Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hottest Year Ever?

Tisdale chart copy
There are climate deniers and climate believers, and among those there are many believers with religious zeal.  I remain a climate skeptic--way too much politics involved for me to have any definitive views on the issue.

It was entertaining this past week watching all the climate faithful--most of whom weren't themselves climate scientists--bloviate about the recent report from NASA that last year was the hottest year ever (or on record or...); it was like listening to people panic about the future catastrophes we all know are before us due to global warming based on the fact that yesterday was the hottest day in the last twenty years in Washington D.C.

Well, it turns out that NASA's model has a margin of error that was not mentioned originally, so they can't even be certain that last year was a record year (let alone that if it were, this is any evidence for anything important).

See here.  Reproduced below:

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!  If you’re a climatista, that is. The news that 2014 is the hottest year EVER!* has the climatistas wetting their drawers: we’re back in business! Amazing what two one-hundredths of one degree will do for the hard up.
John has already noted the general weakness of this case, but if you think John beats down on it, check out NASA’s Dr. Roy Spencer:

I’ve addressed the “hottest year” claim before it ever came out, both here on October 21, and here on Dec. 4.
In the three decades I’ve been in the climate research business, it’s been clear that politics have been driving the global warming movement. I knew this from the politically-savvy scientists who helped organize the U.N.’s process for determining what to do about human-caused climate change. (The IPCC wasn’t formed to determine whether it exists or whether is was even a threat, that was a given.)
I will admit the science has always supported the view that slowly increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere from burning of fossil fuels should cause some warming, but the view that this would is any way be a bad thing for humans or for Nature has been a politically (and even religiously) driven urban legend.
I am embarrassed by the scientific community’s behavior on the subject. I went into science with the misguided belief that science provides answers. Too often, it doesn’t. Some physical problems are simply too difficult. Two scientists can examine the same data and come to exactly opposite conclusions about causation.
We still don’t understand what causes natural climate change to occur, so we simply assume it doesn’t exist. This despite abundant evidence that it was just as warm 1,000 and 2,000 years ago as it is today. Forty years ago, “climate change” necessarily implied natural causation; now it only implies human causation.
Worth reading the whole thing. Meanwhile, here comes the asterisk from above: How certain is NOAA that 2014 is the hottest year ever? Um, this could be embarrassing. If you look into the uncertainty ranges of the data, and apply the protocols the climate science community has used in its other assessments, you get a table that looks like this (hat tip: Bob Tisdale/WUWT):
Tisdale chart copy
The Daily Mail has a good summary of the story:
The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.
Yet the NASA press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.
As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted Nasa thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. However, when asked by this newspaper whether he regretted that the news release did not mention this, he did not respond. Another analysis, from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, drawn from ten times as many measuring stations as GISS, concluded that if 2014 was a record year, it was by an even tinier amount.
Of course, one thing left out of the discussion is a couple of simple questions. Let’s assume the data is absolutely correct. How does a two one-hundreths of a degree “record” temp prove that we’re going to be catastrophically warmer five decades from now, given that the current temperature record is coming in at the very low end of the predicted ranges of the climate model runs?
And exactly what policy difference does this rather feeble “record warm year” make? The carbon suppression agenda of the climatistas is still just as stupid as it was a month ago.

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