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America is cool

28 Aug 2019 | News Roundup

Here’s another massive headline you didn’t see: “No warming in United States”. The global “hiatus” is bad enough for the “never let a crisis go to waste” crowd. But because the U.S. has the most extensive current temperature monitoring network, and some of the best historical data, it’s especially remarkable that, as James Taylor of the Heartland Institute reports on Real Clear Energy, new and improved NOAA data show no warming there since at least 2005. Atmospheric CO2 keeps rising but no matter how much computers and politicians shout at it, the mercury just won’t follow.
What’s especially important about this finding is that in this case the NOAA, which has not always been innocent of fashionable alarmism, did what scientists are meant to do. When someone critiques your methodology you try to fix it then revisit the data. In this case the critique was (a) of the famous “Urban Heat Island” effect where too many thermometers located in growing human settlements have gradually been engulfed by concrete, asphalt and machinery that reflect or even generate heat and (b) of the tendency of government officials to “adjust” raw data in ways that seem invariably to cool the past and warm the present over what the silly old thermometer actually said.
So in 2005 the NOAA commendably set up a U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) involving 114 temperature stations spread across the “lower 48” states away from cities and other forms of land use that might create false signals. And now it has commendably looked at the data from USCRN and the result is striking: No warming since 2005 and indeed possible cooling. (It’s worth noting, as Taylor does, that this finding reinforces the credibility of satellite findings of a global temperature increase since 2005 far lower than the models predicted, just 0.15 degrees.)
Finally, Taylor argues, U.S. raw temperature data show almost no warming not just since 2005 but since the 1930s. The apparent rise is all in the adjustments. But given the Urban Heat Island effect, he says, it would make sense to adjust US raw temperature data downward not (as is habitual) upward since the 1930s. In which case there’d be cooling over the past century in the places where we have the best evidence.
If “hottest month ever” gets a screaming headline on the front page, surely there’s room for this one somewhere below the fold.

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