The Denial Escalator

By Eco Guy 6:47am 24th April 2012
Commentary on the supposed Denial Escalator and who really is in denial?

According to Skeptical Science - when either an alarmist or denier looks at the temperature of the last 40 years they see different things:

  • the alarmist sees a straight line from 1979 up to 2012 showing roughly a 1 degree (on average) rise over the period.
  • The denier sees a series shorter average periods each showing a decline, then a jump, then yet another decline, etc

To be honest - BOTH plots are wrong. I shall explain:

  • Why just a graph of the last 40 years? We have detailed temperature measurements going back much further than that - see here for more detailed graphs of atmospheric temperature.
  • Also why just the global land temperature graph - does the temperature of the atmosphere in general or the sea not matter? Maybe it is something to do with the fact that the sea in particular shows a negative trend over the same period..
  • Also where are the Error Bars? This graph is an average of imprecise measurements that are amalgamated to form a graph - there MUST be an error term to plot!
  • The Denialist plot is particularly funny, it shows trend lines overlapping in time and hence source value range. In fact if one looks carefully it looks like the ranges have been deliberately picked to give the visual illusion of downward trends within an overall rising average over the longer time. Basically not statistically valid, the same value cannot contribute more than once to a series of set of series..
  • Also the time frames used to create the denialist plot are just too short; e.g. 1973 to 1980, 1980 to 1988, 1988 to 1995, 1995 to 2001, 1998 to 2005 and 2002 to 2010. None are longer than 8 years and all overlap. Also you need really 12 years plus to contribute to an average point line single point to have any degree of confidence that you are not just sampling too short a time frame (Dr Phil Jones agrees).

Basically the Denial Escalator is just a thinly disguised attempt to make skeptics look like idiots - the trouble is it has made the alarmists look like bigger idiots instead..

Remember: The main point of contention between the Alarmists and the Skeptics is the reason why the Earth is warming, it has been warming since the last ice age; the real question is how much has humanity 'nudged up' that warming effect and if so by exactly how much. It is not a question of if it has warmed - which this silly graph attempts to misdirect you on.

Related Content Tags: climategate, climate change, global warming

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