Friday, July 12, 2013

"Global warming stopped 15 (or 16 or whatever) years ago. Take that, Al Gore!" - Part 2

Cherry-picking is like the professional magician's stock-in-trade, sleight of hand: focus people's attention on those details of the picture that make them believe what you want them to believe and distract their attention from the rest.

Early in 2010, deniers were focused on cherry-picking out-of-context quotes from the thousands of emails between climate scientists they cleverly dubbed “Climategate.” Today they cherry-pick graphs showing little or no surface warming. But early in 2010, they wouldn't have dared to show the following graph of the UAH dataset:

The graph shows that over the past (at the time) 26 years (1984–2010), not only had there been statistically very significant global warming of the lower troposphere (about 3.5 km above ground level), it was at an alarming pace of nearly 2 degrees C. per century, with a greater than 95% probability that the true warming trend was somewhere between 0.77 and 2.93 degrees per century. 

Nor would they have dared to publicize the even more alarming warming trend since 1992:

“The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) global temperature record, which is satellite-based and therefore uncontaminated by the urban heat island effect and maintained by our trusted colleagues in climate consensus rejection John Christy and Roy Spencer, clearly shows that the planet is warming at a rate of some 2.3 degrees Celsius per century.” 

That is not something you would have read on “Watts up with That” or any other climate consensus denial blog, website or media outlet. While Watts and Fox and CFACT et al. were crowing that year about “hide the decline,” the internal memo would have been “hide the climb: do not put up highway billboard memos to Al Gore. This information must be contained!” 

"Global warming stopped 15 (or 16 or whatever) years ago. Take that, Al Gore!" - Part 1

Some people are anxious to deliver an inconvenient truth to Al Gore.

“The end is ... not near.” (Or is it?)
This banner ad frequently pops up on climate science denial websites and blogs.
But the first inconvenient truth in this graphical anti-climate science meme is that August 1997 to August 2012 (see the legend on the bottom right of the declarations above) equals 15 years, not 16. Evidently, CFACT (“Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow”) – an aggressive climate science obfuscation machine, among other libertarian priorities – didn't read the fine print when it cribbed the chart from David Rose, the London Daily Mail columnist who unleashed it upon the world last October.

The birth of a meme: the Daily Mail's “no warming” graphic, October 2012. 
The story and the graph were prompted by the release of the latest global temperature data for August, 2012 by the UK's Met (meteorological) Office. The Met Office's Hadley Centre Climate Research Unit, or CRU, had recently updated its 152-year global temperature data set from version 3 to version 4. The new numbers seized upon by Rose came from the latter – aka “HadCRUT4.”

“The figures,” Rose wrote in the Daily Mail, “... reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.”

The story went on to emphasize that this apparent hiatus in global warming indicates climate scientists may need to throw out the models that have led them to predict steady and heady warming, full steam ahead.

But are Rose, CFACT (heavily funded by pro-fossil fuel foundations and at least one disclosed corporate donor: ExxonMobil) and all the other climate change consensus deniers who have seized upon this graphic like a religious icon (a denier's flattened “hockey stick”) right?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

No more global warming? Not so fast, says the WMO

It's true that the pace of global warming – as reflected by air temperature (a good long-term indicator but often misleading over periods less than 15 or even 20 years) – has slowed, even by some measures stopped, since the late 1990s.

A good example of how the impression of no warming has been hyped throughout the denialsphere is this graph produced last year by the conservative British tabloid, The Daily Mail:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Oops. Sun News interviews the "wrong" climate scientist

In an earlier post, I described how an interview with climate scientist Hans von Storch had been cherry-picked – quote-mined, to be precise – by the denialsphere to make it seem like a well-credentialled believer in the climate change consensus has lost his religion.

Well it seems that “ethical oil” promoter and leading Sun News Network (Canada's answer to Fox News) pundit Ezra Levant read the interview or, more likely, one of the quote-mined versions, because soon later – as von Storch, whom I had contacted with some questions, himself told me – Levant's show “The Source” asked the forthright scientist for an interview.

Now the interview is online and it is, in its own way, a howler. But not because of anything von Storch said.

Still from Sun News Network's not-quite-according-to-plan interview with climate scientist Hans von Storch.
Watch the whole thing here