Let me tell you about my internet situation.  On most days, I live in a one-room apartment on the hillside in Clifton.  Internet access is sporadic and unreliable.  However, if I sit in front of the sliding glass doors, I get a literal window of internet power–I receive a consistently “very low” signal, and sometimes even just a “low” signal from “Tri Health Public”.  Sometimes service may be slow, but darn it, I use that internet, and I’m grateful for it. 

Today I was especially grateful, because I received a message in my inbox that answered my long-standing question:  Why do people keep trying to tell me there is a global cooling trend?  I have not yet found a blog entry that addresses this, nor has anyone adequately answered my question (except for one article I stumbled across HERE after I already wrote this article, and it’s really good). 

As bloggers, we tend to preach to the choir; and as environmentalists who fully understand the issues at hand, we tend not to realize that the general public still has no idea what to think.

It took an AP news report to set the record straight for me, and I would like to summarize it.  Because if I lay it down here, I will never again be at a loss for the answer.

So, in recent months I’ve run into several people who’ve said, You do know the world is actually cooling? as if they had some type of inside information.  To which I would respond, That’s a new one on me!

It turns out, there *appears* to be a recent downward trend in global temperatures if you know how to manipulate data.

The year 1998 was the hottest on record, followed by 2005.  If you use 1998 as your starting point, the years up through 2008 are all cooler than that outstanding year.  Temperatures appear to be declining.

HOWEVER–if you start with 1997, 1999, or any other year in the century, it nullifies the “1998 and beyond” trend.  There is in fact a warming trend since the mid-20th century.  Indisputably.

They gave a group of statiticians the temperature data, without telling them what it stood for, just the raw numbers, and asked them if they could detect any trends.  Everyone in the group agreed that there was an indisputable trend upwards over time (hence global temperature increase).

So, here were my countrymen hurling figurative rocks at each other, each accusing the other of some hidden agenda.  Blogs were alive with science proving that global warming existed because of ocean temperatures and that global cooling was based only on atmospheric temperatures (which I never saw the data for incidently), El-Nino and La Nina, sunspots, etc.; or else shrilly decrying those who had heard about “global cooling” as some sort of mentally-inferior nutcase.  Now given that, because I care about the environment and my own future, I am branded a socialist who wants The Government to take over what remains of our political rights in the USA, I think I can do better than brand my skeptical fellow citizens: I can address the reasons behind why they may have heard of “global cooling”, and consequently dismantle it.

Someone (who really might have had an agenda) looked over the last one decade (1998-2008) and since there was a huge spike in the starting year, concluded that the world was therefore cooling.  And then told as many people as possible

That’s where the current global cooling myth originated.  Why did I have to rely on the news media to tell me this?