10 March 2009

No, Global Warming Did Not Stop in 1998

Posted by Dan Satterfield

Some of the political sites that masquerade as Science have touted that Global Warming stopped in 1998. They even give you charts to prove it. Every time I log into my Gmail I see adds for some book that says a NASA Scientists has exposed the fraud of Global Warming.

Time for a few reality checks.

If a real NASA scientist discovered global warming is wrong, they would publish it in a peer reviewed journal. Not on a Google advert!  Someone is just trying to get your money.  People will pay for anything that confirms their sense of reality.

Dr. Ricky Rood, a Meteorology professor at the University of Michigan, and Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, has written a very interesting post on the AMS Climate Change Policy blog, about why some people do not want to accept the Science of Climate Change.

We’ve had a real warm spell here in North Alabama, however,  it’s coming to an end tonight. The rest of the week will see much cooler weather. Now, what would you think of me if I went on TV tonight, and announced that Spring had ended. Winter was back, and it had all been a hoax. Those blooming pear trees all over town were just a natural cycle, but things are going back to the way they were in February.

You would think I am nuts right?? (Well my daughter already thinks I am, but that’s another story)

Well, the claim that Global Warming stopped in 1998, is exactly the same.

The problem with measuring climate change, is that it’s mixed with this mysterious force that causes our temperature to change a little each year.

It’s called Weather.

I try to forecast it. Some days I have more success than others!

Ocean currents, like El Nino, and La Nina, affect the global temperature. The the sun does too. The amount from the Sun is pretty small. About 0.2 watts per square meter from the top of the 11 year sunspot cycle to the bottom. This will be the subject of my next post.

To see the climate signal through the weather you have to filter out the year to year weather to see the change in Climate!

Climate scientists know this.

Global Temps Since 1880 from NASA GISS

Global Temps Since 1880 from NASA GISS

The average Joe who gets confused about the difference between a mean, and a standard deviation does not.

This simple fact allows certain people (I have another name for them), to  make a lot of money by writing books that say Global Warming stopped in 1998.

The Scientists who write the Real Climate blog have done an excellent job of explaining this, and they produced an even more interesting graph. (Reproduced from Real Climate- That post is here.)

They show what happens if you just compare temperatures at an 8 year interval? You can claim Global Warming has ended many times. Just pick your year, write the book, and enjoy the money!!

( IF, you want to get climate science from a real Climate Scientist, Real Climate is the place place to visit. I write this blog for students and non scientists, Real Climate is a bit more high brow..just to say, you’ve been warned!)

Global Temps from NASA GISS

From Real Climate: Global Temps from NASA GISS

So here is the truth:

2007 Was the second warmest year in the instrument record and is only surpassed by 1998.

The years since 2000 are the hottest on record by far. 2008 the 10th hottest on record.

Want to bet we have a new record high year in the next decade?

Some NASA Scientists have said they would make that bet. I’d put money on their side myself.

So now you understand why this claim is so silly. How does it feel to be smarter than George Will!