In an old post way back in 2008, I set out the conditions for a “bet” (not that I’m a betting man), which could better be looked on as a test of the idea that “global warming has stopped.”
It was spurred by all the repeated claims that “global warming stopped in 2001.” Before that it was “global warming stopped in 1998,” but that was obviously wrong so soon that those claiming an end to global warming just moved the goalposts, starting with 2001 instead.
I created two models for the future evolution of global temperature (at the time, since 2008). One was continued warming at the same rate as had happened since 1975. The other was no more warming. Of course, this is about the trend, but there are bound to be fluctuations too. So, I used the standard deviation from the trend since 1975 as a measure of how big we could expect those fluctuations to be. For each model, I plotted the expected continuation of the trend (or its absence) together with the ranges 2 standard deviations above and below, to delineate the range of temperature (global, annual average) expected from each model.
The “continued warming” model range is shown in red (central estimate as a solid line, upper and lower ranges as dashed lines) and the “no more warming” model in blue. And here’s what they were (using global temperature data from NASA):
Whenever a year was above the “no warming” range, it counts as evidence of continued warming. When it was below the “continued warming” range, it counts as evidence of no warming. The areas which count as evidence were shown here:
Of course any given year might stray into one of those regions simply due to random fluctuations, so to make the “bet” a better test, I stated that whichever side got evidence for two years in a row would be declared the winner.
The data have been refined since then, but only slightly. Here’s what it looks like using the improved data (not significantly different than it was back then):
So — where do we stand?
All the years from 2008 through 2014 fell into the “neither one” range. But 2015 was squarely in the “still-warming” region, and 2016, although not yet complete, is well on its way to falling in the “still-warming” region too:
The year 2016 is likely to break the 2015 record, but even if it doesn’t it’s still very likely to be the 2nd year in a row in the “still-warming” region.
In which case, we’ll have a winner: still warming.
We’ll also have about six billion losers: the human race.
All those people who insisted that warming had stopped, and especially those who said we were headed for imminent global cooling, were wrong. Wrong. Wrong. They should admit it, and admit they’re wrong about nearly everything to do with climate change. Don’t expect them to be reasonable.
Those who protest that “skeptics don’t say there’s no global warming!” should be called liars. Because they are. Take a look at this “opinion piece” by Dr. Lars Schernikau, from which I quote the very first sentence printed:
1. Global warming caused by human activities does not exist.
There are also those who “admit” there’s human-caused global warming, but then make idiotic statements implying that it stopped, as in a recent letter to the editor, from which I quote:
(3) Does the absence of warming over the past 15 years disprove the alarmists’ theories about catastrophic global warming and, if not, why not?
The answer is: there has been warming over the past 15 years.
The deniers (who definitely do not deserve the name “skeptics”) will sometimes say “no such thing as man-made climate change,” at other times say “yes there is but no global warming for the last 15 years,” and in fact have a nasty habit of making myriad claims which are not just false, they contradict each other. They’ve adopted a very effective strategy to confuse and confound the general public: throw everything possible at the wall and see what sticks.
Some of them may in fact come out as “winners” due to the immense profits from fossil fuel sales. I’m more concerned with the losers … six billion of them.
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