There are good reasons to change the way data is presented, for example to highlight correlations or for improved presentation purposes. In the hands of the pseudo-scientist however there are numerous pitfalls performed either wittingly or unwittingly arriving at clearly false conclusions. This is particularly true with attempts to discredit climate science.
data can be done in such a way, that although technically correct, it can then be
displayed to appear to say something that is quite false. Here I will look at a
blatant attempt to deceive by such a practice.
C3 headlines set out to show that
there was no significant global warming but merely shows there is an
insignificant decline in the rate of warming.
First of all the information before it has been manipulated. This concerns the global surface
air temperature and CO2 levels over the last 35 years.
1 Met Office data.
latter part of this graph (red box) shows the global temperatures changes over
the last 35 years of about a 0.5 C rise.
Can this be manipulated to imply a temperature drop of about 0.04C per century over this same period? Here is one such attempt by a site that in
fact does this…
“The political agenda of "global
warming" is so important to government-sponsored scientists that massive
fabrication of temperature warming is required to convince policymakers and the
Figure 2 copied below from this site above uses similar data
to figure 1, but presents it in such a way to make this implication described
2. Satellite data manipulated.
the vertical axes have been presented in such a way as to hide any useful
information and encourage the reader to make false inferences. Look no changes
in the temperature and massive changes in CO2 (“statistically significant, ZERO”)
and trend/century = -0.04C.
Month temperature anomaly change.
of course is a measure of the rate of change of temperature. We can see from
figure 1 that the rate of change of temperature is greater in the first half of
this period of time but there is a lot of natural variation superimposed on
this. The rate of temperature
therefore has marginally declined but statistically by an insignificant amount.
the temperature had risen linearly without variations how would a 6 month
anomaly graph appear?
3 above shows how a 6 month anomaly graph would appear if there was no natural
variability and the fraudulent implication would be easily recognized. However
the natural variation possibly and hopefully distracts the reader from
observing this fraud. Why 6 months. A 6
month anomaly maintains the natural variability while keeping the familiar
scale and still keeps a small enough offset value to give maximum deception.
cumulative Atmospheric CO2 level.
is common among climate “skeptics” to play down the amount of CO2 that has
accumulated over this time. However in figure 2 the technique is to play up the
CO2 level; to make it appear as large as possible to compare with the deceptive downplay of temperature changes.
technique is to get CO2 increases to go from the bottom left of your screen to
the top right of your screen. This is easily achieved now by assuming a
starting value of zero and adjusting the independent CO2 scale accordingly.
a rate of change to absolute values.
is nothing wrong with using this technique to show that two variables are related when this makes it clearer.
For example one might speculate that the rate of loss of ice during a de-glaciation
part of a cycle is related to the insolation received in the northern hemisphere
during the well known Milankovitch cycles. However to use a rate of change or any
other manipulation of data to obscure a relation or to attempt to show that
variables are not connected is not
in any way useful unless it is your intent to deceive.
This article set out to show that
there was no significant warming but merely showed an insignificant decline in
the rate of warming.