‘One record year is not global warming’–Luckily, there are plenty more years to consider
(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide)
Objection: So 2005 was a record year. Records are set all the time. One really warm year is not global warming.
Answer: This is actually not an unreasonable point — single years taken by themselves can not establish or refute a trend. So 2005 being the hottest globally averaged temperature on record is not convincing. Then how about:
- every year since 1992 has been warmer than 1992;
- the ten hottest years on record occurred in the last 15;
- every year since 1976 has been warmer than 1976;
- the 20 hottest years on record occurred in the last 25;
- every year since 1956 has been warmer than 1956; and
- every year since 1917 has been warmer than 1917.
The five-year mean global temperature in 1910 was .8 degrees Celsius lower than the five year mean in 2002. This, and all of the above, comes from the temperature analysis by NASA GISS.
There is an interesting quote from that page:
Record warmth in 2005 is notable, because global temperature has not received any boost from a tropical El Niño this year. The prior record year, 1998, on the contrary, was lifted 0.2°C above the trend line by the strongest El Niño of the past century.
So, yes it is true that one record year does not make a long term trend, but that is clearly not the whole story.
More stories in this series:
(Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic guide) Objection: In his June 23, 2008 testimony before the United States Congress, James Hansen called for the punishment of climate change skeptics for “crimes against humanity.” This is …
(Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic guide) Objection: In October 2008, Al Gore’s science adviser, James Hansen announced yet another “hottest” month on record. After all the alarmist banner headlines sank in, yet another “correction” quietly …
(Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic guide) Objection: We all live on a thin crust that floats on a huge ball of molten iron, and at its core, the Earth’s temperature is over 5000 degrees C! …
(Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic guide) Objection: Sea ice at the north pole recovered a whopping 9.4 percent from 2007 to 2008 despite the doom and gloom predictions of the alarmists. Yet another wheel falls …
Get Grist in your inbox