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Grading the Climate

Ok, pop quiz everyone! Take a look at this chart and answer the question:

Once you’ve answered, click below to read more.

A quick glance at the above chart probably led most of you to conclude your grades are “staying basically stable.” But what about all those other grades that come before those graphed?

There are 11 grades missing from a full analysis. Let’s add those in and take a look:

Given more data, it becomes pretty obvious your grades are actually getting better. What I’ve done is create a crude analogy to what the Daily Mail has done with climate change data. They love to show you just the first graph and never the second.

David Rose argues that this graph proves that “the world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago.” Debunking Rose’s piece, Joe Romm of Climate Progress, suggests you think about the data like science grades. I graphed out his suggestion to get a clearer view. What Rose and other denialists do is cherry-pick out the 1997-1998 starting point, which were unusually hot because of El Nino, and mislead their readers into thinking global temperatures hit a plateau. But if you take any other date or, in my example, any other test you can see a clear upward trend. Check out the trend if you choose even 1 test before or after the cherry-picked starting point:

The grades are moving higher. Any time writers like Rose keep referencing only one date, 1997, it should set alarm bells off. Zoom out and remember that climate change has been a bumpy progression.

The global land-surface temperature trend is even more dramatic.

David Rose is failing. It’s getting hotter.

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Categories: Climate Change

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