"There is nothing unprecedented or unusual about today's climate. Modern temperatures are still well within range of what has occurred naturally"

Hockey Stick Revisited

By —— Bio and Archives--October 6, 2017

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The hockey stick is the nickname given to a temperature graph that became the central icon of the 2001 publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It purported to show that temperature had been roughly stable from the year 1000 AD until the 20th century—after which it began to shoot up dramatically. The flattish part of the line reminded people of the long handle of an ice hockey stick at rest, while the uptick resembled the blade, reports Donna Laframboise. 1

The 2001 graph profoundly influenced world energy and environmental policies. It has appeared in a variety of government documents and featured prominently in the documentary film version of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

The IPCC performed no due diligence before according the hockey stick graph such prominence. It didn’t bother to check the math. 1

Two Canadian statisticians, Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, discovered fundamental statistical methods errors so profound that even random numbers fed into the program would produce a hockey stick curve. That wasn’t all., the Medieval Warm Period which occurred about one thousand years ago and the Little Ice Age between about 1300-1850 somehow ended up missing. 2

Leading representative of the IPCC tried for years to have policymakers and citizens believe the pre-industrial temperature history was more or less uneventful and was the ideal climate condition that we should all strive to maintain. The warming of the 20th century, on the other hand, was completely unusual, something dangerous. However, as Pierre Gosselin reports, “The page turned a few year ago and the notorious hockey stick chapter ended. The flawed curve was taken off the market and the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age reappeared. 3

However, as Ivo Vegter notes, “Although both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age have been restored to existence, they are mere shadows of their former selves, and the hockey stick remains the image that the lay public most easily recognizes as the graph that charts our doom.” 4

This is in spite of the fact that numerous scientific articles have now been published affirming there is nothing unprecedented or unusual about today’s climate.

In 2016, an examination of the peer-reviewed scientific literature uncovered dozens of paleoclimate reconstructions that reveal modern ‘global warming’ has not actually been global in scale after all, as there are a large number of regions on the globe where it has been cooling for decades. Even if it was warming on a global scale, the paleoclimate evidence strongly suggests that the modern warm climate is neither unusual or profoundly different than it has been in the past. In fact, today’s regional warmth isn’t even close to approaching the Earth’s maximum temperatures achieved earlier in the Holocene, or as recently as 1,000 years ago (the Medieval Warm Period), when anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions could not have exerted a climate impact.5

Pierre Gosselin adds, “In the last 4 months, 40 more graphs taken from 30 more new peer-reviewed scientific papers have made their way into the ever-growing volume of evidence that today’s climate is not only not unprecedented or unusual in the context of the last millennium, but modern temperature values are still among the coldest of the last 10,000 years. In other words, there is nothing unprecedented or unusual about today’s climate. Modern temperatures are still well within range of what has occurred naturally.”  6


  1. Donna Laframboise, The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken For The World’s Climate Expert, (Riverside, California, 2011)
  2. Larry Bell, “Global warming’s tree ring circus brings us the costliest show on Earth,” forbes/com/sites., February 4, 2014
  3. Pierre Gosselin, “Hockey stick was refuted before its fabrication—study ignored—IPCC and Mann took world on a 10 year joyride,” notrickszone.com, June 17, 2012
  4. Ivo Vegter, Extreme Environment, (Cape Town, South Africa, Zebra Press, 2012), 199
  5. Kenneth Richard, “The hockey stick collapses: 50 new (2016) scienfific papers affirm today’s warming isn’t global, unprecedented, or remarkable,” notrickszone.com, December 22, 2016
  6. Pierre Gosselin, “Scientists increasingly discarding hockey stick,” notrickszone.com, May 29, 2017


Jack Dini -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Jack Dini is author of Challenging Environmental Mythology.  He has also written for American Council on Science and Health, Environment & Climate News, and Hawaii Reporter.

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