Moving The Baseline

You wouldn’t expect, in fact you might throw up your hands in horror, at the prospect of the organisers of the Olympics declaring that they would now start timing the 100m Freestyle Event as the first swimmer kicked off from the far end of the pool after swimming the first length of the pool, would you?  That would be ‘moving the baseline’ and it would produce far different results, including the establishment of brand new timing records.  A folly, no doubt …and nothing of the sort is likely to happen – it’s just an example.

And yet we put up with, if we even notice, the official climate bodies and governments continually ‘move the baseline’ by redefining the start of the industrial era, which is now sometimes near the end of the 20th or even early 21st centuries when discussing anything to do with Climate Change.  Doubtless a folly.  Except it allows them to fool themselves and anyone who doesn’t know better, that they have this thing under control.  Folly of follies.

The closest time we can allow for the start of the industrial revolution is 1880 and this was the baseline used to mark the end of the pre-industrial era in the first climate reports by the IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) back in 1990 – and when global temperature records began to be kept.  You could also pretty much choose any date between 1450 and 1880 as the baseline because, as the ‘Global Average Temperature Change’ graph below shows, the temperatures over this period were fairly constant (or at least of constant variability over a similar range), following which period is when the sharp rise in temperatures began (and isn’t that the biggest consideration, not to put too fine a point on it?).  

But even that is not sufficient to give us a baseline temperature against which to measure current temperatures because there is no recognition of what the average temperature actually was at the 0°C baseline shown.  In fact it is extremely rare for anyone to hazard a published guess at such temperature measures even though the base data must be known in order to produce the graphs.  Is that because we are considered too dumb to understand such numbers, or is it to enable the baseline to be varied at will, for convenience?  It is difficult, nay, impossible to do that from a fixed known temperature value (another statistical trick). 

However, I have found one reference to actuals, here, from a US government climate agency, no less:  Climate Change: Global Temperature  …but still we have to back-calculate from current data (itself needing a simple calculation from information provided there, 13.9°C + 0.95°C = 14.85°C for 2019) using a growth rate of 0.07°C per decade for 14 decades (1880-2019) to get a rough figure of 0.98 which I will round up to 1°C to allow for minor errors of accuracy, or an 1880 average temperature of 13.85°C and resulting in an increase of 1°C, as expected – which is higher than some estimates of the latest temperature increase but much lower than others.  Take your pick and also decide whether the exercise I just went through was actually worth it.

At least it has given myself an extra degree of confidence that the published figures of growth are, if anything, rather conservative since the graph below itself indicates a current rise of something like 1.2°C as stated by some other sources, and which is more believable.

What is not believable is the more than 2°C rise claimed by what I call the ‘Mad Scientists at AMEG’ or the Arctic News site, including by Guy McPherson in the recent video contained here: ‘Edge of Extinction: 2 C Crossed’ (‘Mad’ because of the ‘solutions’ they propose in their ‘Climate Emergency Plan’ which they have attempted to push since about 2012/13).

You have to start from a realistic baseline – and stick with it.

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