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Posted Fri Jun 10 2011: from BBC:
Global warming since 1995 'now significant'
By widespread convention, scientists use a minimum threshold of 95 percent to assess whether a trend is likely to be down to an underlying cause, rather than emerging by chance. If a trend meets the 95 percent threshold, it basically means that the odds of it being down to chance are less than one in 20. Last year's analysis, which went to 2009, did not reach this threshold; but adding data for 2010 takes it over the line. "The trend over the period 1995-2009 was significant at the 90 percent level, but wasn't significant at the standard 95 percent level that people use," Professor Jones told BBC News. "Basically what's changed is one more year [of data]. That period 1995-2009 was just 15 years - and because of the uncertainty in estimating trends over short periods, an extra year has made that trend significant at the 95 percent level which is the traditional threshold that statisticians have used for many years. "It just shows the difficulty of achieving significance with a short time series, and that's why longer series - 20 or 30 years - would be a much better way of estimating trends and getting significance on a consistent basis."
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