How To Tell News From Propaganda

Mike Bloomberg makes no secret about his being a climate campaigner, including a letter to the editor in today's WSJ justifying his efforts to close coal power plants.  On the other hand, Bloomberg News purports to be an objective news source that puts out reliable factual information.  But somehow the climate campaign corrupts everything it touches.

Within the past week two different stories on recent temperatures have occupied prominent positions on the front page of the Bloomberg News website.  On April 10 there was "California's New Era Of Heat Destroys All Previous Records"; and then yesterday we had "Global Temperature Records Just Got Crushed Again."  This stuff can sound pretty scary.  From the California story:

What's happening in California right now is shattering modern temperature measurements—as well as tree-ring records that stretch back more than 1,000 years. It's no longer just a record-hot month or a record-hot year that California faces. It's a stack of broken records leading to the worst drought that's ever beset the Golden State. . .The last 12 months were a full 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.5 Celsius) above the 20th century average.

As scary as that sounds, the problem they have is that some of us have read a few other things.  For example, how about that "worst drought that's ever beset the Golden State"?  Really?  Here's something from the San Jose Mercury News last year:

Through studies of tree rings, sediment and other natural evidence, researchers have documented multiple droughts in California that lasted 10 or 20 years in a row during the past 1,000 years -- compared to the mere three-year [now four] duration of the current dry spell. The two most severe megadroughts make the Dust Bowl of the 1930s look tame: a 240-year-long drought that started in 850 and, 50 years after the conclusion of that one, another that stretched at least 180 years.

And how about that "4.5 degrees above average"?  Scary or no?  Glancing at the weather page in today's New York Times I find that the recorded temperature in New York City for 2015 year to date is -- ready for this? -- 4.7 degrees  F below normal!  Over at the ICECAP website Joe D'Aleo reports that January to March 2015 was the coldest January to March during the entire period of the thermometer record (going back to the late 1800s) for the ten Northeast U.S. states plus D.C.  Also that the trend for the last 20 years for that area is down 1.5 degrees F per decade.  Somehow this story didn't make the front page of Bloomberg News.

What we've proved so far is that there is always a record for heat and a record for cold being set somewhere, if you just get to pick your boundaries and your time period to get the result you want.  So how about the worldwide picture?  Bloomberg's version is in that second story:

It just keeps getting hotter.  March was the hottest month on record, and the past three months were the warmest start to a year on record, according to new data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It's a continuation of trends that made 2014 the most blistering year for the surface of the planet, in to records going back to 1880. 

But wait -- that's NOAA, run by known climate campaigners.  The story also mentions the NASA version of temperatures, which showed that March was not a record high, but close.  But they're also climate campaigners.  Don't the Bloomberg people realize that we know about the satellite measurements from UAH and RSS, going back to 1979?  They cover the whole world much more completely and accurately than the scattered thermometers in the NOAA and NASA sets.  What do the satellites show?  

Below is the latest UAH chart from Roy Spencer's website.  And the answer is that March 2015 is not close to a record for anything.  The March anomaly was +.26 deg C.  The record high anomaly was back in January to March 1998, when it hit +.68 deg C.  I count easily 40 months with an anomaly higher than the +.26 deg C of March 2015, including at least one in the 80s and one in the 90s.  RSS tracks UAH extremely closely.  They have the exact same +.26 deg C anomaly for March 2015 -- and a list of the hottest Marches that shows March 2015 as the tenth hottest in a 35 year record.  Warmer Marches include 1991 and 1983.

Sorry, Bloomberg, but in the age of the internet we know the other data that is out there.  We also know that NOAA and NASA have been aggressively altering their data to lower earlier temperatures to make the latest temperatures appear warmer by comparison.  You just can't put out stories trying to scare people without discussing this well-known adverse information.  If you try, it's immediately recognizable as propaganda rather than real news.  You're not fooling anybody.