Friday, January 9, 2015

Ideologues Gonna Ideologize - and Use Misleading Graphics

Alex Epstein recently wrote an editorial piece in Forbes disputing John Cook's claim that 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are the predominant cause of climate change. Fair enough. My main purpose here is to highlight a very misleading graphic Epstein used in his article:

Take a close look at the Temperature Anomaly graph.  See anything peculiar?

That's right.  The light blue zigzag line has very little to do with the actual data - almost as if some partisan hand had drawn it in to purposely minimize the appearance of a trend.  Clever!

What does it look like if we use actual mathematics (namely a rolling average) to smooth the data and clarify any actual trends that are present?  Observe:

Looks like a real trend, right?  

So, where did the questionable light blue line come from in Epstein's graph? He cites the source as the Met Office Hadley Centre HadCRUT4 dataset.  But this is the very same data I used in constructing my own graph above. No crude zigzag to be found.

Mighty suspicious.