New study clinches it: the Earth is warming up

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Aug. 3 2010 7:14 AM

New study clinches it: the Earth is warming up

For quite some time now, the evidence that the Earth is warming up has been piling up. Study after study has shown this, and that's why the vast majority of scientists agree on it.

And now, to pile on even more, a large NOAA study has been released reiterating this fact:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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The 2009 State of the Climate report released today draws on data for 10 key climate indicators that all point to the same finding: the scientific evidence that our world is warming is unmistakable. More than 300 scientists from 160 research groups in 48 countries contributed to the report, which confirms that the past decade was the warmest on record and that the Earth has been growing warmer over the last 50 years.

They looked at multiple indicators for temperatures, including sea levels, air temperature over land, air temperature over water, the sea surface temperatures, and more. All of them -- all of them -- indicate the Earth is warming.

warmingindicators I have little to add to the science or conclusions of this, since I've said it so many times here on the blog (see Related Posts at the bottom for more info). But what I will mention are some of the headlines I'm seeing. CBC News said, "Global warming signs unmistakable" and had a video saying it was "undeniable". Slashdot had it as "Global warming undeniable, report says" as well. You can find many others.

That's not correct. Of course this report is deniable. That's what deniers do: deny. And we'll be hearing from them in the comments below, have no doubts.

Mind you, I am distinguishing, as I always do, between deniers and skeptics. Those are two very different things. I am, quite literally, a skeptic of global warming. I do think it's happening, but that's because that's what the evidence is telling me. If good, solid evidence came along that contradicted that, I would a) look at it, and b) assess it, and c) if it's incontrovertible then I would change my mind. But I haven't seen that evidence. Note again I mean evidence that overturns the consensus, not evidence that simply weakens it. A good, broad theory does need occasional modification (like the Big Bang model has added pieces like inflation, dark matter, and dark energy) but it takes a boatload of evidence to overturn. That evidence doesn't exist.

But to deny means to ignore the evidence, or twist it, spin it, cherry-pick it, distort it. Studies like the one above are critical, but they will be dismissed by the deniers and their acolytes. We need to keep hammering away at the deniers, and make sure we get as much press -- more -- than they do. Because this is real, it's happening, and all the denialists with their fingers in their ears cannot change that. All they can do at this point is make it worse.

Always remember, this is the denialists' mascot:

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