In the never-ending debate over man’s role in increasing global temperatures, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is claimed by the alarmists to be the culprit responsible for causing unstoppable warming. But is it? What does the temperature record show?
The temperature record is a complicated thing. Zero credibility is given (by many, including me) to the results of the major scientific organizations that purport to monitor the earth’s atmosphere and ocean temperatures, and for many very good reasons. One of those reasons is that the earth is too big, and too varied, and proceeds through too many hourly, daily and seasonal changes, for a global average temperature to have any meaning. Another is the below-mentioned data manipulation, still another is bad locations of measuring instruments. However, it is instructive to observe the temperature record from a single site, especially a site with many decades of temperature readings. Such sites are available to everyone via data published over the internet.
I chose several sites, all small towns in the USA, and examined the temperature records. The data is from the discredited Hadley Research Center’s CRU3 data set. Briefly, the Hadley Center is in England, and is the center of the "Climategate" scandal in which thousands of emails, computer program listings, and other documents were either deliberately leaked or hacked (no one is quite sure which) but in either case were published on the internet in November 2009. As part of Hadley Center’s response, many hundreds of temperature records were published. I downloaded the entire dataset for archiving and my own research purposes. I will refer to the dataset as CRU3.
A word about the discredited CRU3 data. Among the allegations leading to the charge of discredited data include deliberate falsification of data in order to show a warming trend over the last part of the 20th century. That warming trend is, according to the climate alarmists, due to CO2 placed into the atmosphere by man’s activities, primarily burning coal, oil, and natural gas but also from decomposing garbage in landfills. Even if the datasets are manipulated, and the data shows a warming where there is none, is it possible to find anything worthwhile from examining such datasets? I believe there is, as this article will demonstrate.
The premise that I started with is, if CO2 is responsible for warming the earth, then it should be based on physics and therefore must behave the same, no matter where on earth the behavior occurs. Physics is impartial. As some have expressed it, gravity works no matter where one stands on the earth. CO2, therefore, must cause warming wherever CO2 exists, not just in a few isolated areas. However, CO2 alone is not the cause, according to the climate alarmists. They hold that small increases in CO2 creates additional water vapor in the atmosphere, and that water vapor does the majority of the warming. Still, the effect must be the same in small towns as well as in big cities. Therefore, it will be possible to verify the premise, or falsify the premise, by examining the temperature records for small towns and big cities, all within the same hemisphere and roughly the same latitude. Hemispheres (north and south) have opposite seasons, and different latitudes have great variations in seasons, so those effects can be minimized.
In the CRU3 dataset, folder “72” contains 87 temperature files (or records), all in the USA. Some are large cities, including Miami (FL), Atlanta, San Antonio, El Paso, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, among others. Others are small towns, including Ely (NV), Abilene (TX), and Meridian (MS), among many others.
Below in Figure 1 is the temperature record for Abilene, Texas, from 1886 to 2009, approximately 120 years. Abilene is dataset 722660 in the CRU3 dataset. The graph in Figure 1 was produced by copying the data into Microsoft Excel (TM) and performing simple graphing with trendline. The data is the monthly average temperatures for each year, which range roughly from 0 to 32 degrees C. The squiggly white line through the middle is a moving 12-month average. The solid black line through the middle is the linear trend line.