Seattle Times’ climate change article is dead wrong

The big front page story in the Seattle Times today, both online and in print, is about how climate change has caused the death of a 72-year-old pine tree in the University of Washington arboretum. Unfortunately, the underlying premise of the story is false, representing another unfortunate example of exaggerating the impacts of global warming.

The writer of the story, Lynda Mapes, could not have been more explicit:

The cause of death was climate change: steadily warming and drier summers, that stressed the tree in its position atop a droughty knoll.

So, let’s check the data and determine the truth. My first stop was the nice website of the Office of the Washington State Climatologist (OWSC), where they have a tool for plotting climatological data. Here is the summer (June-August) precipitation for the Seattle Urban Site, about a mile away from the tree in question. It indicates an upward trend (increasing precipitation) over the period available (1895-2014), not the decline claimed by the article.

Or let’s go to the Western Region Climate Center website and plot the precipitation for the same period, considering the entire Puget Sound lowlands (see below) using the NOAA/NWS climate division data set and for June through September. Very similar to the Seattle Urban Site. Not much of an overall trend, but there is some natural variability, with a minor peak in the 70s and 80s.

It is also important to note that summer precipitation is relatively low in our region—most our precipitation arrives in four months from late fall to midwinter. Looking at annual precipitation (see below), we find the same story: modest upward trend in precipitation.

So the claim that summers in our region are drying is simply false. Busted.

So what about temperature? Let’s examine the maximum temperature trend at the same Seattle Urban location for summer (June through August). There is a slight upward trend since 1895 by .05F per decade. Virtually nothing.

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Comments (6)

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    CO2 increases plant and tree growth and most of it is in water vapor , something Seattle has in spades . The only problem Seattle will have as far as tree’s go is they constantly have to prune them . Seattle could use a few $billion of Mr. Trumps infrastructure funding to fix the crumbling Seattle concrete jungle . Nice people though .

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Those idiots who think CO2 is a polutant have been watching too many Captian Planet reruns or reading their Eco-Malarkey News Letter from some eco-wacko nutcase

    Reply

  • Avatar

    G

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    What an absolute load of manure… singling out the death of a single tree as evidence of MMGW, proving the need world socialism. Let’s be real and cut to the chase – this is what they’re implying – trying to leverage corrupted science for political outcomes. If not for the corrupt, unquestioning, and leftist media, nobody would dream of such hubris and absurdity.

    This is emblematic of the entire human climate change premise; ASSUME the most unlikely and bizarre cause imaginable rather than considering the most obvious and common factors first.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Borgward

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      This is the ” stock-in-trade ” of the leftist lying lunatics.
      1 ) Find a somewhat pertinent situation.
      2 ) Adjust the facts to meet your argument.
      3 ) Appeal to whatever form of universal sympathy.
      4 ) Then claim it’s conclusive scientific proof of an otherwise unproven
      generalized principle.

      It’s called the logical fallacy of claiming
      an unverified isolated case
      as demonstrative and PROOF
      and ergo a scientific LAW !!

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Sonnyhill

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    I read the Seattle Times article and winced at the personification of a tree. Then at the end, they inadvertently reveal that it was an invasive species! The seeds were donated from New York. Cut down the other siblings now!

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Spurwing Plover

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    Back in the 1990’s the media wanks were claiming tha so called hazerdous wastes from U.S. Companies were killing trees up in Canada it was later found to be cuased by wood boring insects or chemical contamination was cuasing frogs to be deformed later found to be cuased by parasites and then Crack-pot James Lovelock wrote his book with the dumb title GAIA REVENGE and all the other Malarkey from other crack-pots like E.O Wilson and of course Al Gore with his Eco-Malarkey books EARTH INT BALANCE and ASSUALT ON REASON and of course Gores junk science fake documentry A INCOVENT TRUTH which tells you tjat these eco-minded persons are delerious and out of their minds from their steady diets of nuts and berries

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