Coloring Reality with Climate Division Ranks

[Coloring (verb). Definition: to cause to appear different from the reality: Example: In order to influence the jury, he colored his account of what had happened]

NCDC issued their February 2014 climate report, it looked like this:

NCDC_feb_2014

Source: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/ncdc-releases-february-2014-us-climate-report

The colored US map (that gets top billing in the PR) can be viewed full size here. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/file/february-2014-us-divisional-temperature-ranks-mapgif

But what happens when we start showing actual temperature data instead of colored areas?  Joe D’Aleo sent this map over today, that shows the same map with temperature anomalies for many major cities in February 2014 he added. And with it, is a surprise.

For example. NCDC shows Connecticut as “Near Average”  according to the color assigned, but Hartford has a  -5.5°F anomaly, but in California, Los Angeles is +2.6F  and is shown as “Much Above Average”. You can draw other similar comparisons.

US_divisions

At first glance, it seems that NCDC has a clear warm bias, but I’ll also point out that these divisional ranks are made up from data from dozens to hundreds of weather stations. As we know, some weather stations are good, some are bad in the way the are maintained and produce data, so the city anomalies, while interesting and suggestive that there might be a warm bias, isn’t definitive. Apples/oranges and all that.

Now, have a look at this map which shows temperature anomalies by division. It is from NCDC also, and you can create it yourself using the Climate at a Glance plotter here: http://gis.ncdc.noaa.gov/map/cag/#app=cdo

CAG_DivTempAnomalies

 

That certainly looks different than the rank maps shown above at the top of the NCDC press release, but that is to be expected. Of course, temperature anomalies are a different animal than ranks. Ranks are statistical constructs, removed from the actual measurements by at least two calculation passes. Anomalies require generally only one calculation pass, so they are closer to the measurements, but they have the advantage of showing where the departures from “normal” are. Ranks seem to be less effective at this, IMHO.

Now here is the divisional rank map as plotted by NCDC as the companion map to the one above using the same tool at http://gis.ncdc.noaa.gov/map/cag/#app=cdo

CAG_DivTempRank_Feb2014

The divisions are ranked exactly the same as the map used in the February NCDC press release, but do you notice how the colors are significantly different? The blue shade is darker over much of the country in the CAG plotter output than the one in the press release at the top.

Here is that map again for easy comparison. The difference is obvious. The colors are much lighter on the map below, the one used in the NCDC February 2014 press release.

February-2014-US-Divisional-Temperature-Ranks-Map[1]

And just to be complete, here are the average temperatures for those divisions, what NCDC calls “values” on the selector tool. It looks a bit more natural for what we’d expect in February, doesn’t it?

CAG_DivTempValues

My point to all this? Perceived CONUS temperature is in the eye of the map maker and the beholder.

You can create different impressions by choosing color schemes and what maps you put front and center in reports such as NCDC does.

Some people got bent out of shape because we ran a post from Harold Ambler who  had criticized the odd way the Divisional Temperature Ranks map was presented in the February press release, which made February look warmer than measurements. Clearly, as I have demonstrated, NCDC seems to have different color schemes for the same Divisional Temperature Ranks map product; one for press releases, and another for the Climate at a Glance plotter. In a place that supposedly prides itself on standards and accuracy, I find that sloppy. Of course the maxim “close enough for government work” also comes to mind.

Most people clearly associate darker blue colors with cold, lighter blue colors, not so much, and yellows, oranges, and reds with warmth. Obviously, in the CAG plotter output of Divisional Temperature Ranks, there’s no washed out colors, and the temperature delineation by color is clear. The question is: why does NCDC need two color schemes to tell us the same thing?

If NCDC wants to avoid criticisms on map perceptions related to color, I suggest they use a single color scheme across the board, so that there won’t be any confusion or perception issues between maps used for press release and maps provided for research.

After all, do they really want people “seeing red” when they really should be seeing blue?


 

 UPDATE: reader KenF writes:

Besides mapping representation (full disclousure, I am a professional GIS mapper), there is another issue about NCDC on presenting February temperatures that worth addressing: the way they present the section of “February 2014 Winter Cold: Historical Perspective”.

If you check their link from NCDC
(http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2014/2/supplemental/page-3/) they will provide you the (a) day-by-day temperature from Dec 2013 to Feb 2014 compared with 1981-2010 normal and (b) the coldest day of the winter compared with cold outbreaks from the station’s deeper history, by comparing the number of days with temperatures as cold or colder than the threshold occurred each year (in NCDC words).
I have particular issue with (b). Since we know what make this winter so cold is not about the record low temperatures, but rather the frequent (and prolonged) cold wave and the well-below normal AVERAGE temperautre from Dec 2013-Feb 2014. NCDC definitely aware of this and use the more fuzzy approach to represent part (a) and cherry pick the threshold on part (b).
To illustrate my point, I choose two cities from midwest: Fort Wayne IN and Minneapolis-St. Paul MN. According to Northern Indiana WFO, Fort Wayne has the 6th coldest winter (20.7F from Dec 2013 to Feb 201, or 6.7 degrees below normal) and the 19 days with low temperatures below 0F (compared with 1981-2010 normal of 6.5 days)
Then what does NCDC do? On representing average temperatures (part a), instead of showing tables and figures how they ranked with “station’s deeper history, they just do a fuzzy bar diagram in order to show “hey, we know this winter is cold, but there are still some warm days”.
Part b is ABSOLUTELY ATROCIOUS: instead of using the standard Zero F that normally used, they pick -15F as the threshold, then show there are “only” 2 days in winters with temperatures below-15F, which attempt to make it a “normal winter”!
http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/us/2014/feb/thresh/tmin.USW00014827.png

Same thing can be applied to MSP. This is the 9th coldest winter for twin cities (9.7F) in history all the way from 1876 (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/journal/coldest_winters.html). According to NWS regional office, there are 50 days of below Zero F days in twin Cities from Dec 2013 to Feb 2014 (53 days if you include Zero days itself, and this figure did NOT include March), which is ranked 5th in history.
http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mpx&storyid=100778&source=2
Then what does NCDC treat those facts? They pick the threshold at -20F! It effectively reduced the days below -20F to 2 days and the chart show it almost as if it is a warmer-than-normal winter!
http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/us/2014/feb/thresh/tmin.USW00014922.png

Welcome to this world, as cherry picking the thresholds and moving the goalposts are NCDC expertise. We must not let their malpractice off the hook!

 

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73 Responses to Coloring Reality with Climate Division Ranks

  1. Jon says:

    Below normal is coloured UV and IR?

  2. cynical_scientist says:

    A single standard color scheme? Imagine the kind of standard the thermists would like to impose. Perhaps not such a great idea.

  3. Rob says:

    I think we all know about how NCDC “presents” their maps and climate analysis. Been biased for
    decades now!

  4. DirkH says:

    Don’t give them crayons. They’ll only hurt themselves.

  5. Ursus Augustus says:

    It simply goes to illustrate how the cross breeding of science with the media has produced a corrupt, dishonest, fraudulent, agenda driven culture that can not retain any real credibility in the public discourse. The agenda of course is put the fear of Noah into the public at large, to resonate with those ancient legends and fables of devastation and armageddon and generally scare the live s^&t out of politicians and the public so that those funds keep on coming for climate “research”. This is the biggest scam since the Catholic Church selling indulgences and whatever under fear of eternal damnation. The peddlers of this crap are out in Pastor Phelps land.

  6. Caleb says:

    RE: DirkH says:
    March 27, 2014 at 1:47 am

    They won’t hurt themselves if they wear the required goggles and helmets.

  7. ChristoperPL says:

    I know the answer is self-obvious, but if what they’re selling is correct, why do they have to lie?

  8. Alan the Brit says:

    DirkH says:
    March 27, 2014 at 1:47 am
    Don’t give them crayons. They’ll only hurt themselves.

    Caleb says:
    March 27, 2014 at 1:57 am
    RE: DirkH says:
    March 27, 2014 at 1:47 am
    They won’t hurt themselves if they wear the required goggles and helmets.

    Oh how wonderful! You must have been watching British tv! I await with baited breath the next cookery show to see the great James Martin so attired just to cook an effin omlette!!!!!!! Oh what a wonderful politically correct Elf & Safety litigious world in which we live! Mod, snip as appropriate! ;-)

  9. pat says:

    JoanneNova: Dennis Jensen MP — Calls for audit on the BOM and CSIRO data
    http://joannenova.com.au/2014/03/dennis-jensen-mp-calls-for-audit-on-the-bom-and-csiro-data/#comments

  10. eric1skeptic says:

    There were two tricks to the plot. The colors mentioned here and the period of record. The normals like -5.5 in Hartford are based only on the past 30 years of temperature and this past February was indeed much colder than the 30 year normal. The divisional ranks are based on whether the station is the record coldest (or warmest), or top 10% or top 10 (not sure) in the past 100 years. They excluded stations with shorter periods of record and even some stations with long periods of record (the Meehl trick) because they didn’t meet some other “quality” criteria.

    Therefore stations like Marquette which had a record coldest February are not included. It would have been painted dark blue in the first chart. The reason is that the Marquette period of record is too short, only back to 1961 or so.

    There are errors in the map perhaps due to the “quality” criteria. Several Great Plains cities with 100+ year periods of record were top 10 coldest in February but were painted light (barely perceptible) blue. I don’t have them in front of me, but will post them later when I relocate them.

  11. eric1skeptic says:

    Here’s some of the stations with top 10 coldest Februaries, see “February 2014 Top 10 Rankings – Highlights” in http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/publications/files/2014_02_climatesummary.pdf Those were not painted the medium blue in graphic at the top. Possibly because they were smeared with non-top-10 stations like Hansen would do, or because they didn’t meet “quality” criteria like Meehl would do. “Quality” in this case really means has good urban heat island warming characteristics.

  12. jauntycyclist says:

    Put something on the web and if it has holes someone will always point it out. Many years ago i did an experiment of putting increasing subtle and obscure mistakes in posts on boards to see what would happen. They were always corrected.

    The big selling point of ipcc and the rest they tell us its peer reviewed. However there is a divergence between the peer reviewed stuff and what is presented to the public. In IPCC presentations to the public the caveats are taken out but in their own videos the ipcc groups talk about the caveats. However they use the ‘peer review’ authority to sell the presentations to the public which haven’t been reviewed by anyone.

    Anyone who challenges the misleading presentations to the public gets shouted down by those saying ‘the IPCC are peer reviewed’ and so claim peer review status for the public presentations which have no such status.

    The co2 dogma presentations for public consumption are sexed up like the iraq dossier or like the information in Powell’s WMD speech to the UN.

    Peer review is one thing. The Looking Glass World and Flying Circus of snake oil presentations to the public another.

  13. rogerknights says:

    Here’s an apropos book on Amazon, How to Lie with Maps, at http://www.amazon.com/How-Lie-Maps-Mark-Monmonier/dp/0226534219/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1395915918&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+lie+with+maps+2nd+edition

    A reviewer stated, “To show how maps distort, Monmonier . . . covers all the typical kinds of distortions from deliberate oversimplifications to the misleading use of color.”

  14. Eric says:

    They use different saturation levels for the colors as well. You can check it out in PS using the HSB color space.
    Below average – 12% saturation
    Above average – 44% saturation
    Much below average – 85% saturation
    Much above average – 99% saturation

  15. philjourdan says:

    For “normal”, they must pick the coldest handful of years over the past 30 as a baseline. Because Gail will tell you that NC was not near normal. Nor was her neighbor to the north. Of course it does compare well with the coldest winter in the past 30 years. So that must be normal to them.

  16. Doug Huffman says:

    Apropos book? How about a classic; The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Tufte
    http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/

  17. hunter says:

    Climate obsession has corrupted nearly every area of society.

  18. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    Warming of 2 to 4 degrees is “Much above Average” while cooling of 8 to 9 degrees is merely “Below Average”? Climastrologists want us to believe warming is more significant than cooling by more than 2 to 1!

    Fraud: deceit, trickery, intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right.

  19. Anto says:

    These people are not scientists.

  20. Alan Robertson says:

    Alan the Brit says:
    March 27, 2014 at 2:38 am

    ” I await with baited breath…”
    __________________________
    Trying to catch a crawdad?

  21. rtj1211 says:

    If you enjoy yourself/be a sad bugger and look at the NOAA maps over the past century or so, you can learn a lot of interesting things about USA weather.

    Here are a few which stare out often:

    1. The continent often splits in half with regard to temperature, precipitation but the direction of the divisor might be north-south, it might be NW-SE. I can’t remember seeing any SW-NE, but I might be wrong there. The very cold winters of the northern mid-West are often not mirrored on the West Coast.
    2. Maine’s climate is often out of synch with the trends of much of the rest of the country.
    3. If you look at a variety of states across the map, you may find that one trend in one year in one state may tend to get repeated in another one, two or three years after. Why I have no idea but there may be something in that.

    If you wanted your kids to learn a few things about the US climate, you could do worse than sit down a few evenings and look at a few charts, whilst tabulating on an Excel spreadsheet anything you find interesting.

  22. Bill Illis says:

    They are only the agency of record that maintains US and world temperature histories.

    They are also the agency of record which implements the adjustment algorithms to account for changes in the manner that temperatures are recorded.

    And they are not objective as they have proved over and over again.

    This is not the proper segregation of duties which would occur in most other areas of commercial, public policy, money-handling, protecting henhouse activities.

    This relationship really has to be changed.

  23. CodeTech says:

    The map and accompanying text are brilliant examples of deception.

    I was unable to discern the light blue at all initially. At first glance, any reasonable person would see lots of warming with only a small spot of cooling. Kudos to the deceptive creators of that map.

    Now if only they would use their powers for good.

  24. rxc says:

    Progressives take quotes out of context, cherry pick data, mis-use and mis-apply analytical methods, spin, and just plain lie in order to further their agenda.

  25. KevinM says:

    Conservatives take quotes out of context, cherry pick data, mis-use and mis-apply analytical methods, spin, and just plain lie in order to further their agenda.

  26. KevinM says:

    libertarians take quotes out of context, cherry pick data, mis-use and mis-apply analytical methods, spin, and just plain lie in order to further their agenda.

  27. KevinM says:

    Bloggers take quotes out of context, cherry pick data, mis-use and mis-apply analytical methods, spin, and just plain lie in order to further their agenda.

  28. Doug Huffman says:

    Progressivism is the political bowel movement of the left, center and right to make-things-better, damn the unintended consequences that will echo through history.

  29. Coach Springer says:

    Michael Mann is not an outlier in the misrepresentation of data. I’m book marking this one to remind me that our national science agencies are anti-science and pro-political. If a mutual fund company tried this, they’d be the subject of massive civil litigation and enforcement actions by the SEC, states and self-regulatory orgs. And then they would cease to exist.

  30. Doug Huffman says:

    I use NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center frequently and have a devil of a time discerning the shade differences amongst the various color coded notices, “Izzat baby-blue or powder-blue?”

  31. MarkW says:

    In southern Texas, -1.8 is colored white, but in northern Utah, +0.8 is colored yellow.

  32. Bonanzapilot says:

    Preparing for dramatic climate change as I take off from Managua heading for Los Angeles. ;) My plan is to adapt…

  33. TheLastDemocrat says:

    Tufte says use lighter/fainter colors, and use only one color, with many subtle gradations: the human eye can distinguish between very slight differences, and it is easier to grasp the overall data patterns.

    Tufte notes this map of an earthquake’s varying intensity across a region-
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/11/science/11quak.html?_r=0

    As screens get ever-more capable, we should be moving in this direction.

  34. Ima says:

    “At first glance, it seems that NCDC has a clear warm bias, but I’ll also point out that these divisional ranks are made up from data from dozens to hundreds of weather stations. As we know, some weather stations are good, some are bad in the way the are maintained and produce data, so the city anomalies, while interesting and suggestive that there might be a warm bias, isn’t definitive. Apples/oranges and all that.”

    I’m not buying it. Is it reasonable for all variances to fall in one direction? One of these maps is misleading. At a minimum the variances need to be analysed and understood before individuals can accept that one-way variances are normal and not an attempt at data distortion. The variances MUST NOT BE sloughed off as “apples/oranges and all that.”

    Skeptic sites indicate temperature manipulation over the past century with variances magnifying a global warming trend. This chart appears to magnify the current temperature variances in favor of warming. The hockey stick and other charts are claimed to distort historic temperature changes.

    We can differ on our opinions, but not on our facts. If the facts are being distorted, then this should be discernible and it would be the clearest evidence that someone is being dishonest, unethical, at the least incompetent, and hence not qualified to participate in the science or its debate.

  35. Tom J says:

    That NCDC Feb. 2014 map has Graphic Design written all over it. Corporate Graphic Design departments oftentimes fall under either Communications or Sales. I wonder what the government equivalents to these departments are? At least with corporations you’re usually free to choose to buy their products.

  36. policycritic says:

    If the NCDC is releasing this info for the general public, then it’s disingenuous, and they should be censured for obfuscation. They label the first crudely drawn and uninformative map “February 2014 Climate Report” with the full weight of the government behind it. Regular folk don’t go through the verbal gymnastics of what’s in a chart, what’s not in a chart, based on availability and use of professional software to verify NCDC’s monthly 1600-page data file, and then make a meteorologist’s distinction of what’s being displayed and what’s not.

    I first saw Joe D’Aleo’s labeled chart on Steve Goddard’s site, and tried to find the source of D’Aleo’s anomaly values. I certainly couldn’t find the link Anthony publishes above: http://gis.ncdc.noaa.gov/map/cag/#app=cdo.

    NOAA/NCDC have no one but themselves to blame for the disdain the majority of the American public now have (according to polls) for the climate change issue. We feel we’re being dicked with. And we are.

  37. Ryan P says:

    Another interesting take would be to reverse the colors and see how dramatic the map appeared then. Put the bright reds and oranges as they would display if the sign of the anomaly were reversed and the warm in the light blues. Put the maps side by side and see which one stands out more.

  38. KenF says:

    Besides mapping representation (full disclousure, I am a professional GIS mapper), there is another issue about NCDC on presenting February temperatures that worth addressing: the way they present the section of “February 2014 Winter Cold: Historical Perspective”.

    If you check their link from NCDC
    (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2014/2/supplemental/page-3/) they will provide you the (a) day-by-day temperature from Dec 2013 to Feb 2014 compared with 1981-2010 normal and (b) the coldest day of the winter compared with cold outbreaks from the station’s deeper history, by comparing the number of days with temperatures as cold or colder than the threshold occurred each year (in NCDC words).
    I have particular issue with (b). Since we know what make this winter so cold is not about the record low temperatures, but rather the frequent (and prolonged) cold wave and the well-below normal AVERAGE temperautre from Dec 2013-Feb 2014. NCDC definitely aware of this and use the more fuzzy approach to represent part (a) and cherry pick the threshold on part (b).
    To illustrate my point, I choose two cities from midwest: Fort Wayne IN and Minneapolis-St. Paul MN. According to Northern Indiana WFO, Fort Wayne has the 6th coldest winter (20.7F from Dec 2013 to Feb 201, or 6.7 degrees below normal) and the 19 days with low temperatures below 0F (compared with 1981-2010 normal of 6.5 days)
    Then what does NCDC do? On representing average temperatures (part a), instead of showing tables and figures how they ranked with “station’s deeper history, they just do a fuzzy bar diagram in order to show “hey, we know this winter is cold, but there are still some warm days”.
    Part b is ABSOLUTELY ATROCIOUS: instead of using the standard Zero F that normally used, they pick -15F as the threshold, then show there are “only” 2 days in winters with temperatures below-15F, which attempt to make it a “normal winter”!
    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/us/2014/feb/thresh/tmin.USW00014827.png

    Same thing can be applied to MSP. This is the 9th coldest winter for twin cities (9.7F) in history all the way from 1876 (http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/journal/coldest_winters.html). According to NWS regional office, there are 50 days of below Zero F days in twin Cities from Dec 2013 to Feb 2014 (53 days if you include Zero days itself, and this figure did NOT include March), which is ranked 5th in history.
    http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mpx&storyid=100778&source=2
    Then what does NCDC treat those facts? They pick the threshold at -20F! It effectively reduced the days below -20F to 2 days and the chart show it almost as if it is a warmer-than-normal winter!
    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/us/2014/feb/thresh/tmin.USW00014922.png

    Welcome to this world, as cherry picking the thresholds and moving the goalposts are NCDC expertise. We must not let their malpractice off the hook!

  39. David Norman says:

    Might I be so bold, in the “color” sense, to suggest that the NCDC consider using the Martha Stewart line of paint colors to standardize their graphic presentation… Martha’s color schemes seemed appropriate somehow. My personal choices in this respect are:
    Record coldest; forget me not
    Much below average; Winters Day
    Below average; Pale Earth
    Near average; Heavenly Blue
    Above average; Everyday Green
    Much above average; Sunflower
    Record average; Terra Rosa

  40. eric1skeptic says:

    Some commenters don’t seem to understand that they are doing a comparison of the past February to 100+ past Februaries to get the color. If this past February is in the top 10 or 10% (not sure which, it gets the orange color. There were no top warmest Febs, so no reds. If this past February was one of the 10 coldest (or 10% coldest, not sure), then it gets the visible blue.

    My question is how they are getting the February averages from 100 years ago. Are those the actual measured temperatures for each day turned into the monthly average, or are those temperatures that have been homogenized or adjusted downwards to make past temperatures colder?

    Even if they are not adjusted, it is still highly misleading to use a “top 10 coldest” coloring when the early 20th century was filled with abnormally cold years. Obviously the top 10 could easily be those years and urbanization since that time would make it impossible to beat at many sites.

  41. eric1skeptic says:

    I should add urbanization doesn’t just make it very hard to make a top 10 coldest in the past 100 years, but it makes it more likely in some cases to get a top 10 warmest primarily from high low temperatures, lack of radiational cooling etc.

    I’m also not sure if they use just somewhat crappy USHCN for the data source or add other even crappier sites. But the question of homogenization is the most important one.

  42. Damian says:

    We are just one more inane regulation from Utopia. Always.

  43. Pamela Gray says:

    Shades of pastels on a notebook screen blend and smear to nothing depending on the slope of the screen to your eyes. Baby blue can entirely disappear and become white unless that slope is at an exact degree. Down with NOAA’s stupid use of closely matching pastels!!!!

  44. Tony Hills says:

    If anybody thinks it is not unusually cold, this Natural gas report shows a disturbing trend if you scroll down to the graph. Anybody who does not like fracking better get a wood pellet stove and some solar panels quick! What happens when coal plants convert to Nat Gas and we start exporting Nat Gas at the same time? Is our government planning for this or are we going to have a problem if the summer is hot or we get another cold winter? England came within 3 days of running out of Nat Gas recently. Either people have to start conserving or there will have to be expanded drilling. Solar is only 1% of our electricity supply and wind not much more.

  45. Tony Hills says:

    oops, forgot the link. http://ir.eia.gov/ngs/ngs.html

  46. Pamela Gray says:

    30 years from now, these cold temperatures will be “homogenized” in order to account for natural variation, viewed as a nuisante pest to be eradicated from the holy halls of model data.

    Unless we stop this charade by a world-wide collective vote against climate change stupidity and the political engines that keep it both oiled and running.

  47. evanmjones says:

    After all, do they really want people “seeing red” when they really should be seeing blue?

    Pretty much.

  48. rogerknights says:

    Good enuf for “Dr.” Karl.

  49. evanmjones says:

    I’m not buying it. Is it reasonable for all variances to fall in one direction?

    Yes.

    There are two major biases in surface stations both of these biases affect both absolute measurements and (more important) trend as well:

    One is TOBS. That is a strong cooling bias. But that is fully corrected for (if not overcorrected).

    The other is microsite, which is an even stronger bias than TOBS. A warming bias. That is not corrected for. In fact, it is ANTI-corrected for: The well sited stations are adjusted upwards to match the poorly sited stations.

    Stipulating that the above is correct, would you accept that ” all variances to fall in one direction”?

    At a minimum the variances need to be analysed and understood before individuals can accept that one-way variances are normal and not an attempt at data distortion.

    Been there, done that. It’s a major subject of Anthony’s pending paper. When the paper is published, you will be able to independently review for yourself and determine if said analysis is or is not correct.

    We can differ on our opinions, but not on our facts. If the facts are being distorted, then this should be discernible and it would be the clearest evidence that someone is being dishonest, unethical, at the least incompetent, and hence not qualified to participate in the science or its debate.

    The facts are being distorted, and very badly. However I see no evidence that the distortion is intentional. It appears to be an unintended of artifact of homogenization combined with the discounting of microsite effect on trend.

  50. DesertYote says:

    DirkH says:
    March 27, 2014 at 1:47 am

    Don’t give them crayons. They’ll only hurt themselves.
    ###

    The first thing that popped into my mind as I read your comment was of a Josh style cartoon of preschoolers in lab coats sticking crayons up their noses.

  51. highflight56433 says:

    There are three color cones in the eye. Red Green and Blue. The red cone is sensitive to a wide range of wavelengths, it is not only activated by wavelengths of red light, but also (to a lesser extent) by wavelengths of orange light, yellow light and even green light. The green cone likewise is sensitive to an even wider range. Red and Green combined produce the yellows and oranges visually in the brain with the most impact. Blue is the least sensitive with the least range coverage.

    So guess what the color scheme is for colder areas? Duh..pale blues…less impact visually.

  52. “Unusual cold, and record warmth”. I think they meant Unusual warmth, and record cold. Funny how you can easily change the emphasis..

  53. Barbara Skolaut says:

    I call bullshit. I live in central Virginia, and we WEREN’T “near normal.” I’ve been freezing my a@@ off for months. And I don’t even want to THINK about my power and oil bills. >:-(

  54. OMan says:

    Why not use degree-days (and thus year’s departure from averages) to give a sense of how “much” cold we have had. A kind of index of the integrated un-warmth experienced over the whole course of the season; in a form that anybody who’s paying a heating bill can readily appreciate.

  55. highflight56433 says:

    Barbara Skolaut says:
    March 27, 2014 at 11:27 am …..And I don’t even want to THINK about my power and oil bills. >:-(

    ….“Under my cap and trade plan,” Obama said, “electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.”

  56. george e. conant says:

    I have five beautiful scantilly clad fashion models who all agree that this winter was very cold east of the rockies and north of the gulf ….. They don’t like pastels either

  57. dmacleo says:

    as little as 1.5+ (FL) means above average but -3.4 (ME) is near average.
    thats pretty telling.

  58. Mike Maguire says:

    If I wasn’t somebody monitoring the weather every day and having stats for everything, that includes a record drawdown(from last Fall) in natural gas supplies/storage because of sustained, extreme cold over such a vast portion of our nation and only read this blatantly biased description, I would never guess the WInter they described above was the one we just had.

    Having the Great Lakes almost completely frozen is incredible. You can throw out the thermometers or human interpretation ………or human influence. This was of course one of the “regional” extremes related to the widespread cold/snowy weather over a huge portion of the populated Midwest and East Coast.

    They felt the need to throw in that this Winter was just the coldest since 2009/10 and that it was in sharp contrast to the previous two winters, and most winters of the past 2 decades, when temperatures were predominantly warmer that the 20th century average. …That caveat, was an obvious way to lessen the significance of such a cold Winter with biased interpretation. Winter precipitation was much below average. True but this was Winter and Arctic air does not hold alot of moisture. The real story for anybody that was watching were the dozens of snow and ice events over the eastern 2/3rds of the country.

    Why not this: This Winter and the one from 2009/10(Just 4 years ago) were the 2 coldest Winters in the last 35 years? Sure, I might be biased on the other side but in the context of the past decade featuring the 5 Winters with the most snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere since 1978 and the halt in global warming that also coincides exactly with those years, it’s clear that their description, painting 2013/14 as an “outlier” because it was cold and had “regional” heavy snow is a very misleading one.
    http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_seasonal.php?ui_set=nhland&ui_season=1

    Based on their description, I would expect the predominately warmer winters of the past 2 decades to resume now. This is an attempt to lead the reader down that path.

    You don’t use more natural gas for residential heating than ever before in history during Winter, unless extreme, sustained cold was the dominating factor over a massive part of the US.

    Their map does not convey this reality, which could be intentional or unintentional viewed by itself. However their verbal description to me, clearly attempts to down play the significance and chosen words are VERY intentional, so my biased opinion is that it is not just a coincidence that maps which were released are very misleading and supportive of the wording.

  59. Doug Allen says:

    Thanks KenF. I agree that NCDC is obscuring the data of near cold winter days by their choices of temperature threshold.

  60. Doug Allen says:

    oops -
    of near record cold winter days
    Their choices of temperature threshold and color probably didn’t happen by accident!

  61. more soylent green! says:

    “compared with 1981-2010 normal

    What is the normal temperature? I believe you mean 1981-2010 average. Use of the word normal implies the current weather is abnormal or not normal.

  62. Eric says:

    I wish everyone would look for their cities and tell this group if the map makes any sense. Here in Virginia I can tell you the map is full of BS. We have been below average for the entire 2014 year and most definitely the the 2013 year. This map shows us at average.

  63. policycritic says:

    KenF says:
    March 27, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Thanks for your post, Ken. I’m preserving it because your explanation as a professional GIS mapper and the examples you show of what NCDC has done are stunning to me, much more than the D’Aleo numbers overlaid on NCDC’s original freddy flintstone map.

    Someone here at WUWT should ask you to write about a post about this.

  64. policycritic says:

    Ah! Just saw you updated this post with KenF’s comment. Excellent.

  65. Doug Proctor says:

    Global warming is global is it occurs in one region, apparently. Because that is the point of the map, to show “warm”.

    By simple addition, the “warm” adds up to +50.9, the “cool”, to -266.6. So February is “cool” in the contiguous United States. Unless climate is weather.

    Regional, not global, but since the news media is exception-reporting-dominant, regional IS global (just as one shooting in Texas means that gunmen are going crazy all over America this week).

  66. AlexS says:

    Like someone said above:

    These people are not Scientists.

  67. DesertYote says:

    Doug Huffman says:
    March 27, 2014 at 4:25 am

    Apropos book? How about a classic; The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte
    ###

    Great book. As a Software Engineer specializing in the test of Microwave test equipment, this book was indispensable.

  68. elmer says:

    So now we’re berating them for not using the right shade of blue? I think there are worse distortions then this.

  69. Gary H says:

    The invention of colors (this must have occurred during the late 1970′s), has changed everything.

  70. philjourdan says:

    @Barbara Skolaut – I live in the same area, and am SOOOOO glad I just got a new heat pump last year!

  71. Mike Wryley says:

    I would also propose that while temperature measurements in degrees are linear in a physical sense, the changes to biological systems due to temperature are not. A swing from 40 F to 20 F is one thing, and after this winter in the Midwest, 20 F is almost shirtsleeve weather, but another 20F drop to 0F is downright nasty. Temperatures near zero F and below get dangerous in a hurry. I assume someone has quantified this, but I think temp extremes at either end the data should have a weighting factor.

  72. Edohiguma says:

    Willful deception. Most people will not read the articles, nor the explanation of the colors. they will see the colors and that’s it. Those colors are highly suggestive and I’m pretty sure that’s done on purpose.

  73. Lightrain says:

    They are harming themselves with obvious lies. People know it was cold, trying to tell them it was normal will only increase the number of skeptics. Skeptics know the truth and won’t be swayed by the BS.

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