Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
In the US House of Representatives, there is something curiously yclept the “Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming” despite the lack of connection between the energy independence and warming. They have a very professionally done website, filled with some of the most outrageous misrepresentations imaginable. It is designed to promote the “Waxman-Markey” cap and trade carbon tax bill by means of the historically tried and tested “Big Lie” method, viz:
All this was inspired by the principle–which is quite true within itself–that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.
It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.
I’m going to take the website’s misrepresentations one at a time, as time permits. The first one is from a page entitled “Impact Zone – U.S. New England“, which contains this lovely photograph designed to tug at the heartstrings:
Figure 1. Photo of maple trees in New England, professionally chosen for maximum emotional impact.
The accompanying text says (emphasis mine):
Global Warming in New England: Slushier Slopes and Faded Foliage
Life and economic activity across New England is marked by the seasons – maple sugaring in the spring, trips to the beach in the summer, the riot of color of the fall foliage, and the swoosh of skis and skates in the winter. This familiar cycle is already changing in noticeable ways.
Since the 1970′s average winter temperatures have risen more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit in the Northeast region. If the current rate of heat-trapping emissions continues, by 2070 summers in Boston will feel like those of South Carolina today. By the end of the century, temperatures could rise up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit in the region. Cities across New England, which historically experience only one or two days per year above 100 degrees each summer, could average 20 such days per summer, while more southern cities such as Hartford could average nearly 30 days.
The character of the seasons will change significantly. Spring could arrive three weeks earlier, with summer lengthening by about three weeks, autumn becoming warmer and drier, and winter becoming shorter and milder.
So what’s wrong with that?
Well, once we note the conjectures (marked by the weasel words in bold), we see that most of it is nothing but unfounded, un-cited alarmist claims about imaginary future calamities. They have presented only one claim of fact – that winter temperatures in the Northeast Region have risen by more than 4°F.
Now, the USHCN has the data for all of the states, as well as by region. The Northeast Region is the data that starts with “101″ in the first column. Figure 2 shows the temperature record for the four seasons, as well as the annual average temperature, for the Northeast Region:
Figure 2. Annual and seasonal temperatures, US Northeast Region. Photo shows winter surf in New England. PHOTO SOURCE.
As you can see, there has not been much of a change over the last 115 years in any of the seasons. The trend for all of the datasets is not significantly different from zero (winter p=0.06, spring p=0.15, summer p=0.34, fall p=0.68, annual p=0.06).
And more to the point, the winter trend over the last 40 years (1970-2009) is only 2.7°F, not the “more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit” claimed by their website. Such a swing is not surprising in a dataset such as the winter temperatures, which shows a 10 °F swing in one year, from 2001 to 2002.
But wait … there’s more. Because of the short length (40 years) and high variability of the 1970-2009 winter temperatures, the 1970-2009 trend is not significantly different from zero either (p = 0.12, a ways from significant).
SUMMARY: Their web page contains two misrepresentations of fact about US Northeast winters, two implied misrepresentations, and a big lie:
Misrepresentation of fact 1: the 1970-2009 winter temperatures have not “risen more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit”, they have risen 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no rise of more than 4 °F in the winter temperature record, no matter where you start.
Misrepresentation of fact 2: the 1970-2009 winter trend is not statistically significant, so we cannot reject the null hypothesis that there is no trend at all, much less a claimed 4 °F trend.
Implied misrepresentation 1: The US Northeast winters are not warming. Over the full period of record (1895-2009), there is no statistically significant trend in the winter record.
Implied misrepresentation 2: The seasonal temperatures in the US Northeast are not warming. Over the full period of record (1895-2009), there is no statistically significant trend in the overall record for any season.
THE BIG LIE: When you look at the full record for the US Northeast, there is no statistically significant trend anywhere. Neither spring, summer, winter, fall, nor the full annual average temperatures have any statistically significant trend for the period of the study, 1895-2009. And remember, this is measured by ground stations that contain spurious UHI warming, and there still is no warming trend.
The big lie is that the US Northeast is warming. The best records that we have say that it is not.
I will examine more of the malarkey from their web site as time permits, although the statements are so obviously untrue that it’s hardly sporting. It’s like shooting fish, not in a barrel, but in a bucket …