AP's Borenstein Insists on Citing Guide to Year's Coldest Days as Proof of Global Warming

Even when someone who helped prepare a new guide for gardeners on the coldest temperatures seen annually in different parts of the country says that their output doesn't fit the global warming template, an AP reporter decides that it really does.

In preparing his write-up last week on the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's revised the official guide for gardeners, the Associated Press's Seth Borenstein, the infamous writer of reports claiming that the Climategate scandals were no big deal, buried the following quote from a USDA official at Paragraph 17 of 24:

USDA spokeswoman Kim Kaplan, who was part of the map team, repeatedly tried to distance the new zones on the map from global warming. She said that while much of the country is in warmer zones, the map "is simply not a good instrument" to demonstrate climate change because it is based on just the coldest days of the year.

Seems pretty clear to me. Something which only addresses "the coldest (few) days" in a year doesn't have much relevance to what temperatures are like during the rest of the year.

But not to good old Seth, whose under-the-breath response to Ms. Kaplan must have been along the lines of "What the heck do you know?" Borenstein almost waxed poetic about the impact of global warming on the gardening guide:

New map for what to plant reflects global warming

Global warming is hitting not just home, but garden. The color-coded map of planting zones often seen on the back of seed packets is being updated by the government, illustrating a hotter 21st century.

It's the first time since 1990 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has revised the official guide for the nation's 80 million gardeners, and much has changed. Nearly entire states, such as Ohio, Nebraska and Texas, are in warmer zones.

The new guide, unveiled Wednesday at the National Arboretum, arrives just as many home gardeners are receiving their seed catalogs and dreaming of lush flower beds in the spring.

It reflects a new reality: The coldest day of the year isn't as cold as it used to be, so some plants and trees can now survive farther north.

"People who grow plants are well aware of the fact that temperatures have gotten more mild throughout the year, particularly in the wintertime," said Boston University biology professor Richard Primack. "There's a lot of things you can grow now that you couldn't grow before."

... The 1990 map was based on temperatures from 1974 to 1986, the new map from 1976 to 2005. The nation's average temperature from 1976 to 2005 was two-thirds of a degree higher than it was during the old time period, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Wow. A whole two-thirds of a degree. Would somebody break it to poor Seth that there hasn't been any global warming since 1997?

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.