Pack Up Your Science Books

Pack Up Your Science Books

Corey WilsonThursday,21 January 2016

James Taylor of the Heartland Institute studied atmospheric science; his analyses have been published in virtually every major newspaper in the United States. That’s impressive. I didn’t major in anything, and I haven’t written for a single major newspaper. Fortunately (for me and this article), analyses hold weight only when published in scientific journals. Fortunately for James Taylor it means you’re able to get a job at a conservative think-tank like the Heartland Institute and get paid to write bullshit.

Bullshit like:

“Forget what global warming activists would lead you to believe – 2015 was not even close to the hottest year on record.”

Yes. Please do. Forget about what the global warming activists are leading you to believe. You should really only care about what the science leads you to believe. The science that’s indicating that December 2014–November 2015 has been the hottest December–November cycle on record.

Don’t believe NASA? How about the NOAA?

More astute readers may notice James is using the UAH satellite dataset, while I’m using two terrestrial datasets. Is one more reliable? Not inherently, but it’s important to note that the UAH is a definite outlier.

While the major terrestrial datasets show warming rates within 0.005 ◦C/decade of each other, the RSS and UAH satellite datasets are outside of 0.01◦C/decade from each other and the UAH reports a difference of 0.03◦C/decade from the terrestrial.

I’m not saying it’s unreliable; I haven’t the authority, nor the knowledge to say that. But what I am saying is that it should be recognized as an outlier.

Of course, it is not too difficult for activists to paint a picture of an exceptionally warm world – record El Nino or not – when they conveniently define ‘the record’ as merely extending back to the late 1800s.”

What a stupid thing to say. If we’re going to talk about cherry-picking records, let’s look first to the holy text of climate change deniers: Climate Depot, which cherry-picked a 1998 start date (the year of a record El Nino), as to make it look as though there hadn’t been any warming in the last decade. Deniers call this period “The Pause,” and it’s complete bull. As you can read in this paper, there has been a consistent warming trend—even the UAH dataset agrees.

And let’s be very clear. “The record,” is by far the most reliable time period to measure global temperature changes. That’s not to say it’s the only, but it’s the most reliable. Scientists looking outside of this ~150 year record are making estimations, and the further back you go, the harder it gets to determine temperature.

Scientists measuring oxygen isotopes from ice cores drilled in Greenland and Antarctica (among other methods) report that temperatures were significantly warmer than today for most of the past 10,000 years.”

It’s cute that he uses his own institute’s “research” as a source. It’s even cuter that he thinks a report by a conservative think-tank that has a laughable byline (including contributors like Richard S. Courtney and Craig Idso) is proof of things. It’s even cuter when you find out it’s not true.

No, Virginia, 2015 was not the hottest year on record. In fact, it wasn’t even close.”

Actually, James it was.

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Image Credit: Nils Erik Mühlfried on Flickr



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