Monday, September 03, 2007

This last August had lots of people praying for warming.

I spent the summer in one of mainland Europe's major capitals. And I'm one of those people who prefers the room to be a bit cool with fresh air so I usually open my windows first thing in the morning and keep them open until I got to sleep (I only close them due to the traffic noise since my flat was on a major traffic route). The thing about this summer was that it wasn't much like a summer.

The temperatures remained relatively cool the whole time. There were slight spells of typical warm summer weather but they were short in duration and few in number. In early June we had some warm weather and then it cooled. We had only a few days in July and August that were really summer-like. There were times I was forced to shut the windows tight because it just got too cold. Watching the pedestrians 12 floors below I saw lots of winter jackets on throughout the summer. Last year we had several weeks of consecutive warm weather but not this year. I did run the fan but to keep air circulating in the room since I had the windows closed so much. I tried to find some data on the city in English but failed.

A friend in the U.K. experienced the same cool summer and says she had to turn on her heat for several days in the middle of summer. And the UK Met office confirms that the termperatures for July, on average, were below normal. "The provisional mean value for the month is 14.2 °C, which is 0.2 °C below the 1961-1990 average." They have nothing up for August yet. And certainly today is windy and cool in the UK, which is where I currently am.

Now I see that New York City had the coldest day on record, in August, since 1911, just a few days ago. The normal high is 82 degrees and the normal low is 67. But on Tuesday, August 21, the high for the city was just 59 degrees, or 23 degrees below normal and 8 degrees below the normal low. The report I saw didn't report on what the low was for the day, but if the high was 59 I suspect the low was a bit below that.

Apparently it wasn't much warmer the rest of August either. On the 18th the high was 60 degrees, the previous coldest day was 61 degrees set in 1977. The New York Times travel section noted this meant that lifeguards at the beachers were "left alone with the sea gulls and surfers" and resulted in "cashmere sweaters selling fast, at $295 each, from an East Hampton boutique, to vacationers who had packed for sunshine." One British tourist was most unhappy: "We were coming for sunshine, but this is U.K. weather. We're very disappointed. I'll have to go out and buy a jumper (sweater)." The article noted that temperatures were 2.4 degrees below normal, on average.

Vermont experienced similarly cold weather in August as the weather map from WPTZ shows. In fact they were rather suprised to find that their low temperature ws lower than the record low in Alaska on the same day. In neighboring New Hampshire an annual summer bike race was canceled for the second time due to cold weather. The Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb was because "temperatures at the summit hovered just above freezing and the wind chill was 13 degrees. Some 600 cyclists were sent home. The alternative date for the race was also canceled because temperatures were lower. At my alma mater the university was turning up the heat inside because it was experiencing "one of the coldest August days in its history."

Minnesota reported the same thing. As the Post-Bulletin, in Rochester reported: "Already a record has been set in August. On Aug. 4, the high temperature was 65 degrees, which ties 1972 for the coldest high temperature on the date." And this cooling problem seemed to parts of Australia as well. The Campbelltown Advertiser reported that local residents "could be forgiven for thinking it was the end of spring on Monday, and not the end of winter." Temperatures on August 8 were barely above freezing. And the World Food Program put out an alert for emergency aid in Peru due to "the coldest weather in thirty years, sub-freezing temperatures of an average of minus 27" resulting in "an epidemic of penumonia and other respirattory disesases" which killed 70 children and infected 600,000 people.

In Canada the StarPhoenix ran the headline: "Remember Summer? Seen it lately?" The paper noted: "Saskatoon is on pace for its coldest August in recorded history. Residents are lighting up their furnaces rather than barbecues." A local furnace repairman said he was getting calls for emergency repairs to furnaces from people, which usually doesn't happen until later in the year. The city had kept their outdoor pools closed for much of the summer. Average temperatures there have been about 4 C below normal and meteorologist Bob Cormier said: Unless we have a real recovery next week, which we won't, we'll end up with a below-normal August. We'll probably recover enough to avoid a new record low, but you never know."

Sacramento, California is used to very warm summers. They have them every year and have had them for as long as anyone knows. Not this year. In a one day period they saw temperatures plummet by 28 degrees to 74 degrees, the lowest "high" temperature on record for that day of the year. And records there go back to 1877. That was August 5 and the 6th was just as cool when it tied the previous 1906 record low for the day. The local newspaper mused: "Don't tell Al Gore, but global warming is taking a holiday in Sacramento this week. The maximum temperatures Sunday and Monday set records each day -- as the coolest "highs" for the dates since record-keeping began in 1877." The Sacramento Bee ran this photos of people in the park wearing jackets to illustrate the point.

What does this prove? Not a lot actually. But does anyone believe that if the weather was unusually warm that the warming alarmists wouldn't have been making a lot of noise about it? I suspect they will ignore such temperatures for the most part but go into high gear the next unusually warm period proclaiming it proof that disaster is awaiting us around the bend. It seems that local warm spells are regularly reported around the globe as newsworthy but when there are unusually cold snaps in the middle of summer these barely get a mention outside the regional press.

During a short three or four day warm period for Berlin I read a New Zealand news story about the "extreme" weather in the city illustrated with kids playing under a water pipe to get cool. In fact that short period made up most the hot weather for the entire summer. The photo from Reuters said that these Berlin residents "are in the grip of a heatwave." It was more like a heat ripple. Anomalies in the weather that confirm "warming" are widely reported as evidence that man-made warming is taking place. Anomalies in the weather that go the other way are barely noticed at all. All this proves is that the perceptions of what is newsworthy is determined by the beliefs of the journalists and that stories that run counter to their perceptions are not noticed and not reported.