There’s a lot of talk these days about global temperature, in news reports, policy discussions, and casual conversation. The global temperature under discussion is surface air temperature (SAT). It’s not the depths of the ocean — even though that’s really a better measure of global warming, we don’t live in the depths of the ocean. It’s not the temperature in the upper atmosphere, we don’t live in the upper atmosphere. It’s the temperature at Earth’s surface. That is, after all, where we live.
But climate deniers don’t like that, because surface air temperature has risen so dramatically these last few years. Someone proclaims “The last five years have been the hottest on record!” and the deniers want to deny it, but they can’t use actual data for SAT because the data support the statement. But there’s a sneaky way for them to try: look for some data set — ANY data set — which you can claim represents “global temperature” but contradicts the “last five years” claim. If instead of claiming it’s global temperature, you simply say nothing at all about it so readers assume so, even better. If that data set happens to be crap — best yet!