This NH winter has been an interesting one to watch from many perspectives. The competing effects of the Northern Atlantic Oscillation and the La Nina have been interesting and their impacts far reaching. The frigid air that would normally be west of Greenland went south for the winter and record snow and cold throughout the region has been the norm this winter. None of these events is unique, but the overlap has resulted in normal weather being displaced.
The other interesting aspect has been the analysis of the weather. I have touched upon this before when the Miami Herald printed an editorial stating that this weather was in fact global warming making is long awaited arrival. What recently caught my attention was three articles that made the Real Clear Science page at nearly the same time. Two of them are pretty straight forward journalism. The other appeared to be journalism, but was pretty impressive misdirection.
The first is a New York Times article that states that the NOAA (using the GHCN data) has preliminarily stated that 2010 tied 2005 for the warmest year of all time. That is factual as far as the GHCN data goes, but of course the GHCN data doesn’t match the other sets. Both satellite and the CRU data show that 1998 was warmer than 2005 and also warmer than 2010. It is certainly no surprise that the Times picked the data they thought was most useful to fit the theory that CO2 is the cause of all things weather related.
The 2nd article comes from Our Amazing Planet which has a fairly straightforward article about the fact that 49/50 states have fresh snow. It states the conditions that have lead to the unusually excessive snow and states when such events have happened. Back in the 1970′s it seems that such events did happen. It also states that long term snow patterns have not changed over the past 40 years except for spring snow coverage. This is a good example of an article that simply states what is and I appreciate such articles when I find them.
Finally there is another article that goes into more detail about the reasons why this winter has behaved the way that it has. While CNN generally toes the AGW line, this article gives some good information about why Australia is flooding to the snow in Georgia. It provides some slight depth to typical La Nina and NAO effects, but since the current La Nina and NAO are strong, the effects of each are stronger than usual in their main sphere of influence.
The Times is determined to present a perfect wall of news attempting to show that Global Warming is real and happening. Their article was a perfect example of cherry picking to make the data fit the results they want it to. That the GHCN data is becoming so divergent from the other sets of temperature is a concern, but not one the Times will ever cover.