Heads Up: Global Warming Graph and Paper

Global temperature change, Hansen et al.

Carl Zimmer has a post up showing the above graph and linking to a paper comparing current temperatures with temperatures over the last 1.35 Million years (kyr = 1000 years)

While I agree with what the graph is trying to show, I have a problem with the presentation. I feel it misrepresents the data. The re-scaling on the right of the graph from 1870 to present makes the current temperature change seem far more normal then it really is. If the current peak were scaled properly, it would look more like one of the minor ‘blips.’ (Look at the spike around 1000 kyrs) I would argue this would be OK. You are showing where we are now and the two blue lines give an excellent ‘where are we now’ comparision.

But more importantly, the inclusion of some other information, like ice ages would have helped this chart quite a bit. This is especially important when one thinks that the last ice age ended 10000 years ago. This is where the temperatures rose sharply to not quite current values.

But, please go read Carl’s article and the comments, he has far more readers than I and the discussion will be much more important there.

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