‘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: Despite what the computer models tell us, there is actually no evidence of significant global warming. Answer: Global warming is not an output of computer models; it is …
(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: CO2 levels are recorded on top of Mauna Loa … a volcano! No wonder the levels are so high. (image courtesty of Global Warming Art)
(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: The apparent rise of global average temperatures is actually an illusion due to the urbanization of land around weather stations, the Urban Heat Island effect.
(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide) Objection: One hundred and some years of global surface temperatures is not long enough to draw any conclusions from or worry about anyway. Answer: The reliable instrumental record …
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