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First it’s great when people know their own mind: program producer Martin Durkin emailed Dr Armand Leroi of Imperial College London and science popster Simon Singh to say: “You’re a big daft cock…hours and hours of shit programming on global warming…Never mind an irresponsible bit of film.making. Go and fuck yourself.”
Later the bi-polar controversialist commented: “Needless to say, I regret the use of intemperate language. It is so unlike me. I am very eager to have all the science properly debated…”

Don’t you just love the “Needless to say.” Anyway read the story here.

Meanwhile the empire strikes back: the Independent has run a story on “The Real Global Warming Swindle“: and I quote

One of the principal supports for his thesis came in the form of a graph labelled “World Temp – 120 years”, which claimed to show rises and falls in average global temperatures between 1880 and 2000….

The programme-makers labelled the source of the world temperature data as “Nasa” but when we inquired about where we could find this information, we received an email through Wag TV’s PR consultant saying that the graph was drawn from a 1998 diagram published in an obscure journal called Medical Sentinel. The authors of the paper are well-known climate sceptics who were funded by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and the George C Marshall Institute, a right-wing Washington think-tank.

However, there are no diagrams in the paper that accurately compare with the C4 graph. The nearest comparison is a diagram of “terrestrial northern hemisphere” temperatures – which refers only to data gathered by weather stations in the top one third of the globe.

However, further inquiries revealed that the C4 graph was based on a diagram in another paper produced as part of a “petition project” by the same group of climate sceptics. This diagram was itself based on long out-of-date information on terrestrial temperatures compiled by Nasa scientists.

Strange – I saw the program, noted the graph as important and have just googled ‘World Temp 120 years’ and found it on – yes thats the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies – dedicated to research into climate change.

Here it is updated and below it is the last similar graph I found:
As they are both showing the same thing (and if you don’t know that mean and average are the same thing you shouldn’t be reading this blog), its interesting to compare them.
The second one is scarier because its narrower, so all the lines are steeper and seem to be happening more suddenly. It also has a 5 year mimium of -6 in about 1910 which the first one doesn’t have and it has a sharp fall from 1940 to 1950 followed by a gradual upwards slope to 1980, whereas the first one has a plateau from 1950 to 1980 with an actual minimum around 1963.
Human beings are very strongly visual animals (when dogs take over as top species, data presentations will feature smells much more strongly than at present) and we pick up on these cues. Please see support page (yet to be written) “The Iniquities of Bubble Charts”. Which one is correct? who knows.

Anyway here’s a bit of good news: increasingly this blog reads that the temperature fall in the middle of last century was caused by the release of industrial sulphate particles and this masked global warming – and on either chart basis, it was pretty effective. We’ve stopped these because the Scandiwegians were whingeing about their forests, buts isn’t it comforting to think we can always bring them back.