Hawkins Climate Spiral. Source NASA

The Climate Change Spiral is Back

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

NASA is promoting the Ed Hawkins Climate Spiral, climate propaganda art which uses a cherry picked interval and scaling and some nice bright angry reds to make climate change look scary.

Watch Global Temperatures Spiral Out of Control in New Climate Change Animation 


Climate change is spiraling out of control, and that’s never been easier to see.

A winding coil of global temperatures spanning 1880 to 2021 is practically a maelstrom of menace.

The animation is based on data from NASA’s GISS Surface Temperature Analysis and was designed by climate scientist Ed Hawkins, who is known for putting together the original climate stripes.

Read more: https://www.sciencealert.com/watch-global-temperatures-spiral-out-of-control-in-this-new-climate-change-animation

The following is latest Hawkins spiral on Youtube;

WUWT’s critique of the original Hawkins spiral is available here.

The short time period is the giveaway. If you look at a longer period, like the last 10,000 years or so, the spiral looks very different. I produced this graph in 2016, in response to the original Hawkins spiral.

The Sinkhole – Our Descent into the Next Ice Age.

My GISP2 spiral graph is just as guilty of cherry picked scale and interval as Hawkins’ spiral, and from memory I got my dates slightly wrong. But I think it is funny to show the two spirals next to each other, to demonstrate how easily a visual representation of climate data can be manipulated to create an impression of two completely opposite scenarios.

What can I say – if NASA is dusting off a hoary old propaganda piece like the Ed Hawkins climate spiral, they must really be getting desperate.

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March 18, 2022 10:40 pm

” If you look at a longer period, like the last 10,000 years or so, the spiral looks very different. “

Yes, of course. The spiral is intended to show the global rise since we began massively emitting CO2. The fact that other things happened on a high plateau in Greenland in earlier millennia does not alter that.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 18, 2022 11:32 pm

So is life. The fact is, we’re living through it.

Climate believer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2022 11:51 pm

The only thing we are living through is the nightmare of scientism.

There is NO CLIMATE CRISIS stop terrorising the kids with this BS.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 4:24 am

Yes, and haven’t we been lucky that we have just a little bit more warmth than a few hundred years ago !

More would be good. !

william Johnston
Reply to  b.nice
March 19, 2022 6:24 am

Tomorrow, March 20, the temp in central South Dakota, USA, is forecast to be 76 degrees F. We are supposed to be in winter. Spring is coming. FAST!!!

Reply to  william Johnston
March 19, 2022 9:54 pm

Well if it was 74 degrees, pre-warming, would you still be getting excited? Otherwise what’s the relevance?

Reply to  william Johnston
March 23, 2022 11:49 am

But we aren’t setting any records! It’s been warmer! A WHOLE LOT warmer!

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 7:29 am

The Minoan, Egyptian, Roman and Minoan Warm Periods were also blips, and CO2 had nothing to do with them. The null hypothesis says CO2 has nothing to do with the modern warm period either. There is no evidence showing that the null hypothesis is wrong.

Reply to  MarkW
March 19, 2022 10:02 am

It’s amazing how one half of Nick’s cognitive dissonance can pretend it doesn’t know about the scientific null hypothesis. Did he study under Travesty Trenberth?

Reply to  MarkW
March 20, 2022 7:55 pm

unless you try reading the scientific peer-reviewed literature, in which case you will find compelling evidence.

Rick C
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 9:43 am

Funny how people who live in Northern states tend to move south when they retire if they can afford to. Must be masochists. /s

Steve Case
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2022 11:02 pm

The fact that other things happened on a high plateau in Greenland in earlier millennia does not alter that.

CO2 causes other things:

Maybe Ed Hawkins should make a spiral showing how increasing CO2 has caused increased plant growth on the earth. There’s a nice NASA page:

“Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth”

“From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change…

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Steve Case
March 19, 2022 10:01 am

Yeah, but that was 6yrs ago. The Greening has had 41years by now and the alarmists don’t want to talk about it. I call it the Great ExxonMobil Greening of the Planet. They publish stuff attributing greening to warming only, when CO2 is the main reason. In the sahel (south of the Sahara) there has been no warming.

Bill Everett
Reply to  Steve Case
March 20, 2022 7:47 pm

Mapping of data from OCO-2 has shown increased CO2 levels where global vegetation levels are highest. Is it possible that the increased vegetation is the cause of the increased CO2 level? If not then why do locations such as the Amazon Rain Forest, and the Congo Basin have high levels of CO2 when actually they should show lower levels because they are CO2 sinks?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2022 11:29 pm

If it was actual change against the absolute temperature scale (or even Celcius scale) and not anomalies, then it’d be

  • Easier to see how it impacts our daily lives
  • Harder too see why its a climate emergency.
Alan the Brit
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 12:08 am

So, can someone have the common decency to reply to my question posed several times now, why when there was 19 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere in the past, was the Earth smack bang in the middle of an Ice-Age???

Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 19, 2022 3:30 am

Alan the Brit:
Those who lie do NOT answer questions. A well known provision in the Communist agenda.

Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 19, 2022 3:47 am

Paging Nick Stokes, paging Nick Stokes….

Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 19, 2022 4:42 am

He will never give you the answer. C02 is bad don’t you know 😉

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 19, 2022 5:12 am

Because the ice was bulldozing the landscape that had previously been covered in plant-life and soil bacteria and fungi
The ice would have been flowing towards the Equator and would, when it got close, it melted.

The organic material it was carrying would then be exposed to Oxygen, temperatures above 5 Celcius and liquid water, either on the monster moraine being constructed or when it fell into the warm water.
It would have oxidised in one mahoooosive (linear) compost heap running along the meltline of the ice-sheet and constantly being fed & overturned by the ice coming south

Thus CO2 levels would have risen but, the ice further north was preventing plants from growing so as to absorb any much of it

We know ice did that, the most obvious part of the ‘moraine’ is what we now call The Great Plains = (what was) extremely fertile soil that extended to depths far beyond what ‘ordinary’ plant life could ever create. ##

That the Great Plains soil extended to depths measures in tens of metres.
It now extends to single digit millimetres and in a lot of places is all gone.
We know that vast amounts are gone = the ‘compost heap soil’ would have been black in colour while the bed-rock is red.

## The ‘compost’ is/was, what was, the Boreal Forest that existed on Canadia during the previous interglacial.
And why Canadia is now a land of lakes, bare rock and The Forest trying to rebuild itself.
In places – large valleys, some of The Forest ‘got trapped’ on its way south and are now = Tar Pits/Sands/Shales

Hopefully that answers your question.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Peta of Newark
March 19, 2022 10:34 am

I am very sorry but I find it most unpleasant that anyone should suggest that the Earth’s climate has changed in the past 4.5 Billion years, it is utterly absurd to suggest such a thing!!! Sarc off!!! Yes you have answered my question, but you were not the one I wanted to here from per se, just those who refused to answer my original question!!! 😉

Peter W
Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 19, 2022 10:10 am

Ice ages and CO2 amounts are essentially unrelated.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  Peter W
March 19, 2022 10:27 am

Ditto warm periods & CO2 by default!!!

Reply to  Alan the Brit
March 19, 2022 11:48 am

Different CO2

John Dowser
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 2:28 am

Nick, crafting a graph “intending to show rise” might be just the summary of the article you try to counter. The graphic is the product of choice, of data, of limits intended to highlight that “some thing happened” in the modern temperature record. The interesting element of the GISP2 data is the actual air being captured in the ice which remains a whole other type of measurement than any other older record we have. Greenland is not known to be an outlier when it comes to general climate patterns in our hemisphere by the way.

As for the common reasoning “since we began massively emitting”. Since we emit we also massively populate, measure, feel more anxious and guilty, overturn or heavily refine theories by each decade. So many factors. One could just as well speculate CO2 makes us richer, happier and more resilient to various disasters. It’s all about the first step in thinking after which facts are then organized around policy and belief. The facts are not in dispute, rarely, it’s how they are being organized which is more revealing. Each and every time when there are political dimensions in the background.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 4:06 am

The timing of the spiral is intended to hide the fact that temperatures rose just as quickly at the end of the 17th century, well before any rise in CO2 levels.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 4:23 am

The fact that CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with it, is immaterial to the climate zealots.

Fact is we are only a small bump above the coldest period in 10,000 years.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 4:41 am

More CO2 with a pause 😉

Tom Halla
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 5:29 am

Ignoring history, that is, natural variation caused by factors other than the Satanic Gasses, is needed to be a CAGW advocate.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 6:54 am

“massively emitting”…

Who are “we”?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 7:28 am

We didn’t begin to massively emit CO2 until about 1950, yet the warming started in 1850.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  MarkW
March 19, 2022 9:02 am

I’m waiting for the precise definition of “massively”.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 11:30 am

Nonsense. Humans did not begin “massively emitting” CO2 until the late 1950’s.

The spiral is just more propaganda moving the goalposts once again.

Steve Case
March 18, 2022 10:47 pm

The animation is based on data from NASA’s GISS Surface Temperature Analysis 

That’s the page where you find GISTEMP’s Land Ocean Temperature Index LOTI which for the first two months this year has been adjusted 534 times:

Jan Feb
291 243

Over the last ten years the adjustments look like this:

comment image

This goes on every month year after year and since2003 there have been
56,038 documented changes.

Reply to  Steve Case
March 18, 2022 11:51 pm

There are 27824 stations in GHCN V4. Every time it is necessary to change one time step of them, the anomaly base changes (by a very small amount).

M Courtney
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 1:39 am

That there is a need for adjustments is not disputed.
That there should be a pattern to the adjustments is of interest though.

What causes a systematic need to lower temperatures just before anthropogenic CO2 emissions started and to raise them towards the end?

It looks like there is a belief that UHI effects have decreased with urbanisation. Which is curious.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 19, 2022 3:49 am

By homogenizing and adjusting temperatures you are inventing non-existent data.

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  Graemethecat
March 19, 2022 6:28 am

In any other field of science, or if perform by anyone outside government, this is fraud.

Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
March 19, 2022 11:39 am

Of course it’s fraud. Data is collected at the time of observation within its limits of precision and accuracy.

If the accuracy is outside the bounds of fitness for a particular purpose or application, then you discard it as such. Pretending that you can “adjust” observed data at a future time to improve accuracy or precision is data tampering.

If you do this in a court of law, in engineering or in medical research, you go to jail.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 19, 2022 1:09 pm

“When A comes back, A is homogenised against B, which just experienced urban heat island. But A has already experienced urban heat island of its own. The effect of the second homogenisation is to double up the urban heat island…”

Eric, that isn’t how homogenisation works. What is done for station A is
1. Check its record for changes (events) that are statistically outside the range of expected variation. If there are none, end of story.
2. If there is an event, check station B to see if there is corroboration there. If so, the event is attributed to climate. 
3. If not, check stations C, D etc. (steps 2 and 3 probably done at the same time)
4. If the change at A is not corroborated, it is deemed to be non-climatic – some change in the local measurement environment. If so, it is corrected in terms of the history of A only. Other stations do not usually contribute to the amount of correction. 

One criticism of this is that it does not deal well with gradual change like UHI. That is generally treated separately. When GISS adopted GHCN’s pairwise corrections in 2011, they maintained their own adjustments for UHI, which were generally fairly small. I don’t know what is currently done.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
March 19, 2022 4:39 pm

“What if the rural station records no change after a break, when adjacent urban stations record statistically significant warming?”
That would be a fairly unusual scenario. It takes quite a lot of years for warming to become statistically significant. Such a long break would need effort to align the two parts, which might involve allowance for warming as measured by adjacent stations. However, the likelihood is that the station would indeed have warmed during the gap, if its neighbors did.

But again, this is an unusual scenario, and would have little effect on the global average.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 4:26 am

So do all the temperatures of the past. especially around 1940
Why would that be 😉

Trying to justify the unjustifiable yet again ? !

Steve Case
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2022 5:28 am

the anomaly base changes (by a very small amount).

You are exactly right, and those very small amounts build up over time. The oldest LOTI plain-text file that I’ve saved was found on the Internet Archives Way Back Machine and is from 1997. (my saved link no longer works) A comparison of what NASA said in 1997 to what they say today shows that the 100 year rate of global temperature increase has been bumped up. Here’s what that looks like:

comment image

Reply to  Steve Case
March 19, 2022 5:06 am

Always the same pattern.. Cool the warm 1930s,40s, warm the current temps.
Seen in almost all GHCN “adjustments”.

That “inconvenient” 1940s blip. Gotta get rid of it. !

CREATE/FABRICATE the warming trend.

Reply to  Steve Case
March 19, 2022 8:58 am

Look, there’s f.a. observations of climates changing in the real world, so spreadsheet graphs of made up numbers are the only way warmists can attempt to make out that anything unusual is afoot.

David Dibbell
March 19, 2022 3:48 am

About visualizations, anyone can click onto the NOAA viewer of images from the geostationary satellites and see the planet as a huge array of powered, highly variable emitter elements in the same wavelength band from which the main concern over greenhouse gas warming arises for CO2.

Here is GOES EAST, full disk, set for a 24-image animation for band 16 – the “CO2” channel centered at 13.3 microns. It will give you the previous 4 hours from whenever you click on it. You can then set it for longer if you wish, and you can go to all the other 15 bands as well.


If one grasps the implications of what is seen from space at high resolution, there is no reason to fear non-condensing GHGs. There is constant motion, moving heat from the equator to the poles and from the surface to space.

The color coding is based on a brightness temperature scale. The radiance values from the Advanced Baseline Imager are converted into a theoretical temperature for these visualizations.

TL;DR version: It’s not a “trap”, folks. It’s a variable emitter. You can watch from space.

Penn Handwerker
March 19, 2022 4:06 am

Bottom line = the climate change we experience now has occurred regularly for the last 800,000 years. Check out NASA’s nice graph. And note that there’s NO evidence that human activity has influenced climate change in any way.

NASA global climate change.png
March 19, 2022 5:00 am

I sense that for some people, perhaps quite a few, there will be great disappointment if the climate does not deliver cataclysmic climate change.

Reply to  Tom.1
March 19, 2022 7:29 am

Or not. People who believe in CAGW also believe that cataclysmic events are already happening. Belief in non-existent things comes naturally to many people. Sometimes I wonder if the climate change leaders really believe all the crap they expound, or do they just pretend to. For example, I would not be surprise to find out that Michael Mann doesn’t actually believe that catastrophic warming will occur. It could be that he gets a perverse thrill out of conning others into believing him. Like a TV evangelist who doesn’t actually believe, but craves having a large number of followers, and the cash flow they deliver.

Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Thomas
March 19, 2022 9:12 am

“Belief in non-existent things comes naturally to many people.”

How long before television producers get tired of shows featuring hapless self-appointed “experts” hunting for ghosts, aliens, and bigfoot?
 New this season: Climate Change Catastrophe Hunters! You heard it here first.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Hoyt Clagwell
March 19, 2022 9:48 am

The Storm Chann … er … Weather Channel has been doing that for years!

Mark Brittingham
March 19, 2022 5:42 am

Question, though. Why did you stop at 1921? I’d be curious to see how the expansion in Hawkins’ spiral looks in the context of yours.

March 19, 2022 6:00 am

In the same veine, casually starting to watch the sea as the tide rises, an idiot could convince itself that oceans will very soon submerge the planet, run to the top of the hill before high tide and stay there, scared for life, waiting to be drowned away by the waves.

March 19, 2022 6:36 am

The calculation of the annual average of the monthly average of the daily average temperature at a location does not produce a useful descriptor of the “climate” at that location. A slight variation in that number, by itself, is not useful in describing a “change” in local climate. A global average of those numbers is even less useful in describing the various local climates, or the changes thereto. The switch from “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming” (CAGW) to CACC was completely unscientific, as the mechanism remained the supposed ability of increasing CO2 to “trap” increasing energy (i.e., to produce increasing average temperatures).

March 19, 2022 7:26 am

The world has warmed up since the bottom of the Little Ice Age.
That’s a very good thing.

Gordon A. Dressler
March 19, 2022 7:33 am

Ed Hawkins’ “Climate Spiral” is actually somewhat fitting if one considers it as the progressive buildup of climate change™putin (sic) exiting a toilet bowl, as seen looking upward to the bowl from below.

Kip Hansen(@kiphansen2)
March 19, 2022 9:14 am

Eric ==> Email me please? my first name at i4.net

Gunga Din
March 19, 2022 9:51 am

It would be interesting to see such a spiral that showed just the “adjustments”.

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