Premium Quality Climate-Denier BS

August 25, 2011

Every time Slashdot, or any other widely-read social media site publishes some info or other about climate change, the denier crowd emerges from the woodwork (I have to assume someone is paid here) to put forth bullshit remark after bullshit remark. Here, I have a graph that one of them posted, to cast doubt on “the earth has a fever”:

(He put it on SlashDot, I presume that means he doesn’t want to keep it a secret.)

The grey dots are individual datapoints, the pink line is the average. Looks pretty flat, so clearly, no warming, right? It made the poster “not sure”. Grizzled internet veterans recognize this as concern trolling, mixed with weasel words, so that when the poster is accused of being a denier, he can (correctly) proclaim that he said nothing of the sort, he was merely unconvinced by the data, and wanted to share his concern, and I am clearly a Very Bad Person with An Agenda who Jumps To Conclusions and Makes Arguments in Bad Faith, and I Didn’t Read His Post Carefully Enough. (Golly, you think maybe I have heard this before?)

But look at the graph more carefully (click for higher-res, at least till the image disappears). It’s plotted on a Kelvin scale, and the Y-axis spans 130 degrees Kelvin. Could you spot a 1-degree Kelvin rise in that pink line, especially given the blizzard of grey dots? It’s there — lay another window edge across it, to see if the pink line is really flat. And how much warming has been claimed, for a global average? 0.74 degrees Kelvin in the 20th century, which is just about what we see here. The graph refutes nothing at all.

One could similarly plot a graph of ocean depths, and then take the average, and then proudly proclaim that the average is flat. Suppose it rose by 1 part in 1000, that cannot be much, can it? Ten times that didn’t look like much here, after all. But the average depth of the ocean is 12400 feet; 0.1% is 12 feet of water, yet it wouldn’t show up at all if graphed like this.

For the denier crowd, this is the sort of “science” and “analysis” that “refutes global warming”. (Oh, but he said nothing of the sort, he was merely “not sure”. Right.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: