Thursday, January 04, 2007

Paper Proves Local Cooling in Milwaukee

Jesse Garza sets out in today's MJS to show that this winter is exceptionally warm, backing up anecdotal information with historical weather records. It couldn't just be normal temperature variations - global warming, you know.

When the temperature in Milwaukee plunged to 6 degrees above zero Dec. 8, few people might have considered the possibility that last month would be memorable for its unusual warmth.

But when the mercury shot up to 40 degrees two days later it began a 25-day streak of above-normal temperatures that helped make for the 14th warmest December on record in Milwaukee.

And Wednesday's high temperature of 49 degrees marked the 26th consecutive day in the city with a temperature of 32 degrees or higher, five days shy of the previous winter record for an at-or-above-freezing streak.

Fourteenth warmest, now that is quite a standard. With over 13 decades of weather data, what are the chances that two years within one decade would be in the list of the 14 warmest Decembers? Quite high, actually.

The problem with the article is that it includes the data for those 14 sweltering Decembers. When the numbers are plotted, the curious truth emerges. The trend (see graph) from over 129 years of weather records is towards a cooler highest average temperature for December. The average is actually 2.4 degrees of cooling per century.

Geez-oh-man. To think that Al Gore is sweating a temperature rise of only a fraction of a degree per century.

The Journal-Sentinel has shown that Milwaukee is at the start of another ice age. Please burn some hydrocarbons to help reverse this trend. A little global warming couldn't hurt.

UPDATE: Thanks to Dad29 for linking here, but I feel the need to clarify his statement about what I have proven. The only claims I make are:

  1. The weather this year is not exceptional. It is just another warm winter in our not very long historical record; and
  2. This record can be easily manipulated if the analyst is biased.

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