Honestly, if anyone tells you “For nearly a decade now, there has been no global warming” — as this Boston Globe columnist has — they simply are not interested in seriously trying to understand and deal with the gravest problem facing humanity. They deserve the label “global warming denier” for willfully trying to confuse the public debate.

Let’s look at the data, from NASA, presented last month (PDF):

Through the first 11 months, 2007 is the second warmest year in the period of instrumental data, behind the record warmth of 2005, in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis. The unusual warmth in 2007 is noteworthy because it occurs at a time when solar irradiance is at a minimum and the equatorial Pacific Ocean has entered the cool phase of its natural El Niño — La Niña cycle.

Yes, in some global datasets — not NASA’s, however — 1998 is still the peak year because that year we had global warming plus the warm phase of the natural El Niño-La Niña cycle. But guess what, deniers? Climate change is about a change in the “climate.” A single year doesn’t make the climate, that’s why people use a running average — in order to show the trend. Duh!

NASA points out:

The six warmest years in the GISS record have all occurred since 1998, and the 15 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1988.

That would be a trend, as the figure below shows.

nasa-2007.jpg
Figure (a) Annual surface temperature anomaly relative to 1951-1980 mean, based on surface air measurements at meteorological stations and ship and satellite measurements of sea surface temperature; the 2007 point is the 11-month anomaly. [Green error bar is estimated 2σ uncertainty …]

All those who say there’s been no warming since 1998, you should be happy to take a $1000 bet against the claim that this decade will be warmer than the last one, and that the next decade will be even warmer. Heck, I’ll give you 2-1 odds. Anyone who won’t take such a generous bet — you really deserve even odds if you are serious about what you are saying, like the Globe writer who claims we’re actually going to start global cooling — is just trying to confuse the public debate with rhetoric they don’t even really believe themselves. And that is the very definition of a global warming denier.

By the way deniers, when one of the next five years turns out to be the hottest on record in all the datasets, which is very likely barring a major volcano — will you admit you were wrong and the planet is warming due to rising human-generated emissions of carbon dioxide as predicted by the scientific community? Somehow, I think not.

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.