Climate Change / Global Warming Deniers prove staircases are flat, they don’t go up anymore … and they have been like that since 1998!
OK, as usual the Deniers have proved nothing more than their own gullibility, and in some cases their duplicity and/or gross incompetence. This would not be very interesting if it was nothing more than just another Denier fraud debunked, but I think it gives us some more insight into the whole Denier movement.
In particular I think it is a pretty clear demonstration that Denierism is not legitimate and honest skepticism, but rather the deliberate perpetuation of lies and frauds. Further, that at least some of those with actual academic credentials (ie “scientists”) reveal themselves as either grossly incompetent or willfully fraudulent. That’s bit more interesting.
Let’s start by deconstructing the myth.
I assume everyone has heard this one in some form, that climate change stopped in 1998 (or 2001 in some versions) that the Earth has been cooling ever since. The alleged basis is presented with graphs and diagrams like this one:
As you can see temperatures have leveled or are falling even though CO2 continues to rise. Looks pretty convincing, right?
The scam takes advantage of peoples relative unfamiliarity with science generally and climate science in particular.
The raw plot as pictured from ‘Ice Age Now’ does indeed look like a cooling or leveling, which is why science never just makes guesses based on glancing over raw data. Instead scientists like to actually analyse the data (what a concept! who knew?).
If we look at a statistical analysis of the temperature trend we see that tempertures are indeed rising, albeit not very quickly.
Now if we look at the progress of temperature over the last century and a half instead of just a decade it is easy to see that every peak year is followed by a slightly cooler period. Each peak is hotter than the previous one, and each ‘cool’ period is hotter than the previous cool period.
By focusing on the cool periods and/or only the preceding hottest years one can argue that climate change stopped in 1973, 1983, and 1990 as well as 1998, but of course it didn’t.
The natural trend is much like a staircase rather than the ramp which Deniers try to pretend climate science expects. (I have tilted the photo about 25o to give the ‘run’ something of a down slope similar to the climate data)
Is this so surprising? Not really. Today I am enjoying a lovely fall day at least 5oC warmer than yesterday. The radio assures me we are going to get a least a week like this.
Wait, doesn’t “Winter Theory” say every day should be colder than the one before? has “Winter Theory” been proven as a hoax? Has “Winter” ended? etc. In other words not only is the pattern easy to understand as natural, it is in fact very much part of our life experience every day.
It’s a pretty simple stuff. Any moderately intelligent person sees it as soon as you point it out to them. It does not require any particular knowledge of science or climate to see what is happening or to understand how the facts have been misrepresented.
Now this is not something made up by some Cracker named Gomer living in a trailer behind the gas station. Appropriate though that image may be to the genius of this interpretation, it comes from and continues to be propagated by professional Deniers, many with degrees in science
I am not sure who started this one but it seems to have become popular in 2006. Even if he did not start it Bob Carter “There IS a problem with global warming… it stopped in 1998” certainly spread it. Carter isn’t Gomer, he actually is a “professor in the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, Australia.”
Now, are we really being asked to believe that a trained scientist would make such a sophomoric error in data interpretation? that this appalling misreading and misrepresentation of the facts is actually an innocent mistake committed by a person genuinely committed to discovering the truth? Only if they are grossly incompetent because this sort of thing will get you failing grades in your 2nd year ‘Statistics and Science’ course.
So the whole thing is nothing more than a cheap misrepresentation of the facts that takes advantage of people’s unfamiliarity with science. Naturally it has been debunked repeatedly, but the Deniers continue to spread it anyway. Try a search of ‘global warming 1998 cooling OR ended ‘ just to see how widespread this piece of nonsense is.
Even though they are fully aware of the charade people like Richard Lindzen, Patrick Michaels, Tim Ball, Tom Harris, Fred Singer, Dennis T. Avery … the usual collection of rogues and charlatans (see “The “Skeptics”: Who Are They?” at right) continue to propagate this fiction.
Is it possible that they are sincere and competent questers for truth who are innocently mistaken? Hardly. Gross incompetence, deliberate fraud, or both? Unless there is a fourth possible explanation I think those are our only choices.
So if you ever thought that you had climbed a flight or stairs and arrived somewhere higher than when you started – you are wrong! It’s all a liberal hoax perpetrated by Al Gore to bring in a Socialist World Government! I know, I read it on a “climate skeptic” blog somewhere.
TAKE ACTION: Bookmark this post and The RealClimate Wiki and whenever you see the Myth on the net be sure to answer by directing them to the facts. Thank you.
Stairs by radiant guy