Dr. Katharine Hayhoe on FRONTLINE’s ‘Climate of Doubt': “[T]he 2000s was the warmest decade on record, the 1990s was the warmest before that, the 1980s before that, and most of us in the field expect…” [Fact Checking]

January 13, 2014 5:58 pm2 comments

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Dr. Katharine Hayhoe on PBS FRONTLINE's "Climate of Doubt.." 10/23/2012

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe on PBS FRONTLINE’s “Climate of Doubt..” 10/23/2012

“So the 2000s was the warmest decade on record, the 1990s was the warmest decade before that,  the 1980s before that, and most of us in field of climate science expect — but we can’t be sure — we expect the 2010s to be warmer than the 2000s.”

Source: “Climate of Doubt,” PBS FRONTLINE series by John Hockenberry, 10/23/2012, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/climate-of-doubt/ (quote and above image at 18:00-18:20).

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  • I likewise expect the 2010’s to be the warmest decade. For global glacier mass balance the 1990’s was worse than the 1980’s and the 2000’s were worse than the 1990’s. As I am currently working on the section I author on alpine glaciers, for BAMS State of the Climate 2013, it is apparent that global glacier mass balance will be negative for the 23rd consecutive year.

  • When citing a statistic like this, I like to ask the question: what if the next data point fails to fall your way? Does or should it invalidate your argument?

    Dr. Hayhoe has said this properly. While the warmth of each successive decade is indicative of global warming, global warming only enhances the odds of each decade being warmer, it doesn’t guarantee it.

    Too often, people will say that the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s and the 2000s were warmer than the 1990s, and leave it at that…as though that simple fact was supposed to prove something. What if the 2010s are not warmer than the 2000s? I bet we’ll then hear about how the 2000s are warmer than the 1900s.

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  • http://glacierchange.wordpress.com/ Mauri Pelto

    I likewise expect the 2010’s to be the warmest decade. For global glacier mass balance the 1990’s was worse than the 1980’s and the 2000’s were worse than the 1990’s. As I am currently working on the section I author on alpine glaciers, for BAMS State of the Climate 2013, it is apparent that global glacier mass balance will be negative for the 23rd consecutive year.

  • http://atmo.tamu.edu/profile/JNielsen-Gammon John Nielsen-Gammon

    When citing a statistic like this, I like to ask the question: what if the next data point fails to fall your way? Does or should it invalidate your argument?

    Dr. Hayhoe has said this properly. While the warmth of each successive decade is indicative of global warming, global warming only enhances the odds of each decade being warmer, it doesn’t guarantee it.

    Too often, people will say that the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s and the 2000s were warmer than the 1990s, and leave it at that…as though that simple fact was supposed to prove something. What if the 2010s are not warmer than the 2000s? I bet we’ll then hear about how the 2000s are warmer than the 1900s.