NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 15, 2007

The warmest year on record is no longer 1998 and not because it has been overtaken by a recent heat wave.  National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientist James Hansen's famous claims about 1998 being the warmest year on record in the United States was the result of a serious math error, according to H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).

According to NASA's newly published data:

  • The hottest year on record is 1934, not 1998.
  • The third hottest year on record was 1921, not 2006.
  • Three of the five hottest years on record occurred before 1940.
  • Six of the top 10 hottest years occurred before 90 percent of the growth in greenhouse gas emissions during the last century occurred.

NASA's ground-based temperature records for the past 120 years -- which have been the basis for most of the claims that global warming is happening at an unprecedented rate, almost entirely due to human actions -- have now been corrected to show that much of the warming occurred before CO2 emissions and concentrations began to rise significantly.

"Much of the current global warming fear has been driven by Hansen's pronouncements, and he routinely claims to have been censored by the Bush administration for his views on warming," said Burnett.  "Now that NASA, without fanfare, has cleaned up his mess, Hansen has been silent -- I guess we can chalk this up to self-censorship."

Source: "NASA Backtracks on 1998 Warmest Year Claim," National Center for Policy Analysis, August 14, 2007.


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