Friday Funny – Another look at Ed Hawkins Scary Temperature Spiral

This week there was lots of noise from the Twittersphere and Blogosphere over this tweet from climate scientist Ed Hawkins which was covered at WUWT: Making Global Warming Scarier

It received over 10,000 retweets so far. Eric Worrall wrote then:

Ed Hawkins, a professor at University of Reading, has ditched boring old graphs, and created an animated graphic which attempts to maximise the emotional impact of global warming data.

It’s true, and “spiral” has a special scary connotation since NSIDC’s Mark Serreze coined the phrase “death spiral” for Arctic Sea ice. Unfortunately for him, the ice is still there. Josh saw an opportunity to educate, and has done so splendidly by taking Hawkins own method and combining it with other climate data he did not display.

Josh writes:

Here is the little video I created (using an iPad) to balance out Ed Hawkins very lovely modern global temperature change spirograph. Mine is not nearly as lovely but it does include Roman and Medieval Warming. And the Pause.

I used the graph from Dr. Judith Curry’s presentation (from Hannhijarvi et al ) as a basis for the numbers, but it is only an approximation.

Reference: Hannhijarvi et al, 2013 from


65 thoughts on “Friday Funny – Another look at Ed Hawkins Scary Temperature Spiral

  1. Although totally misleading, I thought Hawkins was pretty clever (although I’m guessing he “borrowed” it from someone else).
    But quite frankly, with today’s modern look the cartoon version is the better one, especially for millennials.. both graphically and factually!!
    And it provides a great way to demonstrate how you can be hoodwinked in a very easy way to younger people.

  2. Last ice age.
    Surprisingly, if you compare tropical temperatures, the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) was only 3oc or so cooler than today. The Antarctic temps may have plunged by 12oc, but tropical temperatures were quite pleasant.

  3. Hawkins is taking advantage of the recent El Nino, which all sides of the debate agree was not caused by human emissions.
    That makes Hawkins’ cartoon deceptive, no?

    • But… El Nino has no effect on the long term warming so it is incorrect/misleading to imply his graph (which is long term) is benefiting from El Nino.

  4. It can be improved if the thickness of the line reflects the precision of the measurement. High standard deviation = wider lines. In that sense, Josh’s graph is more accurate.
    Or, you can represent the amount of adjustment the temperatures have suffered from Hadcrut version 1 to version 4
    Hawkings has opened a can of worms and we are watching them wiggling around.

  5. Outstanding, Josh!
    Brings an evil grin to my face. Lessee… who do I send the link to first… hmmm….

  6. Shows well how cherry picking (shorter time frame) can be used to present an exaggerated view, an inaccurate view, a deceptive view of events.
    I really want to hear all the prominent alarmists respond to Josh’s animation. I never have heard any of them identify and explain all the natural things that resulted in the past warming periods and then identify and explain how all of those natural things couldn’t also result in the recent warming period.

    • Most prominent climate change alarmists have never given up the hockey stick myth and cling to their claim that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was only regional or simply non-existent, despite overwhelming scientific evidence for a global MWP, see e.g. here:
      Another funny thing is a new “AGW-Newspeak” name for the MWP in some of the younger “conformist” papers, where it is admitted to some degree but now called “Medieval Climate Anomaly”. (That is to say without the “inconvenient” word “warm”, because this is politically correct only if used for our modern and allegedly mostly CO2-driven warming 😉
      Bus this new term for the MWP implies of course, that alarmists think, warm periods are not “normal” and therefore somehow bad. Consequently, they must judge the miserable cool climates of the post-roman “Dark ages” and the Little Ice Age as “normal” and consequently ideal…
      OMG – What a crazy state of mind these people must have !

      • Oops – typo trouble again: “But this new term for the MWP…” is the correct version, of course – Sorry!

  7. Touche!
    Well done Josh.
    A very good science and history-based antidote to the “Spin” from the overly excitable warmists.

  8. had to happen, just had to, was the first thing that came into my head after seeing hawkins one
    Nice one guys

  9. The things Hawkins comes out with, he’s an idiot. Another clown who repeatedly makes claims without ANY scientific support

  10. The original spiral conveniently ends in March 2016 for Hadcrut which is a record high March and makes it look as if anomalies are spiraling out of control. But if you could do one for RSS to April 2016, then April 2016 cuts below April 1998 and looks less scary. Of course, it could only start in 1978 then.

  11. Spectacular, Josh. The ridicule is well earned. You have graduated from stills to animated shorts.. More difficult for all but a digital calendar. We expect great things along those lines in the future.

    • There is seriously sick fawning from the greens over his gif, it’s amusing, the gif is something you’d expect a kid to come up with.

    • and this “scientist” Hawkins is REALLY proud of his gif.
      The guy is an immature fool.

  12. Hawkins is saying 1878 was and El Nino year so it explains the blip in 1878.
    Do we have El Nino records going back that far? Also, if it was an El Nino, that March is around only half a degree cooler than 2016, after 45 years of global warming

    • According to the way I have come to interpret the long term record, the years between 1855/56 to 1885/86 was a warm trend period. Then from 1885/86 to 1915/16 was a cool trend period, and so on up to the present with warm to cool and back again around every 30+ years.

  13. ..We can always depend on Josh to kick the fools in the nuts for us !! + 100 stars Josh !!

  14. The Hawkins animation was very silly and thoroughly deserves Josh’s excellent drubbing.
    The Hannhijarvi et al graph is a bit of a worry; as it seems with most of these smoothed reconstructions the alleged instrumental record overlaid is irrelevant and inserted to confuse the unsuspecting viewer, it looks like it has been extended past its formal endpoint as described at climate4you (data smoothing).

  15. ROFLMAO!!
    I had a really, really, really rotten week this week.
    Josh just erased it with one graphic.
    I wasn’t drinking beer when I saw that. I will now go get a beer and watch it again so that my screen and keyboard can be appropriately splattered in honor of this cartoon.

  16. Josh – A brilliant little animation with a giant message, whats not to understand. A world of temperature data in only 25 seconds.

  17. Brilliant once again, Josh! It tells the whole story unlike Ed Hawkins’ deceptive work.
    Not so scary now that we can see the whole picture, Eh! We can all start to breathe again and expel all that old CO2.

  18. Nice to see the context with the longer time span provided from the Arctic temperature reconstruction.
    Would reconstructed temperatures for the Southern Hemisphere spiral in the opposite direction?

  19. Another interesting thing to animate would be the figure-eight around the strange attractors for the chaotic global temperature over the past aeon or two.

  20. That lovely warm weather has died in Helsinki, windy and chilly.
    Bring back global warming dammit, Oh Won’t someone please think of the barbecues!

    • agreed, zero degrees here this morning and the leaves just starting to appear on the trees . been the coolest spring for many a year.

  21. Could anyone provide a link for the data Josh used, cited as ‘Hannhijarvi et al. 2013’? I can’t find any reference to it anywhere, either from Judith Curry’s presentation or via a search engine search (including Google scholar).
    It appears, from JC’s comment on the screen, that the data used comes from proxy reconstructions of Arctic temperatures, ending some time in the early 2000s.
    This may in part explain the difference between Josh’s cartoon and Hawkins’s chart, which shows annual global surface temperature instrument data (HadCRUT4) and ends at 2015.

  22. From the DeSmog UK blog, March 2015 (concerning early colored mapping of temperature anomalies):
    ““We were just looking decade by decade where there’s been maps of temperatures: 1900, 1910s, 20s, 30s, all the way to the 70s. And if you compare the 70s map to the 1900s map, there isn’t much of a difference,” Mann remembers.
    “But once you get to the 1980s, it’s like ‘bam!’ The map turns bright yellow and red. It was in that moment that I actually think that all of us, including Barry I think, crossed over into weighing more on the side that there is a discernible human influence on climate. This is before the IPCC reached that conclusion in 1995 with the publication of the second assessment report.”
    In a single moment, Mann abandoned his scepticism about the reality of human-caused climate change. As it happens, he would dedicate the rest of his working life to understanding the true scientific meaning and implications of those red smudges on an early colour printout.”
    Pretty colored maps worked on Michael Mann. Why not try pretty colors everywhere?
    I must say the graphs look a lot like what the toy “Spirograph” creates—circular patterns. Somehow I’m having problems seeing pretty colors and circular patterns as proof of any scientific theory. But that’s just me.
    Great animation, Josh!

  23. ..President Trump is really gonna [snip] up these liberals minds ..They may actually face ..gasp…REALITY !… Oh, the horror……..

  24. Hawkin’s Web.
    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”
    ― Walter Scott, Marmion
    PS Nice one, Josh.

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