Minnesota: It’s cold! Who could have imagined?


by Jeff Fecke | July 19, 2009 • So The Blogger Formerly Known as Hindrocket noticed something the other day. Why, it’s a bit of a cool summer here in Minnesota! Which, you know, is sort of true, at least today — it’s a bit chilly for mid-July, just in the mid-70s. Usually it’s in the low 80s. That’s, like, five or six degrees difference!

Jeff Fecke is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.In addition to his own blog, Blog of the Moderate Left, he also contributes to Alas, a Blog, Minnesota Campaign Report, and AlterNet. Fecke has appeared as a guest on the “Today” show, the Alan Colmes radio show, and the Mark Heaney Show. Fecke is divorced, and the father of one really terrific daughter. His debut novel, The Valkyrie’s Tale, is now available.

This, of course, proves that global warming is false. Because, as everyone knows, cool weather in one city in the upper midwest on a given day disproves global anthropomorphic climate change:

I don’t think things are quite so bad this year, but if something doesn’t change pretty soon 2009 may go down in history, in some parts of the U.S. at least, as another year with barely any summer. Here in Minnesota and across the Midwest, temperatures are abnormally cold. I don’t know whether the phenomenon is world-wide–data that will answer this question have probably not been assembled, and may not be honestly reported–but the current low level of solar activity suggests that the cooling trend could indeed be universal.

Here in Minneapolis, the temperature never reached 70 degrees today–rather astonishing for the middle of July, our hottest month. Most days recently, it hasn’t been comfortable to be outdoors in the evening without a fire and a sweatshirt. It feels more like October than July. Thankfully, and unlike 1816, it hasn’t snowed; the worst consequence we fear is not getting any ripe tomatoes.

No ripe tomatoes! The horror…the horror….

Now, I, for one, appreciate Hinderaker bringing news of the ongoing tragedy of Minnesota only having highs in the low 70s and lows in the mid-50s during summer to the masses. Clearly, as every Minnesotan knows, things are dire; we might freeze to death, here in the cold. Because, you know, Minnesotans don’t know how to handle cold weather. Hopefully America will band together to help us in our hour of…

Knock knock knock!

Hello? Who’s there? Why, it’s statistics maven and all-around smart guy Nate Silver! What’s that, Nate? You say that The Blogger Formerly Known as Hindrocket might just possibly be wrong about something? Impossible! Hindy is always right, except when he’s wrong, which is almost always, but still. He’s got an anecdote! Look:

Today, walking down the street in downtown Minneapolis at 5:30, en route from my office to my parking ramp, I saw something I’ve never seen before: a man wearing a winter coat in July.

See! A winter coat, Nate! A winter coat. I mean, a guy was wearing a winter coat in July. Right, John?

Well, maybe not quite a winter coat, but definitely a fall/winter semi-parka with an unzipped, faux-fur lined hood. He was carrying a briefcase and looked like a businessman who was tired of being cold every time he went outdoors. In the summer.

Or, you know, a spring coat. They’re pretty much the same thing.

So what do you have to counter such a devastating, not-obviously-stupid anecdote such as that? What’s that? You say you have a wealth of statistics?

Indeed, it’s been pretty cool in Minneapolis for the past couple of days; the temperature hasn’t hit 70 since midday Thursday. But has it been an unusually cool summer? No, not really. Since summer began on June 21st, high temperatures there have been above average 15 times and below average 13 times. The average high temperature there since summer began this year has been 82.4 degrees. The average historic high temperature over the same period is … 82.4 degrees. It’s been a completely typical summer in Minneapolis, although with one rather hot period in late June and one rather cool one now. (Note: actual high temperatures can be found here and historical averages can be found here.)

Well, yeah, sure, if you want to use statistics, maybe this has been a normal summer. But John Hinderaker is way ahead of you, Nate Silver. I mean, just because you used quantitative measures to determine that something like the weather, which can be measured quantitatively, is normal, that’s no reason to think that you’re anywhere near as smart as the guy who once claimed that the Teri Schiavo memo written by Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., was obviously a fake because John Hinderaker didn’t believe Republicans were capable of doing dumb things.

I understand that some doofus has tried to claim that the Twin Cities are experiencing above-normal temperatures this summer, based on an apples-to-oranges comparison between a thermometer on top of a building at the University of Minnesota and an official ASOS at the Twin Cities airport. If you compare temperatures as measured at the airport station with normal temperatures as measured at the same station, the summer has of course been below normal.

And John Hinderaker backs this up with a link! Oh, wait, no he doesn’t. Still, Nate Silver, he hasn’t given you his biggest shot:

This guy, whoever he is, obviously doesn’t live in Minnesota. The fact that we are having an unusually cool summer is common knowledge, as reflected in this story from Wednesday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Cooler-than-normal summer eases some pain of the drought”[.]

Ooh, burn! Yeah, Nate, what are you thinking, using statistics to prove something, when it’s common knowledge that we’re having a cool summer! Why, there’s an article in the Star Tribune which says things! Proof!

Now, even if Minnesota is having an exceptionally cool summer (which it isn’t, except compared to recent years), that wouldn’t disprove anthropomorphic global climate change; global warming doesn’t mean every day will be warmer for everywhere on Earth all the time. It means that the mean global temperature will rise, causing significant change in weather patterns (indeed, some parts of the world could be much cooler after global warming). But never mind that. Glenn Reynolds has already heh-deeded. So there, libruls.

Incidentally, both Hinderaker and Reynolds have neglected to take Silver up on this offer:

The rules of the challenge are as follows:

1. For each day that the high temperature in your hometown is at least 1 degree Fahrenheit above average, as listed by Weather Underground, you owe me $25. For each day that it is at least 1 degree Fahrenheit below average, I owe you $25.
2. The challenge proceeds in monthly intervals, with the first month being August. At the end of each month, we’ll tally up the winning and losing days and the loser writes the winner a check for the balance.
3. The challenge automatically rolls over to the next month until/unless: (i) one party informs the other by the 20th of the previous month that he would like to discontinue the challenge (that is, if you want to discontinue the challenge for September, you’d have to tell me this by August 20th), or (ii) the losing party has failed to pay the winning party in a timely fashion, in which case the challenge may be canceled at the sole discretion of the winning party.

Odd. It’s almost as if even they know that despite decrying the cold, cold summer of ought-nine, that anthropomorphic climate change is real and happening right now, and they’re just lying. But I’m sure that can’t be right.

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