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If You’re Under 35, You’ve Never Experienced ‘Normal’ Earth Climate

Posted on Aug 2, 2011

Physical scientist Robert Grumbine crunches some numbers to determine that “the last time the global mean was below the climate normal was March1976.” Basically Grumbine is looking for “normal” climate, and he sees things diverging after 1940. So tell us, old-timers, what was it like before the planet started melting?

Some caveats are in order: First, this scientist, ever cautious, ends his blog post by saying, “assuming, of course, that I didn’t make a mistake somewhere.” Nice one, Grumbles. You can check his data if you like, and he would like you to. Frankly, the math is beyond this blogger, who found Grumbine’s claim that his blog is written “to be inclusive of students in middle school and jr. high” either wanting or depressing.

Also, what Grumbine is saying is something much more complicated than “it’s getting hotter.” “Normal” is a product of this scientist’s own analysis, based on “a common description of climate,” which is “sometimes it’s warmer and sometimes it’s cooler, but it all averages out in the end.” And the last time that description of climate was true was a long time ago.

Here’s another disturbing quote from the same work: “If you’re younger than 26, you have never seen a month where the global mean was as cold as the 161 year average.”

Get more like it, along with a whole lot of math, here (via ThinkProgress).  —PZS

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By Chris Herz, August 3, 2011 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment
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Thanks for the math lesson.  No wonder our wonderful leaders treasure ignorance.
How many Americans know the difference between the mean and the average?

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By tropicgirl, August 3, 2011 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Why don’t some of you climate warming screamers and dubious scientists think about becoming real environmentalists?

We are out of clean potable water and have polluted the planet. Yet all you care about is raising taxes on the entire world, to give to the world bankers, to shove at dubious and already failed ventures, and, of course, payoffs, endowments and bribes to more fake scientists.

The “jigger” is entirely up.

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By Richard_Ralph_Roehl, August 3, 2011 at 12:59 am Link to this comment

Global warming? Global cooling? 2012? While unemployed Tea KKKlaner baboonies collect government benefits… and scream: “More tax cuts for the rich!” And “HEIL Caesar!”

Whoa! Beam me up Scotty! Cannibals are closing in… and I’m runnin’ low on ammo.

Okay! Lets call it what it really is! And what is it? Well… Old Coyote Knose it’s GLOBAL CLIMATE OSCILLATION, and some of it is anthropogenic. Indeed! Seven billion humans are on the planet now… and they all wanna eat $teak and drive air conditioned $UVs. Let us push onward with denial and dogma at full ‘espeed’. To hell with common sense.

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By Robert Grumbine, August 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment
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Thanks for the mention.  As far as the middle school goes, well, I’ve known some pretty sharp kids that age. I agree that probably not all middle school kids are on this post’s level, even with teacher help.  (Again, I’ve known some pretty good teachers.)  But some posts are more broadly understandable, like the one yesterday about Giant Mutant Imperial Moths.

Even with the presence of potentially scary math, there should also be enough non-math to follow the sense of the argument, and to give readers grounds to make suggestions for a better approach to defining climate.

Math or no math, I hope readers can get a better idea of what science is like—how we do it.  And, for those who have the math, they’re welcome to join in the fun.  Math is not always needed—see

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