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Occasional Thoughts on Climate Change


donsutherland1
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Yes, I took a look at this recently and couldn't find any evidence of an urban heat island effect when comparing Pittsburgh to a few small towns in the northern Appalachians and Allegheny Mountains. Probably most alarming is the warming is approaching 6F per century, but it's actually accelerating rapidly (evidenced by the fact that recent years are almost exclusively above what would be predicted by the linear trend line).

Since 1958, Elkins, WV has warmed at 5.7F/century. The population of Elkins is 6,950, and Randolph County is 27,932 as of the 2020 census.

Since 1958, Bradford, PA has warmed at 5.6F/century. The population of Bradford is 7,849, and McKean County is 40,432 as of the 2020 census.

Since 1958, Pittsburgh, PA has warmed at 5.1F/century. The population of Pittsburgh is 302,971, and Allegheny County is 1,250,578 as of the 2020 census.

Since 1963, DuBois, PA has warmed at 4.4F/century. The population of DuBois is 7,510, and Jefferson County is 44,492 as of the 2020 census. DuBois is located in Clearfield County [pop: 80,562], but the airport is in Jefferson County.

I can't see an urban heat island effect in this data. These are pristine mountain towns surrounded by national and state forests and park lands - some of the most rural areas east of the Mississippi River. Much, much more rural than Chester County, PA [pop: 534,413], which is the 7th most populated county in the State of Pennsylvania.

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Here is a plot of the decade temperatures from Chesco's table. Much more of a shotgun blast than the long-term climate sites. The coop stations have decade-to-decade changes which are much larger than the climate trend, which makes finding the climate signal difficult using raw station data.  

Note also that many coop stations had big temperature drops from the 1940s to the 1960s or 1970s as stations were modernized. One source of error before modernization is the coop use of mercury  max/min thermometers which were subject to time of day bias. Stations with hourly reporting avoided this error. Fortunately there are many local stations and the coop stations were modernized at different times, so station updates are easily identified and corrected by comparing nearby stations using bias adjustment software. Of course, if you don't want to find the climate signal by all means use the raw coop data.

coops.PNG

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On 4/6/2023 at 7:28 AM, LibertyBell said:

Besides climate change's innate issues there's a lot of other horrible stuff that can happen in a warming world, including the mass release of millions of years old dormant pathogens as the earth warms.

 

I should clarify what I meant by that. 

Even the most extreme form of eruption that hasn’t occurred on earth since the Colombia River Basalts 16 mya takes a very long time to warm the planet via volcanic CO2 release, therefore whatever dumb thing this JB is stating on Twitter about “underwater volcanoes releasing CO2” and warming the planet from it makes little sense. 

Explosive, large eruptions cool the planet as we know but usually only on short term time scales. Only incomprehensibly large and long duration flood basalt events that form large igneous provinces release enough CO2 to warm the planet, and those take place over thousands to millions of years. 

Flood basalts occur when a new hotspot is birthed by the head of a mantle plume breaching the surface. Some feel the next continental flood basalt may occur under the Virunga plateau (Nyiragongo) hundreds of thousands to millions of years from now. 

Flood basalts are more common when the continents are in a ‘supercontinent’ configuration as it’s easier for massive amounts of thermal energy to be contained as magma melt under the surface without erupting (necessary to get the enormous quantities of magma seen in flood basalts). Africa today though is probably large and thick enough to generate a small flood basalt in the future. 
 

Regardless and overall, “underwater volcanoes” makes no sense as a driver of current warming. 
 

For reference on the scale of these events, one of the largest flood basalts that formed the Ontong Java Plateau in the Cretaceous was thought to have an eruption rate of something like 15km^3 per year, which is essentially a Laki eruption every single year. The 18th century Laki eruption in Iceland killed ~20% of Iceland’s population, an enormous amount of livestock, and choked a massive number of people in England and Northern Europe on volcanic gasses. Easy to imagine flood basalts as major extinction events that poison the troposphere after putting this into perspective. Laki was a horrific eruption and nothing close to that sized effusive event has occurred since and is analogous to a miniature, year long flood basalt eruption. 

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1 hour ago, chubbs said:

Here is a plot of the decade temperatures from Chesco's table. Much more of a shotgun blast than the long-term climate sites. The coop stations have decade-to-decade changes which are much larger than the climate trend, which makes finding the climate signal difficult using raw station data.  

Note also that many coop stations had big temperature drops from the 1940s to the 1960s or 1970s as stations were modernized. One source of error before modernization is the coop use of mercury  max/min thermometers which were subject to time of day bias. Stations with hourly reporting avoided this error. Fortunately there are many local stations and the coop stations were modernized at different times, so station updates are easily identified and corrected by comparing nearby stations using bias adjustment software. Of course, if you don't want to find the climate signal by all means use the raw coop data.

coops.PNG

Per Charlie "The coop stations have decade-to-decade changes which are much larger than the climate trend, which makes finding the climate signal difficult using raw station data." Code speak for the Chester County NWS COOP data does not support the warming hypothesis and instead supports the normal cyclical pattern of climate changes. Climate change is of course a constant and normal.

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15 hours ago, bdgwx said:

How can you describe data that is contaminated with biases as "clean"?

What @chubbs shows is adjusted data. It may not be "clean" in the sense that all biases have been removed. But it is "clean" in the sense that an effort was made to remove as much as possible.

Also, why are you so resistant to adjustments in the land record, but seem to welcome it for the satellite record? 

Satellite record....do we have that data back to the 1880's??

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On 4/11/2023 at 10:36 PM, bdgwx said:

The only estimate I've seen so far is about 0.4 MtSO2. That is coincidently about the same as Hunga Tonga. Unless there is a significant upward revision to the SO2 release it is unlikely Shiveluch will lower the global average temperature by more than a few hundredths of a degree.

This is accurate. Shiveluch was not large enough to impact the climate. 
 

Also, a recent paper revised the HTHH sulfur flux upward rather substantially but still not enough to do much in the way of downward forcing. Unfortunately HTHH is more likely to contribute to warming, a first for documented large explosive events. 
 

You really want to be around the 5Mt / Tg (a lot of literature reports in Teragrams) and upward range of SO2 release, injected into the stratosphere so it really needs to be a plinian event (20km plume and up) of course modulated somewhat by the differing tropopause with latitude. 
 

You really want to see around a mid level VEI 5 with a gas rich composition to get a measurable downward kick to surface temperatures. And the largest forcing is usually relegated to the same hemisphere as the eruption, although truly massive events (say mid VEI 6 and up) can cross hemispheres as evidenced by ice core data, suggesting impacts globally. This isn’t a hard and fast rule however and weather conditions / pressure patterns can have a big influence at the time of the event. 

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2 hours ago, ChescoWx said:

Satellite record....do we have that data back to the 1880's??

No.

I'm curious...Is the start date of the dataset used as criteria for your acceptance of bias mitigation? In other words, are you okay with bias mitigation in UAH because the record starts in 1978 but not okay with GHCN because it starts prior to that?

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1 hour ago, bdgwx said:

No.

I'm curious...Is the start date of the dataset used as criteria for your acceptance of bias mitigation? In other words, are you okay with bias mitigation in UAH because the record starts in 1978 but not okay with GHCN because it starts prior to that?

The loss of nearly 2/3 of the GHCN network since 1970...of which represented rural stations is another overall big problem and biases the data warm...

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20 minutes ago, ChescoWx said:

The loss of nearly 2/3 of the GHCN network since 1970...of which represented rural stations is another overall big problem and biases the data warm...

I don't see anywhere near 2/3 loss of active GHCN stations since 1970. And it's moot because neither Chester County nor Philadelphia was lost. 

And because I didn't see an answer I'll ask again...Is the start date of the dataset used as criteria for your acceptance of bias mitigation? In other words, are you okay with bias mitigation in UAH because the record starts in 1978 but not okay with GHCN because it starts prior to that?

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1 hour ago, ChescoWx said:

The loss of nearly 2/3 of the GHCN network since 1970...of which represented rural stations is another overall big problem and biases the data warm...

Even if true, what difference does that make when you've offered no proof that rural locations are cooler or warming less? Here are several examples - zero evidence that the trend is any different for the rural locations than the urban locations.

Bradford, PA [McKean Co. population: 40k] - warming at 5.6F/century since 1958

image.png.f8b1bac3585c5d17540653f79f78085e.png

Elkins, WV [Randolph Co. pop: 27k] - warming at 5.7F/century since 1958

image.png.2ee431e3a55a07922dc690878b16c34d.png

DuBois, PA [Jefferson Co. pop: 44k] - warming at 4.4F/century since 1963 [no earlier data]

image.png.08d7a0db6dc88f303c09555150e36190.png

Morgantown, WV [Monongalia Co. pop: 105k] - warming at 4.9F/century since 1958

image.png.f5dd3eb349eb900b2a4a51281fdc7382.png

Pittsburgh, PA [Allegheny Co. pop: 1.25M] - warming at 5.1F/century since 1958

image.png.3e0a652c497559eb6a7497d02125b1a9.png

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2 hours ago, bdgwx said:

No.

I'm curious...Is the start date of the dataset used as criteria for your acceptance of bias mitigation? In other words, are you okay with bias mitigation in UAH because the record starts in 1978 but not okay with GHCN because it starts prior to that?

 

25 minutes ago, bdgwx said:

I don't see anywhere near 2/3 loss of active GHCN stations since 1970. And it's moot because neither Chester County nor Philadelphia was lost. 

And because I didn't see an answer I'll ask again...Is the start date of the dataset used as criteria for your acceptance of bias mitigation? In other words, are you okay with bias mitigation in UAH because the record starts in 1978 but not okay with GHCN because it starts prior to that?

How can you prove bias mitigation with dating starting in 1978? Plus UHA satellite data does NOT measure temperature directly - it can only INFER temperature from the radiances in wavelength bands. I will take the direct temperature measurements!

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What location do you guys think is warming the fastest due to climate change? I've noticed Burlington, VT seems to be getting hit particularly hard. The current climate there is about on par with what was common in the lower Great Lakes in the late 19th century - early 20th century. But it used to be very, very cold there.

Since 1960, a linear trend line estimates warming at over 9F per century - or just shy of a degree each decade. Again, in the last 5-10 years, the rate of warming seems to be increasing with an abundance of years above even this drastic trend line.

image.png.2bdbfab364a5ca597f8966b8d8011fd0.png

 

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21 hours ago, ChescoWx said:

Per Charlie "The coop stations have decade-to-decade changes which are much larger than the climate trend, which makes finding the climate signal difficult using raw station data." Code speak for the Chester County NWS COOP data does not support the warming hypothesis and instead supports the normal cyclical pattern of climate changes. Climate change is of course a constant and normal.

Don't try to speak for me, If analyzed properly. the Chester County COOP data fully supports consensus climate science. Living here for 40 years I can attest to the county's strong warming trend. Like I have said before. You are going to be the last person to detect local warming using observations.

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2 hours ago, chubbs said:

Don't try to speak for me, If analyzed properly. the Chester County COOP data fully supports consensus climate science. Living here for 40 years I can attest to the county's strong warming trend. Like I have said before. You are going to be the last person to detect local warming using observations.

When in doubt tell us what you feel living here for 40 years....I will stick to the actual data that certainly shows a warming trend but nothing we haven't seen before here in the county.

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20 hours ago, ChescoWx said:

 

How can you prove bias mitigation with dating starting in 1978? 

I'm not sure what the question is here. Are you asking how I knew it is done? Are you asking how it is done? Are you asking if it is different before vs after 1978? Are you asking how we know bias mitigation is necessary?

20 hours ago, ChescoWx said:

Plus UHA satellite data does NOT measure temperature directly - it can only INFER temperature from the radiances in wavelength bands. I will take the direct temperature measurements!

Now I'm confused. Over here you posted the UAH satellite data timeseries and you seemed to accept it. 

And when you say you will take direct temperature measurements do you really mean you will only take direct temperature measurements as long as they are contaminated with the time-of-observation change bias, instrument package change bias, station relocation bias, etc? I ask because that is the message we're all receiving right now.

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As chief forester (retired July 2021) for 600k acres of Maine public lands, I was tasked in 2018 with writing an essay on how climate change would affect Bureau of Parks and Lands timber management.  It was presented with two sections, the first being effects on tree species and silviculture, the second being effects on timber harvesting and specifically on frozen-ground harvesting.  An excerpt is pasted below, contrasting climate before and after the year 2000 for selected winter data sets.
 

Operational Considerations:

A warming climate promises to shorten the length of the frozen ground season and of continuous snow cover.  Some of these phenomena, along with lengthened growing seasons and earlier ice-outs, have already been recorded.  Models predict that a greater proportion of winter precipitation will fall as rain, though some models indicate that cold climates such as those of Maine may see a temporary increase in snowfall due to the overall increase in precipitation.  The above cited report [sorry, not included] covers the entire Northeast, defined within as New York and New England.  As Maine has the coldest climate among those seven states, I thought it useful to look at in-state data, using Caribou to represent Northern Maine, Rangeley for the Western Maine mountains, and Farmington as representative of lower elevation sites not in the far north.  These sites have records beginning in 1939, 1961 and 1893, respectively, though Farmington’s snow depth records only extend back through 1940.  I looked at snowfall, snow cover, and cold, the latter being both the numbers of days during December through March that reached lows of zero or below (for freezing down roads and trails) and days with maxima 32° F or lower (for keeping them frozen).

 

For the three-site average, snowfall during the 21st century has been above 20th-century averages by 6%, supporting the hypothesis that the effect of increased precipitation where winter temperatures average well below freezing is greater than the effect of warming a few degrees.  Duration of snow cover has declined 3-6% at Caribou and Farmington in the past twenty years while increasing by 5% at Rangeley.  The temperature records show a clear twenty-plus year period of colder temperatures centered on the 1960s and 1970s.  However, average temperatures for December through March are 2-3° milder this century than in the previous century, and cold days (zero/32 thresholds) have decreased, down 3% for maxima 32° or below and lower by 21%* for mornings zero or colder.  Overall changes have been greatest at Farmington, least/mixed at Rangeley.

* Decrease of zero/below by site:  Rangeley 11%, Caribou 18%, Farmington 34%

(Sadly, the wonderful data set for the Farmington co-op, 99.5% complete and missing only one month [March 1970] since 1913, has apparently ceased reporting since mid-October 2022.)

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16 hours ago, TheClimateChanger said:

What location do you guys think is warming the fastest due to climate change? I've noticed Burlington, VT seems to be getting hit particularly hard. The current climate there is about on par with what was common in the lower Great Lakes in the late 19th century - early 20th century. But it used to be very, very cold there.

Since 1960, a linear trend line estimates warming at over 9F per century - or just shy of a degree each decade. Again, in the last 5-10 years, the rate of warming seems to be increasing with an abundance of years above even this drastic trend line.

image.png.2bdbfab364a5ca597f8966b8d8011fd0.png

 

Yeah, most of the rise has been since 1980 as emissions rapidly increased and aerosols declined. But you can see how it’s been an uneven rate of warming across the US. Places like BTV other locations around the Northeast have seen a faster rate of increase. Also a faster rate of increase around International Falls and slower to the SW over South Dakota. There  has been a localized slowing of the rate across the corn belt especially with high temperatures. This is due to the rapid expansion of agriculture and associated irrigation. So it has prevented that region from experiencing the peak summer highs during the dust bowl.
 

https://site.extension.uga.edu/climate/2021/01/how-temperature-and-precip-have-changed-over-the-past-60-years-by-county/

 


 

 


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-16676-w

Model devegetation simulations, that represent the wide-spread exposure of bare soil in the 1930s, suggest human activity fueled stronger and more frequent heatwaves through greater evaporative drying in the warmer months. This study highlights the potential for the amplification of naturally occurring extreme events like droughts by vegetation feedbacks to create more extreme heatwaves in a warmer world.

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21 hours ago, ChescoWx said:

When in doubt tell us what you feel living here for 40 years....I will stick to the actual data that certainly shows a warming trend but nothing we haven't seen before here in the county.

I've been measuring temperatures locally for for 40 years, trust me its warming. Its warming faster at your house than the "actual data" you have posted in this thread. All the technically sound analyses of local data show strong warming. You are the only guy who thinks it was warmer in the 1940s than current in this area. If you think you have a better analysis than the experts publish your data in a technical forum - challenge the experts.

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On 4/22/2023 at 6:17 AM, chubbs said:

I've been measuring temperatures locally for for 40 years, trust me its warming. Its warming faster at your house than the "actual data" you have posted in this thread. All the technically sound analyses of local data show strong warming. You are the only guy who thinks it was warmer in the 1940s than current in this area. If you think you have a better analysis than the experts publish your data in a technical forum - challenge the experts.

I assume you mean the 1930's were warmer than the first decade of the 2000's. To clarify the actual coop data from all 4 locations recorded warmer temps in that decade than 7 decades later. Only if you adjust the actual data can you make it look warmer for the 2000-2009 period just the facts Charlie.

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Maybe I'm off base here, but, to me, it always seems the urban heat island effect is blown way out of proportion. Sure if you're measuring temperatures in a dense city, particularly over a dark rooftop or asphalt, it's going to be somewhat higher. But other than that, there doesn't seem to be any strong relationship between temperature and population. Just look at the temperatures this month around here, where is the urban heat island effect?

PIT: 54.4F [Allegheny Co., pop: 1.25M] [Elev: 1201 feet] [lat: 40.50N]

PHD: 54.0F [Tuscarawas Co., Ohio, pop: 93K] [elev: 892 feet] [lat: 40.47N]

ZZV: 54.2F [Muskingum Co., Ohio, pop: 86K] [elev: 899 feet] [lat: 39.94N]

DUJ: 53.4F [Jefferson Co, Pa., pop: 44K] [elev: 1804 feet] [lat: 41.18N]

HLG: 55.8F [Ohio County, W. Va., pop: 42K] [elev: 1194 feet] [lat: 40.17N]

MGW: 56.5F [Monongalia Co., W. Va., pop: 106K] [elev: 1227 feet] [lat: 39.65N]

JST: 52.9F [Cambria Co., Pa., pop: 133K] [elev: 2274 feet] [lat: 40.31N]

AOO: 55.0F [Blair Co., Pa., pop: 123K] [elev: 1467 feet] [lat: 40.30N]

Here is data from the second most populated county in Pennsylvania, at the second busiest international airport in the State, versus data taken from a bunch of small airfields in mostly rural counties. Where is the urban heat island effect in this data? Almost like temperature varies by latitude and elevation, and not by population.

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On 4/20/2023 at 8:41 AM, ChescoWx said:

Satellite record....do we have that data back to the 1880's??

How do your records compare to those published in Lorin Blodget's seminal work on the Climate of Pennsylvania, published in 1889? He had 33 complete years of data for West Chester from 1855-1887, plus all of 1888 except for December, and computed an annual mean of 51.3F, ranging from a minumum of 47.8F in 1875 to a maximum of 53.7F in 1870. 

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And for Pocopson, in Chester County, he had 21 years of data [1853-1873]. Mean annual temperature was 51.9F, ranging from 49.9F in 1868 to 54.7F in 1853. Unfortunately, this data set ends before the very cold year of 1875. Regardless, I feel like these temperatures are lower than anything reported in recent decades.

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And here's data for Bucks County from 1790-1887. Looks like a mean of around 51.9F, ranging from 48.8F in 1816 (year without a summer) to 56.3F in 1828. We can also see that the year without a summer wasn't an old wives tale. Mean temperatures were 57F in May, 64F in June, 68F in July, 66F in August, and 62F in September. Very chilly.

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image.png.40d7622c14d2d0a8dae172b36d62ee5e.png

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People have no idea how cold it really used to be. I mean can you imagine any low elevation site in the State of Pennsylvania having a year with an annual mean of 40.0F nowadays?

image.png.214c3f945ff0d0a650978a8871233147.png

Compare that to today:

image.png.666abbf33ea06c47e14f60d1173447ad.png

Or even look at the Signal Service records for Pittsburgh. This doesn't look that much cooler than today - but these were taken 500 feet lower than the modern airport records. That's enough of an elevation change to easily account for 2 degrees or more. Even still, there are some doozies mixed in there. 46.9F in 1827, 47.8F in 1856. The modern record cold year (again 500' higher in elevation) is 48.0F in 1976. If there were records at the airport location, it could have been 45 or 46 degrees in those years.

image.png.10da77bf984abd6ee0d2d42a1e02e7a6.png

image.png.cf588609ee50300b21e5a59e7f83f632.png

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8 hours ago, TheClimateChanger said:

How do your records compare to those published in Lorin Blodget's seminal work on the Climate of Pennsylvania, published in 1889? He had 33 complete years of data for West Chester from 1855-1887, plus all of 1888 except for December, and computed an annual mean of 51.3F, ranging from a minumum of 47.8F in 1875 to a maximum of 53.7F in 1870. 

 

With 124 years of records for West Chester it remains consistent with the other county locations with more warming during our current warm cycle but no material variances

image.thumb.png.1bb3b61911c66c972c271e3736802d3e.png

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1 hour ago, ChescoWx said:

image.thumb.png.1bb3b61911c66c972c271e3736802d3e.png

Wikipedia reports the following for West Chester (Blodget's means are in parentheses, along with the difference):

January: 30.7 [29.7] [-1.0]

February: 31.6 [31.5] [-0.1]

March: 40.9 [37.3] [-3.6]

April: 51.2 [48.7] [-2.5]

May: 61.5 [59.9] [-1.6]

June: 70.2 [69.1] [-1.1]

July: 74.9 [74.0] [-0.9]

August: 73.2 [71.5] [-1.7]

September: 66.4 [64.3] [-2.1]

October: 55.1 [53.9] [-1.2]

November: 44.6 [42.4] [-2.2]

December: 33.8 [32.9] [-0.9]

Annual: 52.8 [51.3] [-1.5]

Yeah, this looks similar to the other data I've seen. Looks like spring has the most warming, followed by autumn. It warms more rapidly into spring nowadays, and summer's warmth is more resilient. Does not decline as quickly into fall. The 1.5F difference doesn't sound like much, but it's a big change over the course of the year. And the change is more dramatic for cold years. The modern data set shows around 50F being the lowest, but there were several years in the high 40s in the numbers published by Blodget - including a 47.8F in the notoriously cold year of 1875. For comparison sake, the threaded records for PHL report 50.1F for the mean that year - by far, the coldest annual mean in the threaded records. Second place is 51.8F in 1904. I'd be willing to bet 47.8F is downright impossible for an annual mean in West Chester today. Unless there was a supervolcano eruption that lofted huge quantities of sulfur into the atmosphere.

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