#6 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change…

Reason #6: What’s the earth’s temperature?


I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

In a prior posts, I covered: (1) Unsettling science (2) Expired doomsday predictions (3) The “97% of scientists” baloney (4) Dinking with the data  and (5) Temperature readings – plus or minus

Let’s move on…


Reason #6: What’s the earth’s temperature?

Climate “scientists” are confidently forecasting temperatures to to fractional degrees … 50 or 100 years out.

Contrast that to a local DC TV station which promotes a 3-degree forecast guarantee for the next day’s high temperature.


That is, if the next day’s high temperature at a specific measurement location (think, Reagan Airport) falls within a specified 6-degree band (the forecast plus or minus 3 degrees), the weatherman lays claim to another successful forecast.

The success rate is about 90% … or conversely:

The weather guy misses about 10% of the time on a next day temperature forecast … despite a robust 6-degree forecast range.


The Washington Post took an interesting swipe at the 3-degree guarantee:


From the Washington Post  

Many of you, no doubt, have noticed that on occasion, your front porch thermometer might read three or more degrees higher or lower than that on your back porch and of course, there is often a significant disparity in airport temperatures.

But would it matter to you if the next day’s actual temperature at Reagan National Airport (DCA), where nobody lives (I don’t think), is a few degrees higher or lower than predicted?

Certainly the temperature is important.

But already knowing that the temperature will be in a certain range, one needs far more information, such as:

  • location of the sensors
  • nature of any severe weather
  • humidity and dew point;
  • amount of cloud cover;
  • strength and direction of winds;
  • form and duration of any precipitation.

Bottom line:

WaPo disses the next day 3-degree guarantee … and, duly notes that there are a lot of factors in play.

But, when it comes to climatologists forecasting temperatures a century into the future, WaPo –- loyally repping for the cause — is eager to accept forecasted temperatures stated in fractions of a degree … and ignores all factors except human emissions.

Seriously, does that make any sense?


And, while WaPo acknowledges that temperatures vary by location, the crack opinionators seem to miss the bigger point.

The 3-degree guarantee is stated for a specific location, not the DC metro area.

Temperatures vary by locale … and they’re stated as such … with at least a couple of degrees variance on most days.

The “average Metro temperature” is some sort of average of the many locales … and doesn’t really have much practical meaning.

Note that is one locale gets hotter than usual – say, due to lesser cloud cover.  The metro temperature goes up, but the local temperatures haven’t changed.

It’s called the “mix effect” – the way that many locales are arithmetically combined to get the metro average.

Scale the mix effect up to the world …

Which locations are measured? Are new locations added?  If so, are they added in hotter or colder locales? etc.

And the bigger question: is temperature changing by the same amount at all locales … or are a couple hot spots skewing the measurements?

How these local measurements are combined may have a big effect on the “global temperature” … whatever that might be.



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