20 Years of Winter Cooling Defy Global Warming Claims

April 30, 2014

(CLIMATE CHANGE DISPATCH) – Winter temperatures throughout the United States are in a 20-year cooling trend, defying alarmist global warming predictions and debunking claims that warmer winters are causing environmental catastrophe.

winter landscape

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data, presented by the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project, reveal this winter’s exceptionally cold winter was merely the continuation of a long-term cooling trend.

The trend line for the past 20 years shows more than two degrees Fahrenheit of cooling in U.S. winter temperatures since 1995.

The two decades of cooling temperatures defy alarmist assertions that global warming is causing warmer winters. The Weather Channel presented a typical example of such bogus winter warming claims in a December 13, 2013 article, titled

Winters Getting Warmer In U.S., But Precipitation Trends Are a Mixed Bag.”

At the very top of the article, The Weather Channel posted a map of U.S. winter temperature trends from 1970-2012, produced by the alarmist website Climate Central. Virtually the entire map is colored various shades of red, reflecting an asserted winter warming trend during the period. The map is accompanied by an insert claiming U.S. winter temperatures rose 0.61 degrees Celsius between 1970 and 2012.

Winter temps

U.S. winter temperatures.
Credit: International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project.

As U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) data show, The Weather Channel and Climate Central engaged in deceptive and unscrupulous cherry-picking to mislead readers into thinking a long-term cooling trend was actually a long-term warming trend. The NOAA data referenced and linked above show winter temperatures have been cooling for the past 20 years. U.S. Historical Climatology Network data show the cooling trend extends back even further, all the way to 1930. Nevertheless, The Weather Channel and Climate Central deliberately chose an outlier year, 40-plus years ago (1970), with a winter much cooler than other years immediately before and after, and compared it to a recent outlier year (2012) with a winter that was much warmer than other years immediately before and after.

As the NOAA and USHCN data show, almost any way you slice and dice the data, the United States is in a long-term winter cooling trend. The period 1930-2014 shows cooling. The period 1995-2014 shows cooling. The long-term trend line from just about any other year to the present shows cooling.  Nevertheless, a very few data points can be cherry-picked to give the illusion of winter warming, so that’s just what The Weather Channel and Climate Central did.

The winter cooling trend is important for other reasons, as well. Global warming activists frequently assert that warmer winters are causing all sorts of environmental harms. The poster child for these alarmist claims is assertions that pine beetle infestations in the western United States are caused by warmer winters failing to keep pine beetle populations in check. Clearly, this and other assertions of warmer winters causing environmental havoc are pure garbage, given than winters have been cooling for the past 20 years, and indeed the past 80 years. Global warming cannot be causing pine beetle epidemics if the claim depends on assertions that winters are getting warmer. Winters are not getting warmer; they are getting cooler. Therefore, global warming cannot be causing recent pine beetle epidemics. Objective scientists point out, instead, that pine beetle epidemics have occurred for millennia, including in extremely cold places like Alaska. Government forestry practices that have unnaturally suppressed wildfires, leaving in place an unnatural density of old and weakened trees, are much more likely to fuel pine beetle epidemics.

Score this one Objective Science 1: Global Warming Alarmists 0.

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