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Climate Idiots of the Year 2011: John McLean and the NZ Climate Science Coalition

Other blogs and commentators have published best/worst lists for the last year, and there have certainly been plenty of examples of stupidity or outright lies to choose from (with Ian Plimer continuing to outperform in both categories). However, one we particularly liked seems to have been missed outside the southern hemisphere: the March prediction by Carter/de Freitas co-author, Australian comedian John McLean, that 2011 would be the “coolest year globally since 1956 or even earlier.”

The likelihood of this was examined at Hot Topic, where the GISS record was used to show that for this prediction to be correct, global average temperature would have to drop by 0.8C in a single year. While ‘official’ December figures aren’t yet out, readers might like to take the January-November data from any of the global terrestrial records (the satellite ones of course don’t go back far enough) to see how cold last month would have to have been to meet the McLean/NZCSC target. For consistency with Hot Topic, we did it with the GISS record.

The GISS global temperature anomaly for 1956 -- the difference between that year’s global average temperature and the 1951-1980 mean (the latter estimated as 14.0C) -- is -0.19C, giving a global average absolute temperature for 1956 of 13.81C. The average of the Jan-Nov 2011 anomalies is +0.52C. A bit of maths shows that to reduce the 2011 absolute average to 13.81C would require December’s anomaly to be -8C. That’s 12 times larger than any other 2011 month’s anomaly and in the opposite direction -- likely a bit much even for our Friends of Science and other luminaries who think we’re entering another ice age.

So, for the prediction that 2011 will be colder than 1956 and because they still haven’t rescinded it, FoGT’s Climate Idiot(s) of the Year prize goes to John McLean and the New Zealand Climate Simians Coalition.