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2016 El Nino Warmth Not Statistically Warmer than 1998 El Nino Year

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just reported that 2016 was the 2nd warmest year on record in the United States.  Former NASA climatologist Roy Spencer’s global satellite dataset of the lower troposphere temperature found the 2016 El Nino year to be a record, but only a statistically insignificant 0.02 degrees C warmer than the last big El Nino year in 1998.  That a slowly warming world would tie a temperature record during an El Nino year is not remarkable or alarming, and everyone expects 2017 to be significantly cooler.  With a cooler 2017 the 18 year warming pause should be intact.  According to Roy Spencer the world continues to warm at a rate of only 0.12 C per decade.

But the media continues to emphasize temperature records (without regard to whether they are statistically significant) and the human-caused CO2 emissions component of expected warming.  Most (if not all) climate scientists believe humans play some role in our gradual warming, including all the scientists frequently demonized by the Left as “deniers.”  But a key question, as Dr. Spencer says, is “what if anything can be done about it?”  It doesn’t make any sense to impose impoverishing energy policies that will change our climate in ways that won’t even be measurable 75 years from now.

Peter Zeller is Director of Operations at Center of the American Experiment.

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