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Myth of Cooling Globe shattered by AP-sponsored ‘blind’ test

October 26th, 2009 · 8 Comments

Just over the weekend, my inbox was filled with a discussion attacking climate science with assertions that “none of the models predicted the current cooling period” and, therefore, the entire concept of Global Warming rests on very shaky grounds.

Sigh …

Those involved in that discussion have now received links to an excellent article by AP science reporter Seth Borenstein.  That article, Impact: Statisticians reject global cooling, merits praise because it is an excellent of inventive investigative journalism on a very public issue.

In the face of claims of cooling appearing in multiple venues and gaining visibility (such as via the truthiness-laden pages of Superfreakonomics (see here and here and, well, tens of other sites/posts )), being a centerpiece of misrepresentations by George Will and others, Borenstein decided to put metereological data under the searing examination of statisticians unaware of the data stream that they were seeing.

Berenstein (okay, “the AP”) gave the data to four statisticians and asked them to analyze the data.  The result:

the experts found no true temperature declines over time.

Without knowing what the data referred to, one statistician called it “cherry-picking” to assert that there was any sort of statistically meaningful ‘cooling trend’.

“If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect,” said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina.

The statisticians’ basic point: the starting date is key. If you play games and have 1998 as “the” starting point, there is a minor cooling in the intervening years. (Actually, not a cooling but a slight retreating, writ large, from very high temperatures.)

choosing a starting date can alter perceptions. Using the skeptics’ satellite data beginning in 1998, there is a “mild downward trend,”  But doing that is “deceptive.” The trend disappears if the analysis starts in 1997. And it trends upward if you begin in 1999

Borenstein almost certainly will receit hateful (vitriolic) notes from deniers, self-proclaimed skeptics, and other anti-science syndrome sufferers who are unhappy with the results of a scientifically-sound path toward testing a hypothesis. Their loudly proclaimed hypothesis of a cooling globe since 1998 has, yet again, been tested and found wanting of a substantive basis.

Seth Borenstein: highly recommend reading.
See also: Brenden Demelle, DeSmogBlog, Statisticians Confirm: No Global Cooling Despite Skeptic Spin; Joe Romm, Must Read AP Story; and Greenfyre’s Independent statisticians reject global cooling fable. (Note: if you’re not aware of any of these three, they are all sites worth being part of your regular reading habits.)

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Tags: analysis · climate change · climate delayers · Congress · Energy · energy efficiency · environmental · Global Warming · global warming deniers · government energy policy · politics · renewable energy

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Independent statisticians reject ‘global cooling’ fable « Greenfyre’s // Oct 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    […] on October 26, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Reply Myth of Cooling Globe shattered by AP-sponsored ‘blind’ test […]

  • 2 Scary Monsters (And superfreakonomics) « Greenfyre’s // Oct 26, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    […] old science that you can find in How and Why Wonder Books for ages 10 and up. … That bad.  A Siegel captures it very well with “the truthiness-laden pages of Superfreakonomics“; ie there […]

  • 3 Progressive Nation » Blog Archive » Independent Statisticians Reject Global Cooling Fable // Nov 3, 2009 at 2:43 am

    […] Myth of Cool­ing Globe shat­tered by AP-sponsored ‘blind’ test […]

  • 4 Will George Will’s next column highlight this? // Nov 16, 2009 at 5:45 am

    […] what Will (and too many other deniers) falsely state is an 11-year cooling period (due to 1998 being (perhaps) the hottest year on record for natural cycles coming on top of […]

  • 5 RAnthony80 // Nov 22, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    LOL.. Well in the 1880s we were in a mini Ice age. Try to find a Global warming chart that doesn’t start in 1880s.

    What an absurd talking point. There are a huge number that start 20 years earlier because that is when there begin to be reliable temperature records from around the world.

    You are right..the start date does screw up your numbers.. go back another 500 years.

    Hope about going back 500,000 or a million or …

    Your talking points are without substance. Want to join the conversation here, come along with facts, data, and a willingness to learn (which, by the way, is what I bring to the table). Otherwise, don’t waste your and my electrons.

  • 6 roberts // Dec 28, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    So who are the DENIERS now.
    It is happening right before your very eyes, no smoke and mirrors from climate magicians like Al Gore, and James Hansen.
    We can see the cooling, with our own eyes, even the village idiot can.

    Yes, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you can see the cooling almost every day. It seems to happen every year with that thing commonly referred to as winter.

    I urge all citizens of the world who value their democracy not to fall for this socialist scam of global warming just so they can set a non elected, non democratic world government.

    This is about facts and science, not ignorant rhetoric. Bring facts and information and truthful discussion to the table or don’t pull up a chair for the conversation.

    Oh yea, Happy New Year, and may Jesus love you all.

  • 7 roberts // Jan 3, 2011 at 1:14 am

    A chimpanzee when shown a plastic banana will from a distance think it the real thing.
    However when the said monkey gets his hands on the banana will immediately realise he was wrong and discard the plastic banana.
    If only some humans had as much intelligence as that ape.

    Perhaps you should consider yourself in this analogy.

    You are so wrapped, it seems, in an ideological weltanschauung that is threatened by what is going on in the real world and what scientific study/analysis tells us such that you will reject any contrary information to maintain the certainty of that ideology

    Warmists alarmists have seen the banana, felt the plastic but still continue to deny it’s not real.
    They carry on with so called peer reviews studies and other scientific jargon and figures which their puppet masters ( The behind the scenes communists ) feed them and then carry on with all their soul.

    Does science and the real world mean nothing to you?

    I say soul because that is all they have to go on, pure emotion.
    It does not require any brains and can make the user immune to all logic.

    Again, bring reality and substance to the table or don’t expect to join the conversation.

    God bless the alarmists because they are humans too.

  • 8 Pat Sajak: Gl_b_l W_rm_ng D_n_ _ r ( _ssh_l_!) // May 21, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    […] Guide:  Global Cooling and natural cycle arguments.) [Update: On this blog, re cooling, see: Myth of Cooling Globe shattered by AP-sponsored ‘blind’ test and Confronting a Global Warming Skeptic. See also an excellent May 2014 discussion of a 1970s […]