Yet Another Smarmy Graph About Rising Temperatures

2011-01-14-globaltemperatures2

The graph above is taken from the article below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-h-gleick/the-graph-that-should-be-_b_808747.html

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook this morning.  Here are my objections to the article, entitled "2010 Hottest Year on Record: The Graph That Should Be on the Front of Every Newspaper":

"On record" are two very important words… that graph only goes back to 1880. The earth has been around for 4+ billion years. It's ridiculous to look at that graph and draw any meaningful conclusions because for one thing, if we are looking at the impact of man, at the very least we would need data from times when man was not 'influencing' climate!

For instance, here's a perfectly good article on a climate anomaly that man had nothing to do with:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

It would be perfectly reasonable to draw the same graph for 1780 – 1910 and show how the earth warmed significantly from 1816 onward!

This is to say nothing of the fact that the earth has been through several ice ages. Ice once covered almost all of North America, and for that to have occurred, and for Chicago, New York, and Seattle to be inhabitable now, the ice must have receded – and how did that happen? The earth must have warned significantly. Manhattan was once buried under a mile of ice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Glacial_Maximum) – yet the temperature of the earth must have warmed enough that that ice melted. What is now the Sahara was once under water – clearly, warming periods occurred prior to the existence of man!

I'm all for ensuring that our approach to life is as respectful to the planet as possible. However, these misleading graphs and poor science (with basically no support in articles other than to say "Look at me!") really need to go.

I continued later:

Of course, it also depends on where you're taking your measurements, too, as Britain is apparently in a euphemistic "mini ice age" with one of the coldest winters on record:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8230318/Britain-could-be-heading-for-coldest-winter-in-300-years.html

Note this article from last year around this time:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/01/04/britain-facing-coldest-winter-for-30-years-and-temperatures-could-reach-18-115875-21940316/

Of course, the linked (HuffPost) article provides a completely different graph (how was it created?) from its source; actually checking the source shows that temperatures may actually be going down:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/2009/global-jan-dec-error-bar.gif

(It's a little tough to tell that bit right there at the right end of the graph, but it does look as though it's starting down.)

The bottom line is that the "global warming must not exist because of this snow" is a very simple point – it doesn't jive with people's experiences. (Try convincing your average Briton of global warming right now, for instance. My cousins over there are still amazed at how much snow they got, and a friend of mine from Mexico who visited was amazed at the cold there.) We had literally 10 – 15 feet of snow on the sidewalks here in the DC metro area last year (whether through drifting or plowing or both) and I had to walk in the road until almost April!

Quite frankly, the climate-change folks, almost all of whom are in academic- or government-sponsored research, can wail and gnash their teeth until they're blue in the face.  They're never going to be able to convince people when they can't answer simple objections, and when the average person can see from their window that things aren't hotter. 

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