Monday, January 09, 2017

Prepare for Reanimation of the Zombie Myth ‘No Global Warming Since 2016’

Pushback will be needed against an impending swarm of climate zombie myths 

6 Major Climate Change Myths, Debunked  (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Climate myths are like zombies – you shoot them through the heart, walk away thinking they’re dead, and then they pop back up behind you and try once again to eat your brain.

So it is with Stage 1 climate denial and the myth that the Earth isn’t warming.  It’s so persistent that it’s related to the 5th, 9th, and 49th-most popular myths in the Skeptical Science database.  Climate deniers have been peddling the myth ‘no warming since [insert date]’ for over a decade.

It’s a popular myth among those who benefit from maintaining the status quo because if the problem doesn’t exist, obviously there’s no need for action to solve it.  And it’s an incredibly easy argument that can be made at any time, using the telltale technique of climate denial known as cherry picking.
Using real global surface temperature data from NASA, I created a popular graphic called The Escalator, which has been featured the PBS documentary Climate of Doubt and used by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the Senate floor.  The video below shows The Escalator with data updated through 2016:

No warming since 1998 2016
As The Escalator shows, we’re currently in a particularly hot period.  2014 was the hottest year on record, until 2015 broke that record, which we just broke again in 2016.  This unprecedented heat has temporarily stopped the ‘no warming’ myth in its tracks, but like every zombie climate myth, it will inevitably rise again.  Faux science journalists have already written fake news stories about temperatures falling between August and October 2016. 

It’s only a matter of time before ‘no warming since 2016’ stories become common.  That’s because there was a strong El Niño event that ended in 2016, very similar to the event that ended in 1998.  The 1998 El Niño gave birth to the “no significant warming in 18 years” myth, which until recently was a favorite argument of deniers like Ted Cruz.  In fact, earlier this week the House [anti-] Science Committee Twitter trolled “climate alarmists” by arguing that in satellite data, 2016 wasn’t that much hotter than 1998.

This myth was accurately critiqued by climate scientist Carl Mears and Admiral David Titley, as documented in the video below:
Coincidentally, there was about 0.25°C global surface warming between 1998 and 2016, which is why ‘no warming’ warped into ‘no significant warming.’  However, because of the record-shattering global heat of the past three years, the myth is likely to reset its cherry picked starting point to 2016.

Read more at Prepare for Reanimation of the Zombie Myth ‘No Global Warming Since 2016’

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