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Sunday, August 12, 2007
Who doesn't know that many of the last 10 years rank as the warmest on record? After all, there was no end to the media coverage of these records as they trotted out scientists to talk about the implications. However, how many know that those supposed "record temps" were all wrong and have been quietly removed from NASA's "top ten warmest years" list? My guess: no one. But I thought all scientists were of pure motives who only dealt with facts and data... why haven't the NASA scientists been as quick to publically correct their errors as they were to first point out the record temps in the first place? Say it ain't so, but methinks some of them have confused political causes with science. It's very sexy to claim that the world is the hottest it has ever been; it's not so cool to say that the earth isn't even as hot now as it was 70 years ago.

Thankfully, two scientists (Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick) dug a little deeper into NASA's methodology and found a problem. So now the hottest year on record is... ready for it?... 1934. Mark Steyn talks about it all in his column this week.
Something rather odd happened the other day. If you go to NASA's Web site and look at the "U.S. surface air temperature" rankings for the lower 48 states, you might notice that something has changed.

Then again, you might not. They're not issuing any press releases about it. But they have quietly revised their All-Time Hit Parade for U.S. temperatures. The "hottest year on record" is no longer 1998, but 1934. Another alleged swelterer, the year 2001, has now dropped out of the Top 10 altogether, and most of the rest of the 21st century – 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 – plummeted even lower down the Hot 100. In fact, every supposedly hot year from the Nineties and this decade has had its temperature rating reduced. Four of America's Top 10 hottest years turn out to be from the 1930s, that notorious decade when we all drove around in huge SUVs with the air-conditioning on full-blast. If climate change is, as Al Gore says, the most important issue anyone's ever faced in the history of anything ever, then Franklin Roosevelt didn't have a word to say about it.

And yet we survived.
As Pogo said, way back in the 1971 Earth Day edition of a then-famous comic strip, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Even when we don't do anything: In the post-imperial age, powerful nations no longer have to invade and kill. Simply by driving a Chevy Suburban, we can make the oceans rise and wipe the distant Maldive Islands off the face of the Earth. This is a kind of malignant narcissism so ingrained it's now taught in our grade schools.
I was just reading that the problem that was discovered in the NASA data was caused by a Y2K bug. Isn't that ironic; one false scare encouraged another.


Melchizedek said...

I wouldn't call it politics. I'd consider it religion.

Darius and Elisabeth said...

So would I, but I was being gracious :)

Luke C. said...

"No recent IPCC statements or conclusions are affected in the slightest."

Darius and Elisabeth said...

Luke, I think you miss the point. Neither I nor Mark Steyn are saying that the problem makes much of a statistical difference, but it has huge ramifications politically to initially miss that error. Newspapers and networks saying that last 10 years fall within the top 100 warmest years instead of almost all of them within the top 10 makes a very big difference. Furthermore, not publicly acknowledging the mistake (or very quietly mentioning it) does not undo the harm that the error caused to people's understanding of the global warming crisis and the data behind it. Does this small error mean that global warming doesn't exist? Not necessarily, but it does help put things into perspective, which the public desperately needs to see.

Darius and Elisabeth said...
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Darius and Elisabeth said...

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

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