Don’t tell George Will or Dubner or Levitt

In a Washington Post column in February George Will attacked the commonly held scientific consensus on global warming and argued that recent trends actually show that global cooling is occurring.  His argument was swiftly refuted by the very research organization, the University of Illinois Arctic Climate Research Center, from which he drew his data.  Nevertheless, he doubled down on his flat-earth thesis in a follow-up column.

In recent days the global cooling thesis has once again emerged, this time proffered by the the 0h-so-contrarian authors of Super Freakonomics.   The problem, as it always was, is that this is a total canard.   

Via EnviroKnow, Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press showed four  independent statisticians data on global temperatures, without telling the statisticians what the figures they were looking at represented.  The experts found no true declines over time. From the AP:

Statisticians who analyzed the data found a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers, but could not find a significant drop in the past 10 years in either data set. The ups and downs during the last decade repeat random variability in data as far back as 1880.

Saying there’s a downward trend since 1998 is not scientifically legitimate, said David Peterson, a retired Duke University statistics professor and one of those analyzing the numbers.

 Identifying a downward trend is a case of “people coming at the data with preconceived notions,” said Peterson, author of the book “Why Did They Do That? An Introduction to Forensic Decision Analysis.”


Something to think about next time someone tries to serve up the global cooling fabrication.