September 16, 2008 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Weather History Offers Insight Into Global Warming. Weather History Offers Insight Into Global Warming. The problems that often haunt other weather records — the station is moved, buildings are constructed nearby or observers record data inconsistently — have not arisen here because so much of this place has been frozen in time. The weather has been taken (at Mohonk House, [map] ) in exactly the same place, in precisely the same way, by just a handful of the same dedicated people since Grover Cleveland was president... That extremely limited number of observers greatly enhances the reliability, and therefore the value, of the data.

The record shows that on this ridge in the Shawangunk Mountains, about 20 miles south of the better-known Catskills, the average annual temperature has risen 2.7 degrees in 112 years. Of the top 10 warmest years in that time, 7 have come since 1990. Both annual precipitation and annual snowfall have increased, and the growing season has lengthened by 10 days.... But what makes the data truly singular is how it parallels a vast collection of phenological observations taken at this same place, and by many of the same observers, since 1925... (In) Project BudBurst.... volunteers record the way 500 native plants are responding to climate change.
posted by KokuRyu (11 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

An exceedingly timely post. At my workplace we had a climate denier speaker recently. It's doubly, even trebly, annoying because the audience is composed of scientists (in other fields) and this is a liberal state.

That said, it seems like they'd get more accurate data if they weren't frozen in time. GEDDIT??
posted by DU at 10:52 AM on September 16, 2008

My goodness. 112 years, eh? Well, that ought to put the whole issue to bed once and for all.
posted by rusty at 11:31 AM on September 16, 2008

My goodness. 112 years, eh? Well, that ought to put the whole issue to bed once and for all.

Indeed. There is so much "evidence" bring heaped on the science of climate change that it's becoming increasingly hard to see the science.
posted by three blind mice at 12:00 PM on September 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's an interesting article, but I wouldn't exactly call that the next Mauna Loa. They'd have to bootstrap the effects of the growth around the area, which includes I87. No data, but I'd guess that there has been some growth in Albany - NYC traffic over the past 100 years.
posted by FuManchu at 12:37 PM on September 16, 2008

Great post title...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 1:23 PM on September 16, 2008

That's great, but you do realize that it is still just one data point on the earth, right?
posted by spock at 2:18 PM on September 16, 2008

You know, the President has the power to disprove global warming once and for all with solid scientific evidence.

Strangely, he chooses not to. I guess he's trying to keep the remaining global warming believers loyal to the cause.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:44 PM on September 16, 2008

great title indeed... as one of the few brilliant enough (ok, honest enough) to call bullshit on 'man made' (how sexist!) global warming I'm warmed to see such a cool post on the blue.
posted by dawson at 5:13 PM on September 16, 2008

Um. Yeah, about some of these comments.

The problem is that almost any specific counter example to global warming can pretty much be disproved in the face of a systemic approach to global warming.

There's a litany of scientific examples that run "contrary" to the established notions of G.W. (global warming, not the president) but they're just that. Systemic anomalies. Unfortunately, there's a good deal of them because climatology is almost founded on the nature of anomaly.

When you look at the vast majority of GW research, it tends to... how to put this... show that global warming is a vivid man-made reality.

Even if you discount the scary amount of republican funded "research" for examples against GW (most of which can be disproved using basic oceanography knowledge), all the valid negative examples don't amount to much against the vast amount of evidence in support of man-mad GW. You really have to use systemic thinking. It's the only kind of thinking that applies to climatology (where there's no such thing as law. just trends in an impossibly complicated field).

While there may be an "open scientific" debate on the issue, it's largely impossible to scientifically conclude there is no such thing as GW. We can basically say: We're pretty sure there's global warming and we're pretty sure it's man-made. Believe it or not, in terms of climatology that's a big, valid statement even with the "pretty-sures".

Like the greatest trick the devil ever played, the Republicans have pretty much already won since they have transformed a scientific debate into a matter of "belief". And when you just have to choose what side you "believe" it's a simple matter of picking what side you like. It's really a shame.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 5:57 PM on September 16, 2008

Lacking Subtlety,

The "research" is also harmed when ever harebrained GW forecast is extrapolated, or ignorant claim about a local/statistically likely/misunderstood phenomenon is blamed on climate change. While the science is settled, it is not the science you see in headlines. E.g., When hurricanes are blamed on GW, there's that much more ammo provided to the naysayers when it turns out the noise-to-signal ratio makes that claim moot for the immediate future.
posted by FuManchu at 6:26 PM on September 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

I live in the valley on the East side of the Shawangunk (pronounced "shon-gum") ridge. I can see the tower (called "Skytop") from my terrace. If it's hotter here, it's just me.
posted by exlotuseater at 6:59 PM on September 17, 2008

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