This is a continuation of a discussion on the role of Global Warming in the decline of moose populations in Minnesota. It is also a discussion of Global Warming denialism.
When I started to write Part II of this post, I realized that one aspect of the argument would probably distract from all the others, could be dealt with quickly and summarily, and makes a nice pithy post all by itself. This aspect is the claim made by commenter Gerard on an earlier post regarding global warming (or lack thereof) in Minnesota.
Gerard made this claim:
The average monthly high/low temperatures for January in Lake Bronson, MN (but pick any other station in the region you like) , averaged over the period 1900-1992, were 11.7 F /-9.6 F. The monthly average high/low for 1993 – 2002, over which period the moose herd suffered a 10 fold decline, were 11.7 F/-7.1 F.
Have you any evidence at all that average wintertime temperatures in NW Minnesota actually changed over the period you claim global warming caused the death of the moose herd? Or am I just a mean nasty person for looking at the actual, y’know, raw data?
Dr. Gerard should learn to make such claims with less snark, lest he gets his ass truly kicked instead of merely corrected.
Anyway, it is a rather remarkable claim considering that this is what temperatures over the last century look like in Minnesota:
So let’s look at Dr. Gerard’s claim more closely.
According to Gerard, the Average high temperature from this station in 1900 to 1992 was not 11.7 degrees F. However, when I look at the data, I find that it was 49.17 degrees F. Translating F to C we get 9.54 degrees C, so I’m guessing Dr. Gerard messed up the scale.
So, since most Minnesotans relate better to F than C, let’s translate everything into F.
Using the years Gerard picked and actual correctly calculated numbers in degrees F from real data, we get this:
1900-1992 High = 49.1 Low = 26.0
1993-2002 High = 49.6 Low = 27.5
To make things simpler, we can average across highs and lows and get this:
1900-1992 -> 37.6 deg F
1993-2002 -> 38.5 deg F
Ironically, when I use Gerard’s original data, which I can’t verify, I get a total average difference of 2.2 (warming) but when I use actual verified data shown here I get a total average difference as indicated here of closer to 1.0 degrees (less warming!).
However, Gerard has cherry picked the data as I had earlier suggested. Here are the data from this station graphed out, including ALL the available years (Gerard ignores recent very warm years):
If you look at either of the graphs shown above, you can see that there is a general warming trend, but that during the latter part of this warming trend, there are a few cool years embedded within a bunch of very warm years. By ignoring the last few very warm years, Gerard minimizes the difference between “then” and “now.”
I can fudge the data too. If you pick a different cutoff point you can get an increase in warming. The data I cite above gives us a 1 degree F change. Using Gerard’s original unverified data, you get a 2.2 degree change. But I can also do this:
1900 to Spring 2003 -> 37.6
Spring 2003 to pres -> 40.3
For an increase in 2.7 degrees.
Try it at any station across the state. You get the same results. Global warming is real even in Minnesota which is, locally.less affected than may other areas.
In the end, we have only one conclusion regarding Dr. Gerard’s analysis. And that conclusion is THIS.