Statisticians reject global cooling
Some skeptics claim Earth is cooling despite contrary data
by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, October 26, 2009
WASHINGTON - An analysis of global temperatures by independent statisticians shows the Earth is still warming and not cooling as some global warming skeptics are claiming.
The statisticians, reviewing two sets of temperature data, found no trend of falling temperatures over time.
U.S. government data show the decade that ends in December will be the warmest in 130 years of record-keeping, and 2005 was the hottest year recorded.
Since 1998, temperatures have dipped, soared, fallen again and are now rising once more. Records kept by the British meteorological office and satellite data used by climate skeptics still show 1998 as the hottest year. However, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA show 2005 has topped 1998. Published peer-reviewed scientific research generally cites temperatures measured by ground sensors, which are from NOAA, NASA and the British, more than the satellite data.
One prominent skeptic said that to find the cooling trend, the 30 years of satellite temperatures must be used. The satellite data tends to be cooler than the ground data. Key to that is making sure that 1998 is part of the trend, he added.
The trend disappears if the analysis is begun in 1997. And it trends upward if you begin in 1999, he said.
Statisticians say that in sizing up climate change, it's important to look at moving averages of about 10 years. They compare the average of 1999-2008 to the average of 2000-2009. In all data sets, 10-year moving averages have been higher in the last five years than in any previous years.