record cold from London to Florida. Climate change is over! as long as you are willing to ignore reality in at least four ways.
So certain are they of this absurdity that Marc Morano was apparently willing to spend a significant portion of his life compiling 12 pages of irrelevant news stories. As a tribute to this waste of time Jennifer Morahasey has kindly published them as “News Reports for October Indicate Global Cooling.”
So there has been a lot of reports of cold lately, doesn’t that prove something? No, not really. The claim is misleading in at least four ways: i) cherry picking data, ii) sampling bias and corrupt data base iii) claiming weather allows you to predict climate, and iv) ignoring the actual climate data. As a bonus it also reveals the Denier’s hypocrisy.
i) cherry picking data
Cherry picking is the art of choosing only the data that supports you and ignoring data that doesn’t. It is a common Denier method (eg see Richard Keen). A sampling of news reports from the same period as those reported by Morano:
County hit by record heat, brush fire Oct 9, 2008, Near-record heat sizzles on in Valley Oct. 30, 2008, Heat again a concern for marathon Chicago, Oct 12, 2008, Heat Wave in East Java to Last Until November 21 October, 2008, South Australia will swelter through temperatures in the high 30s , The temperature in Dar es Salaam last week reached 34.7 degrees centigrade October 28, 2008.
It may be cold in some places, but it’s definitely not in others. Morano was not looking to see what the weather was, he was looking for stories of cold. Of course there are a lot more stories of cold than heat, which leads us to:
ii) sampling bias and corrupt data
In the first place look at any map and notice that most land masses are in the Northern Hemisphere. There is a rumour that the North is entering winter (but I debunk that below ) So it could be unbelievably hot in the Indian Ocean or South Pacific and the popular media wouldn’t report it.
Another sampling bias is the concentration of media in the Industrialized West. The multiple news agencies means the same cold snap in the US gets reported hundreds of times while the brutal heat in Indonesia is totally ignored. This is a problem of data redundancy (ie same data included two or more times) on top of data exclusion (leaving out data).
That the number of news stories is no measure of temperature also begs the question of how extensive the areas affected are. A small area of NE United States being cold does not negate a huge area of the Indian Ocean being hot. This media sampling gives us no idea of what the actual global average is like.
Finally there is the issue of data padding. Many of Morano’s “news stories about cold” are not news stories about cold at all. He has bulked up the list with a bunch of the usual Denier spam, including Gunter’s Folly (twice), repeats on the Arctic Ice Meme, the Sunspot Meme, and then padding it even further by listing some of the spam reported on in the articles he has already listed.
For an attempt at pseudo-research by a lay person it is a pretty lame attempt, even by the standards of junior high school.
iii) claiming weather allows you to predict climate
Weather and climate are not the same thing at all and you cannot use local weather to predict the other (link for Deniers). To illustrate this let’s have a bit of fun
Here are the temperatures over the last few days for where I live (right). As you can clearly see, contrary to Annual Season Theory it is not getting colder at all, it is getting hotter. “Seasonal Cooling” ended on October 29th!
Temperatures have risen 15oC (27oF) in just a couple of days. “Winter” is NOT coming, Annual Season Theory is a hoax. Seasonal “cooling has ended!
In fact as this next graph (below) shows , “seasonal cooling” ended at least seven times in the past two months.
This is real temperature data that was scientifically measured, not just popular news stories like Morano used, so clearly it is true.
Of course it’s utterly stupid. So stupid that I am hoping Morahasy will publish this on her blog.
If local weather is such a useless predictor of the season, how much more ridiculous to try and predict climate with the same kind of data? Apparently some people think you can.
iv) ignoring the actual climate data
It is possible to predict climate of course. Just as my hand drawn trend line up to Oct 26th gives you an idea of what is really happening, so you take a lot of weather data from all over the planet spanning decades and you look at what that tells you.
And what it tells us is that the weather may go up and down, even with some record cold snaps, but the temperature trend is rising. So far 2008 is actually the 10th hottest year in 129 yrs, and it is a myth that Temperatures plummeted in 2008.
Which brings us to Denier hypocrisy. If they actually believed that short term weather trends told us anything about climate then every time we experience a heat wave they would be reporting “Global Warming is Real”
Events like the 2003 European heat wave and the 2006 drought (see “Climate Change Ended in 1998!“) undoubtedly saw these same blogs and web sites talking about how climate change was real and just how right Al Gore was.
Good Luck finding those stories.
Denier “Challenge” aka Deathwatch Update: Day 27 … still no evidence.