Because of the corrections to the GISS data 1998 and 1934 went from being in a virtual tie, to being in a virtual tie.. This, of course, has not stopped global warming denialists from endlessly hyping it as a big change.
For example, Glenn Reynolds:
Ace wonders why nobody’s talking about the NASA climate data revision.
Because the change is trivial. Duh.
UPDATE: Well, here’s a bit of notice.
The link goes to James Taranto, who gets his facts wrong, confusing the US temperature with the global temperature. Reynolds doesn’t notice.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here: “Will the mainstream media report the corrected story with as much gusto as they initially reported the claim that 1998 was the warmest on record? Doubtful. But they should. Good public policy can not be made on bad data.”
In the linked post, Bill Hobbs originally claimed:
NASA’s much-ballyhooed data showing that 1998 was the warmest year on record for the Earth was, uh, wrong.
Which was, uh, wrong. He “corrected” it to write:
NASA’s much-ballyhooed data showing that 1998 was the warmest year on record for the USA was, uh, wrong.
Which is, uh, also wrong. How about we look at how the 1998 numbers were reported:
NASA Says Global 1998 Temperatures Highest On Record
12 January 1999
Dow Jones News Service
WASHINGTON (AP)–Last year was the hottest year on record, according to NASA researchers who say the rising temperatures are further evidence that the world is heating up.
“Global surface temperatures in 1998 set a new record by a wide margin,” NASA said.
In announcing its findings on the Internet, NASA said Monday the average global temperature last year was 0.34 of a degree Fahrenheit warmer than the previous record, in 1995. “And unlike many recent years, the warmth is beginning to hit home; the United States this year is experiencing its warmest year in the past several decades.” …
While temperatures in the United States were the warmest in at least 40 years, final figures aren’t complete, NASA said. But, the agency added, it is clear that 1998 did not match the record warmth of 1934, which occurred during the Dust Bowl era.
NASA’s data about 1998 being the warmest in the US was not “much-ballyhooed”. Because NASA actually reported that it wasn’t as warm as 1934. In 2001, NASA’s James Hansen wrote:
The U.S. annual (January-December) mean temperature is slightly warmer in 1934 than in 1998 …
In comparing temperatures of years separated by 60 or 70 years the uncertainties in various adjustments (urban warming, station history adjustments, etc.) lead to an uncertainty of at least 0.1Â°C. Thus it is not possible to declare a record U.S. temperature with confidence until a result is obtained that exceeds the temperature of 1934 by more than 0.1Â°C.
Because the 1998 and 1934 numbers were so close, minor adjustments could easily change their ordering. This is what happened with the GISS numbers released this year. In that data set, 1998 was a tiny amount warmer than 1934. This change was not much ballyhooed. Nor was it a little ballyhooed. In fact, it wasn’t mentioned by anyone at all. Because it didn’t matter. When the data correction made 1998 and 1934 flip back, this change was much-ballyhooed by Steve McIntyre, even though he knew that it didn’t matter.
In a new post he tries to argue that the flipping back really does matter and comes up with this:
Obviously much of the blogosphere delight in the leader board changes is a reaction to many fevered press releases and news stories about year x being the “warmest year”. For example, on Jan 7, 2007, NOAA announced that
The 2006 average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was the warmest on record.
This press release was widely covered as you can determine by googling “warmest year 2006 united states”. Now NOAA and NASA are different organizations and NOAA, not NASA, made the above press release, but members of the public can surely be forgiven for not making fine distinctions between different alphabet soups.
Different organization, different year. Near enough for McIntyre.