursion?
    I’ll repeat for the learning disabled, even if your AGW hypothesis is partially true most of the responses given are self destructive now and even more so in the future. The alleged carbon AGW is being used to stampede the Herd over the cliffs to anti-growth, ZPG, anti-nuke, Anti-energy, and anti-personal freedom memes that will retard human progress until discarded.

  38. joe mama says:

    Singularly one of the dumbest articles so far.

    A bunch of graphs without the data behind them to determine what they mean, and a bunch of statements coming from experts who aren’t named.

    Tell you what – I’ve got a graph that says that the more of your money you give me, the less likely you are to get cancer, and that comes from every frigging genius in the world, just ask them

  39. observer says:

    Sure, the coldest january does’nt disprove “global warming” and likewise the hottest day in in January in 35 years doesn’t prove it.

  40. Chicken Little says:

    If the sky doesn’t fall today it will surely tomorrow.
    And when it fails to again tomorrow I will ensure it for another day.
    And when another day goes by and the sun is still in the sky…
    Well then I will just explain it away and start all over on yet another day.

    The only thing ‘deniers’ are guilty of is pointing out the fallacies of your argument…based on faulty models with millions of variable many of which no one truly understands. As time moves on and the Global Warming alarmists crawl back under their rocks and all the fear mongering is finally disproven, I am quite certain you will all return and tell us of the next calamity that will kill us all….

  41. Joe says:

    The sky isn’t falling, but the planet is heating up, thanks to us. Sadly for you, this particular catastrophe is not only happening, but your denial helps ensure we don’t act in time, and that means this is the last calamity.

  42. Richard Sharpe says:


    And the best way to convince yourself the climate is going to keep warming is to challenge anyone to make a $1000 bet that the next decade will not be warmer than this one. Heck give them 2-to-1 odds.

    Can you please spell out in more detail that bet?

    For example, which time series you are prepared to bet on?

    If you are giving 2-1 odds does that mean that if the next decade (starting when?) even stays the same in any time series I can find (anywhere in the world) as last decade (which decade are you dealing with) you will pay me $2,000, otherwise I have to pay you $1,000?

    I’m game. Lets get serious.

  43. Ronald Smirthing says:

    Heating up? What is direct empirical evidence for that assertation?

    No, calculated numbers or means don’t cut it. I want directly measured energy balance numbers for the planet, including every aspect from the center of the earth to the end of the atmosphere.

    Too bad for you we can’t even do that now, much less could have done it in the past.

    Your outrage and passion are commendable, but in the end, it’s just your opinion of what the data means. Give it a rest.

  44. Richard Sharpe says:

    To follow up on my earlier posting, lets select 26-March-1998 to 25-March-2008 and the last decade, and 26-March-2008 through 25-March-2018 as the next decade, eh?

    I still have a good 20 years left in me. I have a good chance of collecting from you.

  45. Fran says:

    Peter Foley says:

    “Please post what it would take for you to rethink the need for ending the use of carbon based fuels. What if the global temps stabilise at +0.5 degrees? are we still going to cut off our economic legs to return to a ‘natural’ temp average?”

    Seriously Peter, whatever one thinks of the nexus between atmospheric greenhouse gases and global temperature increases, measures to staunch combsution of fossil fuels amply fit the descriptor ‘no regrets measures’. The kind of re-engineering implied are things we ought to do even if there were no reasonable basis for attributing heating to atmospheric GHG inventories. It’s not as if the main fossil fuel — crude oil — is going to be around for very much longer at something like current prices. It is of course, a serious pollutant in its own right, as is coal. Between them directly and indirectly they account for a very substantial part of human morbidity and destruction of the biosphere. In the developing world, this is truer still.

    What’s not to like about using energy more efficiently? About redesigning cities around better tailored provision of transport options? About PEVs and PHEVs? About shorter commuting distances?

    The era of cheap fossil fuels has contributed to urban sprawl and longer commute times. It has discouraged the design of energy-efficient buildings. The urban landscape is awash with motor vehicles full of angry people who hate nobody quite so much as the person in front of them holding them up. On every day of the week in every place where there is more than one motor vehicle, somebody dies or is maimed for life. And yet the stats tell us that raod trauma is the principal function of the concentration of vehicles on the road. In Africa, the middle east, Russia and Asia, there are few activities as deadly as getting behind the wheel of a car, unless it’s being a pedestrian near one. I’m sorry Peter, but that kind of ‘freedom’ is one I can easily forsake. You talk about ‘cutting off our legs’ but it’s the current organisation of the economy that is doing that each day. High fossil fuel costs will get people out of cars and into trains, or buses or in some cases into car pools driving on less demanding roads breathing in cleaner air and with shorter travel times and distances.

    Maybe you like the idea of making our oceans acidic? Maybe you think it a very fine thing that those great CO2 sinks should dissolve those coccolithophores and begin stripping the food chain from the bottom up? Maybe you’re happy for the coral centred ecosystems to vanish as the oceans heat? Maybe you’re happy for predators hitherto prevented from moving towards the Antarctic by cold waters to enter and insert themselves into these ecosystems? Maybe you’re not worried by diminishing biodiversity in the Arctic? Who cares about the health of polar bears, penguins or sea birds more generally?

    Reducing fossil fuel usage sharply now is a damn fine thing. As things stand, we can determine the rate and do so in an orderly fashion. We can adapt. If we don’t do it now, the restructure will be chaotic and we’ll get nothing like the advantages we will enjoy if we start now. And of course, by then, with a figurative knife at our throats, we will have little time to contemplate the world we will have lost.

    While I find it extraordinary that anyone can, these days, doubt the basic science around climate change and its etiology, I find it even more astonishing that whatever doubts you may harbour should be more important than the here and now cost of existing arrangements. It seems to me that your position cannot be based on anything like general utility. I’d be curious to know what it was based on.

    Fran

  46. Ben says:

    I love these LIBERAL Nut Jobs that want to scare everyone into changing the way they live. Got a few news flashes, 1. More Deaths from cars because of more people driving. 2. People get angry about everything need I mention the fact that fatalities from stabbings, beatings, shootings, medical incompetence, cancer etc… are equally high? 3. The “Scientific process” is being used by both sides, more so by the side against global warming than those for it. 4. Al Gore is not a scientist, has made millions of dollars selling his alarmist views and should be taken to task as the biggest con man for last 100 years. 5. In order for the Co2 to be in the fossil fuel means it was in the atmosphere at one point in time so the natural cycle would be for it to end up back in the atmosphere again. 6. Science is a natural process, or is physics no longer natural? 7. 1998 is the hottest year in the last 10 years…….. Need we ask if the earth were heating up why has every year since than not been hotter? Why has this winter been particularly cold? 8. Are you still driving a car? Heating your home? Have you converted to off grid living on electricity from solar and wind only? Better yet are you living like a dear? No than until you want to lead the way quit being a damned hypocrite like good old Al Gore. Mr waste more CO2 emissions flying to one of his speaking seminars than my family uses in a year. 9. Check the history books. Climate cycling is a part of history. Just because we dont have the “recorded information” does not mean that we cant look at the history books and see a record of it. Than again history is only for remembering important people according to you Global Warmest, And my all time favorite #10 Why have I been freezeing my nuts off every morning in what is one of the hardest, meanest winters in the last 130 years? Oh wait Maybe because those wonderful climatologist that cant even predict the weather properly from day to day got it wrong on the year to year basis. But Oh well we must bow down to a mans feelings over what the fact of the situation is.

    Oh and just for the record I support getting onto other forms of energy besides fossil fuel, but lying is not the way to do this. Far from it. Simply use economic facts to support it. And instead of throwing away millions of dollars to a “campaign” to get elected as the party representative why not put that wasted money into something useful like building the platform for these other energy sources? Instead of wasting 1 trillion dollars on Kyoto or what ever it is, try spending the money building solar generating stations to begin to help lighten the co2 foot print. But wait that makes sense and would eliminate the income for scam artists like Al Gore. Thanks I prefer to think with my head and not, well I am not sure what you people are thinking with because there doesn’t seem to a whole lot of thought coming from you people.

    Also you people want to protect nature so much, well a broken arm is a natural thing. So are Cancer, STD’s, aging, etc…. But I dont see you psycho nut jobs standing up against the treatment of these things. Yeah before you swing you wing to the far side of any topic learn to think.

    Thanks for your time come back when you are not being a hypocrite.

  47. colin K says:

    Hi Dano!

    I’ve wandered into this blog by accident, good to see you here: have been a bit busy of late and found that Mark L’s blog has fossilised on a recent visit. All the old familiar rhetoric going on here though: Peter Foley: Hi there, you’re not Norbert of another blog-life are you? you sound awfully familiar!!

    Well, can’t stay I’m afraid, got some trees to hug and I’ve printed of lots of the denialist/disinformationist/whistling-in-the-dark-ist bullsh*t to improve my compost heap. By the Way Dan Kellog’s doing well and we’re exchanging lots of theoretical data on tidal range power generation ready for peakoil/gas/coal and the absence of sufficient generating capacity in the UK for 2014-20. Should be fun!

    all the very best

    Colin

  48. Peter Foley says:

    Fran, At least your semi-honest you state right off the bat we should destroy the basis of our economy even if it isn’t needed because it makes you FEEL better, try some Prozac and stay away from my wallet.
    Look up how dangerous horses were/are before you talk bad about Autos. You are not required to use or ride in them.
    What was the morbidity rate pre-oil. Your lack of knowledge about basic history saddens me. Flush toilets and refrigerators have saved more lives then doctors.
    Call someone at the CDC and ask them if the USA reverts to 19th century London big city population density what the the cost in influenza deaths would be? Suburbs were invented in Rome about 2000 years ago–just little bit before the oil era.
    As technology rises, energy costs will always go down in the long run. Get over it,
    Arctic biodiversity has been increasing since the end of the last Ice-Age– ice isn’t very food chain friendly.
    Read up on the raw data and how its “tuned” up to cover the whole worlds surface when actual data isn’t available. How do you explain the failure of Sea temps to increase? The ever greater ice mass in Antarctica? CO2 numbers have gone up several more ppm without any matching increase in average temps the last ten years.
    What’s the general utility of dooming billions to extra years in poverty to satisfy some delusional AGWers? Any thing that raises taxes and lowers the annual growth of the worlds wealth
    will result in shorter lives of billions and deaths of millions more then any possible consequence of the use of carbon for another century.
    If you hate technology go Amish without dragging the rational with you.

  49. rj says:

    wow – Peter is smarter than the rest of you and he writes better too. Recognize!

  50. John A. Jauregui says:

    I just returned from visiting Yellowstone and was struck by the devastation of the 1988 fires, which were preceeded by acute drought and record setting dry lightening. I began to wonder what solar activity occured leading up the 1988 fire storms. Solar cycle 22 started just a couple of years before that summer of drought and dry lightening. Check this out. Relative to other cycles, that solar cycle had 1) a very fast rise time – 2.8 years, 2) a very short cycle length – 9.7 years, 3) a high minimum sun spot number – 12.3, and 4) a high maximum sun spot number – 158.5

    more:

    “Cycle 22 certainly provided us with many highlights. Early in the cycle the smoothed sunspot number (determined by the number of sunspots visible on the sun and used as the traditional measure of the cycle) climbed rapidly; in fact more rapidly than for any previously recorded cycle. This caused many to predict that it would eclipse Cycle 19 (peak sunspot number of 201) as the highest cycle on record. This was not to be as the sunspot number ceased climbing in early 1989 and reached a maximum in July of that year. Whilst not of record amplitude, Cycle 22 still rated as 4th of the recorded cycles and continued the run of recent large solar cycles (Cycles 18, 19 and 21 were all exceptional!). A very notable feature of Cycle 22 was that it had the shortest rise from minimum to maximum of any recorded cycle.”
    Material Prepared by Richard Thompson. © Copyright IPS – Radio and Space Services.

  51. msn nickleri says:

    Jim Clarke, John Lederer, Peter Foley,

    You deniers are hilarious! Climate change denial is so *1990s* — it’s almost quaint! If you can ever come up with a new argument that hasn’t been refuted a hundred times before, let us know. Good luck with that.

  52. Zastodran says:

    Boy – looks everything sure quieted down after the “hide the decline” and “fudge factor” fallout from East Anglia, not to mention freezing temps in TX and FL.