’What, me worry?’ — distorting climate change data

By Ken Perrott 06/02/2012


Peter Gleick has a simple useful article in Forbes illustrating various ways that climate change deniers/contrariness cherry pick data to support claims that global warming is not occurring (see “Global Warming Has Stopped”? How to Fool People Using “Cherry-Picked” Climate Data). He is referring to an increasingly common argument that deniers/contrarians are promoting in OpEd columns and opinion pieces in newspapers. We have seen it here too, and the comments at New Zealand’s premium climate change denier blog Climate Conversation Group are full of such claims.

Recently I dealt with that argument as expressed by an old colleague of mine in a letter to the NZ Listener (see Open letter across the barricade). In the “open letter’ I reconstructed my own example of how global temperature data can be cherry picked to promote the “global warming has stopped” myth. But I had in the back of my mid  an animated graph which showed this more clearly.  Now I have found it – and reproduce it below. It’s from Skeptical Science (a mine of information) and is usually referred to as The Escalator.

I think this demonstrates the dishonesty of cherry-picking beautifully.
Mind you, it doesn’t stop motivated deniers and bloggers picking up these dishonest articles and promoting them to similarly motivated reader. Have a look at Local Whale Oil’s No Need to Panic About Global Warming.”
A classic example of the activity that goes on in the climate change denier echo chamber.