Cooler temperatures this year have created more global warming skeptics than ever, according to data from the Associated Press and a recent Pew Research Center Poll. Now, only 57 percent of people believe there’s strong scientific evidence proving global warming. Less than three years ago, that percentage was 71 (a 14 percent change).
To see whether the data actually showed cooling trends, the AP asked four independent statisticians to analyze 130 years’ worth of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ground temperature change data, and three decades of satellite-measured temperatures (the latter of which global warming non-believers prefer). The findings? Temperature-increase trending over several decades, but no signs of cooling.
Global warming skeptics pay that information no mind, focusing instead on 1998—an extremely hot year—and the mostly lower yearly averages since then. They make a point to start at 1998. But John Grego, a University of South Carolina statistics professor told the AP that if you start in 1997, the cooling trend disappears; start in ’99, and temperature averages increase.
Last week, President Obama even weighed in, telling the crowd at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “There are going to be those who…make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change, claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary. So we’re going to have to work on those folks.”
Stanford University climate scientist Ken Caldeira put it succinctly: “To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous.” The AP backs Caldeira up with data: Eight of the 10 hottest years NOAA has ever recorded took place since 2000, with this year slated to be the sixth-warmest ever.