Drop the 1998 myth!

For a long time Denialists have claimed it has been cooling since 1998. I’ve had Denialist crowing over this year as the magic bullet that makes global warming evaporate in a puff of Cherry-Picked logic. In other words, if you pluck the data out of context, you can make any story you want to.

But they can’t do that any more. 1998’s been beaten, twice.

Of the top 3 climate monitoring units on the planet only Hadley says 1998 was the warmest, and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) has pointed to a cooling bias with the Hadley data.

Two of the three most powerful temperature databases on the planet confirm 1998 as the THIRD warmest year on record, even when 1998 had one of the most frighteningly powerful El Nino’s we’ve ever seen. Check it out — NOAA, NASA, then Hadley’s CRU.

NASA GISTEMP confirms the same thing and says:

Global surface temperatures in 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest on record, according to an analysis released Wednesday by researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

The NCDC at NOAA says:

For 2010, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature tied with 2005 as the warmest such period on record, at 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F). 1998 is the third warmest year-to-date on record, at 0.60°C (1.08°F) above the 20th century average.

And now Phil Jones at the Hadley CRU, but don’t forget the ECMWF has had a go at this particular dataset.

“The time series shows the combined global land and marine surface temperature record from 1850 to 2010. According to the method of calculation used by CRU, the year 2010 was the equal third (see footnote) warmest on record (with 2003), exceeded by 1998 and 2005. The years 2003, 2005 and 2010 are only distinguishable in the third decimal place. The error estimate for individual years (two standard errors is about ±0.1°C, see Brohan et al., 2006) is at least ten times larger than the differences between these three years.

The period 2001-2010 (0.44°C above 1961-90 mean) was 0.20°C warmer than the 1991-2000 decade (0.24°C above 1961-90 mean). The warmest year of the entire series has been 1998, with a temperature of 0.55°C above the 1961-90 mean. After 1998, the next nine warmest years in the series are all in the decade 2001-2010. During this decade, only 2008 is not in the ten warmest years. Even though 2008 was the coldest year of the 21st century it was still the 12th warmest year of the whole record.

Here is the Met office (runs Hadley) graph that summarises the findings of the three agencies.

Even Denialist’s are admitting it. At the 2009 Heartland Institute conference (of global warming sceptics), well known climate denialist Dr Patrick J Michaels warned against using the 1998 El Nino super-spike as some sort of ‘proof’ of a cooling trend. Take the advice of the words of a fellow Denialist.

“Make an argument that you can get killed on and you will kill us all… If you loose credibility on this issue you lose this issue!”

If you’re going to selectively zoom in on data you can concoct whatever story you want to. It will just be Cherry-Picking the data. Anyone can do that.

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