I just came across this graphic published by NASA doing the rounds on FaceBook which as far as I can make out is meant to prove that scary man made climate change is real and all the scientists agree. At least that’s how it was presented. Now a couple of things struck me about this graph, the first of which is that the upward trend starts back in the 1900′s from this very short sample and the upward trend starts as far below the given 0 line as we’re now currently above it, which makes me wonder for this graphic at least how they chose that 0 line.
I’m not aware of anyone actually arguing that the data published by the four sources they’re quoting disagree. Arguing about what it means, yes. Arguing about what the causes are, yes. Arguing about what if anything we should do, hell yes. Arguing about how much we can trust the data, yes. Arguing that the data published disagrees, no not really. So wonderful straw man to the graphic there. The comments associated with the graphic are quite good in places as well. They may not be accurate but they do give some food for thought, e.g.
“All show rapid warming in the past few decades. ” Isn’t that right about the time the Soviet Union died, and took with it a bunch of measuring stations set in the cold?”
Though obviously there are an awful lot of people saying we’re doomed, the science is settled and it’s too late to act humanity has destroyed the planet. But someone did comment about something that stuck me the moment I saw the graph, the slope below that 0 line is really very similar to the slope above the line, which just makes that line look all the more arbitrary. Here using my rudimentary graphic skills is the bit below the line is the 1910 – 1940 section shifted over the the 1970(ish) to present section, I changed the colour to make it more obvious which is which but look how radically the rate of climate warming hasn’t changed. Scary isn’t it.
Update: Being slow on the uptake it’s only just occurred to me that going on the basis of this graph alone, which is what they’re presenting as the available data that is agreed upon, the current data is about as far above the given 0 line as it was below zero back in 1920. So that being the case couldn’t this be a data set of temperature oscillating around a mean?