Is Spencer Hiding the Increase? We Report, You Decide

January 16th, 2010 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

One of the great things about the internet is people can post anything they want, no matter how stupid, and lots of people who are incapable of critical thought will simply accept it.

I’m getting emails from people who have read blog postings accusing me of “hiding the increase” in global temperatures when I posted our most recent (Dec. 2009) global temperature update. In addition to the usual monthly temperature anomalies on the graph, for many months I have also been plotting a smoothed version, with a running 13 month average. The purpose of such smoothing is to better reveal longer-term variations, which is how “global warming” is manifested.

But on the latest update, I switched from 13 months to a running 25 month average instead. It is this last change which has led to accusations that I am hiding the increase in global temperatures. Well, here’s a plot with both running averages in addition to the monthly data. I’ll let you decide whether I have been hiding anything:

Note how the new 25-month smoother minimizes the warm 1998 temperature spike, which is the main reason why I switched to the longer averaging time. If anything, this ‘hides the decline’ since 1998…something I feared I would be accused of for sure after I posted the December update.

But just the opposite has happened, with accusations I have hidden the increase. Go figure.

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