Monday, 14 January 2013

First Bad Science Award of 2013

Goes to The Telegraph for this 'error':
A new scientific model has revised previous figures for the next five years downwards by around a fifth. 
The forecast compares how much higher average world temperatures are likely to be than the “long-term average” from 1971-2000. 
It had been thought that this would be 0.54C during the period 2012 -2016 but new data puts the figure for the 2013-2017 period at 0.43C. 
This figure is little higher than the 0.40C recorded in 1998, the warmest year in the Met Office Hadley Centre’s 160-year record – suggesting global warming will have stalled in the intervening two-decade period. 
The fact that the average temperature for several years is only marginally warmer than 1998 does not suggest global warming has 'stalled'.

First, because 1998 was an outlier, a freak year driven up to record (according to some data sets) highs by a combination of factors. Matching that freak is evidence that overall temperatures have increased. 

Second, because some of these years will be cooler than the 0.43 baseline - and some hotter. Perhaps significantly, if the factors that conspired to heat up 1998 are in play.

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