Long-time readers of EclectEcon know that I am a global-warming skeptic. Not a denier but a skeptic. I just don't know what to believe, given all the spin put on things.
For example, both the Washington Post and the NYTimes recently published stories about how NASA scientists say the earth is warmer. But then yesterday, the Daily Mail published a piece saying there is considerable uncertainty about the numbers used for that report.
In a press release on Friday, Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) claimed its analysis of world temperatures showed ‘2014 was the warmest year on record’.
The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.
Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.
As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted Nasa thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. However, when asked by this newspaper whether he regretted that the news release did not mention this, he did not respond.
In other words, maybe. Or maybe not. And the misrepresentation of the data just adds to one's skepticism.