Yet Another BillBoard Campaign.

March 28, 2013

I think that I shall never see
a billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.

Ogden Nash
A reminder of a time when environmental problems seemed simpler..

There are these dilapidated billboards not far from my home, that have been up for so long, I wonder if anyone even remembers who put them up. They say things like “US out of UN”, and have pictures of Michigan DNR forest rangers as nazi soldiers –  things like that.  Above is a little glimpse of what decaying right-wing messages of the future will  look like.

Having had their asses handed to them with the last bonehead billboard stunt, the climate denial industry is back for more.  Well, billboard space is cheap, so I guess, with contributions drying up, that makes sense.

This new burst of crank creativity comes from CFACT, another fossil funded mouthpiece, which recycles the ever popular “it hasn’t warmed since.. (carefully pick a start date during the giant el nino of 97-98, and an end date in a la nina cycle )”

Jeff Masters in WeatherUnderground:

One often hears the statement in the media that global warming stopped in 1998, or that there has been no global warming for the past 16 years. Why pick 16 years? Why not some nice round number like 20 years? Or better yet, 30 years, since the climate is generally defined as the average weather experienced over a period of 30 years or longer? Temperatures at Earth’s surface undergo natural, decades-long warming and cooling trends, related to the La Niña/El Niño cycle and the 11-year sunspot cycle.

The reason one often hears the year 1998 used as a base year to measure global temperature trends is that this is a cherry-picked year. An extraordinarily powerful El Niño event that was the strongest on record brought about a temporary increase in surface ocean temperatures over a vast area of the tropical Pacific that year, helping boost global surface temperatures to the highest levels on record (global temperatures were warmer in both 2005 and 2010, but not by much.)

But in the years from 2005 – 2012, La Niña events have been present for at least a portion of every single year, helping keep Earth’s surface relatively cool. Thus, if one draws a straight-line fit of global surface temperatures from 1998 to 2012, a climate trend showing little global warming results. If one picks any year prior to 1998, or almost any year after 1998, a global warming trend does result. The choice of 1998 is a deliberate abuse of statistics in an attempt to manipulate people into drawing a false conclusion on global temperature trends. One of my favorite examples of this manipulation of statistics is shown an animated graph called “The Escalator”, created by skepticalscience.com (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Average of NASA’s GISS, NOAA”s NCDC, and the UK Met Office’s HadCRUT4 monthly global surface temperature departures from average, from January 1970 through November 2012 (blue), with linear trends applied to the time frames Jan ’70 – Oct ’77, Apr ’77 – Dec ’86, Sep ’87 – Nov ’96, Jun ’97 – Dec ’02, Nov ’02 – Nov ’12. Climate change skeptics like to emphasize the shorter term fluctuations in global temperatures (blue lines) and ignore the long-term climate trend (red line.) The global surface temperature trend from January 1970 through November 2012 (red line) is +0.16°C (+0.29°F) per decade. Image credit: skepticalscience.com.

I thought I’d settled this with my videos on the topic several years ago. Obviously, someone is not listening.

This was made in 2009, just as a new el nino was arriving, which made 2010 very hot indeed - remember the Russian heat wave, and the Pakistani floods?

Since then, as Dr. Masters notes, we’ve been in la Nina, cooling, cycles an unusual share of the time.  This does not mean we are cooling, or static – the atmosphere is still in energy imbalance – that heat is still being trapped. What it means is that instead of releasing heat, as in an el nino, the ocean is absorbing it. La Nina is no picnic for places like the US southwest, which tend to be dry during those times, as we saw in the Texas drought of 2011.

I wrote the other day about the new measurements of deep ocean heating (see graph below) that give us a better picture of just where that heat is going.  Not sure what it all means, but it certainly does not indicate that warming is going away – all but certain that the next el nino, when it comes, is going to be brutal.

Figure 1: Ocean Heat Content from 0 to 300 meters (grey), 700 m (blue), and total depth (violet) from ORAS4, as represented by its 5 ensemble members. The time series show monthly anomalies smoothed with a 12-month running mean, with respect to the 1958–1965 base period. Hatching extends over the range of the ensemble members and hence the spread gives a measure of the uncertainty as represented by ORAS4 (which does not cover all sources of uncertainty). The vertical colored bars indicate a two year interval following the volcanic eruptions with a 6 month lead (owing to the 12-month running mean), and the 1997–98 El Niño event again with 6 months on either side. On lower right, the linear slope for a set of global heating rates (W/m2) is given.

Pat Michaels ironic money quotes:

“Make  an argument  that you can get killed on, and you’ll kill us all.”
“If you  make that argument now, you’re going to have a very difficult time defending the future.”

“woops.”

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5 Responses to “Yet Another BillBoard Campaign.”


  1. I was banned from CFACT for posting both your and SkS’ rebuttal of this nonsense. I wear the ban with pride.

  2. petersjazz Says:

    Deniers say we should do nothing because its hard to figure out how cc will behave. Well ok, lets do nothing. That is, stop co2 emissions totally until we find out that its safe? As we do with medecine for example

  3. astrostevo Says:

    “This new burst of crank creativity comes from CFACT, another fossil funded mouthpiece, which recycles the ever popular “it hasn’t warmed since.. (carefully pick a start date during the giant el nino of 97-98, and an end date in a la nina cycle )” (Emphasis added.)

    I think the word “creativity” there is in serious need of airquotes!

    I mean really? Still repeating that stale and multiplely debunked canard that Rose famously pulled out his rectum? Creative?!? Also billboards? Ditto.


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