Jones: Warming since 1995 not statistically significant
But skeptics misuse this statement to claim there has been no warming
In an interview with the BBC, Phil Jones, the embattled director of the British Climatic Research Unit, said that an observed warming trend of 0.12 degrees C per decade between 1995 to 2009 was “not significant at the 95% significance level.” On the other hand, he said, it was quite close to being statistically significant.
Predictably, the deniosphere jumped all over this. For example, here was Marc Morano’s headline at Climate Depot:
The Jig is Up! Climategate U-turn as Phil Jones admits: There has been no warming since 1995.
Either Marc knows nothing about statistics, or he is deliberately twisting the facts — or both. Phil Jones simply did not say that there has been no warming since 1995.
A 95 percent significance level simply means there is actually a 5 percent chance of a particular finding occurring purely by chance. So here’s what Jones is saying, in essence: There is a very slightly greater than 5 percent chance that the measured warming of 0.12 degrees C per decade between 1995 and 2009 was a statistical fluke — in other words, not real.
No warming since 1995? Not even close to what Jones said. This is a great example of how denialists mislead. The article Climate Depot links to is not the original BBC article but one from the Daily Mail with the wild headline. A headline that is wrong.
He did not say there has been no warming. In fact, quite the opposite.
But misquoting is one of the common tools used by denialists of all stripes. I have seen it my whole career when evolution is brought up. The inability to read simple sentences, to misquote or to misunderstand what someone states, are all classic ploys of denialists.
As a researcher, I realize things can change. There is a slight possibility that climate denialists are right; that the release of CO2 by humans has no effect on climate. Or that the globe is not actually heating up. A very, very slight possibility today that they are right.
But then, they should have to present some other explanation for all the data, instead of just magically waving their hands and saying “It’s natural.”
The reason AGW was even proposed was because researchers had exhausted all the natural approaches to explain the data. To solve the current conundrum, something outside our understanding of the natural processes was needed. The AGW is a well-supported theory to explain the discrepancy between what natural processes should be doing and what we see. Denialists may toss it away but they have to come up with a better one that does not use natural processes as we know them.
Because known natural processes, by themselves, do not provide a complete explanation for the data we find. True skeptics are trying to find just such an explanation. But even the best of those, such as Lindzen, do believe that warming is occurring. They are arguing about the degree of warming, not whether it occurs.
Denialists do not demonstrate that approach at all. They often just seem to have a ‘gut’ reaction, with little rational explanation. When someone tells me that the Bible states that God will not let man destroy the world, as a reason for denying AGW, they are not making a rational argument.
Similar irrational arguments have been made denying evolution for decades.
Saying “It’s natural” is the equivalent of saying “God did it.” It does not provide us any greater understanding of the world around us. In fact, displays a profound lack of understanding of the world around us and how science works.
It is a strictly anti-science viewpoint.
2 thoughts on “Denialists can’t read”
Actually, not quite… it’s stronger than that. AGW was predicted on theoretical grounds well before it was observed. Like, Hansen said already in the early 1980’s that by 2000, the AGW signal would be rising out of the noise.
And so it did.
You are right. I probably used the wrong word (Mea Culpa. No coffee yet;-).AGW was proposed many years earlier. Here is one of Frank Capra’s science films from the 1950s that describes AGW and its possible effects.
I should have said ‘became accepted’ rather than ‘proposed.’
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