NOAA has reported that the lower-48 states have seen their warmest spring on record, as well as the warmest year-to-date, and the warmest 12-month since record keeping began in 1895. December, January and February (the winter months) were the fourth warmest ever recorded in the lower-48. March was the warmest March ever recorded, followed by the third warmest April and the second warmest May.
The significance of this, other than illustrating the issues of climate change, is how this puts the lie to the climate change deniers. They frequently claim that there has been no global warming since before the year 2000 and that global temperatures have actually been dropping. Both claims are false. They are able to make these claims by doing what is known as ‘cherry picking.’ This is when you selectively take data to support your claims while ignoring any data that doesn’t. Climate change deniers like to take 1998 as the baseline year for data. The reason for this is because 1998 was extremely hot. It is either the hottest or second hottest year ever recorded. Depending on the data you use, 2011 was either hotter or tied with 1998. So, by using the hottest recorded year they can make everything else look cooler. But, you can only do that if you ignore all other data.
Let me put it this way. At the time, the 1980s was the hottest decade ever recorded. Every year in the 1990s was hotter than the average temperature from the 1980s. Then, every year of the 2000s was hotter than the average of the 1990s. Now, so far, every year of the 2010s has been hotter than the average of the 2000s. If you don’t cherry pick the data but look at the entire picture we see there has been a constant rise in the average temperature.
And, we see this last year is setting new records for temperatures. At what point will the deniers stop making their false argument? And, more importantly, when will the public stop believing them?