Let's Get Real About Global Warming Trends


"Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released..." -- David Rose, The Daily Mail

"Global warming hasn't stopped by any objective measure; it is proceeding right on schedule. In many respects... it is well ahead of schedule." -- Michael Mann, Penn State University

If David Rose's assertion were true, I would establish the "End of Climate Change Fan Club." I would keep my car running around the clock to celebrate the fact that fossil fuels don't cause global warming. I would laugh in the face of statistics showing unprecedented droughts, wildfires, sea level rise, heat waves, extreme weather, flooding, and Arctic ice loss. Okay, I probably wouldn't do those things (too much work, and people would think I was weird). But I would be very, very happy to know our climate was under control. Unfortunately, Mr. Rose is off the mark. The fan club and the car-running and the laughing will have to wait.

Hell, Rose couldn't get past his headline without missing the mark: he referred to a Met Office report that, in fact, the Met Office hadn't released.

As the informative Skeptical Science site points out:

The myth is based on the fact that temperatures have risen more slowly over the past 16 years than previously. However this period is too short to eliminate the effect of short term natural influences on temperature, and no other attempt has been made to eliminate their effect. Therefore the conclusion is invalid.

As Professor Mann pointed out to Live Science, "This is just one in a continuing series of hit pieces by David Rose in The Daily Mail that completely misrepresents climate science and climate scientists."

In case you don't want to take the word of well-qualified experts, just take a look at the following collection of statistics, and you'll see It's not hard to find plenty of trends that point to global warming.

  • Earth's average surface temperature rose 1.33º F in the past century. Higher average temperatures have been recorded on all continents and in the oceans.
  • Arctic summer ice cover in 2012 is about half of that from the 1980s. True, Antarctica's ice maximum was a record, but the Arctic's melting trend is much more pronounced than the gains down south.
  • 2012 was one of Earth's 10 warmest years.
  • Since 1970, each decade has been warmer than the last.
  • The global average sea level rose almost 8 inches between 1870 and 2007.
  • With the exception of 1998, the nine warmest years in recorded history have occurred since 2000.
  • This animation shows how Earth has warmed over the last 130-plus years, picking up steam in the '70s.
  • The 20th century's annual rate of sea level rise was .06 inches, but increased to 1.3 inches between 1993 and 2007.
  • Earth has had fewer cold days and nights in the last half-century, but more hot days and nights and heat waves.

Wow. That's a lot of influence we exert on our planet. When you compare species' impact on Earth, you've got to admit -- human beings are trailblazers. But watch your step. That trail might literally be ablaze.

Check out What on Earth at Science Friday
Like "What on Earth?" on Facebook.

Become a Fan here at The Huffington Post.