NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 9, 2006

The Puget Sound Action Team claims that temperatures in the Pacific Northwest are rising faster than the global average. Yet, a closer look at the PSAT's claims raises several questions, says Todd Myers of Washington Policy Center. For example:

  • PSAT claims Puget Sound's temperature dramatically increased during the last 50 years from 0.5 degrees to 3.0 degrees Fahrenheit. However, of several "50-year" ranges, the only two dramatic changes include a misleading range starting with one of the coldest years of the century and another misleading range ending with one of the hottest years of the century.
  • PSAT claims glaciers rapidly melt "in response to warming." However, the data from Mt. Rainier shows lower temperatures in the last 40 years, except for the unusually warm year of 2004 -- which was less warm relative to the lowering temperatures of previous years.
  • PSAT says the temperature variations indicate climate change versus normal weather patterns. However, their charts, which contradict their study, show greater changes from the 10-year period of 1950-1960 than from 40-year period of 1960-2000.

The City of Seattle recently budgeted for a rise in sea levels from global warming into the costs of replacing the sea wall, should the downtown viaduct be replaced with a tunnel. However, this, and other global warming polices, too often rest on questionable claims like those made by PSAT. Their claims create a sense of crisis while ignoring expensive, financial impacts, says Myers.

Source: Todd Myers, "Northwest Global Warming Data Isn't As Clear As Some Claim," Washington Policy Center, February 2006.


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