Data analysis: Global temperature has not increased under Republican presidents, only Democrats

Temperature data from NOAA, click to enlarge to see details

From the website Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science  at Columbia University comes this hilarious but real bit of data analysis. Looking at short trends in the global surface temperature data, the analysis shows that global temperature has not increased under Republican presidents, only Democrats. It’s probably spurious correlation, but still very entertaining. – Anthony


Andrew writes: An anonymous blog commenter sends the above graph and writes:

I was looking at the global temperature record and noticed an odd correlation the other day. Basically, I calculated the temperature trend for each presidency and multiplied by the number of years to get a “total temperature change”. If there was more than one president for a given year it was counted for both. I didn’t play around with different statistics to measure the amount of change, including/excluding the “split” years, etc. Maybe other ways of looking at it yield different results, this is just the first thing I did.

It turned out all 8 administrations who oversaw a cooling trend were Republican. There has never been a Democrat president who oversaw a cooling global temperature. Also, the top 6 warming presidencies were all Democrats.

I have no idea what it means but thought it may be of interest.

My first thought, beyond simply random patterns showing up with small N, is that thing that Larry Bartels noticed a few years ago, that in recent decades the economy has grown faster under Democratic presidents than Republican presidents. But the time scale does not work to map this to global warming. CO2 emissions, maybe, but I wouldn’t think it would show up in the global temperature so directly as that.

So I’d just describe this data pattern as “one of those things.” My correspondent writes:

I expect to hear it dismissed as a “spurious correlation”, but usually I hear that argument used for correlations that people “don’t like” (it sounds strange/ridiculous) and it is never really explained further. It seems to me if you want to make a valid argument that a correlation is “spurious” you still need to identify the unknown third factor though.

In this case I don’t know that you need to specify an unknown third factor, as maybe you can see this sort of pattern just from random numbers, if you look at enough things. Forking paths and all that. Also there were a lot of Republican presidents in the early years of this time series, back before global warming started to take off. Also, I haven’t checked the numbers in the graph myself.

h/t to Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.

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93 thoughts on “Data analysis: Global temperature has not increased under Republican presidents, only Democrats

    • Ha ha. I saw that one coming.
      I wonder if the Democrats are concerned enough about “global warming” to let the Republicans have the presidency until it is safe?

  1. From the article: “I was looking at the global temperature record and noticed an odd correlation the other day.”

    Well, that’s where you made your first mistake. The temperature record you are using is fraudulent and does not represent reality and so any results you get from it will not represent reality either.

    Sad. This is the state of today’s climate science.

    • That is probably why the correlation exists; the fraudsters can get away with faking global warming when they have the president on their side.

    • Climate fraudsters also control the time lags in climate models. A 6-8 yr lag shifts onto Republicans blame for global warming. And, everyone knows the evil Republicans do continues well after they leave office. Pls recall, Bush II was blamed for every problem during year 8, and earlier years, of Obama’s presidency.

  2. This almost correlates with the story here at WUWT concerning a study (Fernbach et.al) on GMO food bias based on high opposition being derived from low information (or… ignorant or illiterate of relevant science on the matter) and the “null result” in that study concerning Climate Skeptics and the Climate Change concerns. The authors in that study post-hoc hypothesized that the skepticism was political in nature. This graph correlates with that sentiment, but likely not in the direction that the Fernbach study wished to convey.

  3. What it does indicated is just how much the data is controlled by government. The Dems certainly couldn’t have the climate cooling.

    This is a serious issue. Few appreciate that the overwhelming majority of government employees are registered Democrats, consider themselves liberal to far left, and are always more protected when Dems control the White House and Congress. I will bet there are far more registered socialists in the federal government bureaucracies than in the general population.

    • ‘What it does indicated is just how much the data is controlled by government. The Dems certainly couldn’t have the climate cooling.’

      That was my first thought as well. And remember, until Trump, Republicans have mostly spent the entirety of the climate scare as enablers, so it’s unlikely they were making any effort to push temp-data down – Bush certainly didn’t.

    • ” I will bet there are far more registered socialists in the federal government bureaucracies than in the general population.”

      Trump was complaining the other day about how the Democrats were stonewalling and slowwalking his nominees for postions all across the government. Trump said he still had 300 ! positions waiting to be approved by the Senate Democrats. An unprecedented number of unfilled positions for an incoming president. The Republicans should return the favor the next time a Democrat is elected president (of course, they won’t).

      So, who do you think are occupying those 300 government positions that Trump needs to run his govenment effectively? The positions are held by Obama holdovers. No doubt, they are undermining Trump at every opportunity.

      This Democrat undermining of Trump is harming the country. The Democrats are so desperate for power that all these things don’t matter to them. Their sole focus is on getting rid of Trump using any method they can think of.

      Even so, even after the Democrats have done their worst to smear and harm Trump, he is still standing tall. I expect that to continue.

      • ‘the Democrats have done their worst to smear and harm Trump, he is still standing tall. I expect that to continue.’

        I hope you’re right. They didn’t see him coming the first time.

      • I caught Trump’s complaint the other night, but I remain confused. Confirmation for these Executive posts rests on the Senate, right? So, what have our legislators been doing for two years, with their Republican majority? Seems to me, not much. No wall, no judges, no department heads. Ok, there was a tax reform bill and another trillion dollars of fresh debt, but otherwise it seems the swamp is not producing much of anything useful.

        Is this just a Democrat problem?

        • @John – it is due to the Senate (mis)rules. Harry Reid broke the minority veto on lower judicial appointments, McConnell broke it on SCOTUS appointments, but the odious ability of a minority to block a President’s appointments is still very much alive for all other positions.

          (There is also the fact that, even with a majority, a slim one is not a sure thing. Just a few corrupt and/or idiotic Senators can bollix things up from pettiness or greed. Reference McCain, Flake, Murkowski, Collins…)

        • “I caught Trump’s complaint the other night, but I remain confused. Confirmation for these Executive posts rests on the Senate, right? So, what have our legislators been doing for two years, with their Republican majority?”

          In the case of confirming Trump people for various Executive Branch positions, the Democrats can require 30 hours of debate for each nominee, and that’s what they have been doing, delaying the process as much as possible.

          The Republican Senate rules committe just changed this rule today and reduced the debate time from 30 hours to two hours.

          Why didn’t Republican leadership do this earlier? That’s a good question. We have some weak links in the Republican Party. Perhaps between now and the 2020 elections we can smoke them out, and replace them with people who are not so enmeshed in the DC swamp world..

    • There is a slight problem with this. We are talking global temps not US, so any government be it Dem or Repub is not going to affect anything diddly squat globally. It is an interesting coincidence though.

        • “The global numbers all come from US entities, NOAA and GISS especially.”
          I think you need to check that again.

      • ‘Dem or Repub is not going to affect anything diddly squat globally.’

        Ummm. Duh.
        First of all that’s kind of been the skeptic point, all along.

        Secondly, the more sinister implication is that there’s been pressure under Democrat administrations to alter records up.

        • “Secondly, the more sinister implication is that there’s been pressure under Democrat administrations to alter records up.”
          Got any evidence of that?

  4. I have the explanation:
    Since the democrats are all in on absolute power, the government data manglers increase the trend during D administrations to try to scare the public into giving the desired power, but leave the data alone during R admins to keep from being sacked or inadvertently giving that power to the wrong people.
    (only mostly sarc)

  5. All that fakery and its still a mere .8 c in the last 40 years.
    For that we have 1/2 the government and a good chunk of the population thinking it wise to turn back the economy to 1880.

    • More like 1500 but yea I agree on your point.

      The whole problem IMHO is that people “believe” it (whatever “it” is). We need to do several things to get them over “it”:

      1) Always refer to it as “global warming”. NEVER use the latest catch-all phrase “climate change”
      2) Always point out that belief is for religion NOT science.
      3) Whenever someone cites the 97% or “vast majority of scientists” line point out that consensus is for politics NOT science.
      4) Ask them what their predictions are for the next 20 years. Tell them to assume CO2 continues to climb by 1-2 PPM yearly.

      Always be calm and polite as that just drives them crazy. If they start calling you names like “denier” just kindly explain that they shouldn’t call names because people will think they have nothing intelligent to say and are resorting to name calling.

      • Many are ambivalent about the science or if it is something to be worried about, but they are constantly told that going along with it is virtuous.

        Additionally, since they have no concept of all the numbers involved, they do not know that all the little green things they are encouraged to do, and all the wind turbines they see on the horizon during a road trip, do not amount to anything meaningful.

      • A denier is anyone stuck on details like the science. Al and Bill Nye settles all that years ago. We all know that Climate Change is OUR existential threat, and we are the brave crusaders that will fix the world. All we need is love — and socialism.

        Just ask your our brand new millennial legislators (or are they genX?). They’re going to take good care of us.

    • That is .8D. Which is a warming degree in Democrat (AGW fanatic)math. I strongly suspect that temperature fiddling is the difference between that and 0.0F or C. Our weather seems to be very much like the 60’s and early 70’s by my recollection.

  6. Funny that it goes back in this temp record also. I did this last summer with UAH when I was having a laugh at a coworkers expense that the globe had cooled while Trump has been president. He’s more of a Trump hater than a CAGW activist but he had blamed something on Trump that couldn’t possibly be related to policy so I countered with “But he has stopped global warming.” to point out the correlation/causation thing. As I looked back further I found:

    19 months (at the time) with Trump — -0.76 deg C/decade
    96 months with Obama — +0.37 deg C/decade
    96 months with Bush II — -0.23 deg C/decade
    96 months with Clinton — +0.34 deg C/decade
    144 months with Reagan/Bush I — +0.10 deg C/decade
    25 months (beginning of record) with Carter — +1.43 deg C/decade

    Average with republicans — -0.08 deg C/decade
    Average with democrats — +0.83 deg C/decade

    • “I did this last summer with UAH when I was having a laugh at a coworkers expense that the globe had cooled while Trump has been president.”

      The current cooling actually started on Obama’s watch, although it has certainly continued under Trump’s watch.

      The highest temperature in the 21st century occurred in Feb. 2016, and over the last three years, the temperatures have cooled approximately 0.6C, according to the UAH satellite temperature chart.

      Now, normally Obama would chime in about this time to take credit for this development, like he did when he tried to take credit for the current booming economy, and for the U.S. oil and gas miracle, but in this case, we don’t hear anything out of Obama about taking credit for the cooling. I guess that’s understandable.

      The UAH satellite chart:

      https://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_January_2019_v6.jpg

  7. This statistics means that
    1. climate models need to include a “presidential climate forcing”, which was overlooked
    until today
    2. all global warming fighters must elect Trump in 2020, to keep temps down.
    3. but if they elect a Dem president in 2020, then global warming will continue and it will be
    all their fault.

    • Let me see if I get this right. You’re saying that if we happen to be going through a cold period, we will a higher probability of bad weather on the first Tuesday in November, and if we get bad weather, we get a Republican president because the Democrat voters will disproportionately stay home in bad weather? In that case, the correlation is from temperature to party not party to temperature as was implied.

    • That just introduces two extra assumptions: that short global trends would have some noticeable effect on the weather on election day and that Democrat voters have on average the least motivation to vote and would easier stay home. Or perhaps in other words: the most energized group would have the advantage which is a campaign strategy issue and the average emotional investment of the voter into the issues.

  8. A similar study of sea level trends would be interesting, after all Obama promised his election would be:” … the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal …”.

  9. There is probably a good correlation between global temperature increase and the existence of the European Union…

  10. This may not be so way out. If the left wing element in government jobs can get away with it, they will push their idology , but only if it does not risk losing their jobs.

    So they need a President or in our case a PM to be “On side”.

    We know that the figures are fiddled, but more so if the conditions are favourable to do so.

    MJE

  11. Ed Markey ✔ @SenMarkey

    We’re having the first national conversation on climate change in a decade.

    Who knew ? Did the “settled science” change ?

    • And Ed must be delighted that the Republican Senate Majority Leader has scheduled a debate and vote on AOC’s Green Deal. Republicans are clearly taking the coming global warming disaster seriously and should be applauded for doing so.

    • Ed Markey is a flabby colostomy bag of the worst kind. You should see how many green tech companies he’s tied to through contributions or otherwise.

  12. I can explain this.

    Under Republican administrations the little people are crushed and can’t afford to buy gasoline or heat their homes.

    Under Democrats, CO2 emissions soar because we’re all happily driving to Walley World and National Parks in our station wagons, flying to Europe and buying lots of Chinese crap.

    Give me a grant and I’ll write a whole paper on this.

  13. I posted this back in September…

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/09/14/the-presidential-politics-of-climate-change/

    All of the Gorebal Warming since Al Gore & Jimbo Hansen invented climate “science” has occurred while Democrats occupied the White House…

    HadCRUT4 (°C) from 1989, grouped by US President. Wood for Trees

    All of the warming since George H. W. Bush took office in January 1989 occurred while Democrats Bill Clinton and Barrack Hussein Obama occupied the White House.  No warming occurred while George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump were Chief Executives of the U.S. government… Yet Presidents Bush & Trump have more or less been blamed for every hurricane and all other inclement weather since at least 2005.

    • Just like most of the growth in the National debt occurs under Republican presidents?
      Reagan 189%, Bush 55%, Clinton 37%, Bush II 86%, Obama 35%, Trump ?

      • Debt is a tool. It can be used to leverage growth or it can be used to leverage more government. Spending, deficits and debt are only meaningful as percentages of GDP. I put this together back in 2011…

        Over his next 6 years in office, Obama racked up more debt and almost no economic growth (2% is treading water).

        However, Congress actually controls spending…

      • “Just like most of the growth in the National debt occurs under Republican presidents” And how many laws and freebies were enacted during the Democratic reign that create this debt? E.g. Clinton decimated the military cutting it almost in half, enacted giveaways under the guise of “Peace Benefits” That bush had to pay for and needed to correct to rebuild the military. The coldest time of the day is AFTER the sun rises [usually] – does that mean the Sun caused it to get cold? Or was it the lack of sun for 8 -12 hours?

  14. “It seems to me if you want to make a valid argument that a correlation is “spurious” you still need to identify the unknown third factor though.”

    In this case I don’t know that you need to specify an unknown third factor, as maybe you can see this sort of pattern just from random numbers…,

    Yes. It’s all a bit of harmless fun, and possibly educative for some, until they came out with that statement about needing to identify the unknown third factor. If you are sitting on somebody’s academic committee then you haul them over the coals for making that kind of a statement.

  15. Come on guys. The presidency doesn’t explain the climate so it must be the climate that explains the presidency.

    When it is warming Americans get so fed up with hearing it all the time that they go elect a Republican only to get a rest. As the rate of change in temperature has a 4-year periodicity that can be seen clearly in David Middleton’s figure above that changes course every two cycles, American politics is synchronized to a climatic periodicity.

    Soon Republican politicians will start promising a temperature decrease in their campaigns. That has to drive democrats crazy.

  16. My theory is the onslaught of increased taxes and just plain “stupid policies” makes everyone run a little hot. All those extra “anger calories” burning 24/7 is increasing the gorebull temperature.

    Save the World!! Elect a Republican. Do it for the Children!

  17. Puzzled why the headline says “Global temperature has not increased under Republican presidents, only Democrats” when the graph shows almost half of Republican presidents had a warming trend.

    • It is known as “summing the total”. When you sum the total of “Republican Presidents” it shows that the temperature HAS NOT INCREASED for the Republican Presidents.
      Would you like me to show you how?

      • If the article was referring to aggregate Republican Presidents it would have been helpful to actually show the total sums rather than just listing the changes President by President.

        Not though that the main reason for Republicans causing a net cooling was down to Arthur and Roosevelt causing around 0.4°C of cooling in the late 19th early 20th century. Post WW2 Republican Presidents have caused a net warming.

        • At the risk of taking this joke too seriously, there’s a reason why adding up arbitrary trend lines doesn’t make sense. Look at the combined 12 years of Reagan and Bush. Clearly temperatures rose during that period, by about 0.15°C, but using the logic of adding up all the sub parts the article says Reagan caused 0.089°C caused, Bush caused 0.116°C of cooling for a net cooling.

  18. Food. It gets cheaper and more abundant when it warms. That drives economic growth. That would be a near instntaneous correlation to warming and economic growth.

  19. Re. the mention of the “National Debt” W hat don’t understand is that if a person, male or female is in debt, sooner or later they have to pay it back or be declared “Bankrupt”
    But these basic rules do not appear to apply to government We see the farce here in Australia and no doubt elsewhere where the polititions are now saying that there is Good Debt and Bad Debt.

    Good Debt allows them to build grand things such as road and rail but bad debt only pays the salaries of the government employees.

    As for “Balancing the budget, well let s not mention the Debt.

    MJE

    • It is the government’s prerogative to devalue the currency by inflation. The populace works to increase its value, the government takes that value away by printing money (“quantitative easing” as it is called today).
      When it gets out of hand you change the name of the country to Venezuela, Zimbabwe, the Weimar Republic, or some such.

      “Control the coinage and the courts—let the rabble have the rest.” Thus the Padishah Emperor advises you. And he tells you: “If you want profits, you must rule.” There is truth in these words, but I ask myself: “Who are the rabble and who are the ruled?”
      ― Frank Herbert,Dune

      • I love the Dune series. I routinely reference the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear’s “Fear is the mind killer…”

        Seems to be so apropos in so many situations.

  20. If there’s any real phenomenon at work here (e.g. geomagnetic, astronomical if not astrological) it surely would link globally to more trends, assuming the United States citizens are not some special category of beings influenced by short terms changes in world temperature trends or their underlying causes.

    The correlation the other way, that some elected administration can influence measurements repeated globally by organizations not having much of a relationship to any change in US political climate, seems completely and utterly unfalsifiable as hypothesis and therefore not scientifically relevant.

  21. I’m glad we’ve had a few topics covering the temperature record, as it gives me a chance to talk about what I’ve been doing without it being a big non sequitur. A while back after I found the NOAA GHCRN data with its daily files, I’ve been playing around, loading it into my database at home and checking to see which stations have good coverage over a period of years.

    Tonight I took two stations that had good coverage and were separated pretty well by distance and ran some numbers on them. The Stations were USW00093729, CAPE HATTERAS AP, and RSM00024908. VANAVARA, at some 60 deg. North latitude.

    I was able to get full baselines from the station data, from 01-JAN-1981 to 31-DEC-2010, for all months. For a test year, I used 2013 which had good coverage as well. Long story short, here are the numbers I got:

    RSM00024908 had a 30-year mean for April of -3.3C and a 2013 mean for April of -2.0, giving an anomaly of +1.3C.

    USW00093729 had a 30-year mean for April of 15.5 C and a 2013 mean for April of 15.1, giving an anomaly of -0.4 C. What I found surprising were the errors once I tracked them correctly. At least, I can say I used methods shown multiple times at various math and statistics websites.

    RSM00024908 ‘s 30-year mean for April had a standard error of 0.09C, with N=894. Dividing the standard error by the square root of the number of samples = 0.03 C. The Hatteras station had a standard error of 3.9, and dividing that by the square root of 394 = 0.13.

    We’re not done yet. Calculating the anomaly means subtracting the baseline 30-year April mean from the 1-year April mean, and that carries with it it’s own error propagation. To calculate the standard error for adding or subtracting two values with error, you solve them in quadrature, which means you take the square root of the sum of the squares of the individual errors. In the RSM00024908 case, we have sqrt(0.02^2 + 0.13^2) = 1.1. That is a pretty big error. Station USW00093729 had errors of 0.7 and 0.13, which gives us sqrt(0.7^2 + 0.13^2) = 0.7. The final anomalies with error came out as 0.4 +/- 0.7C at Cape Hatteras, and 1.1 +/- 1.3C at Vanavara.

    Those are not very good numbers, but I can’t see any error in how I applied the various formulae to calculate the standard error and the error in the mean. If you had similar numbers and. 5000 stations, the numbers still wouldln’t be that great. A standard error of 1.4 after running the numbers and then dividing by the square root of N still have an error of 0.14.

    These are much larger than the anomalies and error bars we see in the literature, so it would be interesting to take an even closer look to see where the errors lie.

    • Well, holy hell. I messed up big somewhere when doing the figuring in my third-to-last paragraph. Either I had a copying error when pasting into the Excel cells, or I messed up copying from the Excel results.

      Not good, no matter how you look at it. Maybe this will teach me not to try to do cipherin’ when I’m tired. I’ll have to check my figures and post a correction.

  22. I am sure the counter would be that typically Dems rules result in more economic activity by some measures, do CO2 goes up.
    Basically these are after the fact arguments, since proponents can never point to specific actions that create the result.

  23. Simple.

    Under Dems the science is politicized and data homogenized to political will, Repubs change the big chiefs and the real world data is recorded without being politically inflated.

  24. I recall seeing a plot comparing sunspot number to the number of Democrats in the US Senate.

    Pretty good correlation 🙂

  25. So, to solve global warming Trump needs to be President permanently? I think democrats would rather let the world burn 🙂

  26. I have done the math (using the “Slope” command in Excel) to confirm all the way back to Abraham Lincoln.

    The AVERAGE Republican stint has seen the temperature drop 0.03C
    The AVERAGE Democrat stint has seen the temperature rise 0.11C

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