From Climate Change Dispatch — January 19, 2015
Robert Tracinski — Federalist
Last week, according to our crackerjack mainstream media, NASA announced that 2014 was the hottest year, like, ever.
No, really. The New York Times began its report with: “Last year was the hottest in earth’s recorded history.”
Well, not really. As we’re about to see, this is a claim that dissolves on contact with actual science. But that didn’t stop the press from running with it.
If you follow the link I gave to the New York Times piece, you will see that this opening sentence has since been rewritten, for reasons which will soon become clear. But the Times wasn’t the only paper to start with that claim, and most of the headlines are still up. The Washington Post has: “2014 Was the Hottest Year in Recorded History.” The Boston Globe: “2014 Was Earth’s Hottest Year in Recorded History.” And so on.
You can see how misleading this is. When you read the phrase “in recorded history,” you think we’re talking about a really long time—the time dating back to the first historical records in Sumeria, circa 3500 BC. (That’s what you’ll find if you look up the phrase “recorded history.”) That’s a time frame of 5,000 to 6,000 years. But in the case of the temperature record, it actually means only 135 years. Accurate, systematic, global thermometer measurements of surface temperatures go back only to 1880. That’s why the Times report, presumably after getting whacked for a wildly misleading opening sentence, changed it to: “Last year was the hottest on earth since record-keeping began in 1880.” Which is a whole lot less impressive.
That “recorded history” gaffe is even worse when you consider that during “recorded history,” in the 5,000-year sense of the phrase, there’s good evidence that the Earth has been warmer than it is today. Continue reading here…..