Christopher Booker doesn't understand trends

Christopher Booker, a journalist for The Telegraph in England, has a long history of disputing scientific facts. Not only does he dispute climate change, he also disputes the link between smoking and cancer (hey, he fits right in with Heartland Institute) and the negative effects of asbestos. On May 6, 2017, he published yet another column on climate change proclaiming that all is well.

Titled "Another Arctic ice panic is over as world temperatures plummet", it has been quickly picked up by the usual science denial websites. As usual. Never mind that it's chock full of misinformation and outright ignorance. Let's get started.

First up, the selected facts present in the following paragraph in his article:
 "But last week we were brought back to earth by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), as charted by our friend Paul Homewood on his blog Notalotofpeopleknowthat, with the news that ever since December temperatures in the Arctic have consistently been lower…

Meltdown: An early prediction of September 2017 Actic sea ice extent

Yes, I'm a bit late but the Arctic is in full meltdown this year. I crunched the numbers for April ice extent and found that this past April saw the second-lowest Arctic sea ice extent on record. Since 1979, average sea ice extent in April has declined by 1,403,600 square kilometers, an area nearly the size of Alaska and over twice the size of Texas. (Alaska has an area of 1,717,854 square kilometers and Texas comes in at 696,241 square kilometers. You can find a list of all 50 states at in case you're curious).

Even more worrisome is the record low average extent in the first four months of this year. Average monthly January to April extent has fallen by 1,626,860 square kilometers since 1979.

This record low comes in spite of neutral ENSO conditions, indicating that something has changed in the Arctic and not for the better. Sea ice volume makes the point even more clear. So far, sea ice volume is setting new record lows, meaning there is a lot of thin ice in …

R code for Shifting Bell Curves

A commentator named Jonathan asked for the code by which I produced my bell curve graph way back in 2013. Here it is. Note: I'm using the Cowtan and Way 2.0 temperature reconstruction in this example rather than NASA GISS as in the original post as the Cowtan and Way data is more accessible for use in R.

>Cowtan<-read.table("", header=F)
> names(Cowtan)<-c("Year", "Temperature", "Uncertainty1", "Uncertainty2", "Uncertainty3") #Name the columns
> summary(Cowtan) #Check to see if the column names look right and the data imported correctly
> S1850s<-subset(Cowtan, Year<1860) #Get subsets of each decade
> S1950s<-subset(Cowtan, Year>=1950 & Year<1960)
> S2007<-subset(Cowtan, Year>=2007 & Year<2017)
> D1850s=density(S1850s$Temperature) #Get the density kernals
> D1950s<-density(S1950s$Temp…

Mt. Etna vs Humans

Yes, I'm still around. I've just been fairly busy the past few months. The long-debunked myth that Mt. Etna emits more carbon dioxide in one little eruption than human activities have for our entire history as a species has recently reappeared on my social media feed, courtesy of a right-wing cousin of mine.

 I just thought I'd do a quick comparison showing just how wrong that myth is. Using data from tables 2 and 3 in Burton, Sawyer, and Granieri (2013) for volcanic emissions and Boden, Marland, and Andres (2017) for human-related carbon dioxide emissions, I get the following comparison between an entire year's worth of Mt. Etna CO2 emissions and just one year's worth of human-caused CO2 emissions.

Mt. Etna produces an average of 7.22 million metric tons of CO2 per year. That's TOTAL per year, not just "one little burp." In contrast, humans caused 36.14 BILLION metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2014 alone. Mt. Etna emissions aren't even a rounding …

Climate of 2016 to date

No, I'm not talking about the recently concluded US election that saw a scientific illiterate ascend to the presidency. Given the lack of details about Donald Trump's intended policies, it's impossible to say what, exactly, his election means for science in the US although I have doubts that it means anything good given his stated antithesis toward science, particularly climate science. I will instead focus on some significant events that have been eclipsed in the media frenzy around the presidential campaign.

First up, global temperature. Has it been hot enough for you? Here are January through September temperatures for every year in the GISS record.
 So far, 2016 has obliterated the previous record for January - September global temperature anomaly set in 2015, 1.03ºC to 0.80ºC. Not only is the average for the first nine months hotter but eight of those months are the hottest respective months on record, with only June 2016 (in third place) the lone non-record-setter. T…

1996 versus 2016 in a Facebook meme

Recently, a right-wing cousin of mine shared a meme claiming that global temperatures were unchanged between 1996 and 2016, specifically that global temperatures were 14.83ºC (58.7ºF) in both 1996 and 2016.

I call BS and here's why.

First and most obviously, 2016 isn't even half over.  Stating that the mean temperature in 2016 was 14.83ºC (58.7ºF) is a bit premature.

Second, whoever came up with that meme has extreme difficulty with basic statistical terms. Here's a hint: "Average mean temperature" is nonsense.  As used in everyday speech, it's essentially the same as saying "average average temperature" or "mean mean temperature." Now, for those who understand statistics, I know that the mean is technically a specific method for calculating the average but in general usage, mean and average are interchangeable—and whoever came up with that meme was abjectly ignorant of that fact.

Third, the meme author had even more difficult…

Hottest start to a calendar year on record

NASA updated their global temperature data for April and it's hot.  Really hot.  As in the last time it was this hot may well be the Holocene Climatic Optimum.  April 2014 shattered April 2010's record by a full 0.24ºC, coming in at 1.11ºC above the 1951-1980 baseline.  That is, simply put, jaw-dropping.