Sunday, November 11, 2012

Felt in the Here and Now

Back toward the end of April of this year, I posted the temperature in Detroit on April 29 for a decade (link). My source for these data was the Weather Underground (link); the site offers the same service for any sizeable metro area. Now today, November 11, is the anniversary of “bringing the plants in” last year. This sort of thing looms LARGE in the lives of the old. Our plants came in much earlier this year (the last were in October 28)—but after that the temperature went up again. This morning the thermometer said 55° F as I checked it at 8:30, which led to my making a November 11 chart. And here it is:

Well, well. There is that upward spike. For November 11, the 2012 measurement is the highest in a decade. For April 29, the 2012 measurement was the lowest in a decade. In both cases, however, the trend line of these data slants down. I show it on the graphic. Now, of course, one-year measurements of temperature, a year apart and in one rather small region, are not particularly meaningful in any sense—except for personal amusement. Weather-systems change without much reference to calendars. What such an exercise illustrates, however, is why it is so difficult to find consensus on global warming. People experience the weather here and now and down and under, on the small spot where they live. And if the weather disagrees with our ideological bent, why we need but wait a day or two and it will promptly “get with the program.”

As I pointed out in April, we have two outdoor thermometers, one affixed to the garage, one to a wooden fence near-by. They never show the same temperature. I should mount a third one to make the case even more telling—but what with the fiscal cliff rapidly approaching, we’re saving our money.

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