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.
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.
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 difficulty with facts and mathematics. For one,
the mean global temperature in 1996 was not 14.83ºC (58.7ºF). According
to NASA GISS, the average global temperature was 14.34ºC (57.8ºF). For
another, the year-to-date mean global temperature for 2016 is not
14.83ºC—it's 15.25ºC (59.45ºF). So the anonymous author has both their
start point and their end point wrong. Really wrong.
It's not just NASA that shows that 1996 is cooler than 2016. The satellite temperature records show the same.
that meme displays a gross ignorance in what makes up a trend by
implying that if the start and end points are the same, there cannot be a
trend. In reality, it wouldn't matter even if 1996 and 2016 did, in
fact, have the same mean temperature. A trend is far more than just its
start and end points. Even if you altered the end point, there would
still be a warming trend. It may not be as large but the trend would
still exist. Here's an example using the NASA GISS data I displayed
above. I just altered the end point of the second graph so that it
would have the same value as 1996 before I calculated the trend.
you can see, the warming trend still exists in the lower graph despite
altering the end point. It's not as large ("only" 0.102ºC/decade versus
0.221ºC for the original data) but it is still statistically
significant (p = 0.0257).
So in summary, whoever
made up that meme 1) lied about their numbers, 2) is ignorant of the
actual temperature data, and 3) abjectly ignorant of basic statistical
concepts. And then they had the balls to call Al Gore and progressives
liars. How quaint.