Governor Cuomo and His Stormy Weather Hayride

NIMBYismRoger Caiazza
Independent Researcher and Publisher,
Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York

Governor Cuomo has been taking us all on a stormy weather hayride and some people profess to be enjoying it. But, Governor Cuomo has no idea what he’s doing..

At a recent meeting I ran into Lois New who, before she retired, was the Director of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Climate Change.  I have known her for years and we worked together during RGGI stakeholder meetings. During our conversation she mentioned that her neighboring farmers were seeing the effects of climate change because they were having more trouble getting hay in before winter.  I said I thought it was more likely weather, she disagreed, and that ended the conversation.  This post looks at data to see if there is, in fact, a climatic trend for worse weather for haying.

Governor CuomoFirst, let’s define weather and climate.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Ocean Service “Weather reflects short-term conditions of the atmosphere while climate is the average daily weather for an extended period of time at a certain location.”  The referenced article goes on to explain “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.”

New York State policy is all in that there is an imminent and inevitable climate change catastrophe that can only be averted if we do something.  In this case New York’s version of doing something is the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) which was enacted last summer.  It is described as “the most ambitious and comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation in the country”.  When Governor Cuomo signed the bill he said:

“The environment and climate change are the most critically important policy priorities we face.  They literally will determine the future – or the lack thereof. Even in today’s chaos of political pandering and hyperbole there are still facts, data and evidence – and climate change is an undeniable scientific fact.”

In order to rationalize these statements Governor Cuomo has a long history of attributing any observed unusual or extreme weather to climate change’s effects being seen today.

Paul Homewood at the Not a Lot of People Know That web page authored a couple of recent articles slamming NY Governor Cuomo for a couple of examples. The first article points out that his statement that “we did not use to have hurricanes, we did not have super storms, we did not have tornadoes” is dead wrong.  The second article entitled “Cuomo’s Fake Claims About Extreme Rainfall” noted that Governor Cuomo implied in an MSNBC interview (referenced in the blog post) that extreme rainfall was getting much worse in NY State.  However, Homewood showed that “there is absolutely no evidence of that at all” at the long running Ithaca station or a New York City station.

As a member of the inner climate circle around Governor Cuomo, Ms. New must have been a part of the public relations campaign justifying the CLCPA.  Her claim that farmers cannot complete harvesting hay because of climate change is entirely consistent.  This post will look at the facts, data, and evidence that there is a climate effect on haying.   Homewood referenced a link to precipitation data at http://climod2.nrcc.cornell.edu/ which is what I needed to do this analysis.

Approach

According to Mother Earth News in a Guide to Growing, Harvesting and Baling Hay “there are three steps involved in turning a green crop into what can rightfully be called hay:

  1. Cutting (followed by partial drying.)
  2. Windrowing (followed by further drying.)
  3. Baling hay.

For our purposes the key is that freshly cut hay has to be dried because if hay is tied into tight bales when it still contains moisture it will go through a curing process that creates heat which can lead to self-combustion.  Therefore, farmers do not want to bale their cut crop until the moisture is less than 20%.  To do that the cut grass is allowed to dry for up to several days, then raked into rows and allowed to dry out most of the moisture.  Once dry then the hay can be baled.

The Northeast Regional Climate Center data sets provide processed values for temperature and precipitation for many observing sites in New York.  I chose to look at two stations with long records: Ithaca (1894-2019) and Mohonk House (1896-2019 with 1899 missing).  I downloaded the daily maximum, minimum, and average temperatures, precipitation amount, snowfall amount, snow depth and growing degree days.  A growing degree is the difference between average temperature in deg F and 50.  For example, if the average daily temperature is 60 deg F then there are ten daily growing degree days for that date.

I assumed that in order to harvest hay that the farmer would need to have at least four days when there was no precipitation greater than 0.05”.  Whenever that threshold was reached or exceeded the Harvest-Day parameter was set to one.  The total number of days that met this criterion in each month was summed along with the number of growing degree days per month for the growing season that I set as May through October.

I did a simple analysis of the two data sets.  I calculated the growing degrees and number of harvest days for each month in the growing season that I defined as May 1 to October 31.  I summed these values for the whole growing season.  I also summed values for the fall hay harvest season that I defined as August and September.  I fit a linear regression model to describe the relationship between growing degree days and hay harvest days by year for the whole growing season and just August and September.

I use Statgraphics Centurion software from StatPoint Technologies, Inc. to do my statistical analyses because it enables the user to choose the best relationship from 27 different linear regression equations.  I determine which linear regression model provides the best fit and then use that model to describe the data. If the calculated probability value (P-value) is less than 0.05, there is a statistically significant relationship at the 95.0% confidence level and I defined the test result as significant. In addition, I calculated simple statistics to describe the two data sets.

Governor Cuomo

Results

The purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the claim that farmers are having more trouble getting their hay harvested because of climate change.  If that were in fact the case then we would primarily expect to see a trend in decreasing hay harvest days and to a lesser extent a decrease in the number of growing degree days.  The linear regression statistical results for two sites over the entire growing season and August and September were evaluated.  Overall eight tests were done with the following results:

Mohonk Growing Season hay-harvesting days

Insignificant reduction in the number of hay-harvesting days over the growing season

Mohonk Growing Season growing degree days

Significant increase in the number of growing degree days over the growing season

Mohonk August and September hay-harvesting days

Significant increase in the number of hay-harvesting days in August and September

Mohonk August and September growing degree days

Significant increase in the number of growing degree days in August and September

Ithaca Growing Season hay-harvest days

Significant reduction in number of hay-harvesting days over the growing season

Ithaca Growing Season growing degree days

Significant reduction in growing degree days over the growing season

Ithaca August and September hay-harvest days

Insignificant reduction in number of hay-harvesting days in August and September

Ithaca August and September growing degree days

Significant reduction in growing degree days in August and September

Of the eight tests: three were consistent with the hypothesis that getting hay harvested is getting more difficult because hay-harvesting days and growing degree days decreased, three were inconsistent with the hypothesis because hay-harvesting days and growing degree days increased, and two tests were statistically insignificant.  Note that if growing degree days are going down that is an indication that temperatures are cooling and not warming.

Another way to look at the climate change impact is to statistically evaluate the data.  The Ithaca Hay Season Climatological Normal and Last 30 Year Data and the Mohonk House Hay Season Climatological Normal and Last 30 Year Data tables include climatological normal data, the last 30 years of data, and summary statistics.

I believe that one way to check climate change claim effects is to check the 30-year average from the beginning of the period of record with the 30-year average at the end of the period of record.  I also believe that there are multi-year weather cycles of differing lengths and if that is the case then arbitrarily picking these two periods may not be representative.  Therefore, consider this comparison with caution. At Mohonk House the growing season hay harvesting days decreased by two days but the August and September days increase by three days.  The Ithaca growing season hay harvesting days decrease by five days but the August and September days stayed the same.

Governor Cuomo

Importantly, these data also indicate that there is a lot of inter-annual variation in hay harvesting days.  The standard deviation of the August and September data at Ithaca was 6, the minimum was 2 and the maximum was 28. At Mohonk House the standard deviation was 8, the minimum was 0 and the maximum was 43.  The difference between the first 30-years and the last 30-years is less than the standard deviation variation.  Therefore, I don’t think it is reasonable for anyone to claim that they can discern a climatic trend.

So why is there an impression that hay harvesting is getting worse?  A quick review of the last 30 years of data indicates to me that this impression is consistent with weather variations.  At Mohonk House in 2014 and 2015 there were a couple of years that were great for hay harvesting with half the days (31) in August and September suitable.

Jump forward to the last two years and there were only 11 and 12 days suitable.  In that short time frame of reference an alarming trend is evident.  However, also recall that the average number of hay harvesting days is 18 and with a standard deviation of 8.  So even though  2018 and 2019 data suggest there may be a problem, the data are within one standard deviation of the mean which means that they are well within natural variation observed since 1896.

Governor Cuomo

Conclusion

The points that I want readers to remember are that climate numerical analysis results are likely ambiguous, picking a climatic trend out of weather records is not simple, and, most importantly, any statistically significant trends are likely smaller than the observed inter-annual variation.   As a result, anecdotal claims of observed changes of weather parameters due to climate change are likely biased and unsubstantiated.

This data analysis shows ambiguous results.  It suggests that there is conflicting support for a climate-change induced problem with hay harvesting in August and September.  Mohonk House data indicate a statistically significant trend in more days suitable for harvesting hay whereas Ithaca data indicate a trend towards less days suitable for harvesting hay but the trend is insignificant.  At both stations there is a negative statistically significant trend in the number of growing degree days.  Depending upon your intent, statistics can “prove” an argument that there is a problem or there isn’t a problem.

In order to do a comprehensive analysis to settle the question would take a lot of work.  Before doing any more analysis work, the evaluation data used should be confirmed as appropriate.  In order to represent the New York region adequately, stations across New York and the region would all have to be analyzed similarly.  It might also be appropriate to look at each month when haying is done.

I think the comparison of possible trends against inter-annual variation is illuminating.  If there is a climate change signal the difference between the first thirty years of the records with the last thirty years should show changes.  What differences that do exist are smaller than the observed variations.  All changes are less than one standard deviation from the mean.  I believe that this is a consistent problem for lines of the so-called evidence for climate change impacts observed in New York.

Based on this analysis I believe that anecdotal claims of observed changes of problems with hay weather parameters due to climate change are likely biased and unsupported by the data.  The variations noted and ascribed to climate change are in fact due to weather.

I also think that similar analyses of other claims would provide similar results. Governor Cuomo has  claimed “Even in today’s chaos of political pandering and hyperbole there are still facts, data and evidence – and climate change is an undeniable scientific fact” and his tendency to blame any unusual weather on climate change are not supported by this analysis.  In my opinion, careful evaluation of data and evidence for most of his claims would find similarly ambiguous and less certain results.

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5 thoughts on “Governor Cuomo and His Stormy Weather Hayride

  1. The Foolish Idea of “Settled” Science
    The Main Stream Media trumpets (almost endlessly) that the science regarding climate change is “settled” as evidenced by 97% of climatologists who have reached a “consensus” about anthropogenic (human-induced) global warming. What the press does not stress is that this like-mindedness among these experts is based almost entirely upon computer simulations (GCMs or climate models) and not on any significant experimental data or evidence. Even more distressing is that many (most?) climate advocates see the current scientific findings as fixed and they reject out of hand any actual contrary research results. Like it or not science is simply never settled.
    Any historian of science will quickly belie the unsound position regarding “settled” science. A few solid examples should suffice to dismiss this misbegotten belief. During the late 19th century the entire scientific community accepted as fact the necessary existence of a “luminiferous ether” through which photons from the Sun traveled to reach the Earth. Then in 1887 Michelson & Morley of Case Western Reserve conducted a single experiment that showed that no such “ether” existed. Thus, all the prior evidence and belief was discarded. [Note: Interestingly, it was M&M’s research that set Einstein on his search concerning relativity.] The bottom line is that the 97% “consensus” concerning the “settled” science regarding the existence of a luminiferous ether was wrong.
    Next, at the turn of the 20th century, virtually every cosmologist and astronomer agreed that the stars and galaxies that made up our universe were fixed in position. Then in 1930, Edwin Hubble by studying the “redshift” of the light reaching Earth from these heavenly bodies showed that our universe was expanding and that it was doing so at an accelerating rate. Once again, all of the “settled” science was placed in the trash bin of history.
    Another excellent example is “continental drift”. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, virtually every scientific expert insisted that the position of the Earth’s continents was fixed. This scientific conclusion was based upon the observation that although granite existed on the continents, the seafloor was composed of denser basalt, and the “settled” science during the first half of the twentieth century was that there were two types of crust, named”sial” (continental type crust) and “sima” (oceanic type crust). Furthermore, it was “accepted” by all researchers that a static shell was present under the continents. Then in 1947, a team of scientists using an array of instruments confirmed the existence of a rise in the central Atlantic Ocean and found that the floor of the seabed beneath the layer of sediments consisted of basalt, not the granite which is the main constituent of continents. They also found that the oceanic crust was much thinner than continental crust. All these new findings put the “settled” science into question.
    Subsequently, beginning in the 1950s, scientists using instruments that measure attraction (magnetometers) began recognizing odd “striping” across the ocean floor. After the maps with this “zebra pattern” of magnetic bands were published, the connection between seafloor spreading and this layout was correctly linked to the historic evidence of geomagnetic reversals. Like it or not, the seven continents had been moving. Again, the 97% “consensus” regarding the “settled” science of fixed continents had to be discarded. In science, the idea of a “settled consensus” is simply silly. Science is constantly uncovering new truths.
    The Concept of “Settled” Science Regarding Anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change has recently been falsified
    In 2014, a group of Chinese researchers found evidence suggesting that the current warm phase of a 500-year cycle could terminate over several decades, ushering in a 250-year cool phase. Then on July 3, 2019, Science Daily announced that new evidence suggests that high-energy particles from space known as galactic cosmic rays affect the Earth’s climate by increasing cloud cover, causing an “umbrella effect.” When galactic cosmic rays increased during the Earth’s last geomagnetic reversal transition 780,000 years ago, the umbrella effect of low-cloud cover led to high atmospheric pressure in Siberia, causing the East Asian winter monsoon to become stronger. This is evidence that galactic cosmic rays influence changes in the Earth’s climate. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has discussed the impact of cloud cover on climate in their evaluations, but this phenomenon has never been considered in climate predictions due to the insufficient physical understanding of it,” stated lead Japanese investigator, Professor Hyodo. “This study provides an opportunity to rethink the impact of clouds on climate. When galactic cosmic rays increase, so do low clouds, and when cosmic rays decrease clouds do as well, so climate warming may be caused by an opposite-umbrella effect. The umbrella effect caused by galactic cosmic rays is important when thinking about current global warming as well as the warm period of the medieval era.”
    On August 9, 2019, Prof. Nir Shaviv wrote an article in which he stated that the (sea level) data suggests that rising CO2 levels play only a minor role in Earth’s climate compared to the influence of the Sun and cosmic radiation. “Climate change has existed forever and is unlikely to go away. But CO2 emissions don’t play a major role. Periodic solar activity does.” Prof. Shaviv continued “… science is not a democracy. Even if 100% of scientists believe something, one person with good evidence can still be right.”
    Subsequently, on Aug. 11, 2019, it was reported that a new study had found winters in northern China have been warming since 4,000 BC. The study found that winds from Arctic Siberia have been growing weaker, the conifer tree line has been retreating north, and there has been a steady rise in biodiversity in a general warming trend that continues today. It appears to have little to do with the increase in greenhouse gases which began with the industrial revolution, according to the researchers. Lead scientist Dr. Wu Jing, from the Key Laboratory of Cenozoic Geology and Environment at the Institute of Geology and Geophysics, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the study had found no evidence of human influence on northern China’s warming winters. “Driving forces include the sun, the atmosphere, and its interaction with the ocean,” Wu said. “We have detected no evidence of human influence.”
    Then the web site, Bioengineer.org, on Nov. 6, 2019, cited three papers from the Federal University of Sao Paolo, Brazil which partially affirm the studies from Japan and China. This research insists that “The composition (of marine) sediments carried by rivers from the mainland to the ocean can be used as a basis for calculating variables such as temperature, precipitation, and marine salinity. In the context of ongoing global climate change, the study of the past is fundamental to validating the accuracy of the climate models used to make predictions.”
    SUMMARY
    The world-famous philosopher of science, Karl Popper, insisted that to be a valid scientific theory must be falsifiable. This includes the widely held conjecture of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. In short, a single set of scholarly findings that is not explained by the premise of man-made global warming which is attributable to the burning of fossil fuels can falsify this entire body of scientific speculation and this has now occurred. Today, six peer-reviewed scientific papers that were conducted by six separate groups of expert investigators from five different universities in four separate countries and which have all been published in eminent peer-reviewed scholarly journals have found little or no evidence to support the assertion regarding human-induced climate change. Instead, all six groups independently found that the warming that has happened was almost entirely attributable to galactic cosmic rays that affect the quantity of the Earth’s low hanging clouds. These expert investigators call this canopy or blanket the “umbrella effect”. The bottom line is that the entire climate change hysteria has now been falsified and is untrue. These six experimental results have shown that the IPCC and its computer simulation models (GCMs) are not valid.
    LINKS
    For those who require links here are two:
    https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3022136/china-scientists-warn-global-cooling-trick-natures-sleeve
    https://electroverse.net/acclaimed-israeli-astrophysicist-suggests-that-the-sun-drives-earths-climate-not-co2/

  2. Mr. Caiazza,
    I would refer you to Dr. Valentina Zharkova’s work on the imminent Grand Solar Minimum as she has repeatedly stated that the most prominent impact will be a shortened growing season.

    With a correlative accuracy rate of over 96% against weather records spanning 400 years, only the most obtuse followers of St. Greta (yes, there are still many) are able to dismiss the several data points that Zharkova’s work has correctly forecast.

    As the most dormant cycle (sunspot and accompanying solar magnetic field) is projected to bottom out in the years 2028 to 2032, effective planning and preparation are essential to better accommodate these looming realities.

  3. Progress is a gradual process and not an overnight thing. Both sides could be argued but the truth is somewhere in the middle. A neutral truth seeking bi-partism approach = success. We can re- assure chicken little the sky is NOT falling.

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