Uncle Josh Posits a Theory about Climate Change

This week started fairly warm. On Thursday the local high dropped by 12 degrees, and jumped up 19 on Friday. Overall it “warmed up 7 degrees in two days” but we experienced 31 degrees of change. I wondered if this sort of thing was happening more frequently than it had in the past, which could illustrate for me the effect of climate change. I like to call it Climate Destabilization, because I think it’s a more accurate term and while man-made climate change is real and happening, it’s a political shibboleth that is only denied by the ignorant or people paid by the oil industry.

I don’t want to be ignorant. I want to know. I want to see the data myself. Fortunately, I have the tools to ask myself key questions and derive some answers from them. And I want to share it, because I’m that kind of guy. I will be releasing all my data when it is complete. For now, I want to explain my model of what I see happening.

First, here’s the temperature over a five-year period.

5 Simple Years
5 Oversimplified Years

This can be the daily average, the time at Noon, the daily high, whatever. It’s only a model and it oversimplifies what we expect. Summertime is warm; Wintertime is cold. Now for the 50-year view:

50 Simple Years
50 Simple Years

This, again, is an oversimplification, so lets add some longer-term warming and cooling periods (in red) and see how it changes the daily temperature:

A sine wave added to a lower-frequency sign wave
50 Slightly More Realistic Years

This gives us a model of a few years warmer than the next few years. This is what most people expect and probably what most oil-industry shills claim is happening now.

The first thing global warming is doing is, just as it says, warming the planet. So we can visualise the red line, our “base temperature for the year” slanting overall upwards:

50 Years with Increasing Trend
50 Years with Increasing Trend

For this model I’m adding a linear statement to the sine wave (for you math people) but it could just as easily (as the shills claim) be the upward momentum from an even longer perfectly natural warming and cooling trend.

But that’s not all that’s happening. I think the highs and lows are getting wider. The amplitude of the wave in increasing. Here’s the final form of my model:

50 Destablizing Years
50 Destablizing Years

The highs are getting higher, the lows are getting higher but at a slower rate, so we still have incredibly cold days and more often than not we have warm days.

This model is a big overview of what I think is happening. My actual project is to look at the small-scale day-to-day changes. How often do these large (more than 10 degrees) daily changes in temperature happen? I think they are becoming both more frequent and more severe.

So I’ll be collecting daily weather stats from Weather Underground going back as many years as my patience and their system will allow. I will be applying a few calculations to let me answer my questions. I will be putting everything on the web when I’m done.

Credit where it’s due: The above graphs were created at GraphSketch