"Skeptical" Russian Scientist Blinded by Sunspots

Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of a space research lab at the Pulkovo observatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, is arguing that global warming is over - and as proof, he reports that 2007 was one of the warmest years in recorded history. (The fact that this makes no sense was not explained in the story.)

Abdussamatov was quoted early this week saying this:

“Russian and foreign research data confirm that global temperatures in 2007 were practically similar to those in 2006, and, in general, identical to 1998-2006 temperatures, which, basically, means that the Earth passed the peak of global warming in 1998-2005.”

In saying so, Abdussamatov has taken a page from the Bob Carter School of graph reading: only by ignoring everything that happened before 1998 and making long-term climate projections based on very short-term weather, can you make this assumption.

In fact, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (which provided the attached graph ), points out that last year's high global average temperature occurred when “the equatorial Pacific Ocean [was] in the cool phase of its natural El Niño-La Niña cycle.” So, while we might otherwise have expected a cool year, we got one of the warmest on record - not really pointing to an impending decline.

Both Abdussamatov and the folks at Goddard also agree that last year's high temperatures could not have been caused by sunspot activity. Goddard notes that solar irradiance was at a minimum last year, and Abdussamatov agrees that “the amount of solar radiation hitting the Earth has been constantly decreasing since the 1990s.” Yet somehow the Russian is happy to ignore the implications of that trend and use hot temperatures in one year to declare an end to global warming.

This, by the way, is the same scientist who got so much press by claiming that current warm temperatures on Mars proved that the sun - and not human activity - is behind the global warming trend on Earth, a theory patiently debunked on realclimate.org.

NB: The spelling of Abdussamatov's name appears differently in different sources. The version here appears to be the most commonly accepted translation from the Russian alphabet.

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