What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 5, 2013

The Trib Misleads On Climate. Again.

Scaife's braintrust on the Tribune-Review editorial board can usually be relied upon to repeat one or more climate denier myths.

Today, it's the "but it's cold outside now so how can it be warming globally?" myth.

Take a look:
Former Vice President Al Gore says today's generation “will be held accountable” for not doing enough to address global warming. “Our children and grandchildren ... if they exist in a world that has been devastated by these consequences that have been predicted and are beginning to unfold — they would be well justified in asking of us: ‘What in the hell were you thinking?'” Gee, isn't that the question all of us should be asking the climate cluckers, considering scientists have just announced that we are in the midst of our coldest spring in 38 years?[Bolding in original]
I have to admit I am not at all sure where the braintrust gets the "coldest spring in 38 years" meme.

Perhaps it's this blog post from climate denier Steven Goddard.  It's titled:
Second Coldest Start To Spring In US History
There's a chart and everything:


Take a look as I want you to notice a few things.  First the dot in the lower right hand corner is, I take it, some sort of number representing the April/March temp.  Goddard (and by extension Scaife's braintrust) use that to show how the Earth isn't warming because it's the second lowest on the chart.

But look waay up in the upper right hand corner.  Looks to me like that was last year's Apri/March number.  Looks to me like it's the second (or maybe third) highest on the chart.

How much you wanna bet that last year Goddard et al were completely silent about that dot?

Next, let's take a look at the data presented.  According to the title of the chart, it's US data and not Global data - so right there Goddard's selected data from only about 7% of the planet's total land mass (and that's only about 2% of the planet's total surface area - it's including all the water).

Compare that to the global data publicly available at NOAA:
  • The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for March 2013 tied with 2006 as the 10th warmest on record, at 0.58°C (1.04°F) above the 20th century average of 12.3°C (54.1°F). 
  • The global land surface temperature was 1.06°C (1.91°F) above the 20th century average of 5.0°C (40.8°F), the 11th warmest March on record. For the ocean, the March global sea surface temperature was 0.41°C (0.74°F) above the 20th century average of 15.9°C (60.7°F), making it the ninth warmest March on record. 
  • The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the January–March period (year-to-date) was 0.58°C (1.04°F) above the 20th century average of 12.3°C (54.1°F), the eighth warmest such period on record.
Using a localized weather event (even if the "locality" is the US) as counter evidence for the whole is willfully confusing weather and climate. From NASA:
Weather is basically the way the atmosphere is behaving, mainly with respect to its effects upon life and human activities. The difference between weather and climate is that weather consists of the short-term (minutes to months) changes in the atmosphere. Most people think of weather in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, brightness, visibility, wind, and atmospheric pressure, as in high and low pressure.

In most places, weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season. Climate, however, is the average of weather over time and space. An easy way to remember the difference is that climate is what you expect, like a very hot summer, and weather is what you get, like a hot day with pop-up thunderstorms.
Not matter how many times they do it, Scaife's braintrust will always be wrong when they argue this point in this manner.

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