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16 Years Without Warming?

2013/01/13

Yesterday, I got into a discussion (debate?) with someone on Martin Lack’s (excellent) blog about the idea that “warming has stopped over the past 16 years”.  It is a common myth based on the incorrect interpretation of temperature graphs.  It is also the latest argument used by people who deny global warming and climate change.

Fortunately, we have the following short video from the fine folks at Skeptical Science to explain what is wrong with the myth:

Plus, I doubt that the people of the USA and Australia would agree that warming has stopped.  2012 was the hottest year ever recorded for the US, and Australia is going through a record heat wave which has sparked massive wildfires.

The planet is warming and it will continue to do so as long as there is too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  The longer we argue about that simple fact, the harder (and more expensive) it will be to stabilize our climate.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. 2013/01/13 8:24 pm

    The continued denial of people even in the face of overwhelming evidence sometimes makes me wonder if we’ll be able to turn things around at all.

    • 2013/01/13 8:31 pm

      If it makes you feel better, you are not alone! I have that same thought all the time. This problem NEEDS government intervention. But so many governments seem unable to make scientifically based decisions.
      But I guess that just means that the rest of us have to work harder and put more pressure on them to do what’s right!

      • 2013/01/13 8:49 pm

        The government(s) definitely need to intervene, but they seem to be focused on the wrong things. Handfuls of people working together CAN make a difference. Right now, I’m helping on a petition drive for legislation to bring clean energy to Texas (air pollution here is HORRIBLE). Hopefully that will help get the ball rolling in my local area.

      • 2013/01/13 9:58 pm

        Congrats! I hope your efforts bear fruit. I truly believe that the way to get clean energy going is through a feed-in tariff. By the way, I am (also) working with a group to get clean energy here in PEI! If anything comes up that might help you out, I’ll let you know 🙂

  2. Demos permalink
    2013/01/14 1:08 pm

    That was not what I expected. There is global warming. The Met Office data says it hasn’t significantly risen in a set period of time. They still believe global warming is a serious issue. I thought you would explain and elaborate on that. This (pardon me) half-assed video is unscientific, it is an embarrassment. This is a fundamentally irresponsible and unserious rebuttal to the myth of no warming.

    • 2013/01/14 2:34 pm

      Hello Demos. Thanks for stopping by.
      Although I respect your opinion, I don’t agree. I find that the video effectively uses a visual tool to demonstrate that abnormally hot years and abnormaly cold years (caused by El Nino and La Nina events) act as “noise” which makes the overall trend harder to see. And when that noise is “removed”, the general trend of increasing temperature becomes evident.
      If you were to take 1998 out of the graph, just that one year, there would be absolutely no mention of “no warming for 16 years”. That is why the apparent slow down in warming is irrelevant. It isn’t part of the trend.
      Is the video “scientific”? Well, no. But I find that it does a good job of illustrating that ’98 is an outlyer and does not alter the overall trend of continuous warming.

    • 2013/01/14 2:49 pm

      @Demos I’m struggling to understand your objection. In what way is the video an ’embarrassment’? I think it does a good job of explaining both that global warming continues — despite the ever-present denial FUD — and why there is confusion about the facts.

    • Martin Lack permalink
      2013/01/15 11:07 am

      Hi Demos. I hope you will take the time to read the comment I have just submitted here.

  3. Martin Lack permalink
    2013/01/15 11:05 am

    What really annoys me is that, no matter how many times you tell people like Demos that the hiatus in land surface temperature increase does not mean that global warming has stopped, they just keep saying that it has…

    It is almost as if they continue to dispute the reality that:
    — the 40% increase in CO2 (rather than a 4% increase in water vapour or a fraction of 1% increase in total solar irradiance, etc) is the primary cause of the long-term warming of oceans; sea ice reduction; permafrost melting; and glacier retreat; and that
    — the warming will not stop until we stop causing it to happen (i.e. because the vast majority of what is happening cannot be explained by volcanoes, ocean currents, and sunspots,etc).

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