NASA global temperature trends…a lesson in “How to deceive with statistics?”

Here is the latest graph of the “average” global temperature trends from 4 agencies making such calculations. Since all of these agencies are working with essentially the same data set, we would expect general agreement of their results. It is what it is, implying an increase in temperature that has leveled off over the prior 17 years….but that is not the primary problem. An “average” value for the planet is not a meaningful number, or at least not a useful number for water suppliers. The variability of the data is “hidden” in the calculated average value, which only reveals a central tendency of the data set. An “average” is a concept—an abstraction. We do not experience “averages” or central tendencies. “Averages” are not actual physical global temperatures and may not exist anywhere on the planet. For any particular geographical area or region, the measured temperature variability is what really matters, not a abstract calculation of a planetary average. In addition, the graph is truncated at 1880….Does that mean there was no temperature before then? Of course not. There is ample evidence suggesting much higher temperatures prior to 1880 in the absence of high CO2 levels. CO2 certainly will have some impact on atmospheric temperatures but to argue that increasing global average temperatures is mostly due to man using fossil fuels as the cause of this particular increasing temperature trend is a stretch too far, at least for those who think realistically about the science. And of course, “nature” also uses fossil fuels….as they can burn in the natural course of events. And lastly, the impression is given that because the graphs of analyzed measured data below are close, we should believe theoretical model projections from “scientists” about the future.  This, of course, is silly. Theoretical models used to hindcast the past and forecast the future must stand on their own. Climate modeling is fraught with “disagreement” since none of the models are very good.

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