We’ve all heard it before: media alarmists’ cries of “This year is set to be the hottest year on record!” And in 2014, 2015 and 2016, those were assuredly the words uttered by progressive pundit after pundit.
But, there are just a few things to recognize when one reads those statements. First, “on record” only means for about the last 16 years; accurate satellite records of temperatures don’t go back any further than that.
Second, large uncertainties in the datasets they’re using to back up their headlines are actually larger than the differences between the “hottest years on record” and the next-hottest ones. It’s like saying that Hillary Clinton won a CNN presidential election poll by one percent when the margin of error was three percent.
For example, Gavin Schmidt, the director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) at NASA, believes that the chances of 2014 being “the hottest year on record” at the time were only a confidence-busting 38 percent.
Many scientists who promote the view that the Earth is heating up have altered the label of this phenomenon from the focused and specific “global warming” to the much more amorphous and all-encompassing “climate change.” This is because in numerous cases, there is ample evidence to support the view that the Earth is not warming at all, but may actually be cooling instead!
Or, perhaps, it’s warming in some places, cooling in others and for the vast majority of locations, staying the same within a narrow range of temperatures.
In truth, the Earth’s climate has actually changed several times in just the last 1,500 years (there’s evidence to support that the Nile River in Egypt actually froze over in 829 A.D.), and if you look at a longer timeline than that, the variation is even greater.
In fact, scientists will grudgingly admit that prior to 2014, overall warming hadn’t been recorded for 20 years. In many locations, there’s data to support temperature shifts that are all over the place, rather than those that follow particular trends. As with the stock market, when looking for rises and falls, it often depends on where you start measuring and where you stop.
Of course, scientists have their handy excuses at the ready to explain why New England had record snowfalls two winters ago, but somehow this is still evidence of “global warming.” And despite the fact that for many people, this winter will be colder than the last one, they deny that the Earth is getting chillier.
But one thing is for sure: you’re not going to suddenly start seeing palm trees in Toronto; in fact, you likely won’t see anything remotely close to that in your lifetime.
So, what’s really going on, climate-wise, if anything? Scientifically speaking, there are a few different camps, which all have had high-profile defectors and new recruits at different times.
There are the skeptics, like Nobel-laureate physicist Ivar Giaever and the Institute for Advanced Study’s Freeman Dyson, who until recently even counted new President-Elect Donald Trump among their ranks.
But now, Trump has backtracked a bit from his previous views. Regarding the environment, Trump declared, “I’m very open-minded. I’m still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I’m somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows.”
Next to the skeptics, you have people who believe some warming is occurring, but that it may be due to natural phenomena, rather than made-made conditions. This group counts organizations like the American Institute of Professional Geologists and scientists like Harvard astrophysicist Sallie Baliunas among its members.
And lastly, you have the full-on, 100-percent “anthropogenic” believers, who declare that “all global warming” is caused by man-made conditions and that man is 100 percent in control of his environment. Some 84 percent of scientists who study the climate to some degree fall into this camp.
But scientists attending the Paris Climate Talks, which had made it a goal to reduce global temperature change to below two degrees Celsius, may have to contend with the fact that worldwide land temperatures have actually fallen by one degree since July — the largest and steepest decrease on record. Many from the scientific community are loath to discuss this because any mention of data that violates “global warming” arguments might mean big media coverage and a loss of funding for them.
In this case, the big drop is as a result of a “La Niña” event that followed a strong “El Niño” — an annual atmospheric event that plays havoc with temperature recordings due to large movements of deep ocean currents.
Independent journalist David Rose stated, “Big El Niños always have an immense impact on world weather, triggering higher than normal temperatures over huge swaths of the world. The 2015-2016 El Niño was probably the strongest since accurate measurements began, with the water up to 3 degrees Celsius warmer than usual. It has now been replaced by a La Niña event — when the water in the same Pacific region turns colder than normal. This also has worldwide impacts, driving temperatures down rather than up.”
Dr. David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation wrote, “It can be argued that without the El Niño (and the so-called [related] “Pacific Blob”), 2014-2016 would not have been record warm years… Many think that 2017 will be cooler than previous years. Myles Allen of Oxford University says that by the time of the next big United Nations climate conference, global temperatures are likely to be no warmer than the Paris COP in 2015.”
In fact, it’s safe to say that come this time next year, there won’t be any “2017 was the hottest year on record” stories. And it’s quite possible that the narrative around “climate change” will have taken a few lumps, to boot.
Given the number of conflicting opinions, the wide variation in global temperatures over the last several millennia and the lack of hard data from accurate sources prior to roughly 1880, this topic is sure to be a muddy one well into the future.
~ Facts Not Memes