Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lessons so simple that even an environmental reporter can savvy

I think our friends in the media, who on this blog are lovingly called 'environmental poodles', can do with some educating - a look at satellite temperatures and other temperature anomalies:

UAH-MSU temperatures for 2009

Among these 15 years, 2009 will be cooler than 1998, 2005, 2002, 2007, 2003, and maybe 2006, so it will be just the 6th or 7th warmest year - pretty much exactly in the middle of the last 15 years' scoreboard. A global warming trend continues to be absent despite the very strong El Nino episode that has been affecting the weather for more than half a year and that may match the 1998 El Nino of the century in the near future.

If there were some significant or urgent global warming, you would expect the record to be broken almost every year: that's what increasing functions like to do. However, it's been the 11th year in a row when the record reading wasn't rewritten. And according to UAH, 2009 was 0.25 °C below 1998. Because the 1979-2009 warming trend indicated by UAH is 0.13 °C per decade, we will need roughly 20 more years to return back where we were in 1998, assuming that the warming observed in the last 30 years will continue (it didn't exist between the 1940s and 1970s).

Even if there were a warming issue worth talking about, it doesn't sound terribly urgent given these numbers, does it?

And this is interesting-

As a bonus, I will list you the UAH warming trends (recalculated to temperature changes in °C per century) for various intervals:

1995-2009: +0.95 °C/century
1996-2009: +0.89 °C/century
1997-2009: +0.41 °C/century
1998-2009: -0.24 °C/century
1999-2009: +1.22 °C/century
2000-2009: +0.53 °C/century
2001-2009: -0.78 °C/century
2002-2009: -1.56 °C/century
2003-2009: -1.43 °C/century
2004-2009: -1.43 °C/century
2005-2009: -3.70 °C/century
2006-2009: -2.30 °C/century
2007-2009: -1.00 °C/century
2008-2009: +21.0 °C/century

Of course, the last one must be taken with a big grain of salt. ;-) Otherwise, you can see among these 14 trends, 6 are warming (generously counting the huge 2008-2009 trend as well) while 8 are cooling! ;-) I could be more quantitative but this is roughly what we mean by saying that there has been no statistically significant warming in the last 15 years.

For some reason you won't see this reported in your daily newspaper. I guess, their environmental poodles reporters are too busy copying Greenpeace's press releases into their 'reports'.