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1998 and global warming

I just started reading A.W. Montford's The Hockey Stick Illusion. I haven't gotten very far into it, but one thing that struck me was Micheal Mann's assertion in his original paper that 1998 was the warmest year of millenium.

This was not the first time I've seen the year 1998 mentioned in the global warming literature. My global warming skepticism began with the discovery back in 2007 that 1998 was not the warmest year on record.

At the time, there were three things that bothered me about this:
  1. One of the big talking points of the warmers was wrong
  2. It was wrong because the underlying data was processed with a faulty algorithm
  3. The code for the algorithm was not public, and the authors were extremely reluctant to give it up.
At the time, the second and third reasons had more weight than the first reason. If the data was processed sloppily, and the researchers were so secretive about how they processed it, it seemed secondary exactly which talking point they got wrong.

Now I see that the fact they got wrong was a lot more important than I thought it was. 1998 being the warmest year on record is one thing. The warmest year in the millenium is a much bigger deal.