Tuesday, July 6, 2010


So here we are in 2005, emerging from the hottest and driest summer on record. Just for example, Toronto over the last 30 years has hit 30 degrees Celsius about thirteen days each year on average. This year, temperatures have hit 30 degrees Celsius on 40 days. So we face record demand and we had to ask Ontarians to reduce their consumption. The people of Ontario did what they always do --; they came through. But to continue to build a growing modern economy, the people of Ontario need to be able to rely on a sustainable supply of energy available at a cost that is
reasonable and realistic.

Dalton McGuinty in a speech to the
Ontario Energy
General Meeting in 2005

He is correct, but the implications of this observation is no so clear cut. The impression McGuinty is obviously trying to make is that both the hot summer of 2005 and lack of precipitation in that same summer is a trend caused by global warming, caused by our CO2.

Easy enough to check.

This is the number of days above 30C for Toronto Int'l Airport:

He's correct, but you can see what he has done. He picked a period short enough to give the impression he wanted. Go back to 1938 and you can see a similar period of the number of days over 30C between 1947 and 1960. Of course that comment was in 2005, and since then the number of days above 30C has dramatically dropped.

With the current hot spell we are experiencing it will be interesting to see if that number swings back up. Definitely wide osculations, but what is also interesting is the period 1960 to 1970 where the osculation was much narrower, less swings in the number of days over 30C. The climate pulsates at different frequencies.

So, 2005 was indeed up there with heat waves, definitely an anomalous year, along with 5 others in the past 70 years.

(on a side note, the Weather Channel said that the hottest day on record in Canada is still held in the prairies in 1938)

As for summer temps in general, the trend of the maximum temperatures in the summer months only (July-Aug) looks like this:

The narrowing of the range is clear again, as in every other station looked at so far. The highest of the maximum summer temps has been dropping, while the lowest of the maximum temps has been rising. The picture is clearly much more complex, and definitely not the trend our Premier was trying to imply.

This is what the average of the yearly mean temps for Toronto looked like since 1938:

To get a better picture of where 2005 stood on the range of temps, we have this:

Same pattern seen across the country. Narrowing of the full range of temperatures since 1938. Thus this makes 2005 nothing but one year in that trend, which is not the trend he wanted to portray.

What about his claim of precipitation?

Well, 2005 doesn't stand out as being too dry does it. Oh, but he said Summer precipitation

Yes, most definitely. Summer of 2005 was only matched 2 other times in 70 years as being the driest. Interesting that 2008 was so much wetter that it clearly made up for that dry year! But McGuinty didn't know what the future was going to be, did he...

So how then did 2005 rank for precipitation for each month. If the summer was dryer, and the year on average was normal, then some other months must have made up with higher than normal precipitation.

The X Axis is months of the year, Y Axis the precipitation for each month. The data is grouped by months using all years from 1938 to 2009, except 2005's data. The top line is the largest precipitation in that month for the year it occurred. The blue line is the driest month for the year it occurred. Thus this is the full range of precipitation in each month for all years 1938 to 2009 exclusive of 2005. The grey line is the average precipitation in each month.

The black line is 2005. The summer drought is very clear, but September and November more than made up for that dryness making the year over all within normal range of yearly precipitation.

So McGuinty was right, but for the wrong message. He was clearly trying to give the impression that 2005 was just part of the heating involved in Global Warming. However, this shows the perils of using an anomalous year (whether he did this deliberately or not) as a beacon of some trend.

2005 show no individual reason to be a trend for anything, except as part of the general trend we are seeing across the country -- a narrowing of the range of yearly temperatures.

Which means no global warming, but with the current heatwave happening, you can bet the AGW Priests will be full out blaming this on our CO2 emissions.

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jrwakefield (at) mcswiz (dot) com