approvingly cites a piece in the Daily Telegraph by Bob Carter arguing that the planet has not warmed in the last eight years. And if you pick the El Nino year of 1998 as your starting point, that’s true, making this a rhetorically powerful argument. But there’s a problem. Given the variability in the temperature record, in any given year, even with a continuing upward temperature trend, you are likely to be a bit cooler than the previous record year – until you set a new record. So by cherrypicking the previous record year as your starting point, you can argue most of the time that things are really cooling off, not warming. This is what Carter has done. But the really interesting thing here is the evidence offered by Tim Lambert that Carter himself has complained, in other contexts, that the extreme El Nino year of 1998 is an outlier that you shouldn’t use to establish a temperature trend.
update: Dave Dardinger accurately points out that Steve’s post was neutral, rather than approving, of Carter’s piece. I stand corrected.