Fox's E.D. Hill falsely claimed that "U.N. meteorologists" say "the planet may actually cool off for the 10th year in a row"

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

On America's Pulse, host E.D. Hill falsely claimed, in a teaser for an upcoming segment, that "the U.N. says the planet may actually cool off for the 10th year in a row." Hill later asserted: "U.N. meteorologists now saying that we could have, for the 10th year in a row, a colder year, temperatures ... decreasing, not warming, getting colder." In fact, global mean temperatures, as measured in two widely used data sets, have not decreased in each of the past 10 years; further, according to those data sets' producers, the data continue to show a long-term warming trend.

On the April 4 edition of Fox News' America's Pulse, host E.D. Hill falsely claimed, in a teaser for an upcoming segment, that "the U.N. [United Nations] says the planet may actually cool off for the 10th year in a row." Later on, during a discussion of the issue with Greg Gutfeld, host of Fox News' Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, Hill similarly stated: "U.N. meteorologists now saying that we could have, for the 10th year in a row, a colder year, temperatures ... decreasing, not warming, getting colder." But Hill offered no source for her assertion that "U.N. meteorologists" say that temperatures could decrease "for the 10th year in a row," and in fact, global mean temperatures, as measured in two widely used data sets, have not decreased in each of the past 10 years. Moreover, according to those data sets' producers, the data continue to show a long-term warming trend.

Indeed, the annual mean global temperature data jointly produced by the United Kingdom Met (Meteorological) Office Hadley Centre and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia shows that while that data set's record high temperature occurred in 1998, as shown in the table below, temperatures fell in 1999 and 2000, and then increased in all but one year through 2005 (the year with the second-highest temperature recorded in the data). Temperatures then fell in 2006 and 2007 to levels between those of 2001 and 2002.

HadCRUT3 global average annual series
(north-south hemisphere mean)
Best estimate temperature anomaly with regard to 1961-1990

Year

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

Temp Anomaly (°C)

0.123

0.355

0.515

0.262

0.238

0.400

Year

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Temp Anomaly (°C)

0.455

0.457

0.432

0.479

0.422

0.403

Note: the Hadley Centre offers two global time series; this is the one "[r]ecommended for general use."

Discussing the data, the U.K. Met Office lists as a "fact" that "[t]emperatures are continuing to rise," and states that "temperature change over the latest decade (1998-2007) alone shows a continued warming of 0.1 °C per decade":

The rise in global surface temperature has averaged more than 0.15 °C per decade since the mid-1970s. Warming has been unprecedented in at least the last 50 years, and the 17 warmest years have all occurred in the last 20 years. This does not mean that next year will necessarily be warmer than last year, but the long-term trend is for rising temperatures.

A simple mathematical calculation of the temperature change over the latest decade (1998-2007) alone shows a continued warming of 0.1 °C per decade. The warming trend can be seen in the graph of observed global temperatures. The red bars show the global annual surface temperature, which exhibit year-to-year variability. The blue line clearly shows the upward trend, far greater than the uncertainties, which are shown as thin black bars. The recent slight slowing of the warming is due to a shift towards more-frequent La Niña conditions in the Pacific since 1998. These bring cool water up from the depths of the Pacific Ocean, cooling global temperatures.

1998 saw an exceptional El Niño event which contributed strongly to that record-breaking year. Research shows that an exceptional El Niño can warm global temperatures by about 0.2 °C in a single year, affecting both the ocean surface and air temperatures over land. Had any recent years experienced such an El Niño, it is very likely that this record would have been broken. 2005 was also an unusually warm year, the second highest in the global record, but was not associated with El Niño conditions that boosted the warmth of 1998.

According to estimates from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the annual mean global temperature for 2005 was greater than that for 1998, which, according to GISS, is now tied with 2007 as the second warmest year on record. Indeed, according to a January 16 GISS statement announcing the 2007 figure, "The eight warmest years in the [global] GISS record have all occurred since 1998, and the 14 warmest years in the record have all occurred since 1990." The GISS further stated:

"Global warming stopped in 1998," has become a recent mantra of those who wish to deny the reality of human-caused global warming. The continued rapid increase of the five-year running mean temperature exposes this assertion as nonsense. In reality, global temperature jumped two standard deviations above the trend line in 1998 because the "El Niño of the century" coincided with the calendar year, but there has been no lessening of the underlying warming trend.

GISS produced this graph showing their temperature data and the continued warming trend:

While Hill did not attribute to any particular source her assertion that "the U.N. says the planet may actually cool off for the 10th year in a row," the Drudge Report had, earlier that day, prominently linked to an April 4 BBC online article, under the headline: "REPORT: GLOBAL TEMPS 'HAVE NOT RISEN SINCE 1998'..." That article reported that "UN meteorologists have said" that " [g]lobal temperatures this year will be lower than in 2007 due to the cooling effect of the La Nina current in the Pacific" and that, according to the BBC, "This would mean global temperatures have not risen since 1998, prompting some to question climate change theory." The article further stated that "[t]his would mean that temperatures have not risen globally since 1998 when El Nino warmed the world." However, neither those statements, nor anything else in the BBC article, supports Hill's claim that the U.N. -- or "U.N. meteorologists" -- are "now saying" global temperatures could decrease "for the 10th year in a row."

The above quotes are from what appears to be the first version of the BBC article. The BBC website has published at least two subsequent versions of the article -- this intermediate version and the current version (pdf) -- however, neither of them support Hill's claim.

In addition, the first version of the article reported that "[a] minority of scientists question whether this [that "temperatures have not risen globally since 1998 when El Nino warmed the world"] means global warming has peaked and the earth has proved more resilient to greenhouse gases than predicted" (the other two versions stated that they "argue the Earth has proved more resilient" [emphasis added]). All versions of the article also reported that the head of the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization, Michel Jarraud, challenged that assertion:

"When you look at climate change you should not look at any particular year," he [Jarraud] said. "You should look at trends over a pretty long period and the trend of temperature globally is still very much indicative of warming.

"La Nina is part of what we call 'variability'. There has always been and there will always be cooler and warmer years, but what is important for climate change is that the trend is up; the climate on average is warming even if there is a temporary cooling because of La Nina."

On America's Pulse, after Gutfeld noted that U.N. meteorologists "[are] blaming it on La Niña currents," Hill asked, "Did they sneak into the country too?" Gutfeld responded, "Exactly. There you go." Gutfeld later said that "the thing that I love is that now we're going to have a coming ice age. I've been getting used to the whole global warming thing, now I got to start buying fur again, and I was just getting used to the ideas of the polar bears disappearing, and now they're going to stick around."

From the April 4 edition of Fox News' America's Pulse:

HILL: And good news for polar bears, bad news for Al Gore. Why the U.N. says the planet may actually cool off for the 10th year in a row.

[...]

HILL: All right, something else that I just sat there and went, "Huh?" Because I hadn't heard about this, in fact, it's quite the contrary. U.N. meteorologists now saying that we could have, for the 10th year in a row, a colder year, temperatures --

GUTFELD: Yeah.

HILL: -- decreasing, not warming, getting colder.

GUTFELD: And they're blaming it on La Niña currents. But they that say this is like this -- we haven't had any warming --

HILL: Did they sneak into the country, too?

GUTFELD: Exactly. There you go. But the thing that I love is that now we're going to have a coming ice age. I've been getting used to the whole global warming thing; now I got to start buying fur again. And I was just getting used to the ideas of the polar bears disappearing, and now they're going to stick around.

HILL: Ah, that's very nice.

GUTFELD: Yes.

HILL: I like polar bears. Hey, Greg, thank you very much.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Climate Change
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
E.D. Hill
Show/Publication
America's Pulse
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