SURVEYOR'S NOTEBOOK

New Jersey Global Warming Data to Defeat Deniers

By Rik van Hemmen

I was searching for some local rainfall information and came across a lovely meteorological summary of New Jersey weather posted on the NJ State Climatologist website.

It provides a long listing of temperatures and rainfall, and Mirna captured New Jersey average temperatures since 1895 in the pictures below.

In reviewing the data I found myself once again confronted with the realities of global warming and also with the very weak cherry picking arguments that are incorrectly raised by global warming deniers. In essence, global warming deniers hang their hat on an argument that we cannot foresee that things will become bad with increasing CO2 levels and even argue climate change is not man made. Interestingly, we already have enough data to show both, and this table is a powerful illustration.

 

The summary provides an interesting graphic where the darker red colors are the highest historic average temperatures for each month and the lighter red colors show the additional 5 highest historic average temperatures for each month.

Similarly, darker blue shows the lowest historic average temperature for each month and the lighter blue shows the additional 5 lowest historic temperatures for each month.

If we use a smaller format so these pictures can be seen in one view, it becomes quite clear that New Jersey has been warming and quite dramatically too.

1895-1912

Almost all the cold records are in the past and almost all warm records are in the present. However, closer examination shows that there is a weird anomaly for the the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. In that era it looks like NJ was cooling a little (more blues than reds). This was recognized at the time and there were even a few articles on this subject in the mainstream media which are often cited by global warming deniers.

Even the authors of those articles have now admitted that they drew incorrect conclusions on the information provided. All of that is nicely laid out in the Wikipedia article on Global Cooling. The wiki notes that in 1975 the National Academy of Sciences had already issued a report that carefully laid out the reasons for this apparent cooling trend in a report entitled, “Understanding Climate Change: A Program for Action“.

The report stated (p. 36) that, “The average surface air temperature in the northern hemisphere increased from the 1880’s until about 1940 and has been decreasing thereafter.” As the above graphics show, that decrease was quite small and actually much smaller than the present increase in global temperatures.

It also stated (p. 44) that, “If both the CO2 and particulate inputs to the atmosphere grow at equal rates in the future, the widely differing atmospheric residence times of the two pollutants means that the particulate effect will grow in importance relative to that of CO2.”

The report did not predict whether the 25-year cooling trend observed at that time would continue. It stated that, “we do not have a good quantitative understanding of our climate machine and what determines its course [so] it does not seem possible to predict climate,” and (p. 2) “The climates of the earth have always been changing, and they will doubtless continue to do so in the future. How large these future changes will be, and where and how rapidly they will occur, we do not know.”

The Report’s “program for action” was a call for creation of a new “National Climatic Research Program.” It stated (p. 62), “If we are to react rationally to the inevitable climatic changes of the future, and if we are ever to predict their future course, whether they are natural or man-induced, a far greater understanding of these changes is required than we now possess. It is, moreover, important that this knowledge be acquired as soon as possible.” For that reason, it stated, “the time has now come to initiate a broad and coordinated attack on the problem of climate and climatic change.”

This was in 1975! Think about that; In 1975 CO2 was already considered to be a man made global warming issue and a reasonably good qualitative understanding existed, but there was little quantitative understanding.

Meanwhile, in 1975 the Clean Air Act, and similar legislation all across the world, started to reduce particulates and the cooling factor from particulates went down while CO2 levels started to increase more rapidly than before (mostly due to the increase in global trade). In other words, the man made warming trend increased and the man made cooling trend decreased and hence we have quite rapid man made global warming and this is clearly shown in the New Jersey data. It is particularly evident in the New Jersey data, since particulate matter cooling is a local phenomenon. The particles spewed out by pre EPA cars, trucks, factories and power plants do not stay in the air for a long time and filter out locally (and become acid rain) before they become a global issue, meanwhile CO2 stays in the air much longer. As such, we saw lots of cleaner air in New Jersey, which reduced cooling locally, and thereby resulted in significant warming.

So much for man made global warming denier arguments; man is affecting the atmosphere. But as Jonathan Swift is supposed to have said: “You can’t argue somebody out of something they were not first argued into”. Despite real evidence, deniers will shift their argument to have to avoid to admit they were wrong. And what type of argument would they use if they were firmly confronted with this analysis? A man made global warming denier would say: Well in that case we should burn more dirty coal and the earth will cool! Note that at that stage the man made global warming argument has been accepted, since the denier just proposed man made climatic modification, even though their proposal is completely unrealistic.

The burn more coal argument is so flawed on so many levels that, again, it requires a rational person to take another deep breath and to have to wade in with the next analysis to defeat a pathetic argument. Will I defeat it here? Nah, let them make the argument; to make the argument is a simple admission that global warming is man made and, if it is man made, it will have to be man fixed. That can only be done by rational people who know how to look at data and to perform realistic research. It cannot be fixed by people who deny reality.