The Jan. 15 letter “Climate paranoia” raised, once again, the false claim that average global temperatures have not increased in the past 18 years. That the writer shares this view with just about every other climate change denier or skeptic makes it no less false.
This claim of a “hiatus” in temperature increase is based on readings from 1998 to the present. There’s nothing quite like cherry-picking data. 1998 was an anomaly. The strongest El Nino recorded in modern times made that particular year exceptionally warm.
If we start counting 18 years from 1997 or 1996 or 1995 or 1999 or 2000 or any year other than 1998, temperatures can clearly be seen to have risen since the increasing use of energy from fossil fuels started with the Industrial Revolution.
NASA and NOAA measurements confirm that nine of the hottest 10 years on record have occurred since 1998, with 2014 the hottest – until 2015, which was hotter still.
Climate change is real and serious and “an immediate threat to national security” according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Denial does not change that.
Retired executive director, The Nature Conservancy, Asia-Pacific Region