Monday, August 13, 2007

Well, at least they are consistent, right?

Then again, maybe not...

Steve McIntyre, a Canadian statistician and longtime global-warming skeptic had discovered a slight error in NASA's surface temperature records for the United States. He sent off an email to NASA, and James Hansen fixed the problem, crediting McIntyre for the good catch. Right-wing blogs went nuclear and said this shows that climate science is all a bunch of hokum.

But how big an error was it? Well, 1998 went from being listed as 0.01 degrees warmer than 1934 to being listed as 0.02 degrees cooler. That means 1934 is back to being the "official" hottest U.S. year on record, although it's still a statistical tie. Some of the other U.S. years in this decade were also downgraded slightly. This all had virtually no bearing on the global temperature record, in which 2005 still appears to be the hottest year on record, and Al Gore's claim that nine of the ten warmest years in history have occurred since 1995 is still operative. Check out RealClimate for some graphs.

0.03 degrees - hundredths of degrees are piffle when the climate scientists point to them, but reason to scrap thirty years of scientific research and consensus when it goes their way?


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