Yes there exists a scientific consensus on global warming, and no we are not experiencing cooling of any sort

As difficult as it may seem there are still people who deny that an overwhelming consensus exists within the scientific community. Given this, and given the climate bill making its way through the senate, 16 scientific societies located in the US have re-affirmed that a scientific consensus exists and that climate change posed significant problems to the US if left unchecked, in an open letter to US senators.

Dear Senator:

As you consider climate change legislation, we, as leaders of scientific organizations, write to state the consensus scientific view.

Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. These conclusions are based on multiple independent lines of evidence, and contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science. Moreover, there is strong evidence that ongoing climate change will have broad impacts on society, including the global economy and on the environment. For the United States, climate change impacts include sea level rise for coastal states, greater threats of extreme weather events, and increased risk of regional water scarcity, urban heat waves, western wildfires, and the disturbance of biological systems throughout the country. The severity of climate change impacts is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades.

If we are to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, emissions of greenhouse gases must be dramatically reduced. In addition, adaptation will be necessary to address those impacts that are already unavoidable. Adaptation efforts include improved infrastructure design, more sustainable management of water and other natural resources, modified agricultural practices, and improved emergency responses to storms, floods, fires and heat waves.

We in the scientific community offer our assistance to inform your deliberations as you seek to address the impacts of climate change.

Hopefully the offer of aid in understanding the science of climate change will be heeded by those that have obvious misunderstandings of the issues.

But if the re-affirmation of consensus from 16 leading scientific organizations wasn’t enough and you are still convinced that we are actually cooling not warming, then this should set you straight:

An analysis of global temperatures by independent statisticians shows the Earth is still warming and not cooling as some global warming skeptics are claiming…

In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.

“If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a microtrend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect,” said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina…

Identifying a downward trend is a case of “people coming at the data with preconceived notions,” said Peterson, author of the book “Why Did They Do That? An Introduction to Forensic Decision Analysis.”

It is hard to argue bias when it was a blind test… but I am sure deniers will think of something:

“I don’t argue with you that the 10-year average for the past 10 years is higher than the previous 10 years,” said Easterbrook, who has self-published some of his research. “We started the cooling trend after 1998. You’re going to get a different line depending on which year you choose.

“Should not the actual temperature be higher now than it was in 1998?” Easterbrook asked. “We can play the numbers games.”

That’s the problem, some of the statisticians said.

Grego produced three charts to show how choosing a starting date can alter perceptions. Using the skeptics’ satellite data beginning in 1998, there is a “mild downward trend,” he said. But doing that is “deceptive.”…

The trend disappears if the analysis is begun in 1997. And it trends upward if you begin in 1999, he said.

The answer to Easterbrook’s question is no! And he should know better. The truth is that if we started a cooling trend in 1998 (and there is no indication of that) then it is too early to detect it. That climate trend (again if it exists) hasn’t yet emerged from the weather noise, thus isn’t statistically significant. Anyone who claims otherwise is either ignorant of basic statistics or lying. Either way they should be ignored.

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