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New record temperatures all the time: of course George Will and deniers will write about this!

November 17th, 2009 · 12 Comments

Global warming deniers (self-proclaimed “skeptics”) are enthralled with cherry-picking data and screaming to high heaven every time there is a record cold temperature or some weather event that provides a good photo op for pimping falsehoods about global warming.  Where’s my Global Warming, Dude?, for example, could be called a check-up spot for the weirdest COLD weather. Reading deceiving sites like that, one could believe that everywhere you turn, all the time, your most serious concern should be to make sure you have your winter parka firmly closed before you venture out into an-ever cooling planet.   This systematic drumbeat of specific factual information (about a snowstorm here or a record cold temperature there or …) that totals up to less than truthiness is one of the angles of deception that undermine the general population’s ability to understand actual science and actual truth about what is going on with climate change.

Last week, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) released information about a study that provides quite conclusive evidence (proof, could we say?) that such cherry-picking about cold weather conditions is absolutely a deceptive practice that distorts what is actually being seen and what is likely to be seen NCAR scientists analyzed record high temperature and record low temperature data for the United States for the past60 years (using solely weather stations that have been active for the entire period).  If the United States climate wasn’t changing in one direction, over time, writ large we should expect two things:

  1. A rough balance, between highs and lows, with perhaps some ‘see-sawing’ with colder and warmer periods.
  2. A (slow?) decline in total records as it should, with more years of data, become harder to set either record highs or lows.

The data, as shown in the graph, throws these two expected results aside. There is no rough balance, with the data showing increasingly significant movement toward more record highs and fewer record lows.

The study also found that the two-to-one ratio across the country as a whole could be attributed more to a comparatively small number of record lows than to a large number of record highs. This indicates that much of the nation’s warming is occurring at night, when temperatures are dipping less often to record lows. This finding is consistent with years of climate model research showing that higher overnight lows should be expected with climate change.

Even amid the escalating trend of record high temperatures, there will be lots of events for cherry-picking deceivers to choose from to create a false impression a cooling globe.

Even in the first nine months of this year, when the United States cooled somewhat after a string of unusually warm years, the ratio of record daily high to record daily low temperatures was more than three to two.

Despite the increasing number of record highs, there will still be occasional periods of record cold, says Gerald Meehl, the lead author and a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) notes.

“One of the messages of this study is that you still get cold days,” Meehl says. “Winter still comes. Even in a much warmer climate, we’re setting record low minimum temperatures on a few days each year. But the odds are shifting so there’s a much better chance of daily record highs instead of lows.”

Now, let’s remember, the concern is GLOBAL Warming, not regional (even as regional and local implications are critically important to study). Thus, this data must be placed into a global context … which, by the way, is that the 2000s have been hotter than the 1990s, which were hotterthan the 1980s, which were hotter than the 1970s. (Or that ocean temperatures are the hottest we’ve ever recorded or …)  Now, George Will, Super Freaky Economists, and others ready to deceive on climate change issues use the (truthiness laden and statistically false) talking point that there has been ‘no warming’ (or, even more falsely, that there has been cooling) since 1998, they will not focus on the fact that climate change is an issue of trends, not spikes, and that this decade has been warmer than the previous one because to speak honestly and truthfully would force them to admit an inconvenient truth.

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Tags: climate change · climate delayers · George Will · Global Warming · global warming deniers

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