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