You may have heard of the cumulative temperature increases plateauing between 1998 and 2013. “But Da Paws” was all the rage around 2012 in the Contrarian Matrix – recall for instance when David Rose became Judy’s megaphone. Then it subsided:
2016 was the second year in a row where global temperaturewas more than 1°C above pre-industrial levels*
2014, 2015 and 2016 all saw record global temperatures. 2017 is on track to be one of the top three warmest years on record.
You’d think Da Paws dead, but no – Javier currently argues at Tony’s that the planet is no longer warming. At Judy’s, BobD tried to reason with him (and a bit more) using statistics. I submit it is both overkill and not enough for ClimateBall – we need to connect this kind of analysis with the little things we do in every day life.
Say you cook an egg. You fire the pan at medium, as you don’t want to lose time. Then, because you know how to cook an eggs, you reduce the heat. (Cookbooks usually talk about lowering heat.) Would you say that your pan isn’t warming? Not really.
Or say I bought some stock that gave me a 1% dividend last quarter. The market fluctuates and now it only gives me a 0.25% dividend this quarter. Does it mean I’m losing capital? No way.
Finally, suppose we all drive electric vehicles and want to save battery life. One way is to preserve our velocity. So we make our rides as smooth as possible. On deserted intersections, we might indulge in rolled stops:
Could we then truly say that our vehicle <em>stops</em>? Try to argue your case to the policeman who just caught you. Good luck with that.
For Javier’s argument to hit home, it seems to me that he would need to imply that eggs are not cooking at low heat, that low profits empty our portfolios, or that slowing down makes us drive us backwards. Something is amiss, yet the concept of cooling looks fine. It served scientists well so far. One way to see Javier’s trick is to ask – “Da Paws” is Da Paws of what? Once we clarify what exactly is cooling, the trick loses most of its bite.
Javier suggests that the warming increase of the surface temperatures has been “cooling down” since 2016 and this undermines AGW. Coincidentally, he defines warming as a “positive rate of temperature change over time,” an acceleration. Not exactly the same as a long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system, isn’t it?
This concept of cooling down also deserves due diligence. To cool down is a series of exercises after an intense physical activity, like hockey:
Athletes don’t immediately stop while cooling down – they keep moving at a lower rate to “recirculate fatigue byproducts” as this muscular trainer words it in the above tutorial.
This short conceptual analysis should convince you that Da Paws can be countered using simpler means than statistical hypothesis testing. In any case, transposing dry stuff into real life terms looks like a good way to connect with those who find statistical inference hard. After all, science is not a substitute for common sense, but an extension of it.
You, fellow ClimateBall player, can surely find more a intuitive way to illustrate the wrongness of Javier’s take. Practice makes perfect. I’ve omitted a most startling error.