Last week I took George Will to task for his scientific illiteracy and misrepresentation of the “no statistically significant warming” statement that has given every global warming denier a naughty tingly feeling during the past few weeks.
I missed something.
I was going to include a graphical example, and I should have, because I would have found one more problem with the statement. I was reading a post over at Skeptical Science, where graphs were included, and did a mental reconstruction and realized my error of omission. I’ll grab the GISS graph from that post (slightly different slope, but the concept is the same), and add in two lines: one representing no increase in T, and one representing twice the
amount slope of the best fit.
Now, one can see here that even though it’s obviously not the best fit to the data, the “no increase” line is a semi-plausible fit. It’s possible. But here’s the problem: look at the temperature in 1995 based on the two scenarios. If one is going to claim that the temperature has not increased in the last 15 years, one also has to admit that it’s about a tenth of a degree warmer than we thought it was. So all of the global warming that “didn’t happen” before is even worse, and harder to explain away.
Personally, I think not distorting the science in the first place is probably the best way to proceed.