Sorry, Boston Globe, Warming Is Not ‘Accelerating’

The Boston Globe published an article yesterday claiming global temperatures are rising at an accelerating pace. The objective data, however, show that is not the case. The Globe’s readers deserve factual reporting, not agenda-driven climate activism.

The Globe’s article is titled, “As the planet warms faster, scientists study controversial ways to lower temperatures.” The opening sentence reads, “As the planet continues to warm at an accelerating rate….” The Globe, however, provides no evidence or citation for its claim, likely because the Globe knows its claim is not true. Casual readers, however, typically do not know where to look for objective temperature data and will simply believe the Globe’s false assertion at face value.

Dr. Roy Spencer is a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Dr. Spencer also works with NASA, overseeing the equipment on NASA satellites that measure global temperatures. Dr. Spencer produces the graph, below, showing the Earth’s temperature history since 1979, when satellite instruments first began measuring global temperatures. As the graph shows, temperatures have been rising at a pace of 1.4 degrees Celsius per century, with some annual variability as the Earth shifts between warm and cold phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. When the Earth enters a warm phase, as was most recently the case in 1998 and 2015, temperatures temporarily jump and then revert to the ongoing 1.4 degrees per century.

The notion that warming is accelerating is also contradicted by NASA’s assertion that 2020 tied 2016 for the warmest year of the past century. If warming is accelerating, why were 2020 global temperatures no warmer than 2016 global temperatures?

In reality, the evidence shows temperatures continue to rise at a modest and fairly steady long-term pace. Media claims that warming is accelerating are false and directly contradicted by objective data.

James Taylor
James Taylor
James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland's Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.

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  1. It’s called “Weather.” Sun activity, for one thing. If the temperature were gradually cooling, would you ring the alarm bell? Because in the 70’s we were being told that another ice age was coming.

  2. Why did temperatures start increasing around 1850, at the end of the Little Ice Age? Clearly not because of human GHG emissions.


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