Global Temperature Uncertainty

You may have read the claims trumpeted in the media recently of ‘2014 hottest year ever’ in the instrument record, but one of the puzzling aspects of this is why the obvious question was not asked. By how much?

It turns out that it was the ‘hottest’ by 0.02C, and that the error uncertainty in the measurements is 0.1C. Put another way, the evidence for the claimed record is five times smaller than the ability to measure it. As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted NASA  thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. Mailonline

JoNova has this to say about it:

“The thing with half-truths is that they generate a glorious fog, but it has no substance. Ask the spin-cloud of a couple of sensible questions and the narrative collapses. This is the kind of analysis that would have stopped the rot 25 years ago if most news outlets had investigative reporters instead of science communicators trained to ‘raise awareness’“.

This is the pattern to much of the output of organisations dependent upon funding for work on climate change. It helps them if they can generate a shock headline, even if there is no real basis behind it, The headline is relayed to the public with no accompanying analysis. At least we have the Web to provide us with the counterpoint lacking in some elements of the media.

Steven Whalley