After all the talk about global cooling, or lack of global warming, here’s a nice little graph to illustrate the misuse of statistics. It also illustrates why climate change contrarians and deniers love to start their measurements from 1998.
Its from Paul Krugman’s Blog at the New York Times (see How Will They Spin This?).
“So, via Joe Romm, the NASA-GISS data show that the past 12 months were the hottest 12-month period on record. Here’s my plot of the temperature anomaly – the difference, in hundredths of a degree centigrade, from the average over 1951-80:”
“So much for the ’global cooling’ talking point. What I’m wondering is what excuse the deniers will come up with.
They could argue that temperatures fluctuate, that one shouldn’t make too much of a particular peak – which is actually true. But that would get them in trouble, since the whole global cooling thing has been about taking the 1998 peak – visible in the chart – plus a bit of bad data to claim, literally, that up is down. Any statistical fix, like looking at multi-year averages, would just confirm that the temperature trend is up.”