Earth’s surface air temperature has increased 0.5 degrees since 2000

On July 7, a community education instructor (Rolf Westgard) made a false statement in MinnPost about the Earth’s climate. Westgard claimed that “global surface temperatures have remained stable in the 21st century.” This is false. There are four organizations that record global temperatures. They are NASA, NOAA, the Hadley Centre in England, and the Japanese Meteorological Agency in Japan. Each of these organizations put their temperature data online; readers can easily find them.

If you look at NASA, you will find that the hottest years ever recorded (since approximately 1880) are, in order: 2014, 2010, 2005, 2007, and 1998. The Earth’s surface air temperature has increased 0.5 degrees since 2000. Currently, 2015 is set to break the prior record. The first five months this year are the hottest first five months ever recorded. The June temperature information, to be released in about a week, will break another record.

In the very next sentence, Westgard mentions my name and some of the climate research I have performed. It is important that MinnPost readers know that my own work shows that Westgard’s claim is false.

Climate change is real; we can see it clearly in the data. Opinion pages should be places where people can share opinions, even if they are confrontational. On the other hand, when false statements are made that mislead readers, it tarnishes the public discourse in a way that does a disservice to this paper.

John Abraham, Ph.D., a University of Minnesota alumnus, is a climate scientist at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

Editor’s note: The Community Voices commentary has been corrected.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Scot Wilcoxon on 07/07/2015 - 04:39 pm.

    Or 0.28 degrees C

    The 0.5 degrees which is mentioned is apparently in Fahrenheit. That’s about 0.28 Celcius.

    However, Dr Abraham has made a slight error, as he is referring to the temperature since 2000. The 21st century began in 2001, and at a glance it appears that the change (or stability) is significantly less than 0.5 F.

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Temperature_Anomaly.svg

  2. Submitted by John Abraham on 07/07/2015 - 10:06 pm.

    temperature changes of the Earth

    Scot is right, using 2001 as a start date gives you a smaller temperature increase but it still has increased. It doesn’t matter whose data you use, NASA, NOAA, Hadley Center… To claim that the Earth’s surface temperature hasn’t changed since either 2000 or 2001 is just plain wrong.

    However, Scot’s comment about the “change (or stability)” being less than 0.5F doesn’t make sense. Temperature changes are generally measured in degrees per time (like degrees F per decade or degrees C per decade). Stability usually means a fluctuation about a mean. They are different things.

    To put things in perspective, even using 2001 as a start date, the rate of temperature increase in any of the major datasets is in line with the long term trend going back until about 1970. A temperature variation of 0.5F is an enormous value (even 0.3F since 2001 is an enormous value). The red curve in Scot’s link doesn’t just jump up or down 0.3F very often.

    In the end of the day, the claim that there has been no surface temperature change this century is demonstrably false. MinnPost did the right thing by correcting this error in fact.

    Dr. John Abraham

  3. Submitted by Scot Wilcoxon on 07/08/2015 - 10:03 am.

    Oh, but it does make sense

    My inclusion of “(or stability)” was a reference to the original phrase “remained stable in the 21st century”. I granted Dr Abraham an assumption that he somehow interpreted stability as change, but apparently he is aware of the difference.

    Perhaps Dr Abraham can enlighten us as to the Earth’s proper temperature, so we know how much of the warming since the Little Ice Age is not natural. Surely he is aware that half of the 20th century warming happened before the 1950 carbon dioxide emission bloom.

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/glo.html

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 07/08/2015 - 04:02 pm.

      yes

      “Perhaps Dr Abraham can enlighten us as to the Earth’s proper temperature, so we know how much of the warming since the Little Ice Age is not natural. Surely he is aware that half of the 20th century warming happened before the 1950 carbon dioxide emission bloom.”

      I’d like to know this as well. I’d also like to know the proper timing and amounts of temperature cycles in the earth.

  4. Submitted by rolf westgard on 07/10/2015 - 11:57 pm.

    Getting personal

    The ‘pause’ in the rise in global surface temperatures is widely recognized. Alarmists like
    Abraham have to seize on fractions of a degree(within the margin of error) to justify alarmist warnings.
    They also have to resort to personal attacks on mere community ed teachers. This is also beneath the dignity of a full fledged University professor, whom I treated with dignity in my recent letter. As to the pause, there is the comment from my alma mater’s Nobel physicist, Stanford’s Robert Laughlin, who said recently, “Global warming forecasts have the further difficulty that one can’t find much actual warming in present day weather observations.”

  5. Submitted by Scot Wilcoxon on 07/14/2015 - 07:30 am.

    Pause or not… Awkward

    Researchers have both shown that there is no pause (through flattening the warming rate by starting at 1950 instead of 1975) and provided dozens of reasons for the pause. http://wattsupwiththat.com/climate-fail-files/list-of-excuses-for-the-pause-in-global-warming/

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