Baked Alaska? Propaganda film suggests children in Alaska have no snow


Guest Essay by Kip Hansen

clip_image002Over at the Dot Earth blog at the New York Times, Andy Revkin highlighted a cute YouTube made by James Barthelman, an elementary school teacher in Quinhagak, Alaska. It is very cute with cubby faced little kids dressed up for snow – but they haven’t any. Of course, it is only the 5th of December when they shot the video, and the start of our winter was still two weeks away. The sound track is wonderful – The Drifters, singing “White Christmas”. I always dreamed of a White Christmas too, but growing up in Los Angeles kind of ruled it out as a possibility.

Here’s the video (and I hope they make some advertising money from it):

The kids really want a White Christmas, like I did, but didn’t get one as far as I can find out – as of yesterday, this river delta area of Alaska is still snowless, though there is snow cover to the North and South and East.

Here’s the Weather Underground snow depth map for Alaska as of 1 January. The almost invisible brown dot, circled in lime green, is Quinhagak, Alaska.


To be absolutely fair, there is no evidence that the schoolteacher or the kids were attempting to make any other statement than “We’re dreaming of a White Christmas…” and hoping for Fall snow in time for Christmas. The propaganda starts later, according to Professor Revkin, “after Mike MacCracken, chief scientist for the Climate Institute, brought it to the attention of the American Meteorological Society’s Committee on Effective Communication of Weather and Climate Information (I’m one of several journalist members).” “He [MacCraken] described the student video as a ‘powerful way of communicating how the climate is changing.’ I [Revkin] expressed some doubts, noting how much variability there is in Alaskan conditions, so I asked him for a bit more.”

Revkin was entirely right to demand more from MacCraken, who has attempted to turn this fun video into some kind of statement on Alaskan climate. According to Revkin, MacCraken’s reply is “talking about the value of the video in conveying how long-term trends will play out in Alaska” followed by a fairly normal “if things keep up like this” alarmist lecture.

To his credit, Andy Revkin does not entirely buy this. Although he fails to simply refute it logically or with fact-checked data for us, he does provide a link to Dr. Uma Bhatt’s powerful and informative “Climate of Alaska: Past, Present and Future,” a recent presentation by Uma S. Bhatt, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Dr. Bhatt’s conclusions:

– Alaska has warmed but not in a simple manner.

– Alaska represents a complex location climatologically, impacted by various circulations.

– Climate research results are not always easy to explain in a simple way. We usually add many caveats!!

– Conclusions based on the preponderance of evidence suggest humans have impacted the climate. Controversy arises as people translate the science into policy change?

I will present here just a few of the elements of Dr. Bhatt’s presentation which I would have used as a counter to MacCraken if I had been writing the Dot Earth blog post and which will also suffice to disarm the alarmist comments added as an update by Revkin from Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist at Stanford University, along the lines of “These are the kinds of unusual events where people really feel the climate system.” (Note: There has been no event and there is nothing unusual about it.)

First lets’s start with Revkin’s opening line: “While most of the lower 48 states are shivering their way into 2015, in much of Alaska the concern is persistent warmth.” The persistent warmth link leads to an Alaska Dispatch News story, dated on 24 Dec 2014, which leads with “The National Weather Service has confirmed it: This has been an unusually warm winter so far, at least in Anchorage and Fairbanks.” [Pardon my digression here, but the first day of Winter is 21 December. Three days before the publishing date….maybe no one told them when Winter starts – well, really, in Alaska they speak of winter starting on the first of November.] How warm has it been? “The average Anchorage temperature from Nov. 1 through Dec. 23 was 29.3 degrees.” “The story is similar in Fairbanks. As of midday Wednesday, Fairbanks had not yet had a day this winter with a temperature of minus 20°F or lower, the National Weather Service said. In only two other years on record has Fairbanks gone so long into winter without temperatures dipping to minus 20…”. The reported (and apparently alarming) persistent warmth is: Anchorage having an average temperature below freezing for all of November and the first three weeks of December and Fairbanks having failed to achieve a day with temperatures below -20°F. (yes, that’s below minus 20°F or below minus 27.6°C).

Only in 21st century climate science could persistent below-freezing temperatures in a major US city or the failure to have dangerously low sub-zero temperatures in another, be called “persistently warm”.

For those of you who don’t know, Anchorage is a coastal city located where the Knick River enters an arm of the Gulf of Alaska on the southern shore of Alaska. Thus its climate is modified by the relatively warmer waters around it. Fairbanks, on the other hand, lays far inland, north and east of Mount McKinley, [native name Mt. Denali] in the central Tanana Valley, where the Chena River meets the Tanana River, but at a rather low elevation of only 446 feet.

For that matter, where is Quinhagak, Alaska?…. and what kind of place is it?


It is a little fishing village, at the mouth of a tremendously (historically) large alluvial gravel floodplain of the Kanektak River, where the river has formed the geological formation described in this Wiki quote: “When a river reaches a low-lying plain, often in its final course to the sea or a lake, it meanders widely. In the vicinity of a river bend, deposition occurs on the convex bank (the bank with the smaller radius). In contrast, both lateral erosion and undercutting occur on the cut bank or concave bank (the bank with the greater radius.) Continuous deposition on the convex bank and erosion of the concave bank of a meandering river cause the formation of a very pronounced meander with two concave banks getting closer. The narrow neck of land between the two neighboring concave banks is finally cut through, either by lateral erosion of the two concave banks or by the strong currents of a flood. When this happens, a new straighter river channel is created and an abandoned meander loop, called a cutoff, is formed. When deposition finally seals off the cutoff from the river channel, an oxbow lake is formed. This process can occur over a time scale from a few years to several decades and may sometimes become essentially static.” It is clear from the geography that this process has been going on for thousands of years around Quinhagak – which sits at two “cut banks”, one on the major stream bend to the Northwest and one from the bend at the other end of town, on the Northeast. It is no wonder that they suffer erosion of the banks – that is the very nature of this whole area. Like many parts of the Alaskan coast, it can be bare of accumulated snow, even in winter. [Note that this type of erosion cuts away virtually any kind of bank – sand, soil, gravel, sandstone, permafrost and even solid rock, given enough time.]

So, what about this claimed persistent warmth? Is it factual, actually, really true? Sorta true? Not so true?

Let’s reference Dr. Bhatt’s presentation (which, by the way, contains lots of other illustrations, many of which can be interpreted quite differently than those I use here):

Here’s a 2,000 year temperature reconstruction from Kaufman 2009:


I think we see similar temperatures to today’s in the 300-400 AD range, a little higher, along with an evident Little Ice Age roughly 1600-1900, then warming to date.

Let’s try another offering from Bhatt :


This seems to run right up to the end of 2012 – and shows something quite curious. I’m sure it’s obvious. Low temps 1949-1973, trending down. Then 1973-1980, huge step-up to a 20-year plateau 1981 through 2001. This is followed quickly by a four-year spike, 2002-2005, then a precipitous decline through the end of 2012. Another fake graph from skeptics? No, from the Artic Climate Research Center at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute.

If you are beginning to feel that there is some disconnect between the press reports of warmest year on record, persistent warmth, etc. — you may have something.

Let’s try for some clarity on this now:


What they have done here is divide Alaska up into its natural climatic zones (their opinion, of course) and graphed each separately, on a single graph. We see mirrored here the warm 1930s-40s. The global cooling period 1945-1975 (rough dates here, folks, we are just talking about this). Then the 1975-1978 spike/step-up, then? After 1978, roughly even-steven right to present time.

But, but, but…where’s the Great Baked Alaska? Here:


This is why Dr. Bhatt says “Alaska has warmed but not in a simple manner.” This image is very informative, and very much why the lines offered by MacCraken and Diffenbaugh have to be labeled propaganda.

What is the real situation in Alaska that we see so clearly illustrated above?

If we look at the entire time period 1920-2012, block “a”, we see almost all regions have warmed. This accords with our general understanding of the Earth (or, maybe easier to agree upon, the Northern Hemisphere) warming up, in my opinion, from the depths of the Little Ice Age – starting at that low point, we are almost certain to be trending up as it is definitely warmer today.

Block “b”, 1921-1950, shows eight of the thirteen regions are trending down in this time period, which includes the usually very warm 1930s of the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of the cooling period following WW II. Most of the warming in this period is the North Slope, Northeast Interior and the West Coast, primarily the first two.

Block “c”, which includes the huge step-up in 1975-1978, shows warming almost everywhere.

But it is the final block “d” which informs us of the current climatic trends in Alaska: Only the North Slope shows extraordinary warming with quite significant warming also in the Northeast Interior. The Central Interior warmed a bit. The rest of the state has cooled, all throughout the 1980-2000 rise seen in global average temperatures. Even with the almost-two-degree warming on the North Slope, the state average as a whole only experienced 0.1 degrees of warming through this most recent 30-year period – the usual standard time-period for a climatic signal.

What of Diffenbaugh’s “long term-trends”? North Slope and interiors warming. Rest of Alaska? It has had 30-years of cooling.

Where is poor suffering Quinhagak? There on the West Coast, just to the left of the blue rectangle marked “-0.8”. Suffering Anchorage? In the Cook Inlet Region, marked “-0.2”. Suffering Fairbanks? In the Southeast Interior, marked “-0.1”. Each of them has an overall cooling trend from 1981.

Note that to be totally accurate and fair, I should show temperature graphs of each of these localities – but this essay is about the misuse data separated from its scale. Little Quinhagak did miss its White Christmas – a little brown dot on the coast a vast white snow covered plain. Anchorage, a sea port, has had a mild (for them) November and December. Fairbanks has been spared dangerously low temperatures in the first two months of its local winter.

This essay so far is meant to illustrate the un-scientific use of data to promote ideas that are true but not significant in any real sense. Alaska as a whole has a warming trend, both short-term and long-term. But most of Alaska, and all of its significantly populated portions, have been regionally cooling over the last 30 years. The itty-bitty brown spot around Quinhagak without snow cover in December this year means less than nothing (it gains a negative value from its use as a point of misinformation about Alaskan climate as a whole.) But showing this graphically doesn’t advance climate science, I’ll admit – we’ve just exposed a bit of propagandistic bunkum.

But let’s do take a look at the North Slope this winter – how’s it going for them up in Baked Alaska this year?


So where does this leave us?

Let’s check in one last time with Dr. Bhatt, our local Alaskan Climate Expert.

Well, there you have it. Draw your own conclusions, form your own opinions. Dr. Bhattclip_image020 suggests in this last graphic that temperatures of twelve of the thirteen Alaskan climate regions are coupled intimately to the PDO, with only the North Slope, an outlier, on a steady rise since the mid-1980s.

# # # # #

Author’s Replies Notice: Professor Revkin teaches courses at Pace University on blogging, environmental-science communication and documentary video with a focus on sustainable development, as well as writing the Dot Earth blog at the NY Times. With Andy, what you see is what you get. I would prefer that readers forgo the usual counter-productive personal attacks on him, I give him a hard enough time by myself. Given his personal beliefs about world climate, he plays fair, as he sees it. He does like “cute”, “cool” and “neat” visual science communications efforts and, in my opinion, should pay more attention to the fact-checking requirements of the journalist code of ethics and the mores of science accuracy when judging them – as he often promotes clearly misleading propagandistic offerings – in this case it seems to me that, overall, he allows a “fun” effort by kids to be high-jacked by others for Climate Wars purposes.

That said, I have supplied links to the papers used here–look for links in the images. My real interest was in the misuse of the video by climate activists. I found the situation in Alaska, as illustrated by Dr. Bhatt, very enlightening. I don’t have any informed opinion on any of the climate issues at all.

I do not like propaganda – from either side of the climate divide.

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Jean Meeus
January 4, 2015 12:18 am

It’s the astronomical winter that begins on 21 (or 22) December. The meteorological winter contains the months December, January and February, and hence begins by definition on December 1st.

Stephen Richards
Reply to  Jean Meeus
January 4, 2015 2:37 am

Depends on the country. In France the seasons begin on the ‘noxs’. Mid season, or climate mid season is on the 20th July and 20 Jan.
Met offices like to work in whole months. The maths is easier and Phil Jones can just about do it in Excel.

Reply to  Stephen Richards
January 4, 2015 3:25 pm

I’m certain Jean Meeus knows very well about the “noxs”, it’s an honor he occasionally comments on WUWT. Astronomical winter starts on the winter solstice (not a nox!) everywhere (Mars et al too), I assume by IAU definition. “I” for International and all that.
I like to claim New Hampshire’s winter in four months long, though I have trouble pointing start and end points. Last March I had “four daily lows below zero and three days above 50°F”, see for more whining. December-March might be good, but we frequently have high-impact snows in October and April. September and May rarely have snow, but it happens, and can be devastating since the deciduous trees are leafed out.
In 2001/2002 the mid year snow free period was only 157 days.
The point of all this – if Alaska has their own local definition(s) of winter, I fully support that.

Reply to  Jean Meeus
January 4, 2015 7:57 am

In Calgary:
+ Christmas- Brown (well, my front yard is still green, though)
+ Jan 4 – Oh man, are we ever paying for the nice Christmas weather

george e. smith
Reply to  Jean Meeus
January 4, 2015 11:31 am

So when did it last snow at Vostock station, and how many feet did they get then ??

Reply to  george e. smith
January 4, 2015 12:33 pm

Yet another bolt from the blue by george. 😀

James Evans
Reply to  Jean Meeus
January 5, 2015 11:04 am

Meanwhile, back in the traditional world of human experience, the *actual* winter starts on the first day that it’s really cold. Ish. Mind you, that’s from a UK perspective. Some places don’t have winter, no matter which bizarre “official” dates are quoted.

January 4, 2015 12:34 am

Way up north…
North! To Propaganda!
Way up north…
North! To Propaganda!
We’re going north to ram it home!
(Andy Revkin and James Barthelman, in their promotion of this tripe, should remember the ancient Eskimo curse “May the polar bear eat your genitals before your face” (loosely translated))

Reply to  Konrad.
January 4, 2015 6:53 am

I kind of enjoy “Alaska, The Last Frontier” about the Kilcher family, but lately they’ve been inserting “global warming” into every episode. They’re moaning about how warm the winters are now and how terrible that is. Barf…

Olaf Koenders
Reply to  snopercod
January 5, 2015 6:45 pm

I wonder what part of tradition demands that Christmas be white – anywhere? Just because there’s a song wistfully pining for it and kids therefore are deluded into thinking (and demanding) the same, why should the rest of the planet suffer?
Kids: Snow is cold, wet, utterly pointless and miserable. If you like your frostbite and chilblains, you can keep them.

Reply to  Konrad.
January 4, 2015 7:08 pm

Wouldn’t be easier to just send the tykes to Palermo Sicily and let them dispense with the Propaganda.

January 4, 2015 1:03 am

I look to see the temperature at Point Barrow –
every day and today is -8F and it has been mostly in the minus Fahrenheit range during most of December.

January 4, 2015 1:12 am

Won’t somebody please think of the children?
Or better yet, don’t think at all and just Feeeel….
Weather is always happening somewhere.

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley (even more ghostly at this time of year)
Reply to  MCourtney
January 4, 2015 1:29 am

You can’t say that in the UK!


Ouch, I hadn’t thought of that interpretation.
Still if it’s good enough for Tory Cabinet Minsters and Royals…

January 4, 2015 1:27 am
Reply to  mwhite
January 4, 2015 11:34 am

No doubt to a clear thinking mind. 🙂

January 4, 2015 2:00 am


Reply to  TimTheToolMan
January 4, 2015 2:12 am

Whether or not it’s the weather, we’ll weather it somehow.

January 4, 2015 2:30 am

Maybe no snow, but there seems to be frost on the fence rails.

Reply to  Oldseadog
January 4, 2015 10:50 am

Reply to Oldseadog ==> from this hopefully younger sea dog — you are right, of course (thank you for actually watching the YouTube!). The YouTube video shows that they have had some snow, but either not much not sticking much. Many of the scenes show obviously frozen ground. I think they’ve missed snow as they are a coastal river town — but I’d like someone there in Quinhagak to tell us how often they have grey/brown Christmases.

January 4, 2015 2:32 am

One thing is for sure: there is and there will allways be manipulation, depending on which interests should be protected. Then, there are to many financial and political interests that got involved in this climate change issue and it’s very difficult to take something for granted. A few weeks ago I was reading that polar bears are in distress, since they can’t find their food because of the climate change, now I read that they are doing fine and even their number is increasing……

January 4, 2015 2:32 am

Only in 21st century climate science could persistent below-freezing temperatures in a major US city or the failure to have dangerously low sub-zero temperatures in another, be called “persistently warm”.
This is absolutely true. Climate “science” is now all about propaganda and alarmism.

Robert B
Reply to  markstoval
January 4, 2015 1:36 pm

The coldest that I have ever experienced was in Germany in early June. -11°C in a metre of fresh snow. I should have made a video with some kids.

Reply to  Robert B
January 5, 2015 9:43 am

Reply to Robert B ==> Don’t move to Alaska, where, according to the Alaska Dispatch News, anything above 0F (in Anchorage) or above -20F (Fairbanks) is “persistently warm”.
Your -11C is +12F — which must be considered by Alaska Dispatch News standards — darned hot.

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)
January 4, 2015 2:37 am

That is one thing I have never understood Re: Andy Revkin- That he sometimes nails a home run for logic and reason….. and the next time I see his name, he’s playing whiffleball. And missing.

Reply to  Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)
January 4, 2015 10:53 am

Reply to Otter ==> I could say that about me too….but, listen, he owns owned?) a mini-van and a Prius, and felt obligated recently to publicly apologize for the mini-van, claiming necessity.
That should tell you something….

January 4, 2015 2:43 am

I dislike innocent kid’s videos used for propaganda purposes, so decided to do a little fact checking…
According to Weather Underground the high temperature for Quinhagat, Alaska on December 5th, 2014 was 39F and the low 21F. That is above normal, but not a record nor abnormally high. Most temperatures the rest of December were well below that. It’s probably why the teacher chose that day for the video.
For the month of December:
High Average Low
Max Temperature 43 °F 24 °F 8 °F
Mean Temperature 39 °F 20 °F 2 °F
Min Temperature 36 °F 14 °F -6 °F
Average snowfall for Quinhagat, Alaska for the ENTIRE month of December is 1.8″ of snow. The most ever recorded is 4″ for the entire month and the lowest was 1″. In other words, Quinhagat rarely, if ever, has a White Christmas. It rarely accumulates more than a trace of snow on any given day.
The video portrays pretty normal conditions for Quinhagat for that time of year.

Reply to  azleader
January 4, 2015 5:43 am

[azleader], would you happen to have a link for the ave. December snow in Quinhagak, Alaska?

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 4, 2015 5:53 am

Oops, sorry – azleader…

Reply to  azleader
January 4, 2015 5:46 pm

I wonder if that’s the point of the video?
They get the stinking cold weather, freezing temps and everything else that sub zero temps bring EXCEPT a White Christmas. This is very unfair to the kids, having to put up with all the bad things that cold brings but no snow to play in as recompense.
I’d complain too..

lemiere jacques
January 4, 2015 2:55 am

you dislike innocent kid…i stop reading there…shameful! in christmas time!

Reply to  lemiere jacques
January 4, 2015 4:36 am

I believe Christmas has passed.

Reply to  M Simon
January 4, 2015 11:35 am

12 days of Christmas

January 4, 2015 3:09 am

As this is going on he is still teaching kids at a young age. That is the sad part. The picture with the child hanging his (hers) head over the push bar and the sad looking one on the sled is a very powerful but misleading one, most kids would not sit still for a second in that kind of pose. Right now here we have had our third cold “snap” since the middle of November here in Canada (western) with temps as low as -14 to -17C. I am worried about our orchards and vineyards they can only go through these warm/cold cycles so many times during a winter season before a lot of damage is done.(even plants run out of anti-freeze). And thanks for the story it needs to be out there, forwarded asap.

Reply to  asybot
January 4, 2015 11:01 am

Reply to asybot ==> Personally, I don’t believe that the teacher, James Barthelman, an elementary school teacher in Quinhagak, had any intention of making a propaganda film — I think he just made a cute film about how much his kids wanted to see a White Christmas….frozen mud and gravel don’t have that much entertainment and just plain kid fun value.
I think others have attempted to highjack the video for Climate Wars purposes (politics).

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 5, 2015 1:08 am

@ Kip , you are right but at least after the commotion that he created he could have disconnected himself from the aftermath (maybe he did not even realize that that was going on). It seems to get harder for anyone to make an innocent video that then gets hijacked by others that twist the whole thing. I jumped the gun with my comment but after watching the video I have changed my mind to the way you interpreted the complete story and it’s aftermath, thanks.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 6, 2015 9:13 am

“…the teacher, James Barthelman, an elementary school teacher in Quinhagak, had any intention of making a propaganda film…”
I’m also sure the teacher isn’t part of any union, isn’t liberal and also doesn’t believe in CAGW.

January 4, 2015 3:18 am

The PDO i going negative soon so expect temps. to fall slowly.

Robin Hewitt
January 4, 2015 3:31 am

Goodness that girl on the sledge is not wearing socks. Makes me feel kind of pathetic, I couldn’t go out without socks and I bet it’s warmer here.

January 4, 2015 3:41 am

Face it…Greenland isn’t cooperating; neither is the Southern polar region; neither is the Northern polar regions; even England is under snow today. It’s a big world, lot’s of climate to search and obscure places to adjust temperatures.
Remember, it’s the “Hands Up” the public remembers, not the evidence (forensics). Politics is like that.

Reply to  cedarhill
January 4, 2015 4:33 am

“I can’t breathe” is more effective. But I particularly like – “It stops today.” – “Don’t touch me.” – “Just leave me alone.”

January 4, 2015 4:10 am

Actually Alaska, north of the coastal mountains, has always been a rather snow-poor area. Remember that Alaska (with western Yukon and parts of northeastern Siberia) is the only part of the Arctic that has never been glaciated. Even during the ice ages the little snow that fell there always melted in summer despite lower temperatures.

Reply to  tty
January 4, 2015 9:10 am

Reconstructions of glaciations do show Alaska ice free, but there’s no guarantee the coming glaciation will be so kind considering there are around 100,000 glaciers (mostly small and young) in Alaska now.

Hot under the collar
January 4, 2015 4:30 am

Although it may be nice to dream of a white Dickensian Christmas day, in reality if it snowed every day of winter it wouldn’t be so pleasant.

Paul Coppin
Reply to  Hot under the collar
January 4, 2015 7:10 am

It’s not – It’s a real drag, in fact.

January 4, 2015 4:30 am

I’m still waiting for a definition of “sustainable”.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  M Simon
January 4, 2015 8:26 am

“Sustainable” is a “camouflage” word designed to elicit an emotional response, a feel- good word. It’s prevalence in “popular” dialogue about the environment is maintained by the same propagandists within the Green/Red political sphere who work tirelessly to convince the populace that they must give up their freedoms in order to save the planet.
The word means nothing by itself, but is used to disguise the true sentiment of the context with which it is used- “you must submit to the noble cause”.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
January 4, 2015 10:00 pm

According to the OED sustainable means: “Capable of being maintained at a certain rate or level.”
Example: drawing on your capital at a rate that is equal to, or less than the interest earned on that capital is sustainable.
YMMV but I do suggest you invest in a dictionary while you spend more than you earn.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Alan Robertson
January 5, 2015 3:03 am

Yes, PG, sustainable does have real and alternative definitions. One could say that it means – to make a profit with your endeavors. However, as a hip and cool buzzword as used by the Greens, it is an indicator of sorts and raises questions: Is the user trendy, a true believer, or a propagandist?

Reply to  Alan Robertson
January 5, 2015 2:55 pm

I must say I disapprove the hijacking of useful words.

January 4, 2015 5:00 am

“He [MacCraken] described the student video as a ‘powerful way of communicating how the climate is changing.’

Get with the program folks. Snow is just the weather, lack of snow is climate change or a sure sign of global warming – which has stopped and Alaska temps are trending down.

January 4, 2015 5:01 am

Is this global warming or just the weather?
Quinhagak, AK
-14 °C

Reply to  Jimbo
January 4, 2015 6:16 pm

What is the theoretical temperature for today?

January 4, 2015 5:23 am

But most of Alaska, and all of its significantly populated portions, have been regionally cooling over the last 30 years.

The IPCC tells me that 30 years or more of data is climate.
Here is our Bob on Alaska’s climate shift.

Reply to  Jimbo
January 4, 2015 5:25 am

No. The “average” of “weather” data over 30 years = climate!

Reply to  Patrick
January 4, 2015 1:39 pm

Yes das capitan.

tom s
January 4, 2015 5:25 am

Well they can feel better in Fairbanks this week….low of -41F expected Monday Dec 05. Better plug the cars in.

January 4, 2015 5:59 am

Last year I made my own global warming scary video. It’s meant to scare children from 2 to 8 years old:
Feel free to use it if you want to scare an audience. It’s in Spanish but it only lasts 46 seconds, and the visual impact is more important than the script.

Michael 2
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
January 4, 2015 8:25 am

It would be better if it were not photographed with a brightly illuminated window directly behind your actor.

January 4, 2015 6:34 am

Synoptics, not “climate”. Jet stream north to Alaska (not as cold), south into Canada (colder). Like the late 70s. Get over it, propagandists.

Coach Springer
January 4, 2015 6:40 am

I could have made a video about snow on Halloween in a Chicago suburb. But I doubt ol Andy would have used it as counterpoint. As for the hi-jacked video, at least Chicken Little did his own “communications” – or more precisely, propaganda.

Paul Weber
January 4, 2015 6:50 am

Yes, to the surprise and astonishment of progressives/liberals, there are times when greenery exists in Alaska. I know that goes against what they’ve been taught in school, but it’s the simple truth.
Progressives/liberals face, solve, adjust. You’ve been lied to.

Reply to  Paul Weber
January 4, 2015 7:01 am

I was never taught anything about Alaska, other than the fact that Valdez, Alaska was named for a spanish explorer, that it’s impossible to find a restaurant serving paella, and that it has quite a few venezuelans who ran away from the Chavista dictatorship.

Reply to  Fernando Leanme
January 4, 2015 7:04 am

OK. How about the fact that there’s no sunlight as shown in the picture. During our ‘daylight’ hours down here, the sun in Alaska barely makes a show over the horizon. It’s dark.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Fernando Leanme
January 4, 2015 10:38 am

Wild Alaskan Paella Mixta
Traditional Spanish rice dish with prawns, scallops, salmon, rockfish, calamari,
chicken and chorizo baked with saffron Arborio rice, Spanish vegetables and fresh lemon
ludvigsbistro dot com/
Sitka, Alaska

January 4, 2015 6:57 am

The comments are disabled on the youtube video. No surprise as the alarmists cannot bear to hear any opinions but their own.

Reply to  Dave
January 4, 2015 7:03 am

You mean my global warming video? Or the one showing the snowless children crying?

January 4, 2015 7:02 am

This doesn’t make any sense. There is no sunlight visible during the day, as shown, in December in Alaska.

Reply to  Policycritic
January 4, 2015 7:09 am

Yes there is. I visited Alaska a few times and the southern part gets a little bit of sunlight in late December. The central part just south of the range and the north slope stays dark, but that’s very far away. On the other hand, I remember driving my son to the airport at midnight in sunlight, and that was in Anchorage. But it does get a little dark around 2 am.

Michael 2
Reply to  Policycritic
January 4, 2015 9:07 am

Part of me is embarrassed to reply but it is possible someone will believe you so here goes:
The phenomenon of round-the-clock darkness happens only north of the Arctic Circle (northern hemisphere anyway) and then only at the winter solstice. Continuing north you’ll have some days before and after the solstice also dark. The peak darkness is as the north pole, which has just one “day” per year; six months of sun visibility and six months without although it’s not quite that cut-and-dried either since it would take a few weeks or a month for the sun to slowly spiral down out of sight.
The Arctic Circle is 66° 32″ North.
Quinhagak is 59 44 North. That means at high noon on the solstice the sun will be the difference between these degrees above the horizon, or about 7 degrees above the southern horizon.
But December 5th isn’t yet the Solstice so it will be higher.
You can use this online calculator to discover sun angles, sunrise, sunset:,-161.9158,13/2014.12.05/09:35

Reply to  Michael 2
January 4, 2015 3:42 pm

What a neat calculator. I haven’t seen it before, thanks.
From my 30 year-old program that looks at just Sun & Earth motion, I got:

2014 Quinhagak, AK, Latitude   59.75  Longitude  161.92
  Date  Rise    Set  Light  Civil   Naut  Astro
Dec  1  8:22A  2:52P  6:31   0:54   1:49   2:41
Dec  2  8:23A  2:51P  6:28   0:54   1:49   2:41
Dec  3  8:25A  2:50P  6:25   0:54   1:50   2:42
Dec  4  8:27A  2:49P  6:22   0:55   1:50   2:42
Dec  5  8:29A  2:48P  6:19   0:55   1:51   2:43
Dec  6  8:31A  2:47P  6:16   0:55   1:51   2:43
Dec  7  8:32A  2:46P  6:14   0:55   1:51   2:44
Dec  8  8:34A  2:46P  6:12   0:56   1:52   2:44
Dec  9  8:35A  2:45P  6:10   0:56   1:52   2:45
Dec 10  8:37A  2:44P  6:08   0:56   1:52   2:45

The program guessed at the time zone. “Light” is time between sunrise and sunset, Civil/Naut/Astro
are the lengths of civil, nautical, and astronomical twilights. Plenty of light to make a video with!
My program is probably one of the few that does not use Jean Meeus’s algorithms!

Paul Coppin
January 4, 2015 7:07 am

Having a great little video like this hi-jacked by warmist ignoramuses is frustrating. This isn’t a “propaganda” film, it’s a great little Christmas season vignette that has nothing to do with “climate change”. Some observations the day the video was shot (acknowledging it was likely shot over several days…): Temps are currently settled a few degrees below freezing. Cold enough for persistent snow – the give-away is the crystalline snow flurry wind-drift at the sides of the road. Temperatures haven’t been cold enough long enough yet to pull the heat out of significant standing water (assuming fresh), but the air temp is cold enough on the day most of the video was shot to overcome daytime insolation at ground level. So what do we conclude from the video? Not that it’s too warm for early December, but that it’s too dry, as in cold high pressure cell sitting over the area, proving cold air for light squall activity, but not enough moisture for a snow dump. Duh – welcome to late fall….

Bubba Cow
January 4, 2015 7:12 am

“If you want to control the weather, you’ll need a different wizard.” – Gandalf

Reply to  Bubba Cow
January 5, 2015 10:04 am


January 4, 2015 7:20 am

Like everything in climate science there is conflicting information. Dr. Bhatt’s says:
– Alaska has warmed but not in a simple manner.
But new research from the Alaska Climate Research Center shows that since the beginning of the 21st century, temperatures in the snow covered land of Alaska are actually getting colder – bucking the overall global warming trend.
Since 2000, temperatures in Alaska have dropped by 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Reply to  ES
January 4, 2015 11:13 am

Reply to ES ==> We have Dr. Bhatt’s presentation linked in the main essay — it contains many more graphics and illustrations than I have shown here. We don’t have a transcription of her comments as she went through the slides. This makes it interesting, as we have the facts she selected to show us, but not what her opinion of each is/was. If anyone knows of a transcript that should accompany the .pdf file, please give the link below.

Joseph W.
January 4, 2015 7:27 am

I lived 4 years in Anchorage with many trips to Fairbanks…and the variability in sunlight between the two is considerable. (And Fairbanks is only in the middle of the state – halfway from Anchorage to the north coast.) Alaska is huge, and what you know about one part tells you only a little about another.
I don’t recall ever getting a “completely dark” day in Anchorage…short days, yes, but not a completely dark one. There’s a “daylight hours” calculator here – – where you can see the estimated sunrise/sunset for different parts of Alaska at different times.

January 4, 2015 7:27 am

Is there anyone in Alaska who shakes their fist at the sky, muttering imprecations against daemon CO2 for bringing milder winters?
Of course not. If there were, he would be confined to a straight jacket.

January 4, 2015 8:23 am

Thanks ES January 4, 2015 at 7:20 am

Since 2000, temperatures in Alaska have dropped by 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

I live in the central interior every summer (Tok) and my broher is there year round. I spoke to him on the phone yesterday and it is 30 below and expected to be for more than a week. The first two months were rather mild (for Alaska–not anywhere else) but the rest of winter will make up for it. I read the article in UK paper and they said it gets to 50 blew–it get to 75 below most winters–we have to use -100 antifreeze for the campground or our pipes break. Alaska is getting colder and if they are “averaging” it to say it has warmed somewhat–it is simply the way they adjust the station data to cover large areas where there are no station data. It is a manipulation. Sigh.

January 4, 2015 8:24 am

Sorry–forgot to close my quote.

R. Shearer
January 4, 2015 9:48 am

Don’t see much snow at Alyeska, but it’s still dark.

January 4, 2015 9:49 am

I hope Alaska cools back down for other reasons. During the Wisconsinian glaciation (What most folks identify as the “ice Age”) most of Alaska was not covered by glaciers. So when they say “if things keep up like they are” I fail to see how it proves anything to do with “Global Warming” but it sure could be a harbinger of real Climate Change.

Reply to  rah
January 5, 2015 1:11 am

Parts of Alaska were refugia during the Wisconsinan glaciation.

An Ice Age Refugium for Large Mammals in the Alexander Archipelago, Southeastern Alaska
…..We conclude that brown bears, and perhaps other large mammals, have continuously inhabited the archipelago for at least 40,000 yr and that habitable refugia were therefore available throughout the last glaciation.
Ice-age endurance: DNA evidence of a white spruce refugium in Alaska
…Despite several decades of investigation, it remains controversial whether Beringia, the largely unglaciated area extending from northeastern Siberia to the Yukon Territory, harbored small populations of certain boreal tree species during the last glaciation. Here, we present genetic evidence for the existence of a glacial refuge in Alaska that helps to resolve this long-standing controversy…..

January 4, 2015 9:54 am

Two problems not addressed here are the melting of permafrost (I don’t have data on this, but I personally know road and railway engineers trying to address this problem, at huge expense), and Arctic amplification, which is affecting weather patterns across North America due to the increased waviness of the Jet Stream.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Barry
January 4, 2015 11:23 am

Your comment about the “increased waviness of the Jet Stream” brought back memories. What you describe produces a weather event called
The January Thaw.”
My mother and father knew of this from their parents, etc., likely going back into the 1800s. This was in western Pennsylvania. The link above is from the Canadian Prairies and there the phenomena is called Bonspiel (ref., curling).
Thanks for providing the opportunity to learn a new term for an ancient weather event.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
January 5, 2015 1:18 am

@ John could “Cinook” be another term, being the one I learned in the 70’s?

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
January 5, 2015 7:08 am

The “ultimate” Jan thaw I remember in Maryland was, IIRC, late Jan 1974. Mid-70s F two sunny days in a row. Like summer in mid-winter. Feb quickly turned cold & snowy.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
January 5, 2015 6:24 pm

The 2 events are of different origins. Western Pennsylvania is upsloping from west to east. At the Ohio/PA line elevation is about 950 feet while 130 miles to the east it approaches 2,000 feet.

Reply to  Barry
January 5, 2015 1:44 am

January 4, 2015 at 9:54 am
Two problems not addressed here are the melting of permafrost (I don’t have data on this, but I personally know road and railway engineers trying to address this problem, at huge expense),…

Could some of the permafrost ‘melt’ be due to man-made structures / disturbance of top vegetation? It’s called thermokarst slumping.

Permafrost and Related Engineering Problems in Alaska
…….A road and railroad from Fairbanks in interior Alaska to the Arctic North Slope have been proposed to aid in the development of the mineral wealth of this remote and presently inaccessible region. Pre-paratory work is under way for the construction of an 800-mile-long pipeline extending from the oil fields to Valdez, a year-round seaport. A winter road connecting Fairbanks with Sagwon on the Arctic North Slope has been completed. These major engi-neering activities are just a part of the overall con-struction effort…..
Thaw or thermokarst pits occur in areas underlain by permafrost containing large masses of ground ice (fig. 13). If the ground surface is disturbed above a large ice mass, such as the one shown in figure 13, the resultant change in the thermal regime can cause the ice mass to thaw; this thawing causes a thaw pit to form (fig. 14)……

January 4, 2015 11:02 am

Children without snow! Oh my god! These poor urchins will be like south Florida kids — without hope or future; growing up without snow. /snark

Reply to  markstoval
January 4, 2015 11:22 am

Reply to markstoval ==> Thank you for your concern. I assure you that the snowless conditions in Quinhagak will be (or already are) corrected soon. Then they will be stuck with crusty dirty melted and refrozen, and yellow, snow for the rest of the cold season there. dated 3 Jan 15 no longer shows little Quinhagak covered with snow — no longer a tiny brown speck on the coast.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 4, 2015 11:25 am

Oops — “dated 3 Jan 15 shows little Quinhagak covered with snow.”

Reply to  markstoval
January 4, 2015 11:50 am

Imagine a great famine with cannibalistic drooling creeps munching on children….mmmmm. That is the picture of 1315 -17 Europe. And these modern men ponder the catastrophic absence of snow?

January 4, 2015 11:22 am

In my non-expert way I thought Alaska was one of the easier issues. I thought it was just that the jet stream sometimes moves east, sometimes when it’s cooling.
For instance, parts of Alaska were not glaciated during the last ice age. Or, in the last few winters, the position & shape of the famous polar vorteces.
in other words these people citing Alaska maybe worse than cherry-picking?

Reply to  TobiasN
January 4, 2015 11:40 am

Reply to TobiasN ==> It is the rather sharp warming of the North Slope of Alaska, along with the rest of the high northern latitudes, that has some people worried. This warming, mostly in actuality a “lessening of extreme cold” during the winter, but accompanied by some summer warming as well (possibly as a simple result of the Northern hemisphere coming out from under the Little Ice Age), is real. Some people think that this is bad.
The agriculturalists around Fairbanks, Alaska (south over the moutains in the Tanana Valley) however, are happy — their “# of frost free days” has increased by 50% since the 1920s.

“Local Agriculture — The Tanana Valley is one of Alaska’s premier agricultural regions and produces one third of Alaska’s agricultural products. Local farmers grow barley, hay, large vegetables, oats, and potatoes. 50 % of potatoes consumed in Alaska, are also grown in Alaska, making potatoes Alaska’s most valuable agriculture product. An increasing number of Tanana Valley farmers are raising livestock, including beef, pork, and veal.”

The Little Ice Age was not kind to Alaska — the 21st Century will be kinder.

January 4, 2015 11:29 am

Germany and Russia have been building wind turbines in Alaska.
Meanwhile, Germany returns to coal plants.
And Russia supplies Europe with gas using pipelines.
What that child needs is coal plants to keep warm, without Russia and Germany adding hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses to the grid with their worthless wind turbines. Along with their environmentalist Boomer friends in government and NGOs.

January 4, 2015 12:54 pm

…after Mike MacCracken, chief scientist for the Climate Institute…

I think that is a typo, it should be, “Mike MacCracken, chief idiot for the Climate Institute”
Yeah I know it appears as a simple Ad Hominem on Mr. MacCracken, but it is not.
Mr. MacCrackens handling of this video clearly shows he is incapable of being a scientist, never mind being a chief scientist. Extrapolating and interpolating (as they like to do in Climate science) his behavior concerning this video, I believe he is probably not even capable of folding a grocery bag, hence making Mr. MacKracked unfortunately an idiot.
So my assessment of Mr. MacCracken is simply to make a conclusion based on the evidence I have available. Another thing climate science likes to do.

Reply to  Alx
January 4, 2015 1:37 pm

Reply to Alx ==> I’m afraid you were right in your first assessment — your comment appears to me also as “a simple Ad Hominem” attack “on Mr. MacCracken.”
Here’s how one can tell:
1. Your comment does not mention a single action that MacCraken actually did with which you take exception — neither something reported by Andy Revkin nor an event known to you through personal experience — that has anything to do with “his behavior concerning this video”.
Revkin simply reports that “……..MacCracken, chief scientist for the Climate Institute, brought it to the attention of the American Meteorological Society’s Committee on Effective Communication of Weather and Climate Information (I’m one of several journalist members)…..He described the student video as a ‘powerful way of communicating how the climate is changing.’ “. Revkin’s response was” ” I expressed some doubts, noting how much variability there is in Alaskan conditions, so I asked him for a bit more.”
2. Your comment includes not a single idea, hypothesis, statement or opinion with which you disagree. Being entirely empty of ideas, it also contains no discussion of ideas or issues.
MacCraken provided Revkin with a 268 word reply when challenged about the assertion that the video says something about climate change — which Revkin dutifully printed, without further comment. There were ideas and opinions contained in MacCraken’s reply to which you could have responded to in an intelligent way.
Instead, we have this gem from you: “I believe he is probably not even capable of folding a grocery bag, hence making Mr. MacKracked unfortunately an idiot.”
{ Moderator: In my opinion, Alx’s comment is the type that should have been summarily binned or returned with a link to WUWT Commenting Policy — KH }

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 5, 2015 9:12 am

Kip, those who at Yahoo Climate Sceptics have practiced the science of MacCracken for years know better what to expect from the Director of the Climate Institute and thus are hardly surprised at his type of involvement… I have posted rebuttals here in the past and I am glad his character has now received a wider publicity for all to see… there is little to see.

Richard Keen
January 4, 2015 12:55 pm

That’s a great article on Alaska climate, and thanks for relaying Revkin’s link to Dr. Bhatt’s somewhat “fair and balanced” article. “Alaska represents a complex location climatologically, impacted by various circulations”, says Dr. Bhatt, a true statement. But Alaska is actually simpler than many other places in the world, since the climate (change) is so overwhelmingly dominated by just one circulation, the PDO aka North Pacific (NP) index. A few years ago I did a contract report for the National Park Service summarized here
Baked Alaska? A century of climate change in Alaska’s National Parks, CU Hydrologic Sciences Symposium 2012
Sorry about the title; apparently great minds think alike, or they can’t avoid the obvious. My use was inspired by an ice cream bucket featuring a sweating polar bear and thermometers with bulbs on the wrong end
But back to the science, Alaska has survived two complete PDO cycles since the 1899 Gold Rush, and the PDO/NP index explains well over half (61%) of the climate variability, while CO2 explains perhaps one percent of the remaining variability. Figure 2 in my “Baked Alaska” article says it all, or at least a lot. The PDO, and Alaska, went warm around 1921, cold in 1946, warm in 1977, and perhaps back to cold in 2006.
Dr. Bhatt’s use of trends starting in 1950 is somewhat deceptive, since that rides the PDO wave from the start of a cold spell to the end of a warm one. If you wish to suffer through my full Alaska report at be sure to take a peek at figure 77 on page 60. It shows a bunch of trend lines for various 30-year and longer periods. To me it looks like a game of “pick-up sticks”, and you can pick up the one that supports the point you wish to make about the climate.

Reply to  Richard Keen
January 4, 2015 2:04 pm

Reply to Dr. Richard Keen ==> Thank you for weighing in on Alaskan climate issues and for the links to your very appropriately named paper.
In regards to Dr. Bhatt’s presentation and work, let me repeat here —

“We have Dr. Bhatt’s presentation linked in the main essay — it contains many more graphics and illustrations than I have shown here. We don’t have a transcription of her comments as she went through the slides. This makes it interesting, as we have the facts she selected to show us, but not what her opinion of each is/was. If anyone knows of a transcript that should accompany the .pdf file, please give the link below.”

The particular graphic which shows PDO and temps starting in 1949 is credited simply to the Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute – UAF. I have no further data on its provenance nor do we know what commentary from Dr. Bhatt accompanied the slide.
You might have better said “Dr. Bhatt’s use of trends starting in 1950 is somewhat deceptive could lead to misunderstandings…”
The graphic simply communicated to me that Alaskan temps might be closely tied to PDO — which I understand is your view as well.
Again, thanks for your participation.

Richard Keen
Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 4, 2015 3:02 pm

Kip, all good points, especially that we do not know what she said about each of the “factoids” presented in her slide show – posting slides without the commentary may be hazardous! I’ve commented on WUWT and elsewhere about the use of trends starting in 1950 and how in some cases they may be intentionally deceptive, and it’s a pet peeve of mine. But in this case, you’re right, I do not know how the context of these slides. To her credit, she showed longer records in other slides, and I think her intent was to show the facts.
In the full version of my Alaska report you’ll find similar charts with temperature changes before and after the PDO shift of 1977, which is not a whole lot different from a trend over the same time frame.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 4, 2015 3:57 pm

Readers might benefit from the summary of Dr. Keens paper:

Climate Data Analysis of Existing Weather Stations in around the Central Alaska Network (CAKN)
Update through 2010 Natural Resource Technical Report NPS/CAKN/NRTR—2013/662

The summary of this report will be short. Climate observations of temperature and snowfall
have been updated through 2010. Further analysis of the entire record (1900 to 2010) in relation
to indices of the larger scale and global climate confirm that most of the longer-term variability of Central Alaska’s climate is directly connected with the North Pacific (NP) and Pacific Decadal Oscillations (PDO), and that all other climate variables play a much smaller role.

January 4, 2015 1:01 pm

boy I wish I could have some warming here in Maine. starting Monday night I am supposed to have 3 nights of 5 below 0 F with one touching -18 F.

Reply to  dmacleo
January 4, 2015 1:02 pm

forgot to add wind chills supposed to be around – 35F

Reply to  dmacleo
January 4, 2015 1:30 pm

I’m sorry, but the UN Climate Control Agency has decided that you want to live in a cooler climate. This will help you avoid a drought and super hurricanes.

Reply to  Fernando Leanme
January 4, 2015 4:21 pm

lol actually due to medical issues I do need colder environment. however -18 F is pushing it LOL

January 4, 2015 1:42 pm

just how “fair” is Mr. Revkin? well, he does make a disclosure:
14 Dec: NYT Dot Earth: Andrew C. Revkin: At Climate Talks in Lima, Not ‘Same as it Ever Was’?
To begin, here’s a “Your Dot” reflection on the Lima talks from James Fahn, the executive director of Internews’s Earth Journalism Network and a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism. (He previously wrote for Dot Earth from Bhutan.)
Fahn was in Peru to lead the annual Climate Change Media Partnership, which brings groups of journalists – this year, mostly from Latin America, but also from China, India and Nepal – to cover the negotiations.
***(Full disclosure: I led a workshop at the 2010 climate meeting in Cancún, Mexico, for this group, which I’ve hailed as a valuable network for sharing coverage and journalism tips.)…
Climate Change Media Partnership has been bringing developing country journalists to the annual UN climate summits since 2007:
LinkedIn: James Fahn, Journalism Lecturer at UC Berkeley
I teach a graduate level course in international environmental reporting and oversee the Earth Journalism Scholars program.
Previous: Ford Foundation
NOAA, Research Intern
I helped lead the US government review of the 3rd IPCC assessment report
Executive Director, Earth Journalism Network 2004-present
I run a non-profit project that connects and supports over 4,500 journalists around the world, aimed at helping them cover environmental issues. We carry out training programs, support local networks of environmental journalists, build GeoJournalism platforms and provide small grants and Fellowship opportunities.
hard to imagine these training programs encourage a sceptical approach to CAGW.

Reply to  pat
January 4, 2015 2:17 pm

Reply to Robert B ==> Correct me if I am wrong, but your point is intended to be “hard to imagine these training programs encourage a sceptical approach to CAGW.”?
Journalism training programs are supposed to train journalists in, well, journalism. They are not intended to train journalists in “sceptical approachs” or “Kip’s view of CAGW” nor “Robert’s view of CAGW”.
Having posted a “Your Dot” from Lima, Peru written by James Fahn, Journalism Lecturer at UC Berkeley is not ….anything, actually. It is just a guest piece he published. It is nothing odd that Revkin, a professor of science communications himself and a very well respected international journalist on the environmental beat, should know and participate in events with Fahn.
Revkin published a “Your Dot” written by me once, too — and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make him a secret climate change denier.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 4, 2015 2:18 pm

Ooooh ….my bad … the above is a Reply to pat ==>

Richard Keen
Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 4, 2015 10:45 pm

That picture of the girl on the sled looks so much like my granddaughter, who has had the misfortune of living in places like Hawaii all her life. She was in hog heaven when she came to our hilltop in Colorado for Christmas, sledding on two feet of brand new snow and making her own snow-person. Had she come on Dec. 4th, the date of the Quinhagak photo, she, too, would have been sledding on brown grass. There’s nothing new about the first week of December being more like autumn than winter in arctic and alpine locations.
The video link took me to a New York Times paywall, so I passed on that. I’ll be damned if I’ll give that institution any of my money. To put it bluntly, the NYT has been a bastard medium since 1933, when their top reporter, Walter Duranty, wrote a series of apologetics denying Stalin’s murder by starvation of millions of Ukrainians. This has to be the greatest example of agenda-driven journalistic malpractice in the history of the printed page, and the NYT has never disowned its role. An interesting take on this is at
Now, I won’t compare Revkin to Duranty, and Andy’s work is much more insightful than that put out by, say, Seth Borenstein. But I can’t see where his employer has changed its tune since 1933. And without exaggerating the Stalinist tendencies of some of the more avid Warmers, there are similarities between Stalin’s forceful manipulation of the press and the more subtle manipulation by agencies on this side of the old iron curtain through selective release of information, re-defining peer review, government control of the means of production (of science), favoritism by science czars, the “balance is bias” meme, assorted chilling effects, and plain old censorship.
Kip writes that “to his credit, Andy Revkin does not entirely buy this (MacCraken’s use of the video to demonstrate climate change). Although he fails to simply refute it…” Perhaps Revkin has some sort of encouragement from the NYT to keep his climate stories positive, and prevent him from “simply refuting” anything to do with warming. Duranty had favorable feedback from the NYT 80 years ago for his fluff pieces on Stalin, even receiving a Pulitzer Prize, so he kept at it. Meanwhile negative stories about the Soviets went unpublished. This wouldn’t surprise me, since there’s many in the media, academia, and government who support, or at least acquiesce in, Global Warming so they can keep their jobs (or get funding, promotions, and interviews on PBS).
Kip, you presented a really good story that touches on a lot of issues, so I’m a little sorry about the rant and bringing Stalin into a tale that started with a cute little girl on a sled.
BTW#1: I used to read the NYT in my High School library, and felt their weather maps were pretty good (they had isobars), and enjoyed the detailed satellite predictions for passes of Echo I. After all, how could anyone distort weather data?
BTW#2: True, “Journalism training programs are supposed to train journalists in, well, journalism.” I was a reporter for the Miami Herald 37 years ago, and as an intern was taught that investigative reporting requires an open mind. But as a colleague of dozens of other reporters, I saw that some do a story because they know what they want to say, and that they start with a pretty good idea of what the lead and punchline of the story will be. The research and interviews provide filler for the gap between the lead and the conclusion.
BTW#3: I’ve been a Climate Scientist(™) for 50+ years, and as a PhD student was taught that investigative science requires an open mind. But as a colleague of dozens of other scientists, I saw …

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 5, 2015 8:26 am

Reply to Keen ==> Andy Revkin’s Opinion Section column is entirely independent of the papers editorial policies and the dictates of news desk editors. No one at the paper controls what he says, whose opinions he presents or the topics he covers. I am not certain, but I do not think that he is currently an “employee” of the NY Times in the usual sense.
He is subject to the New York Times Manual of Style and Usage — which deals in how one uses the English language.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 6, 2015 10:27 am

Answer to the Question “Is Andy Revkin an employee of the NY Times?”
In a personal email, Professor Revkin replies:

On an annual contract [as an Op-Ed Contributor] since 2010, as with folks like Linda Greenhouse, Tim Egan, etc.
My ‘second half’ post explains:


Robert B
January 4, 2015 2:01 pm

I think that it was shown that during c. 1940 that spruce trees began germinating above the tree line in parts of Alaska because of frost free summers. It kind of suggests why the plots have a less than arbitrary cut off of 1949.

January 4, 2015 3:55 pm

I can’t persuade myself to feel too sorry for these kids. Here in Brisbane we seldom get snow at Christmas. Or any other time. But we manage to survive, just.

January 4, 2015 4:57 pm

So the likes of Mike MacCraken and others of his sort are using instances like this propagandized story to ‘communicate’ the effects of man-made global warming. If skeptics do this, men like Gavin Schmidt would throw the story under the ‘outlier’ bus.
This story does fall in the outlier category.
Alaska has over 35k miles of tidal coast, and stretches from the Pacific Northwest, up through the Bering Strait, and along the Arctic Ocean. Alaska has 6 distinctive regions, and as the picture below suggests, is as varied as the rest of the U.S.

How can we adequately determine anything about Alaskan weather, when it covers an area that would stretch from the Great Lakes, the Florida coast, and all the way to Southern California?
Come on now.

Wayne Delbeke
January 4, 2015 5:14 pm

Anyone notice that all the buildings in the video are built on piles to keep them from melting the permafrost and sinking into the melted goo? Anyone notice that the ground was solid? Nice production but I didn’t see anyone wearing shorts outside.
Current temperature at my location in the foothills of Alberta is – 27 C. But apparently some of that warm Alaska air is shipping in on the jet stream later this week along with snow, so I am about to put the gear in the car and head for the mountains for a few days of fresh powder skiing. Wonderful weather change. Climate? Not so much.

January 4, 2015 5:27 pm

Your article lacks a concept of scale and location. The links below should provide an expanded view of the subject.
Alaska scale compared to lower 48 states —
U.S. latitudes compared to Europe —

Reply to  jcspe
January 4, 2015 5:57 pm

Reply to jcspe ==> “Your article lacks a concept of scale and location.” What a strange thing to say, as I tried carefully to state quite clearly that the whole point of the article (besides the highjacking of a cute kids video) is “but this essay is about the misuse [of] data separated from its scale.”
When climate advocates use the cry “Alaska is Warming Dangerously” they have dropped out the scale — imposing a climatically artificial scale of a political entity (State of Alaska) which has been superimposed on a diverse landscape — which Dr. Bhatt and others at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks propose is best divided into 13 separate climatic regions.
When considering the last 30 years, only two of the 13 regions show appreciable, major warming, and the majority have been cooling.
You are quite right though about the real geographical SIZE of Alaska (all caps because it is so vastly huge).
Very few people understand that fact and its implications..

January 4, 2015 6:10 pm

Is it just me, or do the Alaskan temps for all Regions show the same step change circa 1973-1980?

Reply to  JohnB
January 4, 2015 7:16 pm

Reply to johnB ==> Actually, I think the step change may happen in a shorter time than that — though my essay uses 1973-1980 as a spread to catch all regional climatic regions. Dr. Bhatt’s team at UAF and Dr. Keen at the National Park Service show fairly convincingly that the change in PDO is directly coincident with that step change.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 4, 2015 11:19 pm

Thanks Kip. It would be interesting to know the rate of warming before and after the change. Looks damn close to zero to me. (Mk 1 eyeball) 😉

Richard Keen
Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 4, 2015 11:31 pm

Actually, I’m not at the National Park Service; the climate report was a contract job. The NPS, like the Weather Service, is (in my opinion) one of those few Federal agencies that are underfunded for the great job they do. So they farmed out the job to a freebird climatologist. I’m retired from the U of Colorado, and my primary connection with the NPS is my Golden Eagle Pass. I’ve also given weather seminars and star talks at our nearby park (Rocky Mountain National).
As for the geographic spread of climate change/variability across Alaska, what I’ve found is that while central Alaska has a cyclical, but otherwise flatline, history, the great & wet Southeast has a cooling trend in addition to the PDO cycles. Data there goes back to 1823 or so when the Russians set up an observatory in Sitka. Up north, Barrow has a warming trend on top of their PDO cycle, but Barrow’s data starts a century after Sitka’s.
Although it simplifies the discussion to speak of “step changes” from one PDO mode to the other, a glance at yearly data shows it is not so simple (is anything in climate simple?). Historically, it takes 5-10 years to go from a very cold year to a very warm one, with lots of year-to-year variability in between. Of course, the same is true for warm to cold transitions. Also you can find attempted “pseudo” shifts maybe 10 or more years before a real shift. The year-to-year “noise” is every bit as large as the decadal shift. That’s why we like to use 5 or 10 year running means to show the “cycle”, and why you can’t be sure a shift has occurred until you have 10 years of statistics before and after the shift. It isn’t called a “decadal” oscillation for nothing!

Reply to  Kip Hansen
January 5, 2015 8:02 am

Reply to Dr. Richard Keen ==> Thanks for clarifying your affiliation — my error as I derived data from looking at your paper and references.
Readers ==> You may be interested in Dr. Keen’s PowerPoint slides on Alaskan Climate.[ Warning: Again, these are only the slides, no transcript of the accompanying talk. ]

January 4, 2015 6:13 pm

Oh, and the 5th Graders (and friends) of Quinhagak doing the “Hallelujah Chorus”. A good time was apparently had by all. 🙂

JLC of Perth
Reply to  JohnB
January 4, 2015 11:42 pm

I don’t know why it brought tears to my eyes but it did. Tears of happiness, I think.

Reply to  JLC of Perth
January 5, 2015 7:25 am

Reply to JLC of Perth ==> Handel’s Messiah, arguably one of the greatest pieces of music yet composed, recounts the prophecy of the greatest story of human history — a message of transcendent joy and hope. It brings tears to my eyes as well.

January 4, 2015 9:45 pm

It will be a strong frost in America. Very high pressure in the Midwest.

Reply to  ren
January 5, 2015 4:47 am

Pressure will increase to more than 1050 hPa. Icy wind in Chicago.

January 5, 2015 4:24 am
Ian Magness
January 5, 2015 6:51 am

More rubbish from the alarmists one suspects.
I have been to Quinhagak 5 times, as Kanektok fishing trips start there. Quinhagak is in a coastal region with weather as changeable as, say, the west coast of the British Isles. Thus, in major contrast to, say, Fairbanks in AK’s vast interior, it has cool, wet summers and warm (by AK standards), wet winters. That doesn’t mean to say that it is not affected by the sort of extremely cold and long-lasting winters such as 2011/12 – the whole of AK was (as far as I know). It does mean, however, that weather patterns are highly variable and the absence of snow at, say, XMas, is not astonishing or indeed indicative of anything of all. A photo of the river would have been more helpful – if that had no ice in December it really would be a surprise.

Reply to  Ian Magness
January 5, 2015 8:11 am

Reply to Ian Magness ==> Thanks for providing a third-party local report on Quinhagak weather.

January 5, 2015 10:24 am

Epilogue: This post and comment thread seems to have run its course — I want to thank all of you who took the time to read my essay and to especially thank all those who commented. Special thanks to those who weighed in with personal experience or technical expertise.
It is my deeply held belief that those that author here are obligated not only to do their very best to accurately present facts and to offer carefully considered opinions (clearly labeled), but then to follow up with their best effort to constructively engage in real conversation with the readers in the subsequent comments section. If I there remain questions or comments to which you need a response, you can contact me directly — with the short title of this essay in the subject line — at my first name at the domain i4 dot net.

James at 48
January 5, 2015 10:42 am

That location is too far south and too close to the Pacific to have continuous winter snow cover. Its climate is borderline Marine West Coast. It is only barely in the Marine Subarctic zone.

nutso fasst
January 7, 2015 1:24 pm

Bethel, approx. 32 miles north and further inland, had 4″ of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. It promptly melted.

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