Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Let's look at the records

Skeptics were doubtless heartened by the unusually cool summer Philadelphia enjoyed this year, following the logic of "if there's global warming, why is it getting cooler here?" Well, the answer is it depends on where you happen to be looking. Over the last decade, there were twice as many record-high temperatures in the United States as record lows.

Let's look at the records

A couple weeks ago we looked at a study the AP commissioned showing that for nearly every span of time you care to look at, the planet's temperature is on the rise. Shockingly, climate-change deniers were no more convinced by those hard numbers than they have been by the overwhelming mass of studies and indicators that continue to emerge every week pointing to anthropogenic climate change.

Skeptics were doubtless heartened by the unusually cool summer Philadelphia enjoyed this year, following the logic of "if there's global warming, why is it getting cooler here?" Well, the answer is it depends on where you happen to be looking. The National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado reported that over the last decade, there were twice as many record-high temperatures in the United States as record lows. The numbers came from "data from thousands of weather stations across the country over the last six decades."

The Reuters version of the story (you know, in case an AP version would feed the AP conspiracy theory) notes that if the climate were not warming, "the number of record highs and lows each year would be about equal. But for the period between January 1, 2000 and September 30 this year, the continental United States had 291,237 record highs and 142,420 record lows." So, technically speaking, there were actually more than twice as many record highs, to the tune of around 6,400 more.

Lead researcher Gerald Meehl added that "there have also been decreases in frost days, when the nighttime temperature goes below freezing -- there are fewer of those documented for many areas of the world, including the United States."

When it comes to math, "frosty" is the new "fuzzy!"

Jibes aside, the numbers aren't winning or losing scores - they're part of a big picture that needs to be addressed in a real, tangible way, and soon. That's why it's a pity that Copenhagen is already beginning to look like NoHopenhagen.

About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.


Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.


Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.


Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.


Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





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