It looks like global warming doesn't work. Can anyone refute this?

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    $\begingroup$ This picture does not even have units on the Y-axis, so what are we supposed to see here? $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Aug 26, 2016 at 7:00
  • $\begingroup$ That global warming isn't even significant $\endgroup$
    – D J Sims
    Aug 26, 2016 at 8:03
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    $\begingroup$ @DJSims: The point that Jan is trying to make: Without units you can't compare this 'graph' to actual data. It's just a curve with colours. But that's how climate deniers try to make them unassailable. $\endgroup$ Aug 26, 2016 at 9:32
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    $\begingroup$ Am I the only one bothered by their use of Fahrenheit instead of Celsius? Also, @DJSims have a look at this link, it might help you understand the stuff a bit more: slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2016/08/25/… $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Aug 26, 2016 at 10:15
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    $\begingroup$ The first diagram is complete fiction, created by two people who have fictitious qualifications and who believe in a fictitious young earth. That's why the first figure only goes back to 2500 BC. The claims are false (e.g. the warming in 1100 BC and 1300 AD), are extremely exaggerated (e.g. the Little Ice Age), are cherry picked (e.g. the "global cooling from 2007 to 2009"), or are a combination of the above. $\endgroup$ Aug 28, 2016 at 1:24

1 Answer 1


No, global warming is not nonsense, and if you are suspicious of the above 'graph' then you are acting wisely. Climate deniers, like flat Earthers, Biblical literalists and many more, use pseudo-science, 'sleight of hand' and cherry picking of data to give false, but superficially plausible impressions. The above is a case in point. Their starting half-truth is that there have been many climatic fluctuations in the past. Yes, but where is the vertical scale, and indeed where did this curve come from? You won't see it in any reputable data-set. Harris & Mann argue on a time-scale of about 5000 years. Let us broaden that to the reliable published data for the last 400,000 years in Petit et al (1999) Nature vol 399. Notice firstly how close a match the temperature is to the atmospheric CO2 concentration. Notice secondly how the CO2 concentration never exceeds 300 ppm in the prehistoric record. Thirdly, note that the current CO2 concentration now exceeds 400 ppm, and continues to rise fast. Check out Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. Fourthly if you examine the data from about 1900 onwards, you will note that the average annual temperature correlates closely to the mean annual CO2. If, instead of the atmospheric temperature mean, you consider the global heat increase (mostly in the ocean) then you will find an even better correlation.

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One could go on at great length about individual country climatic records, a better than 98.5% scientific consensus, satellite verification, rates of glacial retreat, increasing rates of sea level rise, and so on - but what's the point. To conspiracy theorists who have made up their mind - and don't want to be confused by the facts, no amount of evidence will change their views.

Harris and Mann claim to be 'world class climatologists'. Well, check out Google Academic Advanced search, and see if you can find any of their papers. Sure, variations of the above hokum can be found, but not in any respectable peer reviewed journal. It's all in some obscure publishing house, seemingly of their own making, with links to Christian fundamentalist and conspiracy theory web pages. So should you pay any attention to such views? Maybe, if you must, but first hone your critical faculties to discern the difference between real science and junk science.


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