It must be sceptic idiot week at the Herald. Not content with allowing Garth George to make stuff up, today they unleash that mighty wit (or should that be twit?) Jim Hopkins, who has been reading the Daily Mail‘s daft coverage of a BBC interview with Phil Jones, the man at the centre of the beat-up over stolen emails:
Professor Jones discussed many things with the BBC, including the trouble he has “keeping track” of information, but the professorial concession the Daily Mail pounced upon – and our media ignored – was this: He said that for the past 15 years there has been “no statistically significant” warming. “No statistically significant warming”. None. It’s not happening. Since 1995, we ain’t got hotter. And that’s not the sceptics speaking. That’s from a man who garnered $22 million to prove we were getting warmer. Much warmer, worryingly warmer, “Lucy Lawless was right” warmer. But now he says we’re not. And haven’t been for 15 years.
I suppose we can’t expect a newspaper columnist and professional funny man to understand statistical concepts. Jones did not say that there had been no warming for 15 years. He said that the warming trend over the last 15 years just fails to meet one test for statistical significance. Here’s Jones in full:
Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?
Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods. [My emphasis].
The Daily Mail misunderstood and/or misrepresented what Jones told the BBC — and that’s been extensively covered on the web. Hopkins is happy to repeat that misinformation without checking his facts. Perhaps he doesn’t understand how to use Google? More coverage of Mailgate at Deltoid, In It For The Gold, Real Climate, and for a full explanation of what statistical significance means in this context, Tamino has an excellent article here. Meanwhile, Jim should stick to his knitting instead of repeating tabloid lies from Britain.