With 2014 looking set to be the warmest year ever (possibly by some way) I’ve been wondering what position the people claiming “global warming has stopped” might retreat to. This neat tale hints at one possibility, and explains why it wouldn’t be a convincing argument.

Originally posted on Open Mind:

**UPDATE**: A new post at RealClimate is very relevant, and well worth the read.

One day, a new data set is released. The rumor runs rampant that it’s annual average global temperature since 1980.

Climate scientist “A” states that there is clearly a warming trend (shown by the red line), at an average rate of about 0.0139 deg.C/yr. She even computes the *uncertainty* in that trend estimate (using fancy statistics), and uses that to compute what’s called a “95% confidence interval” for the trend — the range in which we expect the true warming rate is 95% likely to be; it can be thought of as the “plausible range” for the warming rate. Since 95% confidence is the *de facto* standard in statistics (not universal, but by far the most common), nobody can fault her for that choice. The confidence interval is from 0.0098 to 0.0159 deg.C/yr. She also…

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