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1932: The Year Without a Winter
World Climate Report ^ | 1-14-2005 | World Climate Report

Posted on 01/14/2005 6:12:22 AM PST by buffyt

It's a fact. What matters more in the current climate is not whether it is hot or cold but what the temperature is in downtown Washington, D.C. By "the current climate," we don't mean the average temperature of the United States or, for that matter, the globe. We mean the climate of weather hysteria that has pervaded American culture since the rise of cable television, superimposed on a scientific and political process that sees much more in global warming than mere heat.

So the extremely warm temperatures of the last week in January have prompted the usual hand-wringing around the Nation's Capital. That concern is doubly important as Congress is about to consider omnibus energy legislation. The President's plan is to develop domestic sources—meaning Alaskan oil and American coal—while the Opposition wants to curtail fossil fuel usage because of global warming. Nowhere has there been a more stark choice of energy futures presented to Congress, so it isn't surprising that all the no-burn forces in D.C. were wailing about the temperature, which flirted around 80° over much of the District on January 30. The pols forgot to notice that, across the country, it was snowing on the beach at Malibu.

All of this makes for a very interesting historical comparison. While our political climate was different, weather may have been even wackier in winter past. As an example, let's compare events in the winter of 1931–1932 to today.

For the entire East Coast, all the way from Florida to Canada, 1932 (i.e., the 1931–1932 cold season), was "the year without a winter." Figure 1 details the observed high temperatures in Roanoke, Va.—in the heart of the mid-Atlantic region—with normal highs.

Figure 1. Daily maximum temperatures for Roanoke, Va., for the winter of 1931–1932 (red values). Blue values represent the long-term average daily maximum temperatures.

It's not a misprint. It actually hit 87° on February 11, and, throughout the winter, temperatures were truly Lake Woebegon: almost every day was above average. The average high for the entire 90-day period was a stunning 10.5° above the mean.

This history really did repeat itself, albeit in somewhat muted fashion, during the January 2002 warm spell. Want proof? Here's what the Washington Post had to say in 1932:

Washington's temperature yesterday set a new high record for this time of year, with a mark of 75° at the Weather Bureau and 80° at the kiosk opposite the Post Building [January 14, 1932]

The official Washington temperature climbed to 76 degrees yesterday to tie the all-time January maximum temperature...Flowers have never ceased to bloom in the Capital this year, coaxed out by the succeeding days of warm weather...frogs are croaking in the reservoir...just like the do in the summer. [January 15, 1932]

Four pages later, we read, "Coatless citizens pluck pansies and pussy willows at New Haven, Conn....Cleveland schoolboys go swimming in Lake Erie with temperature at 70" (January 15, 1932). And finally, "A maximum temperature of 77 yesterday topped by two degrees a 60-year January record" (January 16, 1932).

A comparative survey of Mid-Atlantic temperature readings from January 30, 2002, reveals in fact that January 16, 1932, was the warmest day averaged over the region in the entire 20th century, and that this year's was a wee bit warmer.

But these two January days also have something more remarkable in common. Also from the Washington Post in 1932: "The first snow in decades today fell in scattered parts of southern California as winter dealt a rude jolt to summer's kingdom…in the rich valley of the citrus belt, where Riverside is located, there was a slight snowfall, the first in 40 years" (January 14, 1932), and "Southern Californians try to explain the first snow fall in 50 years" (January 15, 1932).

The two warmest January days in the last 108 years (the period of reliable records) in the Mid-Atlantic were also two of the very few days it has ever snowed in downtown Los Angeles. What gives?

The heat in D.C. was driven by the same jet stream that plunged all the cold air into Los Angeles. Scientists have known about this for decades: The major pattern for winter temperature anomalies in the United States is not for the country as a whole to be warmer or colder than normal, but for the west to be cold and the east warm, or vice versa.

The entire winter of 1932 and the last week of January 2002 represent the quintessence of this pattern, as shown by the comparative maps in Figure 2.


Figure 2. Top: The temperature departures from normal for the month of January, 1932. Bottom: The temperature departures from normal from the week of January 27–February 2, 2002.

Just how wacko was 1932? Figure 3 compares mid-Atlantic winter average temperatures for the last 20 years—when everyone has been wailing about global warming—to that year. Nothing is even close. The warmest winter, 1990–1991, averaging 40.5°, falls almost six degrees short of 1931–1932's 46.1°.

Figure 3. The average wintertime temperatures for the Mid-Atlantic since 1980, as compared with the average for the winter of 1931–1932.

The usual climatic suspect, El Niño, does not explain 1931–1932. Instead, the temperature anomalies of 1931–1932 look like the absolute extreme version of something called the "Pacific-North American [PNA] Oscillation," a standing wave in the jet stream that plunges cold air either into California or the eastern United States. Unfortunately, the PNA is defined by data way up in the troposphere, and 1931–1932 was before the regular and systematic launching of weather balloons.

There is some evidence for a connection between the PNA and El Niño, but it appears years later, with big El Niños apparently driving big changes in the PNA. Still, there's no El Niño in the late 1920s that appears strong enough to have driven 1931–1932. And for heaven's sake, don't blame human changes to the greenhouse effect, because we hadn't done much to the atmosphere back in the 1930s.

Perhaps more interesting than speculation as to the causes of the "year without a winter" in the eastern United States is the historical response: Nothing.

If 1932 repeated itself now—averaging 10 degrees above normal for the entire winter—the number of weather-angst stories would probably push something like the Enron bankruptcy into the funnies. In 1932, however, except for the few stories that were filed on the warmest of the warm days, no one cared.

The "year without a winter" followed close on the heels of another two of the largest climate anomalies ever seen in the Washington, D.C. area: The spectacular heat of the summer of 1930 and the 1930–1931 drought.

A search of weather records from 1930 reveals three consecutive weeks of high temperatures ranging from the high 90s to 109° (with dozens of readings at 106° or above) from mid-July through early August 1930. It takes drought to generate such heat, as normally moist conditions in the forested Mid-Atlantic tend to hold high temperatures in the mid-90s most of the time. In fact, the drought of 1930–1931 is the benchmark drought for the last 100 years. Forest fires raged and half of the counties over large regions reported shortfalls of potable drinking water.

Don't even ask about crop yields in 1930. In the Shenandoah Valley, which was the granary of the Confederacy, 1930 yields don't look much different than those of dust bowl Iowa in 1934 or 1936.

But where were the weather and climate horror tales? In today's climate, if Washington had just experienced its hottest summer, its biggest drought, and its warmest winter—all within 24 months of each other—you can bet that the nation would be immediately plastered with a global warming tax. But back in 1930, 1931, and 1932, when Washington didn't take itself so seriously, no one noticed.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: climatechange; globalwarming

1 posted on 01/14/2005 6:12:22 AM PST by buffyt
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To: buffyt

There is a book titled MELTDOWN and the author was on TV yesterday and he mentioned the year 1932 when it was so hot, broke all records. I think I will order his book. He says the climate is heating, in 50 years it will be 3/4 of a degree warmer than now, but that is no big deal. Earth has heated up and cooled down many times before. Author's named is Patrick J. Michaels. He said that the people who are crying Global Warming Gloom and Doom are exaggerating to get attention and money.

Meltdown : The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media

The sub-title of Meltdown reads "the Predictable Distortion of global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media" and in this he admirably succeeds in documenting and proving. The book is a compendium of headlines and stories found in the media mentioned as well as in a number of scientific journals, mainly Science and Nature. He also addresses some of the more outlandish stories, press releases, and declarations by organizations such as Greenpeace and the World Wild Life federation. Dr. Michaels provide chapter and verse, 12 of them, documenting the egregious errors and in some case patently false information foisted on the public at large by all of these organizations. That said the main stream media comes in for the most criticism.


2 posted on 01/14/2005 6:22:20 AM PST by buffyt (~ Happy 2005! ~)
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To: buffyt

Interesting. It's also worth noting that the summer of 2004 was one of the coolest and wettest on record in the northeastern U.S. A similar weather anomaly in the Atlantic Ocean resulted in an extended period of time where the warm waters of the Gulf Stream current did not reach as far into the North Atlantic as they normally do, causing an unusually cool weather pattern to dominate the Mid-Atlantic states.


3 posted on 01/14/2005 6:22:36 AM PST by Alberta's Child (It could be worse . . . I could've missed my calling.)
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To: buffyt

bump


4 posted on 01/14/2005 6:24:14 AM PST by Tribune7
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To: buffyt
What's amazing is our weather forecasters here were predicting record cold temperatures this winter. If they can't figure out what the weather is going to be the next day, the next week, or the next month how can they predict what the weather will be like 100 years from now. At some point in time these people start losing credibility.
5 posted on 01/14/2005 6:24:55 AM PST by HarleyD
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To: buffyt

And the reason Was !!!!

I was born 19 Jan 32

Gerritsen Beach {Brooklyn Ny}


6 posted on 01/14/2005 6:26:46 AM PST by late bloomer ( Neglegere homo pone aulaeum)
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To: buffyt

I call the phenomenon of Global Warming: "Goebbels Warming" as a tribute to the ability of the environmental wackos to take propaganda to a new level.


7 posted on 01/14/2005 6:26:54 AM PST by Popman
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To: buffyt

Read later.


8 posted on 01/14/2005 6:27:13 AM PST by EagleMamaMT
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To: buffyt

I saw that author on Brit Hume's FOX show yesterday. What I caught of the interview sounded very interesting. His conclusion about the inviro-left's fervor for this subject was that "they" are hyping the story for research money. I'd like to read his book too.


9 posted on 01/14/2005 6:36:54 AM PST by myheroesareDeadandRegistered (Ann Coulter/ Mark Levin tag team in '08)
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To: late bloomer

http://www.gerritsenmemories.com/


10 posted on 01/14/2005 6:40:34 AM PST by Age of Reason
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To: buffyt

2004 was the year without a summer here.

We only had 2 days above 100 degrees.

Most of the summer was 70-80 degrees.


11 posted on 01/14/2005 6:41:34 AM PST by Crazieman (Islam. Religion of peace, and they'll kill you to prove it.)
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To: buffyt

In the 1300's they had a year without a summer.

SO WHAT?????????????


12 posted on 01/14/2005 6:45:58 AM PST by ZULU (Fear the government which fears your guns. God, guts, and guns made America great.)
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To: buffyt

Way off base, not climate. Actually is was widespread use of tobacco in the early 1800's, (Recall New Madrid Fault), which destroyed the nation and we are all just figments now. Ahem


13 posted on 01/14/2005 6:46:48 AM PST by Waco
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To: buffyt

Talk about yer smokin bans.


14 posted on 01/14/2005 6:50:11 AM PST by Waco
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To: Crazieman
2004 was the year without a summer up in western Canada, too. I was out in Alberta for most of September, and had to cope with temperatures in the 20s and a light dusting of snow right around the middle of the month.

Up there, "summer" means temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s. Last year, it probably only reached 80 degrees four or five days . . . and the first frost of "autumn" came in early August.

15 posted on 01/14/2005 6:56:09 AM PST by Alberta's Child (It could be worse . . . I could've missed my calling.)
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16 posted on 01/14/2005 7:12:15 AM PST by jla
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To: buffyt

bump


17 posted on 01/14/2005 7:16:10 AM PST by Millicent_Hornswaggle ("We walk by faith, not sight." 2 Cor 5:7)
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To: buffyt

Also note Michael Crichton's latest book, "State of Fear", fiction casting the envirowackos as the bad guys (for a change) and packed with data that debunks global warming.
Of course the lefties like the NYT are giving it bad reviews and boo-hooing that he would use his books to "push a right-wing agenda", bwahahahaha!


18 posted on 01/14/2005 8:37:02 AM PST by Sisku Hanne (Deprogramming the left, one truth at a time.)
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To: farmfriend


19 posted on 01/14/2005 10:12:38 AM PST by Libertarianize the GOP (Make all taxes truly voluntary)
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To: buffyt; abbi_normal_2; Ace2U; adam_az; Alamo-Girl; Alas; alfons; alphadog; amom; AndreaZingg; ...
Rights, farms, environment ping.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
20 posted on 01/14/2005 5:31:10 PM PST by farmfriend ( Congratulation. You are everything we've come to expect from years of government training.)
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To: late bloomer
I was born 19 Jan 32

WOW!!!

21 posted on 01/14/2005 6:07:37 PM PST by tubebender (If I had know I would live this long I would have taken better care of myself...)
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To: late bloomer

I was all prepared to claim the credit until I seen it was the winter of 31-32-I wasn't born until Nov. 32.


22 posted on 01/14/2005 6:15:52 PM PST by F.J. Mitchell (The Progrossive Democrats are never so small a minority that they can't screw every thing up.)
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To: farmfriend

BTTT!!!!!!


23 posted on 01/15/2005 3:06:23 AM PST by E.G.C.
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