The Hockey Stick at 20

March 21, 2019


Replicated now many times, the Hockey Stick graph of global temperatures has withstood the test of time.  Only dead enders argue about it any more.

But the war on science and fact that followed climate findings like this has deeply degraded our public dialogue, one of the most toxic and tragic legacies of climate denial, and a threat to democracy that we see playing out every day.

Dan Satterfield for AGU Blogs:

That graph that would become known as the hockey stick. It was published in a paper by Dr. Michael Mann et. al on 15 March 1999 in the AGU Journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The stick was a powerful image showing how fast our planet’s temperature was rising compared to the stable climate of the past 1000 years. In 1999, there were a large number of people who insisted that the planet was not warming at all, and some even insisted that a new ice age was looming! The hockey stick showed clearly that we were indeed warming, and that something bad was happening to our stable climate.

Twenty years have passed, and the hockey stick has stood up against the firestorm of criticism it elicited.  (Read this.) Most of that was from people with no background in science. Those who talk about any science quickly learn that when you show someone information that conflicts with their worldview, they will often dismiss it and or get angry, and accuse you of showing them fake data. This includes people who do not believe in vaccines and others who DO believe in chemtrails, UFO’s, or that pro-wrestling is real.

All of this happened to Dr. Mann after that paper was published, and all of it fell by the wayside as others did what science requires: replication.

If others cannot replicate your work, it will not be accepted as good science.

Other scientists did indeed replicate it, and improved upon it, with newly recovered data and observations. Dr. Mann improved his first graph with even better data as well. This week, a more recent version was posted on Twitter this week by Climatologist Stefan Rahmstorf. The stick is even sharper now and gets more so every year. It now shows how unusual the last 100 years have been.

In his book, Brian Fagan (the renowned archeologist) has called the stable climate of the Holocene, “The Long Summer“.  All of human civilization developed in the stable climate of the last 6,000 years, but the data clearly shows that a real heat wave is headed for humanity and we are running out of time to deal with it.

9 Responses to “The Hockey Stick at 20”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    The best time to have responded to the hockey stick was 20 years ago. The second best time is tomorrow. Don’t hold your breath.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    If you want to spend some time watching, here a hearing at the Joint Committee of the European Parliament. Experts explain the committee how the fossil fuel industry has known for decades of the dangers their products pose to earth’s climate and how they spent billions of $$$ for the denial machinery. They also give some advise how politics could respond.

    We have to fight this industry lobbying! Kick the lobbyists out of our parliaments!
    (Food and Water Watch at 1:09:20)

  3. Joe Za Says:

    Hi, I am looking around on the web for a continuance of the hockey stick graph. We see the increase in temperature up to year 2000. Does anyone know a good link to the continuance of the graph to 2018 ?

  4. Joe Za Says:

    I am not sure how this works. How long does it take to see a comment posted. I don’t see any acknowlegement that I have posted one. I keep trying . I am signed in with facebook. Is there a waiting period before it is posted?
    I dont see any instructions for this on this site.

  5. Joe Za Says:

    Does anyone know of a link to a good graph of the hockey stick that continues the graph beyond year 2000 ?

  6. The 20-year history of the hockey-stick vs. skeptics, compressed into just one short second:

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