Getting It Wrong
NASA has now silently released corrected figures, and the changes are truly astounding. The warmest year on record is now 1934. 1998 (long trumpeted by the media as record-breaking) moves to second place. 1921 takes third. In fact, 5 of the 10 warmest years on record now all occur before World War II [emphasis his]. Anthony Watts has put the new data in chart form, along with a more detailed summary of the events.Well, just in case the New York Times isn't mainstream enough for you, you'll be happy to know that Fox News had a field day with the story.
The effect of the correction on global temperatures is minor [emphasis mine] (some 1-2% less warming than originally thought), but the effect on the U.S. global warming propaganda machine could be huge.
Then again -- maybe not. I strongly suspect this story will receive little to no attention from the mainstream media.
Thankfully, we have Real Climate -- yep, another blog, this one by climate scientists -- to shed some light on the whole thing. According to Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA, it's all much ado about nothing. He writes:
Sum total of this change? A couple of hundredths of degrees in the US rankings and no change in anything that could be considered climatically important (specifically long term trends).What about the Arctic? Well, as chance would have it, on the same day that the Opinionator was spinning falsehoods, Times' science correspondent Andrew Revkin reported a disturbing fact about the annual Arctic ice melt. The lede:
However, there is clearly a latent and deeply felt wish in some sectors for the whole problem of global warming to be reduced to a statistical quirk or a mistake. This led to some truly death-defying leaping to conclusions when this issue hit the blogosphere. One of the worst examples (but there are others) was the 'Opinionator' at the New York Times (oh dear). He managed to confuse the global means with the continental US numbers, he made up a story about McIntyre having 'always puzzled about some gaps' (what?) , declared the the error had 'played havoc' with the numbers, and quoted another blogger saying that the 'astounding' numbers had been 'silently released'. None of these statements are true. Among other incorrect stories going around are that the mistake was due to a Y2K bug or that this had something to do with photographing weather stations. Again, simply false.
But hey, maybe the Arctic will get the memo.
The area of floating ice in the Arctic has shrunk more this summer than in any other summer since satellite tracking began in 1979, and it has reached that record point a month before the annual ice pullback typically peaks.I don't know about you, but when I read news like that, my wish that global warming be 'reduced to a statistical quirk' is hardly latent. If only playing with numbers could make it go away.