The only thing more controversial in the U.S. these days than GW (George W) is the other GW (Global Warming). And that's the GW this blog is interested in. A report from the National Climatic Data Center is being spun dry right now. To one recent blog I got a response from a reader citing the NCDC's "conclusion" that January was actually colder than avergae, therefore GW (of our concern) is just a crock.
"GW as hooey" is a common thread among many publications and websites that regularly doubt and denounce GW as junk science perpetrated for various nefarious and self-delusional reasons. Here's one that cites the NCDC "conclusion." Here's one that takes snow cover as evidence of a cooling trend, citing NCDC again.
Guess it would be inconvenient to remind these GW scoffers that the #1 characteristic of GW as it affects short-term weather: more extremes. So why be surprised if it's snowier, or there's more drought, or more rain, or even colder some places than usual...or whatever extreme mother nature can muster?
And in the interest of fair play, here's the NCDC's actual online report, judge for yourself.
Saving your energy? Don't wanna click? Here's some of the NCDC's actual words:
"January 2008 - Cooler and Wetter than Average in Western U.S., Warmer in Northeast 31st Warmest Globally
"The contiguous U.S. temperature during January 2008 was near average, according to an analysis by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville NC. Temperatures across much of the western U.S. were cooler than average, while temperatures were warmer than average in the Northeast, which had its 20th warmest January on record. An active pattern brought heavy rain and snow to the West and helped ease drought conditions in parts of the region, but 26% of the nation remained in some stage of drought. The global average surface temperature in January was the 31st warmest on record, based on preliminary data.
"U.S. Temperature Highlights
"For the contiguous United States, the average temperature was 30.5°F (-0.83°C) for January, which was 0.3°F (0.2°C) below the 20th century mean and the 49th coolest January on record, based on preliminary data.
"The Northeast region had its 20th warmest January on record, the middle part of the country experienced near-normal average temperatures, and the far western regions (Southwest, West and Northwest regions) experienced cooler than average temperatures for the month.
"The anomalous warmth in the Northeast reduced energy demand for heating and helped keep the nation's overall temperature-related residential energy demand near average. Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index, contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand was approximately 1 percent below average in January.
"U.S. Precipitation Highlights
"Precipitation was near the 20th century mean for the nation as a whole in January. An average of 2.21 inches (56.1 mm) fell across the contiguous U.S. this month, which is only 0.01 inch (0.26 mm) below average."
I highlighted the part that gives the GW scoffers their ammunition.