Monday, December 15, 2008

Cooling = Warming?

Can anyone make heads or tails out of this paragraph from the Associated Press, especially the last sentence?
Mother Nature, of course, is oblivious to the federal government's machinations. Ironically, 2008 is on pace to be a slightly cooler year in a steadily rising temperature trend line. Experts say it's thanks to a La Nina weather variation. While skeptics are already using it as evidence of some kind of cooling trend, it actually illustrates how fast the world is warming.
La Nina I get. "Slightly cooler" I get. But a "cooling trend" as an illustration of how fast the world is warming? That I don't get.

(No I don't believe we're in a cooling trend. But I also don't see how one, if it existed, would necessarily be evidence of global warming.)


silburnl said...

It's poorly worded certainly, but it isn't the author who's claiming a 'cooling trend' that's the skeptics. The writer only goes so far as to say that 2008 is a slightly cooler year within a rising trend.

I *think* what he's driving at is the point that with us being in a La Nina year we would expect (in the absence of a rising trend) the temperature to be colder than it actually is, so the fact that even with the short term influences nailed in their 'cool' position the temperature doesn't actually drop - instead it just goes sideways for a bit - is another (indirect) line of evidence for the existence of the postulated warming trend. That is, when ENSO goes +ve we'll make up the ground back to the trendline and then beyond...

But it's certainly confusing.


John Fleck said...

A bit clumsy, but he was just setting up the next paragraph, where he points out that it's still ninth warmest, etc.