Master Class in Climate Denial Gaslighting

January 15, 2021

The old “There has been no warming since 1998” scam.
Scientific equivalent of “I did not pay off that porn star.”

If you’re still a climate denier, this is the length you have to go to.

The Global Warming Policy Forum, in response to yesterday’s announcement that 2020 tied for hottest year in the record, produced the graph above.

Global Warming Policy Forum: (I’m not giving them a link, find it yourself)

There has been no significant warming trend for 5 years.
Every year in the middle of January various organisations, The UK Met Office, NASA, NOAA, etc. release their estimates of the annual average global temperature of our planet.

This year the conclusion is that 2020 is statistically identical to 2016. Some have placed it the second whereas the Japanese Meteorological Agency has it as the third warmest of the modern era. The overall conclusion to be drawn however is the misunderstanding of statistics used to support a predetermined opinion.

Here’s another view, below, at 170 year scale.

Back story:

An El Nino is a 4 to 7 year cycle in the Pacific Ocean, that oscillates between the El Nino, in which a lot of heat gets burped out of the ocean into the atmosphere, and the La Nina, which tends to pull heat down in to the ocean.
El Nino years are typically warm spikes in the longer temp record, above the underlying constant warming signal that is clear in the graph above for the last 45 years. La Nina’s tend to be the downward spikes.

The last record year 2016, was quite a strong El Nino, a lot of heat came out of the ocean and bumped up thermometers all over the planet.

1998 was an El Nino year. In fact it was an extraordinarily powerful El Nino, and you can see the spike above in that year, which really stands out. It took a while to exceed that record, although it was tied in 2005, 2007, and 2010. (from memory, – experts check me if that’s wrong)

So for more than a decade, a standard climate denial crock was “see, there’s been no warming since 1998”.
By cherry picking the years starting in 1998, you could draw a more or less flat line, “proving’ no warming, although measurements of ocean heat, which became much more accurate in the early 2000s, continued to show a warming planet.

Again, looking at the graph above, you can see how another powerful El Nino in 2015-16 raised the bar in a significant way. Since then temperatures have continued warm.
What’s remarkable about last year is that 2020 was a La Nina year, in which we would normally expect to read somewhat lower – yet we still tied the record. That’s disconcerting.

I showed how this works in several videos, the first one below from 2009.

In 2016 I updated yet again.

10 Responses to “Master Class in Climate Denial Gaslighting”

  1. grindupbaker Says:

    El Ninos appeared to be pulling away but I’ve never found the information post 2012 AD so I dunno whether that situation ended with the 2015/16. I won’t try posting it again because my rural internet is near useless during Covid-19.

  2. redskylite Says:

    They keep on trying their gaslighting tricks . . . although most people see through them. Beware of the cherry pickers.

    “there has not been a long-term distinctive change in sea level rise rates in the last 120 years”

    • Keith Omelvena Says:

      Are most people seeing through “it”? The objective is not to be correct, it’s to keep the fake narrative circulating and throw the ignorati a bone to keep them foaming! That works! Deniers aren’t deniers because they lack facts, they are deniers because it’s part of their identity. This should be considered a sermon to keep the faithful from straying. Reinforce their identity. Repetition, repetition. That time worn sales pitch. Works in politics too, of course!

  3. grindupbaker Says:

    Actually, “Burgess Park” gots exactly that 2 years ago against your video that you link above “In fact 2017 and 2018 have shown 0.6 degrees of cooling” so you’re a bit so yesterday with this Forum Police bunch above.

  4. leslie graham Says:

    Well that’s a relief isn’t it?
    But you know I suspected as much. Down here in New Zealand it was a bit chilly for the time of year this afternoon.

  5. Glen Koehler Says:

    Peter – You of all people understand the importance of scientific accuracy, so I am writing to correct a reference I have seen repeatedly in the last few days that 2020 was a La Nina year. Nope, it was not.

    El Nino – La Nina status is a function of the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation), which is quantified by surface temperatures in an equatorial area of the Pacific Ocean to the west of South America called ONI3.4.

    According to James Hansen, and bascially confirmed by a study by Grant Forster and Stefan Rahmstorf, the ENSO/ONI3.4 influence on global average surface temperature has a lag of about 4 months.
    See Grant Foster and Stefan Rahmstorf, 2011.;

    An ONI3.4 value between -0.5C and +0.5C is considered neutral. Only when the average for the temperatures that affect current year temperatures average below -0.5C would there be justification call 2020 a La Nina year. That average for 2020 was +0.18.

    Hansen roughly states the ENSO influence as about 0.1C change in the NASA GISS global average surface temperature for each C anomaly in the ONI3.4 anomaly.
    Foster and Rahmstorf put it at about 0.08 C per 1 C in ONI3.4 anomaly.

    So 2020 had a small positive influence on GISS of about +0.02C. That is in neutral territory, and on the side of zero to be a La Nina year.

    None of this reduces concern about the 2020 temperature. Indeed 2016 was a very strong El Nino year, with an average ONI3.4 (for Sept 2015 to Aug 2016) of 1.40 C. Thus an influence on the GISS-Temp of about 0.14C.

    On top of that, 2016’s annual average GISS temperature was boosted by a smaller but significant influence of following closely after a solar maximum that added another 0.02C. By comparison, 2020 has a very small +0.02C ENSO/ONI3.4 bump, and a negative solar influence of about -0.02C coming shortly after the Bottom of a solar cycle.

    Thus, not factoring in the long-term warming trend, 2020 “should” have been about 0.18C cooler than 2016. Alas, it not only wasn’t cooler, it was actually 0.01C warmer than 2016 (which NASA counts as a statistical tie given the uncertainty in the GISS-TEMP measurement).

    This become graphically obvoius when you look at a chart of annual GISS-TEMPS with the ENSO/ONI3.4 and solar influences removed. Such a chart is available at;topic=3299.0;attach=291528
    That chart was done in November, so actually slightly underestimated the final 2020 NASA GISS.

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      The EL Nina onset was ‘declared’ late 2020 by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. An outfit that watches these things very very closely.

  6. Glen Koehler Says:

    Yes, La Nina conditions emerged at end of 2020, but in terms of ENSO impact on global average surface temperature, 2020 was not in whole a “La Nina Year”.

  7. Glen Koehler Says:

    … even moreso when you account for the ~ 4 month lag between ONI3.4 temperature and resulting influence on GISS-Temp or other measures of global average surface temperature.

  8. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    It’s like discussing children’s temperature in Kelvin:

    Kids are perfectly healthy at 310K, so what’s the big deal if their temperature reaches 313K? That’s less than a 1% rise!

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