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The 400 Club

I don’t know whether economics or climate reporting produces the most garbage. Here’s today’s candidate for “best” article of the week:

He contends temperatures have not risen since 1998, which was unusually hot.

Temperature records contradict that claim. Both 2005 and 2010 were warmer than 1998, and the entire decade of 2000 to 2009 was the warmest on record, according to NOAA.

No it does not contradict the claim. Both can be, and are in fact, true. Average global temperatures (statistically – remember these things are measured with error, assuming there is even a correct concept as a global temperature) have been flat since 1998. And the last decade indeed was the hottest decade in the measured instrument record. The reporter knows this. He could have mentioned two things. First that if 1998 was the hottest year on record to that point, if temperatures are flat at 1998 levels for the next 12 years, then the average temperatures over the next 12 years have to be higher than the 1998 record. Second, he could have indicated what “record” means. Does it mean the paleo-record? If he does, he is wrong. If he means the instrumental record, it would be correct.

By the way, notice that he adds in to the 1998 point, “which was unusually hot” which is I think correct and valid. Of course the fact that the hottest year has not been exceeded in subsequent averages sort of contradicts what folks have been telling us. But that’s not that important. Where are all of the other caveats in the article, like, “we have no idea how to model climate?” Or even better, “the temperature record starts in the 19th century, which was unusually cold.” I don’t know if the 19th century was unusually cold for several reasons, but if it was unusually cold then the same implication the author is making regarding the last decade holds for the last 150 years but in the opposite direction — this is why the hockey stick debate is so important. Also notice – if 1998 was “unusually” hot … what does that say about climate variability? If you were pushing AGW as a major problem, wouldn’t that point work against you?

There are a few other goodies in the article. Enjoy it.

2 Responses to “The 400 Club”

  1. Harry says:

    Matter-of-factly he says it has been 800,000 years since we cracked the 0.004 percent level anywhere in the world.

    I wonder how the NOAA scientists take those readings. I mean, how do you avoid contaminating your sample, if your lab is an igloo? I’d like to know if the NOAA scientists could hold up being cross-examined by Barry Scheck.

  2. Harry says:

    The crickets are deafening, WC.

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