Reminder – Anecdotes Are Not Data

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

Much of the eastern United States has been smothered in snow this week. Not one, but two massive storms dumped up to eight inches of freeze from Kansas through New England. Along with the storm clouds has come the usual carping and snide commentary – how can there be global warming when it’s so cold and fluffy outside? Never mind the averages, I’m in a parka and gloves shoveling my sidewalk so, ipso facto, global warming doesn’t exist. Take that, pointy-headed scientists! Besides, Al Gore wears earth tone sweaters. This kind of junior high school taunting follows cold snaps as predictably as blue skies follow rain. The media then dutifully report the snark and remind us that scientists say any particular weather incident can’t be linked directly to global warming. 

So the whoppers that blanketed the eastern seaboard are two anecdotes about the climate. California’s record heat and drought are also  anecdotes. Here’s another from the great frozen north: temperatures in Alaska have soared this winter. Record warmth has been recorded across the state, a condition a national weather service spokesman describes as “spectacular.” Ski resorts have shut down and sledding races have been postponed or cancelled. Even the famed Iditarod is being altered because the lack of snow and ice makes its traditional route too dangerous. Plants are putting out green shoots. In January. In Alaska.

But those are just anecdotes. Don’t draw any conclusions from them. After all, it’s really cold in Boston.

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