Saturday, February 6, 2010

Washington Buried Under Two Feet of Global Warming

At present Washington, DC, is buried under two feet of snow, and it is still snowing. Even in Idaho, this would qualify as a major snow storm. In Washington, where the sight of a few snowflakes can bring the capital to a screeching halt, this almost qualifies as a natural disaster, with some people tagging it "Snowmaggedon" or "Snowpocalypse." Adding to the silliness, lawyers in downtown DC organized a snowball fight using Facebook and Twitter, with the invitations predictably accompanied by a liability disclaimer.

Well, one bit of silliness deserves another, to wit, the title of this blog, which (falsely) implies that the current snowstorm disproves the theory of anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming (AGW). At most, the current snowstorm constitutes one data point, which by itself can prove little more than Washington has a lot of snow at the moment. (AGW appears to be self-destructing quite nicely, without the current snowstorm's help.)

However, the title does illustrate the weakness of many the "arguments" used to buttress AGW. These arguments frequently try to use individual weather events to "prove" climate change (the current politically correct, albeit possibly more accurate name for AGW). "Warmists" seem driven to seize upon every major storm, hurricane, or tornado as further "proof" of AGW. Such arguments are at best . . . fatally flawed.

Weather by definition is a short-term phenomenon, dealing with the conditions at specific times and places, while climate deals with long-term trends. A series of weather events over a few months or years proves effectively nothing about the climate.

Over the years of the global warming debate, I have developed a rule of thumb that any discussion of global warming or climate change that fails to account for at least 100 years--preferably 1,000 years--of data is immediately suspect because it resembles a weather report more than a credible discussion of the climate. Interestingly, 2,000 years of temperature data for the Northern Hemisphere appear to undermine the claims that the warming trend of recent decades is unique and, therefore, to be feared. The data seem to indicate that temperatures were at least as high during the Medieval Warm Period as they appear to have been in recent years.

Curiously, the surface temperature data used to document the recent warming may have been skewed by selection bias, making the temperature averages appear higher than the actual temperatures were. A recent study, which I have only skimmed, appears to detail this and many other significant flaws in the data used to "prove" global warming.

As for myself, the current surface temperature outside is much too low for my comfort. I'm hoping for the warming trend that comes with an early spring.

Picture: View of my backyard today about 4 pm.

Roy Spencer, "2,000 Years of Global Temperatures," 2010.
Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts, "Surface Temperature Records: Policy Driven Deception?" Science and Public Policy Institute, January 29, 2010.

Additional Reading:
Roy Spencer, Ph.D.
Science and Public Policy Institute
Climate Depot

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