The recent release of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study, which showed a worldwide temperature increase of about 1°C since 1950, was heralded by many as proof of global warming. Some skeptics, however, noted that the BEST data also showed that temperatures had remained unchanged for the past decade, suggesting that any warming trend had ended around the turn of the century.
Meteorologist and climate-science blogger Anthony Watts has gone those skeptics one better. Having analyzed U.S. temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, Watts declared in a column for the Daily Caller: “The trend for the continental United States for the past 10 years is not flat, but cooling.”
Watts broke the data down by winter, summer, and annual temperatures in each of nine designated regions in the continental United States. For wintertime he found that “every region … has a negative temperature trend for the last decade,” ranging from -1.3°F in the Western Region (California and Nevada) to -8.74°F in the East North Central Region (Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan). Meanwhile, he noted, “five of the nine regions have a negative summertime trend,” with temperatures falling as much as 1.95°F in the Northwestern Region (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho). “Only one of the nine regions (the Northeast) has a positive decadal trend for its annual mean temperature,” Watts observed, with the overall trend, as mentioned above, being one of cooling.
Watts then raised an interesting question:
So according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, it seems clear that for at least the last 10 years, there has been a cooling trend in the annual mean temperature of the continental U.S. While this is not the standard 30-year period used by climatologists to determine climate for an area, it does beg the question: If carbon dioxide is in control of our climate, as many advocates claim, how could this happen?
In addition, Watts discovered in the course of his investigation that historical temperature data has been modified, possibly in an effort to make the warming trend of the last 60 years appear more significant that it really is by demoting 1934 from its previously held “warmest year” status and elevating 1998 to that pedestal. Comparing the data used in NASA studies in 1999 and 2011, Watts found that the temperature data had been modified such that between those two studies “1934 went down by about 0.3°C while 1998 went up by about 0.4°C, for a total change of about 0.7°C.” This enabled the 2011 study to declare that 1998 was the warmest year in U.S. history, thus “proving” the warming trend, whereas the 1999 study had been much less alarmist, stating: “The U.S. has warmed during the past century, but the warming hardly exceeds year-to-year variability. Indeed, in the U.S. the warmest decade was the 1930s and the warmest year was 1934.”
Referring to a before-and-after graph he had prepared to show the differences in the temperature data used in the two studies, Watts remarked:
If this were a graph of stock performance data given to investors as a prospectus and such shenanigans were discovered, the Securities and Exchange Commission would be launching an investigation. Yet, our own government is spending billions on climate change research and related programs, seemingly accepting such modified historical data without question.
That, of course, is because most of the climate-change hysteria is grounded in left-wing ideology, not science. The facts are irrelevant; what matters is being able to use the threat of “global warming” to put Marxist theory into practice. Unfortunately, until that political and intellectual climate changes, the very reasonable points Watts has raised will most likely be ignored or dismissed as “climate denial.”