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My Critique of the Washington Post Pulitzer Prize Winning Global Warming Lead Article

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The article in the Washington Post, whose arguments I tear to shreds in this post, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for 2020 for:

Staff of The Washington Post
For a groundbreaking series that showed with scientific clarity the dire effects of extreme temperatures on the planet.

Complete nonsense is Pulitzer Prize worthy in the minds of the elitist collectivist left who make these awards.

The August 14, 2019 Washington Post had a front page, above the fold article which continues to fill the entirety of pages A10 and A11:

This article is also posted on-line here:

There is a salient bias exhibited here.  The temperature change is measured from 1895 to 2018.  Why is 1895 the starting time for that measurement?  Because 1895 was a very cold year.  Let us examine the average US temperature plot below by Statistica:

The average temperature in 1895 was 50.34⁰F and in 2018 it was 53.53⁰F, so the temperature difference was 3.19⁰F or 1.77⁰C.  Had the Washington Post chosen to start the comparison in 1900 when the average US temperature was 52.77⁰F, then the increase in average temperature from then to 2018 would be 0.76⁰F or 0.42⁰C.  Now no one seriously believes that man-made global warming caused 1900 to be 2.43⁰F or 1.35⁰C warmer than 1895.  So, a change of weather, not a change of climate was the likely cause of this substantial difference in temperature over a 5 year period.  But this 5-year change is 67.5% of the 2⁰C temperature change that the Washington Post, on the authority of the UN, is claiming is a critically disastrous temperature increase.  The choice of a particularly cold starting point for a comparison of temperatures is a common trick of the alarmist game-plan.

The warmest spots on the map from the Washington Post article are about 3⁰C warmer relative to 1895.  Subtract the 1.35⁰C difference in the average temperatures to shift to a 1900 starting point in time and there are no spots in the U.S. with a 2⁰C increase relative to 1900.

There is a second interesting problem which is revealed by the map itself.  Carbon dioxide is always said to be a well-mixed atmospheric gas by the catastrophic man-made global warming crowd.  While it actually is not as well-mixed as they represent it to be, its variations are nonetheless gradual and spread over large areas.  Yet, the hot spots in the Washington Post U.S. map are in very much smaller sized areas.  If the warmer areas are warmer due to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, then those areas should be of much larger dimensions than those of the map.  The strong temperature differences in the map are much too localized and suggest that they are due to chaotic weather differences, not real climate differences.

Further examination of the U.S. temperature change map shows a large area in the Southeastern U.S. where the temperature has actually cooled since 1895 as shown in the light green color.  If one maintains that the warming of 3⁰C in some small areas is due to an increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere since 1895, then isn’t the near 1⁰C cooling in the Southeastern U.S. also due to that same increase in carbon dioxide?  The larger area and more gradual changes in the cooled area is a better match for the somewhat well-mixed carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere.  There actually are cooling effects due to carbon dioxide as I have many times pointed out in prior articles.  Those who have greatly exaggerated the warming effect of CO₂, claim the cooling effects are insignificant.  Remove the exaggeration of the warming effect and the several cooling effects are not so trivial and many of them are not saturating or saturating as rapidly with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide as is the warming effect.  I am not actually claiming that the cooling in the Southeast is due to carbon dioxide.  It is unlikely that it is.  However, if you are in the business of assuming that the temperature change since 1895 is due to carbon dioxide, then you ought to consider its cooling effects also.

Some of the hottest areas are near our two largest metropolitan areas, New York City and Los Angeles.  Perhaps these areas have warmed due to the urban heat island effect since 1895?  Virtually all the growth of population in southern California and in Arizona around Phoenix has occurred since 1895, undoubtedly contributing to that major hot spot in the Washington Post temperature map.  The article is full of stories about the warming of the state of New Jersey.  Averaging the population of that state from the 1890 and 1900 U.S. Census results to estimate the 1895 population, the 1895 population was about 1,660,000 people.  With the advent of automobiles, it became possible for people working in New York City and in Philadelphia to live in New Jersey, so those metropolitan areas expanded far into New Jersey.  The population of New Jersey in the 2015 estimate is 8,958,000, which is a increase by a factor of about 5.4 times compared to the 1895 population.  There are extensive urban heat island effects in New Jersey as a result.  The article bewails the fact that the only state in the contiguous 48 states with an average temperature increase above 2⁰C is little Rhode Island.  Its population in 1895 was about 387,000 people, which by 2015 has increased to about 1,056,300.  This factor of 2.7 increase in population in this high population density state has most likely also been accompanied by a significant urban heat island effect.  The warmer area around Miami is another area affected by a very large population increase since 1895.

Many of the areas showing the larger increases in temperature are also low population areas such as that on the California – Oregon border and southeastern Oregon, the area on the Utah – Colorado border, most of Maine, and the stretch across northern Michigan, northern Minnesota, most of North Dakota, and northern Montana.  An examination of the number and quality of weather stations in these areas used to generate this data might turn up interesting results.  Could it be the case that these high temperature areas are largely projections of temperatures outside these areas, which projections predominantly produce warming in rural areas?  In any case, since the population density is low in these areas, any affects on humans is also likely to be low.  These are not particularly warm areas in the first place, so any warming that does occur is quite likely to be very welcome.

Outside of the warmer areas of the Southwest and a small area around Miami, most of the areas showing the most warming since 1895 are rather cool parts of the U.S.  Given that Americans are much inclined to take vacations in warmer climes during the winters from such areas as the Northeast whose warmer winters since 1895 are much decried in the Washington Post article, it is hard to see the warming of such cooler parts of the U.S. as a general disaster.  People upon retirement still move to much warmer parts of the U.S. such as Florida and Arizona.  Apparently, they rather like warmth, however the Washington Post may pretend that warmth is a catastrophe.

Yes, it may be true, as lamented in the article, that ice cannot be cut from northern New Jersey lakes as it used to be for ice boxes, but then again we now have refrigerators. If we did not have refrigerators, the disappearance of that northern New Jersey ice might be a disaster.  Perhaps the Washington Post wants us to lose the use of electricity and to force us to return to the use of ice boxes as a result. In that context, it is a disaster that this return to primitivism in the name of radical environmentalism may be harder to accomplish.  This is not one of my goals and I do not believe it is a goal of most Americans either.

I have carried out the above discussion generally accepting the temperature record data provided by the Washington Post article.  However, the thermometer temperature data of 1895 and of 1900 has been heavily adjusted downward and recent data has been heavily adjusted upward by NASA GISS.  The U.S. temperature data given below is based on the USHCN2 historical network, which adjusts recent thermometer readings upwards by a substantial amount before releasing the data to the public.  Here is a comparison of the high and low daily temperature results for the measured or unadjusted data compared to the adjusted data comparing the 1895 cold year with 2010, as discovered by Tony Heller in a 2010 post on Real Science:

The fact that this data cuts off about a decade earlier than 2018, makes little difference, since the temperature has changed very little in the last decade.  The daily maximum temperatures in the unadjusted data shows smaller areas warming and larger areas cooling.  The unadjusted warming areas are usually areas of high population growth (Los Angelos, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Miami, and the metropolitan areas of the Northeast) or areas of very low population density in the western US and northern Great Plains states.  The unadjusted cooling areas are mostly areas significantly affected by weather from the Gulf of Mexico.

The minimum temperature data (night time lows) is interesting in the unadjusted temperature hottest spots are actually more common in the western US than in the adjusted data.  There are many more areas of substantial cooling in the unadjusted data also.  Most of this cooling is in areas of the Southeast and the southern Great Plains.  There are larger areas of gray, the temperature unchanged areas, in the night time unadjusted temperature record.  Where warming has occurred it is often in the higher elevation areas of the US, where the day-night temperature variations tend to be larger than in lower elevation areas.  A slight reduction in these day-night temperature swings is more likely to be beneficial than harmful.  The night-time warming just south of the Canadian border is very unlikely to have anything but benefits for the people who live there also.

The land area sum of the unchanged and the cooled areas in both the maximum and minimum temperature unadjusted records, suggests that the average affects of temperature changes are actually rather small.  I expect the overall cooling of the Southeast brings more benefits to the USA than does the warming of the Southwestern and Rocky Mountain states of the USA where few people live.  As mentioned, the warming of those rather large areas just south of the Canadian border surely brings advantages to the people living there.

This Washington Post article by four of their radical Climate Change writers, is an excellent lesson in the massive dishonesty of the catastrophic man-made global warming alarmist faction.  There is no attempt to distinguish the general warming of the post Little Ice Age period from any real effects that might be caused by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  There is nothing but assumption that the official data warming since the particularly cold year of 1895 has been due to man’s use of organic fuels causing greenhouse gas emissions.  They are most insistent that mankind should feel a strong, collective sense of guilt that it is destroying the Earth and the future of mankind.  This is baloney.  It is moldy, rotten baloney.

It is a very sad observation that so many Americans actually believe in this irrational nonsense.  It is even sadder that every scientist in the nation is not working hard to reveal this con game.  Quite a few of them are on the take and many of them are intimidated by the lockstep socialism, political correctness, and radical environmentalism of our academic institutions and most of our information media.


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