15 September 2009

Dubious Statistics

A while ago I mentioned a group scientific effort published by NOAA seeking to show that the current slowdown in global temperatures was not unusual. They have now had their report published in BAMS (PDF), and the lead author has gone a step further and said that the slowdown was to be expected:
"We found about 1 in every 8 decades has near-zero or negative global temperature trends in simulations which would otherwise warm at expected present-day rates. Given that we have seen fairly consistent global warming since the 1970s, these odds suggest the observed slowdown was due to occur."
Two questions:

1. Does anyone want to point out the flaw in the statistical reasoning? (Hint: Boulder hasn't had 100 year flood since 1896, we must be now overdue!)

2. Can anyone point to a prediction of a slowdown in temperature increase made before the slowdown occurred?