Climate Change

Climate Change Q&A Seminar 1: Is the Earth Warming (Discussion Thread)

DISCUSSION THREAD: Please post your questions or comments here.

8 August: Is the Earth really warming?

“It’s so cold! How can the earth really be warming?” Statements such as these get in the way of climate action as they call into question whether there’s a problem to address. We might hear that surface temperature is an unreliable method of tracking temperatures or that temps are actually dropping in places. We may even hear that we’re heading into an ice age or that the hottest year on record was 1934 or 1998.

In this first of the Climate Q&A series, Prof Brook helps us sort through what’s true and false regarding this most basic component of the climate change problem.

Guest Speaker: Mr Andrew Watson, Regional Director (SA), Bureau of Meteorology

By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

4 replies on “Climate Change Q&A Seminar 1: Is the Earth Warming (Discussion Thread)”

Will a podcast of the lecture become available? Friends of mine would like to listen to the presentation after my description of your presentation.


I read somewhere (internet? newspaper?) that the NASA GISS figures for temperature showed that the hottest year on record was now 2005 and that 2007 has tied with 1998 for the second hottest. Doesn’t that prick the sceptics “it hasn’t warmed since 1998” balloon. Is this correct? Where can I get the full information?


This is quite correct – as I explain in seminar 1 of Climate Q&A, NASA’s GISTEMP extrapolates over a wider area of the Arctic land surface, and so tends to show a little more warming than the Hadley CRUT temperature series (which lists 1998 as the hottest year). For the full information, click on the Blog sidebar, Climate Resources, under NASA GISS.

The non-greenhouse theorists usually skirt this issue by simply castigating the NASA record as unreliable – apparently because it doesn’t give them the cherry-picked answer they want.


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