Morano book Excerpt: USA Today blared that “the planet sizzled to its third straight record warm year in 2016.” Former vice president Al Gore also touted 2016 as “the hottest year on record—confirmed by NASA and NOAA [the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration].”
The New York Times claimed that the 2016 heat “record” was “trouncing” previous years’ temperatures.
The Times used phrases like “blown past” to describe the alleged heat record. Curiously, though, the actual numbers for the for the “hottest year” claim did not appear in the Times piece. “When you read a science report claiming that 2016 was the hottest year on record, you might expect that you will get numbers. And you would be wrong,” wrote Robert Tracinski of The Federalist.
“We are not told what the average global temperature was, how much higher this is than last year’s record or any previous records, or what the margin of error is supposed to be on those measurements.”
Why did the New York Times omit the actual temperature data?
While such years as 2005, 2010, 2014, and 2015 were declared the hottest years by global warming proponents, a closer examination revealed that the claims were based on year-to-year temperature data that differs by only a few hundredths of a degree to up to a few tenths of a degree—differences that were within the margin of error in the surface data. And the satellite data disagreed with the surface datasets. When an El Niño–fueled 2016 was declared “hottest year,” the temperature rise from 2015 also failed to exceed the margin of error, or exceeded it just barely—depending on which of the multiple temperature datasets were reporting.
A 2017 analysis by astrophysicist David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said, “According to NOAA, 2016 was 0.07°F warmer than 2015, which is 0.04°C. Considering the error in the annual temperature is +/- 0.1°C this makes 2016 statistically indistinguishable from 2015, making any claim of a record using NOAA data specious.”
James Varney, writing at Real Clear Investigations, noted, “NOAA fixed the 2016 increase at 0.04 degrees Celsius. The British Met Office reported an even lower rise, of 0.01C. Both increases are well within the margin of error for such calculations, approximately 0.1 degrees, and therefore are dismissed by many scientists as meaningless.”
Physicist Steven E. Koonin, a former Obama administration official, mocked the “hottest year” claims, offering the media what he considered a more accurate way to present the temperature data headlines. “Global Temperatures Up 0.0X for 2016; Within Margin of Error for Last N Years,” Koonin, who served as undersecretary for science in Obama’s Department of Energy, wrote in 2017.
In other words, global temperatures are holding basically steady. The media and climate activists are hyping supposed “record” temperatures that are not even outside the margin of error of the dataset as somehow meaningful. It is a fancy way of saying the “pause” or “slowdown,” “hiatus” or “standstill” in temperatures is continuing.
Even former NASA climatologist James Hansen has admitted that “hottest year” declarations are “not particularly important.”
When 2014 was declared the “hottest year” based on surface data, the claim, which was within the margin of error from previous “hottest years,”
did not impress climatologist Judith Curry. “With 2014 essentially tied with 2005 and 2010 for hottest year, this implies that there has been essentially no trend in warming over the past decade. This ‘almost’ record year does not help the growing discrepancy between the climate model projections and the surface temperature observations,” Curry told the Washington Post.
Retired MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen has ridiculed “hottest year” claims. “The uncertainty here is tenths of a degree. When someone points to this and says this is the warmest temperature on record, what are they talking about? It’s just nonsense. This is a very tiny change period,” Lindzen said.
“If you can adjust temperatures to 2/10ths of a degree, it means it wasn’t certain to 2/10ths of a degree.” Lindzen pointed out, “We’re talking about less than a tenth of degree with an uncertainty of about a quarter of a degree. Moreover, such small fluctuations—even if real—don’t change the fact that the trend for the past 20 years has been much less than models have predicted.”
The former MIT professor believes the “hottest year” claims are returning us to a bygone era. “To imply that a rise of temperature of a tenth of a degree is proof that the world is coming to an end—has to take one back to the dark ages,” he explained in 2017.13 “As long as you can get people excited as to whether it’s a tenth of a degree warmer or cooler, then you don’t have to think, you can assume everyone who is listening to you is an idiot. The whole point is so crazy because the temperature is always going up or down a little. What is astonishing is that in the last 20 years it hasn’t done much of anything,” he added. “What they don’t mention is there has been a big El Nino in 2016 and in recent months the temperature has been dropping back into a zero trend level.”
Satellites over Surface
The satellite temperature data is considered more accurate than surface measurements, but the climate campaigners prefer surface data. Climate data analyst Paul Homewood observed that “both UAH [University of Alabama at Huntsville satellite data] and RSS [Remote Sensing Systems satellite measurements] say that atmospheric temperatures for 2016 statistically tied with 1998, at just 0.02C higher.16 Neither 2014 or 2015 were anywhere near being a record.” Homewood, who publishes the website Not a Lot of People Know That, pointed out, “Satellite measurements of global temperatures are regarded as much more comprehensive, accurate and unaffected by UHI [Urban Heat Island], as climatologist Roy Spencer explained in 2014.”
While the media ignores satellite data in favor of surface data potentially distorted by the heat from the urban environments where many of the temperatures are measured, NASA has acknowledged that satellites are more accurate. A 1990 NASA Report found that “satellite analysis of upper atmosphere is more accurate, and should be adopted as the standard way to monitor temperature change.”
“Unfortunately, the surface temperature analysis contains several uncertainties and systematic biases when used to diagnose global warming,” as former University of Colorado climatologist Roger Pielke Sr. explained in the Washington Post. “One of them is with respect to land minimum temperatures over land. Rather than measuring changes in heat content through depth in the atmosphere, even slight changes in vertical mixing of heat (even with no net heating) can produce warmer minimum temperatures.”
NASA’s temperature trends are “almost 20 times larger than the satellites,” noted physicist Lubos Motl in 2017. “Both satellite-based teams quantifying the global mean temperature [University of Alabama at Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems] concluded that 2016 was 0.02 °C warmer than 1998. These were otherwise very similar ‘end of a strong El Niño years’ separated by 18 years. According to these numbers and nothing else, one could estimate that the warming per century is some 0.11 °C, a negligible amount.”
But satellite data is also subject to “adjustments.” Tampering with the temperature record has been so widespread that the current climate era has been jokingly called the “Adjustocene” Era.
One of the key satellite data sets, RSS, had basically showed a zero trend in global temperatures for over eighteen years, but in 2016, not only did a big warm El Niño impact temperatures, the dataset was also “adjusted,” and hey, presto, the “pause” in global warming disappeared. This satellite temperature data was revised with “improved adjustments” and somehow “found” the missing warming.20 AP reporter Seth Borenstein, who frequently serves as a mouthpiece for the climate change narrative, asked giddily, “Are satellites now contradicting the climate doubter community?”
Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was livid at the RSS “adjustments,” writing an analysis
titled, “How They Airbrushed Out the Inconvenient Pause.” “All gone! Vanished into thick air! Just like that! Amazing! Zowee! Look! A quarter of a degree of global warming where there was none before!” Monckton wrote in 2017.
“RSS now shows a warming almost 50% greater than the UAH warming,” he explained. “On most of the global-temperature datasets, much of the
warming of recent decades was not evident in the raw data and has been created by ex-post-facto manipulation of the data—whether for good reasons or bad,” he added.
Other temperature datasets have also seen revisions. “Temperature records have been altered considerably particularly the US Historical Climate Network. The alterations in general result in a cooler past and a warmer present,” climatologist Pat Michaels noted.23 Analysis by meteorologist Anthony Watts has revealed, “The temperature record has essentially doubled in trend over the last 30 years due to adjustments and citing issues. So if we look at the best stations in the network we have about half of the warming.”
And a 2015 analysis by Tony Heller of Real Climate Science accused NASA of reversing a post-1940 U.S. cooling trend by data adjustments or
what he termed “tampering.”
Not So Scary
Extreme weather expert Roger Pielke Jr. noted that the media “hottest year” scare stories are simply not working: “It doesn’t scare people.”
The World Is Not Burning
Al Gore has likened the Earth to a sick child. “The Earth has a fever that is growing more, and more intense,” the former vice president insisted. The Earth does not have a “fever.” Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore explains, “I do not believe the earth has a fever because it’s colder now it has been through most of the history of life.”
As Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever points out, “.8 degrees is what we’re discussing in global warming. .8 degrees. If you ask people in general what it is they think—it’s 4 or 5 degrees. They don’t know it is so little.”
And climatologist Pat Michaels explained that in any case the world’s “temperature should be near the top of the record given the record only begins in the late 19th century when the surface temperature was still reverberating from the Little Ice Age.”
The late geologist Bob Carter dismissed warming claims: “I call this sort of stuff kindergarten science…. The fact that the temperature was warmer at the end of the 20th century than it was in the preceding hundred years, is such a piece of kindergarten science. It’s true, and it is completely meaningless in telling you anything about climate change.”
Climatologist John Christy’s research on the United States has found that “about 75% of the states recorded their hottest temperature prior to 1955, and over 50 percent of the states experienced their record cold temperatures after 1940.”
Data from the Environmental Protection Agency agrees with Christy: the EPA website features a 2016 chart labeled “the U.S. Heat Wave Index from 1895 to 2015,” and it reveals that the worst U.S. heatwaves by far happened in the 1930s.
EPA: “This figure shows the annual values of the U.S. Heat Wave Index from 1895 to 2015.” 57
Be Not Afraid
“We are creating great anxiety without it being justified . . .there are no indications that the warming is so severe that we need to panic. . . . The warming we have had the last 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have meteorologists and climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all.” —Lennart Bengtsson, award-winning climate scientist.
Ivy League geologist Robert Giegengack, former chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania, has
noted that “for most of Earth’s history, the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has rarely been cooler.”
In my interview with him for my film Climate Hustle, Giegengack said, “I’m impressed by the fact that the present climate, from the perspective of a geologist, is very close to the coldest it’s ever been.” He also said, “The concentration CO2 in the atmosphere today is the close to the lowest it has ever been.” Giegengack has authored two hundred peer-reviewed studies and spent much of his academic career in the doing field research on the history of climate on almost every continent.