A cool January has elicited gleeful celebration among conservatives still caught in the grip of climate change denial. A good illustration can be found in the blog section of a site called Daily Tech:
Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming
... All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.
But the NASA GISS site referenced above says nothing of the sort about 2007:
The year 2007 tied for second warmest in the period of instrumental data, behind the record warmth of 2005, in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis.
A near record warm year and a dramatically colder one, what the heck? Well, January '08 was cooler than average, that much is true. But somewhere along the way in the D-tech diary, 'one month' was replaced with 'twelve month long drop' and 'past year.' That screw up was then compounded by the diarist erroneously proclaiming it ‘erases a century of global warming.’
A popular refrain in the mostly glowing comment section that follows is 'it’s the sun!' I doubt many of those pointing to the sun bothered to ask an astronomer; but I asked a Bad Astronomer who said:
Over the whole sunspot cycle, at most, this would raise the temperature of the Earth on average by 0.2 degrees Celsius, and we are measuring increases much larger than that (not to mention the trend just keeps going up, and doesn't rise and fall with the sunspot cycle). People who try to tie global warming to the Sun have very little evidence, and what they do have does not come close to explaining the rise in temperature we see on Earth.
There are dozens of observatories on earth and in space scrutinizing solar output at every wavelength. There are thousands of scientists all over the world who spend their entire professional lives examining that data. When someone comes along and asks "How come you smart scientists never thought of the sun?" as if they’ve hit on a novel explanation for climate change, the response from the scientific community is little more than laughter.
This may be old hat for regulars, but we have a lot of new eyeballs around, so it's useful to review the point I brought up yesterday: This stuff gets pinged around the Internet gaining a life of its own until it gets mainstreamed. That D-tech post has already been linked by loads of wingnut sites including Drudge. From there it quickly found its way into my email box along with indignant demands from conservatives that I post The Truth. Which incidentally, I just did, even though it's probably not The Truth they wanted to hear.
Odds are it's only a matter of time before we hear a talking head solemnly asking how 'climate change alarmists explain the record drop in global temperatures over the past year.' Apply that same procedure to any right-wing zombie lie you choose, and you get a feel for why they're so hard to kill.