The North Pole Is In Big Trouble. So Is the South Pole.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


For years, climate deniers have been producing charts that use the El Niño year of 1998 as a starting point. Why? Because it was an unusually hot year, and if you start there it looks like global warming has “paused” for a good long time. Here’s a colorful example of the genre from the Daily Mail a few years ago:

These charts are no longer useful to the deniers thanks to the very high temperatures of the past couple of years, so they’ve gone away. But what will take their place? I was amused to discover the answer a few days ago: 2016 doesn’t mean anything because it was an El Niño year.

Hah! Nobody ever said they didn’t have chutzpah. But it got me curious: what does a global temperature chart look like if you pull out just the El Niño and La Niña years? That seemed like a lot of work to get right, so I put it aside. Today, however, I found out that someone else had already done it for me. Here it is:

This comes from a Weather Channel piece titled “Note to Breitbart: Earth Is Not Cooling, Climate Change Is Real and Please Stop Using Our Video to Mislead Americans.” The chart itself apparently comes from skepticalscience.com, but I can’t figure out exactly where to link to it. [UPDATE: Here it is. It’s an animated GIF!] However, it shows the historical data clearly: El Niño years (in red) are always hot, but have been getting steadily hotter. La Niña years (in blue) are always cool, but have also been getting steadily hotter. And the years in-between (in black) have been getting steadily hotter too. Long story short, every kind of year has been getting steadily hotter for a long time.

And this year is a real champ. Here’s the latest from the National Snow and Ice Data Center:

Both poles are showing massive ice loss compared to trend. We’ve never seen anything like it. You can draw all the misleading charts you want, but it doesn’t change the facts. Climate change is real, and it’s getting worse.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate