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1/16/2016 by mdc
Phil Plait reports that in December, GOP Senator, presidential hopeful, and outrageous science denier Ted Cruz held a Senate panel about climate change that could charitably be called a farce. He empaneled a series of people who ranged from lukewarmers (believing the Earth is warming, but not dangerous, or not rapid enough to worry about now) to out-and-out head-in-the-sand deniers.

Plait indicates that during the hearing, Cruz said a lot of completely false things, but two things he hammered over and again were the reliability of satellite data, and how those data do not show any warming over the past 18 years, the so-called pause.

As Plait has written many times, that pause does not exist. The climate is still getting warmer and have been for decades. Cruz cherry-picked the data, looking only as far back as 1998, when a huge spike in temperature due to an El Nino event made it look like temperatures are flat since then (when you start high, it makes the rest of the graph look flatter). That is hugely misleading, of course.

But it did make Plait wonder just how reliable the data are. He knew that satellite measurements can be difficult to calibrate. Worse, satellites do not actually measure temperature directly. They measure how much energy the Earth radiates, and that is converted into a temperature. The conversion is dependent on a lot of theoretical models. How accurate are the models?

It turns out this is a good thing to wonder. Satellite measurements are not the most reliable method to get temperature. Yale Climate Connections have made a short video explaining this, and it is very good. Plait suggests that the reader should watch for additional information.

The satellite data are one small part of a vast amount of data that overwhelmingly show our planet is warming up, retreating glaciers, huge amounts of ice melting at both poles, the death spiral of Arctic ice every year at the summer minimum over time, earlier annual warming, etc.

Read on ...

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