Bill Nye's unscientific approach to climate change in Jackson, WY
The rise of the celebrity "scientist" is undoubtedly the most toxic trend to infect science over the past two decades.
On February 6, 2015, Bill Nye sent out the following tweet:
As of the date of writing, this had been re-tweeted almost 1,100 times. Truly frightening times we live in.
Nye's tweet apparently suggests that climate change is to blame for the supposed lack of snow on the slopes around Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Michelle Malkin and JunkScience.com have already debunked much of this tweet, the latter by showing that Nye's picture was not of Jackson Hole, but instead of Jackson – and the former by illustrating that there was anything but an absence of snow in Jackson Hole.
There is a complete absence of annual snowfall data in the NOAA National Weather Service database for Jackson Hole. This means we have no idea if climate change is leading to lower (or higher) snowfall totals/accumulations at this site. An absence of data means that a hypothesis can be neither proven nor disproven.
Temperature records at Jackson Hole don't begin in the NOAA-NWS database until mid-2009. Another climate change strike-out.
Down at the town of Jackson itself, the NOAA-NWS database has complete annual records for only four years (2004, 2008, 2013, and 2014) since 1993. We don't even have a good handle on what the recent climate has been like in this area. In fact, only about half the years since 1944 have complete annual data at Jackson. Ergo, we have a poor understanding of both its recent and its historical climate.
The snowfall records at Jackson are in even worse shape: the last annual snowfall total was the winter of 1989-1990. Again, we have no idea if there are any climatic trends in the region.
Somehow, the NOAA National Climatic Data Center develops an annual temperature series for the climate division in western Wyoming around Jackson. There has been absolutely no sign of a significant warming trend for the area over the last 30 years. Some climate change.
This winter in the climate division wasn't close to the warmest on record. It was a full 1.4º F below the record-warm winter of 1933-34. No significant trend in winter temperature for the division, either, over the past three decades.
As for that climate change-induced snowfall reduction, the climate division has seen absolutely no trend in wintertime precipitation since records began in the 1890s.
This past year was only slightly below normal.
Overall, there appears to be no reason to think climate change is leading to the end of snow in this part of Wyoming.