Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What is Global Warming?

Global Warming
Every time we drive a car, use electricity from coal-fired power plants, or cool or heat our homes with oil or natural gas, we release carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere. These gases act like a blanket, trapping heat and warming the Earth’s surface. The more of these gases we release, the thicker the blanket becomes.
Since the mid-1800s, our emissions of carbon dioxide have skyrocketed. There is more CO2 in the atmosphere now than there has been in the last 650,000 years. The burning of fossil fuel alone accounts for about 75% of the increase in CO2. Deforestation—the cutting and burning of forests that trap carbon—accounts for another 20%.
This heat-trapping blanket has warmed the Earth about 1°F during the past century. The last two decades are the warmest on record. Earth has not experienced such a rapid change in temperature in thousands of years. Unless we reduce the pollution that causes global warming, the world’s top scientists predict that temperatures could climb between 2.0° to 11.5°F this century.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Corporate CEO's Speak Out

In an open letter, published in Financial Times, 43 international CEO's from major corporations called upon world leaders to act on climate change. This is very good news. If we can get people other than scientists to urge action, especially powerful, influential people, then we might be able to get something done.

This letter was in the lead-up to the meeting that will be taking place in Paris this December to work on a climate change treaty. Let's hope enough pressure will be put on the world leaders they will find a way to get something meaningful done.

However, I believe we need to brace ourselves. The global warming deniers managed to spring some dirty tricks right before the last two conferences in an attempt to sabotage them. It is not unreasonable to expect them to do it again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Global Warming Skeptic Challenge Book Now Available

I have been working on formatting the Global Warming Skeptic Challenge for publication as a book and I am (very!) pleased to say I am done and it is now available. You can download it as a free PDF from my author webpage (chriskeatingauthor.com). If you feel like you need to pay for it, it is available on Amazon. It was too large to put into one print version book, so the hard copy version comes in two volumes. The ebook version does not please me, but that is the problem with taking a printed page and converting it into digital format. Hopefully, no one will be buying either of them.

The book is large - over 730 pages. That includes the 86 submissions, end notes, bibliography and index. There are also a number of chapters at the beginning where I share some of my observations and experiences from the challenge.

I hope you find it a useful reference and I would enjoy hearing any comments you have to make (even negative ones).

Health Information Data Security in the Private Sector-Things You Need to Know

In February 2015 (1) and in March 2015 (2), there were two huge security breaches at privately run insurance companies, Anthem Health and Premera Blue Cross of Washington. The former was so significant there has been a legislative review. However, what is missing is the public outcry over the "open window" on your most personal information, because that is essentially what a data breach is; a burglar entering a private company and stealing valuable property. This property belongs to you and only under specific circumstances should you authorize anyone else to have access to this information.

 On February 5, 2015, 78.8 million health care records were hacked at Anthem, a Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliate, formerly known as Wellpoint. This means that the social security number, medical history, names, income information and addresses were all compromised. What makes this breach so egregious is unlike getting a new credit card number, changing ones health history is not doable. Additionally, Anthem says between 9 and 20 million people whom were NOT their customers also had medical records compromised. Anthem's fix for the problem was giving hacking victims a subscription for a credit-watch service.

Fast forward to March 17th and Washington State's Premera Blue Cross found itself with it's cyber pants-down as well, posting a data breech for 11 million members. In Premera's security lapse the thieves got away with clinical, social security, birth date, and bank account information. Premera acted quickly to notify customers, but again, it's only fix was to offer a two-year grattice subscription  to a credit watch agency. After which, you will of course be hounded by a credit agency to subscribe.

In both of these cases the insurance companies had their customers and people whom were not their customers' data hacked. For a ring side view, my son, who is not a Premera customer and hasn't been one in a decade, received notification of the security problem. In addition, I, who was a Premera customer last year, did not receive a notification, until Premera sent about six notices to everyone whom has ever lived at my residence in the last 15 years. Of course I contacted the insurance company to question this error and was assured they knew what they were doing. But this begs a question, how long can an insurance company legally hold your personal information and what do they do with it? And, are former customers treated with less data hygiene, hence the confusion on who was to receive the notices, addresses, and whose information was tampered. Premera is being sued by at least one person because of this compromise.

Neither of these scenarios are isolated and in fact security experts think many insurance companies may have been breached and they are simply not yet aware of it. Cyber thieves find the medical information so compelling because medical fraud can amount to millions without the contract limits of other insurance contracts.

Since the Affordable Care Act has codified the use of private sector insurance in publicly funded insurance exchanges, the insurance exchange administrators, state health care departments, and state Medicaid Offices are also in various degrees of partnerships with private insurers. Last year, Community Health Plan had a significant data breach. Some states, with grant incentives from provisions of the Affordable Care Act, have undertaken ambitious programs to identify health risks and theoretically improve health for residents through private companies. My son has been called numerous times by United Healthcare, requesting very personal information, both from a live person and from a robot. I have spoken to United Healthcare representatives numerous times and declined to give the information, but to no avail. In fact, even when I requested I be added to the do-not-call list and pointed out the Anthem data breach, I was told by the company representative that she did not think that would stop the calls.

Which brings me to number two-you do not have to provide personal health information to your insurance company, unless it is for use in ajudicating or paying a claim. Generic information to be used for their own surveillance or marketing efforts does not have to be proffered. As a former insurance broker I can assure you that insurance companies collect information for their own purposes and not necessarily to benefit you. In fact, if it wasn't for legal recourse insurance companies would still be discriminating on the basis of race and sexual orientation. The only person you should share your personal medical information with is your doctor or clinician, who has agreed to the hippocratic oath of confidentiality or at the very least, your attorney, whom almost must keep client information confidential. All of the rest of the data requests should be approached with extreme caution. I for one, only share my health information with my doctor, unless there is a question on a claim. I suggest you do the same, because insurance companies pay claims, they don't take care of your health, leave that to your doctor.

 And this is the healthpolicymaven signing off encouraging prudence when it comes to sharing your medical information, with private sector, as well as quasi-government entities.

This article was written by Roberta E. Winter, an independent freelance journalist and author of http://www.amazon.com/Unraveling-U-S-Health-Care-Personal/dp/1442222972. Feel free to share it virally and to make proper attribution when citing material from this article. Speaking of viruses, a study of 95,000 medical records finds NO LINK between Autism and the measles,  mumps, and rubella vaccine. (3) Thanks for vaccinating parents.

(1) http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/24/us-anthem-cybersecurity-idUSKBN0LS2CS20150224

(2) http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/18/business/premera-blue-cross-says-data-breach-exposed-medical-data.html?_r=0

(3)  http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/study-95000-children-found-no-link-between-autism-and-measles-vaccine

Monday, April 20, 2015

Did the California Drought Just Get a Lot Worse?

A California appeals court has ruled a tiered-water rate in San Juan Capistrano, CA is unconstitutional. Like many communities, San Juan charged an increasing rate for users who used greater amounts of water. The residents passed a law saying the government can not charge more for a service than the cost of that service. Using that law as a basis, the residents claimed the tiered-rate system was arbitrary and unfair. The courts agreed.

Does this mean the end of tiered-rate practices in California? That would be a very bad thing. The idea behind a tiered-rate is to have affordable water for low-income families but to discourage the waste of water. As we all know, California cannot afford to waste water anymore. And, yet, that is exactly what some people are doing. Despite the drought, people are failing to conserve water. In other words, they are wasting water the community can't afford to waste simply because they can.

If this ruling sticks and spreads throughout the state, it will have a serious impact on an already serious situation.

Good luck, California.

March 2015 Was the Hottest March Ever Recorded

NOAA released it's State of the Climate report for March and it sounds like a broken record:
The average temperature across global land and ocean surface temperatures combined for March 2015 was 0.85°C (1.53°F) higher than the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F). This marks the highest March temperature in the 136-year period of record, surpassing the previous record of 2010 by 0.05°C (0.09°F). The Northern Hemisphere had its second highest March temperature on record, behind only 2008, while the Southern hemisphere tied with 2002 for third highest.

Our 2015 count looks like this:

March was the hottest March on record;

February was the second hottest February on record;

January was the second hottest January on record.

So far, 2015 has one hottest month and two second hottest months ever recorded.

For the last 12 months, the tally is:

March 2015 was the hottest March ever recorded;

February 2015 was the second hottest February ever recorded;

January 2015 was the second hottest January ever recorded;

December 2014 was the hottest December ever recorded;

November 2014 was the 7th hottest November ever recorded;

October 2014 was the hottest October ever recorded;

September 2014 was the hottest September ever recorded;

August 2014 was the hottest August ever recorded;

July 2014 was the fourth hottest July ever recorded;

June 2014 was the hottest June ever recorded;

May 2014 was the hottest May ever recorded;

April 2014 tied 2010 as the hottest April ever recorded.

So, let's see what the score is for the last 12 months: one 7th hottest month, one 4th hottest months, three 2nd hottest months and seven hottest months ever.

Ten of the last twelve months were either the hottest or second hottest ever recorded.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Guest Submission: Reply to Temperature Complaints

Dear Mr. Seppa,

I have taken the time to review your ten page paper, and what I can do is discuss some of the curious portions that to me, don't seem to provide meaningful time frames, or solid statistical references.

To begin with, I don't understand your implication that taking temperature readings from one place on Earth instead of from all around the globe is unimportant—such as in the case of the single place readings from the Milan station in Chippewa county that you discuss? It is obviously better to determine long term trends by using the data from numerous stations as well as including homogenized data which takes into regard various non-climate influences, as well as the massive temperature data from satellite readings, which the vast majority of climate scientists have consistently done.

Many of the “facts and figures,” you rely on, seem at best quite questionable. To begin with you state that data from the last 100 years, taken from the Opjorden farm reveal a rise of 1.8 degrees F and also that this rise confirms the results from “various climatic authorities,”and reveals a “clear upward rise over a period of 115 years.” But then you refer to Dr. J Easterbrook who, presented many peer papers at the American Geophysical union meeting in 2008, and whose research has allegedly revealed many warming and cooling trends which have occurred during portions of those last 115 years. However, in conclusion you say that the last period from 1998-2008 is an indication that the past century may “not have been as as catastrophic as predicted by some." And you then claim that a small downward trend ending after those ten years, supports that “strong probability.” So you have taken an upward trend of over 115 years and strongly implied that a recent period of only 10 years may very well, negate it all! How does suggesting that we might soon enter another cooling trend add proof to the contention that global warming as recorded and evaluated by 97% of peer-reviewed and published scientists, is not nearly as dire as they suggest, or may not be happening at all? Ten years of data compared to 115 years of the same, cannot seriously dismiss the overall rise of globally recorded temperatures world wide, nor can it prove that such a rise has little to do with human activities. So why even dwell on such a claim?

I might also note that the 5 differing time periods you use to affirm frequent warming and cooling cycles are very different in length, and can be viewed much differently just by cherry picking data in a different way, i.e. if one includes the first two periods of time as part of one single period—from 1894 to 1945, (a period of 51 years)—one can see that although the ending temperature in 1915 is at, or a little under, 43, at the end of 1945, the final temperature level is listed as at, or a little above, 43. So, if I were to describe a cooling trend by referring to that longer period of time, the evidence would not support the same conclusion—only that temperatures ended a little higher than 43, or at the least, were at the same level as temperatures at the end of 1915. And, if one decides to chop the periods you list, into smaller segments, many more warming and cooling trends can be described within the overall time frame of the periods you (and Dr. Easterbrook) list? I am not saying that all warming and cooling trends must happen over the same amount of time, but your periods range from a high of 32 years, to a low of only ten years between 1998-2009, (depending on which times of year in 1998 and 2009 the measurements are taken from). So the fact that so many different lengths of time are involved just makes me doubt the feasibility of your claims. As you say, the results cannot be proven until after they happen, so why even entertain such a vague theory as if it was extremely significant? I also noticed that the integers you list along the vertical axis of your charts, do not include specific labeling to designate them as either Fahrenheit or Celsius temperatures, and they cover a range of from 36 to 55. But what specific values do those numbers refer to? It seems a bit shoddy of you not to make this clear.

Below is a link to a web article about Donald J. Easterbrook PhD:

It lists four reasons why Dr. Easterbrook is wrong about global cooling trends and also reveals that he is actually outright dishonest in regards to many of his other claims.

This link for a website article pasted below, also sums up the legitimacy of the Watts study you mention and that much of it is also, just wrong!:

“It's worth noting that Peter Thorne of NCDC was interviewed by Andrew Revkin, and discussed three papers which NCDC has recently published (see here, here, here). In the first of those linked papers, they actually conclude that there likely remains a residual cool bias in the adjusted data, and that the adjusted data are consistent with reanalysis data (detailed in the third linked paper). Watts et al. do not address these papers. Ironically Watts responded to that interview by saying that Thorne needs to get out into the real world, but it is Watts et al. who have not accounted for real world effects like TOB, station movement, instrument changes, etc.

In its current form, the Watts paper contains little in the way of useful analysis. There are too many potential sources of bias which are not accounted for, too many apples-to-oranges comparisons, and they cannot draw any conclusions about urban heat influences until their data are homogenized and other non-climate influences are removed.
The primary conclusion of the paper, aside from not being supported by the analysis, is simply implausible. The CONUS surface warming trend proposed by the Watts paper appears to be inconsistent with the satellite observations, and overall global trends in raw data do not differ dramatically from those in the adjusted data. Comparing raw to adjusted data globally shows a rather small difference in long-term trends; far smaller than a factor of two.

The flaws we have identified entirely compromise the conclusions of the paper. Ultimately Watts et al. assume that all adjustments are 'spurious' unless due to urban heat influences, when in fact most of their identified discrepancy likely boil down to important adjustments for instrumental changes, TOB, and other influences they have not accounted for in their analysis. Watts et al. attempt to justify their assumption by asserting "well sited stations are adjusted upward to match the already-adjusted poor stations," but this is simply not how the homogenization process is done.

Fortunately McIntyre has acknowledged that TOB must be considered in their analysis, as has Watts, which is a good start, but they must also account for the other biases noted above in order to draw any valid conclusions about urban heat influences.

In conclusion, Watts et al. of course deserve the right to try to make their case in the peer-reviewed literature, however implausible that case appears to be. Therefore, we hope they will consider addressing the important concerns detailed above before they submit the paper to a journal. Otherwise we suspect the paper will not fare well in the peer review process. With said caveats carefully addressed and the conclusions amended if and where necessary, the paper has the potential to be a useful contribution to the climate science literature.”

I would also like to refer you to the skeptical science website at:

Here you will find 176 common climate myth examined by climate scientists. Two which I suggest you read, are nos. 47 and 118, since both the Little Ice Age in England and the Oregon Institute Petition project are both cited in your paper.

In the case of the little ice age, (no 47) , a number of natural variations likely contributed to abnormal cooling, such as increased volcanic activity, and diminished solar output, both of which can cause cooling.

Likewise, myth 118 examines the dubious methodology that the Oregon Petition project utilized, and the actual relevance of the over 31,000 signatures it contains. You should examine this myth for yourself, but just to put it in perspective, one very significant critique of the Oregon petition is that 32,000 signatures sounds impressive, but only represents 0.3% of the ten million science graduates who posses qualifications that satisfy the terms of the petition. Here is paste with more about myth 47.

“Can We Draw a Conclusion?
In truth, not really. The Little Ice Age remains for the present the subject of speculation. The most likely influence during this period is variable output from the sun combined with pronounced volcanic activity. We know that from the end of the LIA to the 1950s the sun’s output increased. But since WW2 the sun has slowly grown quieter, yet the temperature on Earth has gone up.”

So interestingly although from the end of the LIA the sun's output increased until 1950, but has grown quieter in post WW2 years, one would expect to find that after WW2 temperatures decreased accordingly, but that is just not the case.” And, Mr. Seppa, Are you really not aware that climate scientists have consistently utilized various methods to account for common discrepancies that may result from taking readings from different weather station locations in order to arrive at reliable data? These already include station moves, instrument changes, time of observation, urban island heat biases, and various other inhomogeneities over the last 150 years. Despite your apparent opinion that the tens of thousands of scientists who are now accumulating data, are some kind of incompetent and negligent group that would return to the drawing board if Anthony Watts experiments were replicated, but that is far from the truth. Virtually all the factors which might conceivably produce biased results from ground weather stations, have long ago been considered by climate scientists--who affirm the existence of our present, predominately human caused global warming. However, in many cases additional knowledge from new research, has actually revealed bias on the warmer side. Yet if Mr. watt’s research was actually replicated by a significant number of his peers, you can bet that nearly all knowledgeable climate change researchers, would willingly take notice and adjust their projections in order to make them more accurate. For climate change researchers, Its not merely about being right--it's about accurately evaluating their findings and then drawing logical conclusions from them! Here is a link to a web page on the skeptical science site that explains the issues involved with interpreting weather data:

Overall your paper is full of important omissions as well as failures to adequately identify the data you site. One example is your mention of the claim that Watt's observations have shown that the new latex paint on shelters caused an increase of .3 degrees F for minimum temperatures, and an .8 F increase for maximum temperatures, but inexplicably you fail to mention what those maximum and minimum temperatures are, or what temperatures they are increases or decreases from? Admittedly the increases and decreases themselves would seem to be the most important, but it's a bit negligent to leave out the actual temperatures themselves, since they might be of obvious importance to those wanting to know all of the specifics. And although you report that Watt's experiments in regards to this supposedly unique study, involved three weather stations, do you expect us to believe that such a small sampling of stations can produce relevant results concerning warning around the globe? Also, after affirming that Watt's experiments involved three different weather reading stations, you make no mention of just where each of them are located. As a person who lives in Superior, WI. I can testify to the fact that frequently, those of us near the lake shore, experience temperatures more than 20 degrees colder than do those living only a few miles inland. So obviously even minor location differences can cause major differences in temperature readings.
Your insistence that climate scientists appear unwilling to to attempt replication of experiments that “refute their basic contentions,” and your implication that “political” motives are driving this supposed refusal, are matters of grave concern. That's because they unfairly imply that scientists are deliberately trying to deceive the public for some unknown end. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Firstly I would like to ask you what you specifically mean by this allegation, and to provide some of the hows and whys that could motivate learned scientists to seek participation in some sort of massive conspiracy? Rather than just continuing to make this allegation, could you please specifically describe what the goals of this supposed plot are, and how these are going to be accomplished? Many of us would like to know more than just vague allegations involving financial gain, partisan attempts to control the future energy markets of the world, or supposed obedience to pressures from a government that is determined to force their compliance. Tell us instead the whys, whats, and wheres, if you want to remain credible. And if you want to claim that the perfectly feasible assumption that energy companies with very apparent motivations for wanting to avoid jeopardizing the vast wealth they hold in today’s markets, cannot also be credibly implicated as participants in a well contrived conspiracy aimed at discrediting the work of climate scientists, please tell us why?

The projections made by climate scientists concerning today's weather extremes were first advanced in the 1970s and 1980s, and except for some temporary controversy about whether the climate would warm or cool (partly because aerosols were then part of the equation), most past climate scientists projected today’s volatile and extreme weather conditions more than 30 years ago! So if they knew they were advancing a hoax, how then did many of them luck out, and actually live to see their projections validated? Did they use a time machine to visit the post 2000 climate and then go back to 1980 in order to make predictions with use of such extraordinary knowledge? And if the government indeed, has a stake in forcing scientists to provide information beneficial to it, then are these puppet masters conservative Republicans, liberal democrats, or something else in between? And, why have scientists who affirm man's role in today's weather extremes never changed their message, even though several Democrat and Republican governments have since occupied the White House? If those who were under Clinton's thumb never changed their opinions despite the ensuing Presidency of George W. Bush, how could either party be eagerly compliant with the contentions of such a vast conspiracy? Again, give us specifics about how climate researchers intend to benefit by gaining control the future economy. As well as why none of them came forward after Bush's rejection of the Kyoto agreement to expose the liberal coercion that Democrats supposedly forced upon them? And, why do Republicans not also fit the role of conspirators, since many of them align with the desires of big oil, big coal, and big energy companies?

Unlike many climate change deniers, or (contrarians), if you prefer, who have direct connections to think-tanks (funded at least in part), by big oil and big coal special interests, learned scientists who originally made correct predictions thirty or more years ago, aren't likely to live to enjoy the fruits of their supposed treachery, yet deniers who keep insisting on the advancing a reality that promises to usher in even more global temperature increases, along with risking human vulnerability to those extreme weather conditions—like tornadoes, hurricane, droughts, floods, blizzards and so many of the other extremes we are now seeing—presently prosper from their associations with wealthy politically influential sources!

The truth is that climate science has always affirmed that climate change is as old as the earth, and that, specific weather events neither prove nor disprove global warming. They have also long realized that large temperature increases have occurred in previous geological eras, and have always admitted that they do not know all the answers. But, when climate science is described as settled science, this concept primarily refers to the basic fact that global warming is happening, and that we human beings are its major cause. When almost 100 percent of reputable scientists agree on this fact, then that is when one can consider the pertinent issues about this reality to be over and done with. Of course many other unknowns exist, but that does not exclude the fact that, what we now know, is that if we don't take steps to mitigate this potentially disastrous threat, we may be blowing a rare chance to shape Earth's future positively for all of us.

The world has always experienced large climatic changes including pervasive warming temperatures, but what concerns climate scientists of today is the unprecedented RATE of warming, which Is presently more rapid than at any other time in Earth's history. The reason people like me, insist on getting this message across, is that, we are concerned about the future of our children and those of all successive generations. We don't do this for money or political power, but rather to ensure basic survival for all of our fellow human beings. And Mr. Seppa, if you bother to really check out the answers to your unsubstantiated claims, you will understand that not taking positive steps towards preserving the future, is the most devastating failure we will ever face!

Peter W. Johnson

Mr. Seppa’s original letter follows. The original was a pdf file and much of the format has been lost. I will continue to work on it in an attempt to reproduce it more faithfully:

Global Warming (or is it Cooling?) in Milan (Draft)
by Dale Seppa Updated 3-15-2014

If anyone disputes my findings based on the long-term, Milan temperature data please get your own completedata, redo the math, redo the graphs and show me where my error is. To those that make statements such as; "This is only one place on the earth and when you look at the whole earth it is different"  I urge you to get the unaltered, long-term, data from any other place you wish and see what the trends were there.  The data is easily available at https://weather- warehouse.com/.  Storrs, CT and Superior, WI have recordsfor over a hundred years and I am sure there are many others.  It is important to find locations that have remained in the same place and have not had structures, parking lots etc., built alongside the weather station enclosure.   I believe that the data sets at Weather Warehouse have not been "adjusted" (read "altered") by outside forces but that would be part of your investigation.
To establish temperature trends at any place on the globe it is necessary to have accurate data over a long period of time. In Minnesotawe are extremely fortunate that there is a source of long-term, continuous, temperature records from rural Milan in Chippewa County. The Milan records run from the late nineteenth century to the present day.  These records are of great value for people in all walks of life including, of course,professionals that study weather and/or climate.  In the words of Mr. Peter Boulay;“At the State Climatology office, we always use the Milan record as oneof the best records in the state for anything that's going on with climate, Since it's always been in one family - it's always been a very good record, a well-behaved record over time, and one we can use for watchingclimate.”1

The Milan weather observer station is on the Opjordenfamily farm where a family member has been responsible for the accuracyof the daily data since 1893. The saga began in that year when Mr. O. K. Opjordenfirst started taking the readings.  Later his daughter Ragna took the responsibility for five years until her brother Torfinn took over and maintained the readingsfor fifty-seven consecutive years. He was succeededby his son Luther,who with the help of his wife Martha and occasional help from a neighbor,has held the reins since 1982.2

Mr. Boulay told me that it is the oldest weather observation station, in Minnesota, that remains in the hands of the original family. Other reports show it as the oldest one in Minnesota without any qualification.3   It may well be one of less than a dozen, in the entire United States which has been continuously attended by one family for well over a century.

The Opjorden family has won numerousawards from the NationalWeather Service, including the prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award as well as accoladesfrom scientists and the news media throughout the state and nation.  The last award was, in a way, the most important because in additionto the dedication and work of the Opjordenfamily it has one requirement that is hard to meet time.  Excellence and dedication are not enough to win this award; it takes time a lot of time. The Family HeritageAward is given only to familiesthat have continuously maintained the required records for more than 100 years.4   The award was

presented to Mr. Luther Opjorden, his wife Martha and Ms. Deb Hanson on November8, 2005 at the Opjordenfamily farm.

Fromleft withOpie, thedog, are Steve Buan, HPM, NWS Chanhassen, MN; Deb Hanson,Substitute Weather Observer; Pete Boulay, MinnesotaDNR Assistant State Climatologist; Craig Edwards, Retired MIC; and Martha and Luther Opjorden,Milan Observers. Photo courtesy of the Milan StandardWatson Journal.

The National Weather Service and indeed the entire state and nation owe a debt of gratitudefor this family’sremarkable commitment and the valuableinformation they have recorded for the benefitof all.5   Without these records it would be difficult, if not impossible, to view trends in temperature and precipitation in the Milan area throughout the years, decades and indeed, with the Opjordens more than a century.

As only one exampleof the value of the records, Mr. Boulay, the DNR Assistant State Climatologist, was able to look at the records and determine the average daily temperature has increasedat the Opjordenfarm about 1.8o Fahrenheit over the past 100 odd years.6   The trend line on the first chart will show how the records substantiate the temperature trend7 mentioned by Mr. Boulay.

1894             Milan             1951          Warming           2008

This trend line seems to tie in nicely with some of the many global warming theories propounded by various climate science “authorities”.  There it is, in red and blue, right before your very eyes; a clear upward rise in a period of a hundredand fifteen years, right there in Milan, ChippewaCounty, Minnesota.

But, is a rise of less than a couple of degrees Fahrenheit in a period of 115 years adequate confirmation of the multitude of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming claims (CAGW)? Thirty thousandU.S. citizens trained in science;including over 9,000 PhDs, don’t think so.8 One example of these skeptics is Donald J. Easterbrook, Ph.D., who presented one of his many peer-reviewed papers at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in 2008.  Dr.
Easterbrook, Emeritus Professor of Geology at Western Washington University entitled the paper; Solar Influence on RecurringGlobal, Decadal, Climate Cycles Recorded by Glacial Fluctuations, Ice Cores, Sea Surface Temperatures, and Historic Measurements Over the Past Millennium.”  His basic contentions are well stated in the abstractso I show them below, exactly as presentedtherein.

“The Medieval WarmPeriod and Little Ice Age are well known examples of such climate changes, but in addition,at least 23 periods of climatic warming and cooling have occurred in the past 500 years. Each period of warming or coolinglasted about 25-30 years (average 27 years). Two cycles of global warmingand two of global coolinghave occurred during the past century, and the global coolingthat has occurred since 1998 is exactly in phase with the long term pattern.  Global cooling occurred from 1880 to ~1915; global warming occurred from ~1915 to ~1945; global cooling occurredfrom ~1945-1977; global warming occurred from 1977 to 1998; and global cooling has occurredsince 1998.  All of these global climate changes show exceptionally good correlation with solar variation since the Little Ice Age 400 years ago.”

As can be seen from the abstract,Dr. Easterbrook states that we have passed through four periods of “climate change” since 1880 and that we are well into the fifth one.

The five periodsshown in the charts below are:

~1894 to ~1915 -  Cooling
~1915 to ~1945 -  Warming
~1945 to ~1977 -  Cooling
~1977 to ~1998 -  Warming
~1998 to ~2009 -  Cooling

The explanation for this cooling/warming phenomenon lies in the title of his paper and is detailed in the paper itself so I will commentonly on the trends as shown by the Milan records. All charts used shown below are based on the mean daily temperatures from the Milan records as retainedat the NOAA Midwestern Regional Climate Center9 and, in my opinion,seem to substantiate the conclusions of Dr. Easterbrook.10   If you look carefully at the following charts you will see a clear correlation of the trend lines with the periods outlined by him.

1894             Milan            1904              Cooling          1915

1915             Milan             1930          Warming           1945

1945             Milan             1961          Cooling             1977

1977             Milan             1988          Warming           1998

1998             Milan             2003          Cooling             2008

The trend line on the 1998–2008 chart shows quite clearly there is a strong probability that the “global warming” the past century may not have been the catastrophe predicted by some.  It would appear,looking at Easterbrook’s paper and the temperature trends from Milan, that a cycle of global cooling started about 1998 and that its effects will be obvious in the not too distant future. Obviously, these cycles span lengthy periods and therefore are not provableuntil after they happen. Climate changes, and always has, for billionsof years.                                                                                        But, be that as it may, this is not the end of the story of global warming in Milan or for that matter, for the entire world.

Anthony Watts has been a meteorologist for thirty years and in addition to the tens of thousands of hours he has devoted to his profession, his spare time is spent as an anthropogenic global warmingskeptic.  He is not alone in this endeavor as he has a band of loyal followers that give much of their free time to acquiredata for him.  Thisis on an unpaid volunteerbasis, as they pursue their self-appointed quest for truth.

Watts recently published a 31 page paper entitled;“Is The U.S. SurfaceTemperature Record Reliable”.  There is too much in his work to discuss herein but one of his principal points is that after about 1979 the U.S. WeatherService made a change in the specification for the paint used for the instrument shelters found at the volunteer weather stations in the United States. These shelters house the thermometers and other instruments used at the weather station. His contention is that the change in paint caused a significant rise in the recorded temperatures.

While "climate scientists" often rely on proxies and computer models, Watts uses experimentation and observation, with actual temperatures from real thermometers to make his determinations.  He purchasedthree of the weather-station, instrument shelters and left one with bare wood as a control,painted one with the whitewashthat they used pre-1979, and painted the third with the post-1979latex paint.  Specifications given for the thermometers used in the experiment appear to be state of the art.

His observations showed that the new latex paint on the shelters caused an increase of .3o F for minimum temperatures and an .8o F increase for maximum temperatures. In his words; This is a big difference, especially when we consider that the concernover anthropogenic global warming was triggered by what these stations reported was an increaseof about 1.2o F over the entire twentiethcentury.  If his experiment is replicated and proven to be valid I suspect there will be a few climate scientists going back to the drawingboard.  Unfortunately, it seems, to me, that many “climate scientists” appear unwilling to attempt replication of experiments that refute their basic contentions.  But that is a political/financial phenomenon that should not be touchedon in a paper of this nature.

Is the articleproduced by Watts the definitive document that we should use to determine the course of climate science? Certainlynot - nor is the peer reviewed paper of Easterbrook sufficient.  We cannot even say with any certainty what temperatures were in Milan 200 years ago let alone guess world temperatures 200 years in the future.  I believeit would be far more pertinentto solve the climatemysteries of the past such as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age before we delve too deeply into the climate prediction business, particularly when the “climate models” from the 70s, 80s, 90s and early part of the 20th century have been proven woefullyinaccurate.                 Can we, as a nation,afford to spend trillions of dollars of taxpayerfunds based on hypothetical numbers, failed predictions and unproven speculation?

Global Warming is not “settled science”. Anyone that says it is “settled”does not understand enough about science to make commentslet alone scientific decisions. “Science is never settled, in any field, becauseit is the nature of science to theorizeand test and then prove or disprove…
continuously!”11   How can “climatescience” be a “settledscience” when thirty thousand

people, trainedin science, were willing to sign a petition to the contrary? 8 Any reader with basic researchskills can easily find hundreds of peer reviewedpapers, as well as thousandsof non- peer reviewed articles that cast doubt on, or completely refute one or more of the contentions of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) fanatics.

What should we believe when we are told; “The Science is settled” no more questions allowed?  There is no doubt what the answer would be if we could ask; “Galileo,Newton and Einstein,to name a few of science’s luminaries who dissented from popular views and paved new paths toward understanding the mysteries of the universe.”


Note Jan 8, 2014 -  If the readingsfor 2009 thru 2014 were added and the graphs updatedI believe the results would be even more dramatic.  I understand that even the "climate scientists" at the IPCC have now realizedthat world temperatures have fallen for eighteen years. At least a few qualifiedscientists have expressed the possibility that we are entering a new Maunder Minimum although I would imagine they will name if for someone else. Mann Minimum might be a cool name.

1 Minnesota Farm Guide, October 26, 2007
2 Minnesota Farm Guide, October 26, 2007
3 Duluth News Tribune, January 7, 2010. Mr. Peter Boulay just wrote me 2/08/2010and said it is the longest still in one family.
4National WeatherService Instruction 10-1314,November 3, 2008
5 The National Cooperative Observer, Winter, 2007
6 Minnesota Farm Guide, October 26, 2007
7 Trend lineswill vary depending on which  reading or calculated temperature is used. Some of the temperatures recorded or calculated are highest,lowest, highest low, daily mean, etc., etc.
8 The petition project is found at www.petitionproject.org.  There are many sites that laud and an equal or greaternumber that decry this project.  Nevertheless, I have personally checked the names of dozens of the Minnesota signers and they have, as they said, degreesin science includingatmospheric  scientists, physicists, geographers, agronomists, medical doctors and others.
9   I have used derivednumbers from the “Mean Daily Temperature.   Thereare many different temperatures recordedand calculated.  For daily records this includes(among others) lowest,highest, warmest minimum,
coldest maximum, average minimum and the mean temperatures as calculated from some of the other temperatures. At any rate it seems as though no matter which data set you use the trends are about the same.   10 Although theOpjorden data is as good as it gets there were a few readingsthat are missing in the Mean Daily data set that I used.  Out of 1368 readingsthere were 6 missing.  For these “Not Recorded”readings I substituted a number.  I was extremely cautious when I did this.  I used a process of seekingthe data elsewhere,
comparison withprevious and followingyears and common sense. I am satisfied in my own mind that these few substituted readings will be accepted by anyone with some basic mathematical knowledge..