Skeptical Science launches interactive history

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The great Australian blog SkepticalScience has launched an Interactive History of Climate Science that provides an instant – and visual – reference for the overwhelming scientific weight behind our understanding of global warming and climate change.

The SkepticalScience “History” is hinged on an interactive graphic that allows you to choose any year since 1824 and establish how many climate science papers were written that year, what was the accumulated total from all previous years and how many of all the papers were “skeptical,” “neutral” or supportive of the theory that human activity is causing the world to warm in a dangerous and unprecedented way.

The graphic also allows you to click on the “bubble” from any particular year and see the actual papers.

The “History’s” conclusion is obvious and unavoidable. As of 2011, there were a combined total of 2438 papers supporting the consensus that climate change is happening and humans are the cause. A further 2,217 papers advanced our understanding but were judged to be neutral in their ability or intent to address what Skeptical Science derides as the common climate science myths. And 187 papers are openly skeptical of climate change, its seriousness or its anthropogenic cause.

It’s surely a coincidence that that adds up to one skeptical paper for every years since 1824, when Joseph Fourier authored the first paper explaining the greenhouse effect. Contrast that with the 2,075 affirmative papers that have been published in the peer-reviewed literature since the year 2000.

There will, undoubtedly, be people who argue that SkepticalScience editor John Cook has missed a paper or two. If so, there is a link enabling the scientifically well-informed to help update the historical graphic.

And for anyone else who is interested in climate science but still confused by the denier talking points, SkepticalScience also offers the web’s best one-stop shop for myth-busting: Skeptic Arguments and What the Science Says. Cook has identified 165 denier talking points – the boring, repetitive and thoroughly debunked arguments (Climate has changed before; It’s the sun; It’s cooling) – and he offers both concise responses and more detailed scientific explanations as to why the myths are, well, generally dumb.

Required reading for anyone who might have to spend dinner with a denier – and recommended reading for the deniers themselves.

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