“Obviously, a single year, even if it is a record, cannot tell us much about climate trends,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, head of earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “However, the fact that the warmest years on record are 2014, 2010 and 2005 clearly indicates that global warming has not ‘stopped in 1998,’ as some like to falsely claim.”
But both claims need not contradict each other. It is one thing to establish which year is the hottest on record; it is another thing to establish if the global temperature trend since 1998 is up or not. The NYT piece shows how both sides to the debate are using the data in a dishonest way. Rahmstorf cites three points in time thus giving the impression that the 'hiaus' (in IPCC parlance) has disappeared. But no such analysis is provided.
John Christy, representing the other side of the debate, is introduced as follows:
Such claims [about the hiatus, RG] are unlikely to go away, though. John R. Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville who is known for his skepticism about the seriousness of global warming, pointed out in an interview that 2014 had surpassed the other record-warm years by only a few hundredths of a degree, well within the error margin of global temperature measurements. “Since the end of the 20th century, the temperature hasn’t done much,” Dr. Christy said. “It’s on this kind of warmish plateau.”Christy 'forgets' that a few hundredths of a degree on current trajectories would amount to a few degrees in 100 years--which is the point of the other side.
This story exemplifies what little progress has been made in covering the issue, not only in the NYT.
On a separate note: when I was alerted to the article via a Twitter feed by Michael Mann, I tried to retweet it. But Twitter would not allow me to do so, as I apparently have been blocked by him. I am not sure why, he seems to do this to many people. As someone jokingly said, his list of personae non gratae is longer than the list of his tweets. I am wondering what drives this kind of behaviour. We perhaps need to create a further category of scientists, not only advocates and honest brokers, but warriors too.