Define hottest

From the most recent newsletter out of GreenWatchAmerica:

Lots and lots of Radical Greens have spent recent days telling the media that 2010 was "the hottest year on record."  John Kerry really drove the point home:

“How many times do we have to be smacked in the face with factual evidence before we address global climate change? Report after report keep confirming it’s getting worse every year."
“Will we find common ground and adult leadership or keep piling the science on a shelf to collect dust?”

Last week, when this news first came around, we pointed out that the science upon which this claim is based is at the very least flawed, if not outright fraudulent.  But let’s assume for a moment that the science is correct.  When they say that 2010 is the hottest year "on record," what exactly do they mean by the record?  How far back does it go?

The quick answer is that the record stretches back to 1880.  While it’s not nothing, it’s also not exactly a wide historical spectrum.  Do we really need to be worried about this historical high?  If we stretch back one, five, or ten thousand years, would we still be in a historical heatwave?

The answer according to Dr. Don J. Easterbrook, writing at the indispensable blog Watts Up With That?, is an unequivocal ‘no’:

So where do the 1934/1998/2010 warm years rank in the long-term list of warm years? Of the past 10,500 years, 9,100 were warmer than 1934/1998/2010.  Thus, regardless of which year (1934, 1998, or 2010) turns out to be the warmest of the past century, that year will rank number 9,099 in the long-term list.

The climate has been warming slowly since the Little Ice Age (Fig. 5), but it has quite a ways to go yet before reaching the temperature levels that persisted for nearly all of the past 10,500 years.

Due to statistical uncertainty, Easterbrook lumps in 1934 and 1998 as possibly the hottest year in the last 130.  But the message is clear.  Even if 2010 is the hottest year "on record," more than 85% of the last 10,000 years were hotter.

Now that, John Kerry, is a real smack in the face.

Oopsie!  Another nice theory shot down by an ugly gang of facts!  No wonder liberals are complaining about violence in our culture.

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