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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published January 10 2014

Weather Talk: Local conditions no basis for global warming claims

December was the 11th-coldest since 1881 in Fargo-Moorhead. Meanwhile, based on preliminary infrared satellite data, the globally averaged temperature for December was about 0.27 degrees Celsius above the 30-year average for December.

This illustrates quite colorfully how futile it is to make broad claims about global temperature change based on local conditions. When Fargo-Moorhead has a winter cold spell, people wonder how there can be global warming when it is so cold. Likewise, when Fargo Moorhead has a summer heat wave, people claim it is a reflection of global warming. Both of these observations are equally silly. Satellite temperature data goes back to 1979, and the year of 2013 ranks as the fourth warmest.

The warmest year was 1998. Satellite measurements may be a better indicator of climate change than surface-based observations because the entire world is measured rather than just the locations with weather instruments.

The satellite record indicated a steady warming 1979 through 1998 followed by a leveling off since 1999.


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