Friday, 2 November 2012

Lies, Damned Lies, and Environmental Group Reports

That bastion of truth and objectivity the Salt Lake Tribune says
Utah lags perilously behind in preparing for the impacts of climate change on its water and other natural resources, according to a new report by the environmental group Utah Rivers Council.
Perilously behind whom precisely, as there are no national, state, or local authorities who actually know what climate change might occur in the years and decades to come? Even if they knew, they'd have their work cut out in "preparing" for the as yet unquantified impacts of unquantified climate change, in common with all such authorities who have virtually no idea whatsoever what any climate change might bring.
"What you love about Utah might be at risk because of changing temperatures," Zach Frankel, executive director of the environmental group, said in presenting the report Thursday.
Indeed it might, but what "changing temperatures"? (As if we didn't know!)
The report summarizes regional data that shows Utah’s average temperatures are increasing at more than double the national rate, rising by as much as 8 degrees by the end of the century. The snowpack responsible for 80 percent of the state’s water supply could shrink by half. Meanwhile, the added heat will drive an increase in extreme weather events, such as storms and flooding.
Indeed? "are increasing at more than double the national rate"? That's a bold assertion, and one which is easily checked. "regional data" must mean temperature data (not model "projections"). "are increasing" has to mean "now and in the recent past". Let's check some Utah temperature data for now and the recent past:
Source: NCDC
The rate of recent "increase" is -0.8°F per decade, or -8°F by the end of the century. Some say that globally, that's enough to push the world into another ice age. Nothing more need be said.

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