Saturday, January 12, 2013

Misleading News...

Holman Jenkins, writing in the WSJ($), sets us straight:
Said the New York Times climate blog, in an assertion that was echoed throughout the media: "The temperature differences between years are usually measured in fractions of a degree, but 2012 blew away the previous record, set in 1998, by a full degree Fahrenheit."

Really? If that were true, then hair-on-fire news should have been the fact that 2012 was 2.13 degrees hotter than 2011. That's a far more dramatic change, and in a single year.

Nor was it mentioned that 2008, in the contiguous U.S., was two degrees cooler than 2006. Or that 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 were all cooler than 1998 by a larger margin than 2012 was hotter than 1998.

Are you getting the picture? None of this was mentioned because it makes a mockery of using trends in the Lower 48 as a proxy for global warming, the misguided intent that permeated media coverage of the NOAA revelation. 
I had a similar discussion with several colleagues at work (my former work, I should say!).  They saw this same news, and their first reaction was “Dang, guess that global warming is for real after all!”  Knowing my AGW skepticism, they could hardly wait to tell me :)  It took all of 30 seconds to figure out what was really going on, exactly as Jenkins so nicely describes. The AGW enablers picked two arbitrary data points and implied something much greater than those data points actually showed – and their message was heard by the credulous, loud and clear...

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