Climate change lands Hibbing on front of NY Times

Hibbing, Minnesota, usually only makes the New York Times in stories about its hometown son Bob Dylan or, once every decade or so, for being a hardscrabble mining town on the rocks. So how exciting to see the town on the front page of the New York Times for something else: increasing average temperatures since 1960.

Because many people are hardwired to ignore the differences between climate and temperatures, the graphic will surely setting a lot of climate change deniers off the deep end, including some of MinnesotaBrown’s most persistent commenters. (You know, it was really cold this past winter; much colder than usual).

But one year or two is not a trend on its own. What the study cited by the New York Times shows is the change in averages over the century; and it explains something that’s been vexing local biologists: the animals, birds and trees all seem to believe pretty firmly in climate change these last few decades. They speak with their wings, paws and roots. John Latimer, the staff phenologist at Northern Community Radio, has reported species of birds and animals moving further north, and altering their migration patterns over the past 30 years.

So when this graphic shows a 3.1 degree increase in temperature averages from 1901-1960 to 1991-2012, that computes with what the animals are doing, even if it seems hard to grasp amid the winter blasts coming down from the Arctic.

UPDATE: I later learned that Bob Collins at MPR’s NewsCut had pointed out the same article in a post yesterday. I found out about this from my east coast collaborator Matt Nelson.


  1. Ranger47 says

    Aaron, really? Is this a subject a guy from Cherry teaching communications feels confident, or qualified, to dive into? Well ok…let’s begin with the basics:
    At what point does weather become climate? i.e…It’s a known fact the world has been warming since 17,000 years ago, cooling since 8000 years ago, cooling since 2000 years ago, warming since 1850 and is little changed since 1997. Compared to what is today’s climate (or weather) unusually warm…or cold?

    • I knew you’d be here, Bobby! I don’t know, is this a subject an engineer from Bovey feels confident, or qualified, to dive into? I mean, I guess we both have Google accounts. They don’t give those to just anyone, you know.

      Climate has changed greatly over the history of the planet. Every time it does, life on earth has changed greatly, too. You’re right, I’m not a climate scientist, but the things that climate scientists seem most concerned about is the rapidity of the quantifiable climate change we’re experiencing right now. Rapid change is the kind most likely to dramatically impact lives and societies, wipe out species and affect food and water supplies. I’m interested in knowing more. I don’t know exactly what this study proves, other than we see a fairly significant change over a period of recent years. The wildlife people tell me the critters seem to be reacting to this change. I think that’s very interesting.

  2. States and cities have been planning strategies to deal with the effects of climate change for several years. Rising seas, flooding, drought, fires, tornadoes and every calamity that arises from extreme weather events requires big changes in infrastructure, emergency equipment, you name it. Higher emergency vehicles are needed for sudden, massive flooding. 13 federal agencies were involved deciding what to do about a washed highway in one state, move it or try to repair it. Areas that have been hit with super tornadoes are trying to get more secure underground shelters. Very expensive but much more expensive not to prepare not to mention reduce loss of life.
    Departments of resources in several states anticipate more diseases through disease carrying insects moving north and are concerned about native trees dying out and impact on wildlife.
    The National Climate Assessment that just came out had input from many federal agencies including DOT, Dept of Commerce, Dept of Interior, Dept of Agriculture, Dept of Energy, NASA. The military has been taking climate change seriously and making changes. According to Defense One, there is little debate over climate change at the Pentagon, where the realities of temperature increases are now a part of everyday planning.

  3. Good post, Aaron. I’m astounded by people who look at this data, then crawl under their desks, put their fingers in their ears and begin to sing “la-la-la-I-Can’t-Hear-You!” This is about risk assessment. Would it make some people feel better if climate scientists wore white robes and pronounced themselves prophets before delivering the news that the earth is warming faster than it ever has? Because it is. Here is the terrible thing about that: our society and the lives of our descendants are in a clear and present danger. Here’s just one issue: Walk into your kitchen and figure out where your food comes from. Now, look at what the climate is doing where that food is made. Its delivery to your town in years to come is not guaranteed. At all. And the society that we have built upon that agriculture isn’t guaranteed either. Get out from under that desk and help the rest of us figure out a solution. Please.

  4. Ranger47 says

    While you ponder answering the first question Aaron, let me ask you this. How are things going for the global cooling (Time – “Another Ice Age?” – 6/24/1974, NYT – “Scientists Warn A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable” – 5/21/1975), or is it global warming, or climate change, or now the extreme weather Medicine Wagon Show?

    Five years ago, the climate establishment was on top of the world, masters of the universe. Since then there have been major challenges to the reputations of a numerous scientists, the IPCC, the UNFCCC, the EPA, professional societies, and other institutions of science. The spillover has been a loss of public trust in climate science and some have argued, even more broadly in science. The latest U.S. National Climate Assessment report is regarded by many as the same ole Medicine Wagon Show on steroids…and an impediment to sane and politically viable energy policies. What’s next for you guys??

    Those growing up in Cherry will forever live in the shadow of Arvo Kustaa Halberg, leader and Chairman of the Communist Party USA while those in Bovey shadowed by the picture of Grace by Eric Enstrom….but it doesn’t mean you & I can’t Google and form and express our own opinions. Once you get access to high-speed internet, you’ll understand. :-)

    • Oh, brother. The guy in the picture Grace is praying over a dictionary. You know that, right? And I grew up on the highway known as Number 7, under the shadow of Bobby Aro. Get your facts straight. 🙂

  5. Ranger47 says

    I just reviewed the front page of “The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change” – Watt’s Up with That. Included is an article you’ll find pertinent and informative:

    Global Warming Epic ‘Years of Living Dangerously’ tanks in TV ratings – series ended on Sundays
    Posted on May 8, 2014 by Anthony Watts

    “The clear, near zero, lack of interest in this show should be a clear signal to the Obama administration regarding their global warming agenda – nobody is buying it. After the Obama Administration released their National Climate Assessment report this week, ‘Years of Living Dangerously’, which like the report was designed to scare the bejeezus out of people and spur action, it seems fitting that this TV show tanked. Nobody except the climate faithful are listening or watching”.

    I assume you caught the first couple of episodes but in case not, don’t look for the remaining ones on Sundays….the show is now off the air on Sundays. The last few episodes have switched to Mondays hoping to increase its “near zero” viewership rating.

  6. Ranger47 says

    Your audience is going to tick down a bit Aaron if they can’t trust you. Careful…they’ll find those carved names.

    “My old high school was torn down Tuesday, June 14, 2011 so that it could be made new. I attended Cherry High School, graduating in 1998. Fundamentally, what makes Cherry unique is its origin story. Finnish immigrants were blacklisted from working in the mines after organizing a massive failed labor strike across Minnesota’s iron ranges in 1907. Some of the places settled by Finns were Cherry, Zim and Sax in St. Louis County – areas where I grew up. Cherry holds the distinction of having been founded by a particularly vocal group of Finnish socialists, among them the family of longtime U.S. Communist Party boss Gus Hall. The old building was once a stand-alone school. The classrooms where I attended my English and social studies classes had cloakrooms and back offices which used to serve administrative functions. Did anyone save the names carved into the back walls? How will they know we were there?” – Aaron Brown 6/24/2011

    • Wow, Bob. Wow. You really got me on that one. I mean, to think people would uncover my deep dark secret, that I’m from Cherry, and lose trust in me. I mean, it’s as thought I wrote a book that was published that said all this. Or 100 blog posts that use my personal story to illustrate parts of the Iron Range story. Gus Hall was from Cherry. So was the guy who made the video game Frogger. I mean, all those frogs. Murdered. Shame on me for being from there.

  7. Ranger47 says

    I know it’s tough for you Aaron…living in a world of “what difference does it make!?”, but the majority of us don’t live in that world. We know what the definition of “is” is. As you said, “get your facts straight”.

    Now back to the subject at hand (using facts only), has Hibbing warmed, or cooled? Is so, from when?

    • Thanks, Bob, as always, for the insult against my personal integrity. I posted the link to the story for people to consider. Consult that story and consider my related observation as stated above. Good luck and have a great day.

  8. Ranger47 says

    Attacking your personal integrity?? What the heck are you taking about!? Aaron, listen to yourself. Read what I’ve written. It’s nothing but factual. Jeez! (However, if you feel you’re being attacked, that’s your decision. As Lou Barle, my football coach used to say – “if the shoe fits, wear it”)

    Now, let’s have an open honest debate on what you’re written, the NYT link YOU’VE provided. Has Hibbing warmed or cooled? Compared to what?

  9. Ranger47 says

    Just got back from dodging ice flows on Burrows Lake, catching my limit of walleyes and not to my surprise…silence. Not a word from kissa, Robert nor Aaron himself on the subject of global cooling, global warming, climate change or extreme weather. How disappointing..

  10. Ranger47 says

    Interesting Jackie, I’ve read a few articles by this NYT writer, Timothy Egan. He’s a guy who generally has no facts to support his ideology, so he makes up stories and argues ad hominem, usually attacking the traits of an opponent as a means to try and invalidate their arguments.

    As you probably know, he’s also not a fan of the Tea Party and has stated – “they’re a militant fringe, trying to nullify an established law by extortion”, a totally baseless statement. I think he’s confusing the Tea Party with B.O.’s modus operandi. Now to the matter at hand, he’s hardly a source of climate or weather expertise.

    Add some value to the discussion Jackie. The American people are brighter than you give them credit for. While at the same time, there’s been a precipitous decline in the competence of those who write for the New York Times as demonstrated by guys like Egan. I think it’s safe to say that the average New York Times columnist is not as smart as the average American.

  11. As geochemist James Powell continues to document, the only people still debating whether or not climate change is “real” are the ones who aren’t doing the actual research. Powell estimates the going rate for climate denial in scientific research is about 1 in 1,000 and very few writing op-eds, blogs and testifying to congressional committees have ever written a peer-reviewed article saying explicitly that human influenced global warming is false. To do that, they would have to provide the evidence which they don’t have. They also have no alternative theory to explain the rise in CO2 and global temperature. Science is true whether you believe in it or not. Over 12,000 peer reviewed climate science studies are nothing to be sneezed at.

    Deniers who like to use the meme that Al Gore is getting rich from climate change warnings and also pretend that real climate scientists are only sounding alarms for profit is part of a concentrated well-funded effort to squash discussion of climate change dangers and ways to cope with it. It’s well-known that climate change denying groups, right-wing think tanks, lobbyists, media are heavily funded, fossil fuel and related industries at the top, to the tune of est $1 billion a year. 163 House and Senate members of 113th Congress have received about $60 million from fossil fuel industries and climate denying groups.

    Climate change doubters seem to fall into camps, those who believe there is no climate change, those who believe the climate change we are experiencing now are just natural changes, not man-influenced or those who think we just have to “wait and see”. “Wait and see” implies sitting on our hands and doing nothing which is very foolish. We have to take measures to mitigate the damage from climate change whether it is natural or man-made. Over 400 extreme weather events over the last couple of years have already cost us about $200 billion and over 1,000 lives.

    In Oklahoma and other states which have suffered from repeated super tornadoes, it is tornado season now. The demand for home underground shelters is very high with a long waiting list, into June just to start construction. I doubt these families are freaking out whether the super tornadoes are human influenced or not, they just want a shelter right now to try to keep their families as safe as they can.

    Lloyd’s of London is taking climate change seriously, “Climate change is very much here to stay”, recommending the insurance industry hold much more capital against increased risk. Other businesses, cities, states are including climate change as a large factor in their risk management plans.

    Why in the world wouldn’t we want do all we can to mitigate the worst effects of our extreme weather changes? Doing nothing is preferable? Even those who believe these weather events are a “natural” climate fluctuation have to notice the severity of current storms/droughts and can’t claim that our weather will become “normal” again in our lifetimes. Or maybe they do claim that. I can’t fathom the head in the sand behavior. Fiddling while Rome burns and Parable of the Flood.

  12. Ranger47 says

    “Climate change is here to stay”, now thats a high IQ statement, wow.

    Once Powell and his camp get over their:

    1) natural climate change denial

    2) denial that coal and petroleum work better corn as fuels,

    3) denial that a small amount of warming is better than killing millions of poor people by restricting access to inexpensive energy,

    4) denial that the human-induced component of climate change is anything but catastrophic and an emergency,

    5) denial that an increasing number of scientists are becoming skeptics,

    6) denial that IPCC scientists were caught red-handed trying to silence the opposition and “hide the decline”,

    7) denial of the observations, which show much less warming than any of the climate models can explain over the last 30+ years.

    we might, just might stop wasting billions of taxpayer dollars tilting at windmills and move on to real world issues.

  13. Your condescension is both very misplaced…and laughable, Ranger. And your last statement about moving onto world issues is ludicrous. If drastic weather changes globally aren’t cause for deep concern, I can only assume you are just closing your eyes and ears, and shutting down your brain. We may not know for sure if humans have caused this initially, but it’s for dang sure continuing to pour pollutants into the atmosphere, water and earth will only add to the crises ahead.
    So live in your bubble.

  14. It may not be clear to R47 that the “high IQ” statement, “Climate change is very much here to stay” was made by the head of exposure management and reinsurance at Lloyd’s of London in reference to the increased threats from climate change. I suppose Lloyd’s, est over 300 years ago, the world’s oldest and biggest insurance market must just be tilting at windmills.

  15. Ranger47 says

    CO2 a pollutant? Yikes! Kill us all Jackie, kill us all.

  16. Ranger47 says

    Sorry, that’s the B.O. “death panel” route. A fairer option is let’s draw straws…either you stop breathing, I stop breathing or you have an abortion. Whaddya say?

  17. Ranger47 says

    We can trade “links” ’til the cows quit releasing methane Jackie. i.e…

    When are you going to learn to think and speak for yourself??

  18. Ranger47 says

    kissa…If I were in the insurance business, I’d love to have you as a client..

  19. Obviously thinking for yourself has resulted in a serious disconnect from reality, Ranger

  20. Ranger47 says

    “The more real you get, the more unreal the world gets.”- John Lennon

    “Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal.” What I’ve said seems surreal to you Jackie because you’re convinced the very act of simply being alive, breathing and exhaling CO2 is an evil act. It must be a horrible way to live… being alive yet thinking you shouldn’t be. They’ve got you worshipping the created not the Creator. You’re not evil, nor is the CO2 you exhale a pollutant or an evil act. Think, and seek it out…you’ll find the truth.

  21. David Gray says

    “Science is true whether you believe in it or not. ”

    That statement is incompatible with an understanding of empiricism and the scientific process.

    “In Oklahoma and other states which have suffered from repeated super tornadoes, it is tornado season now.”

    Last year was the least prolific tornado seasons in many, many years.

    “We have to take measures to mitigate the damage from climate change whether it is natural or man-made.”

    Those who know a bit of history know climate change is cyclical. That’s why England over the centuries has seen it warm enough to grow grapes and have domestic wineries and also it has seen it cold enough to have the Thames River. Those are rather extreme changes, presumably not caused by the consequences of the Industrial Revolution.

  22. David Gray says

    Quick note, that should have read “to have the Thames River freeze over.”

  23. I guess it’s just all those scientists out there trying to get rich by publicizing the extremes/warnings in climate change
    Do either one of you naysayers have children/grandchildren ? I assume you are quite content to continue supporting continued pollution because everything is cyclical , so why bother. Oh, that’s right. just trust in the “creator”. LOL !

    • David Gray says

      I suspect I have more children than you do. Which is one reason I won’t bend the knee to your superstitious irrationalism.

      It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. Psalm 118:9.

      But even if I were fool enough to be an atheist I’d still be wise enough to reject the global warming Lysenkoism.

  24. The majority of scientists are in the academic world. If they were in it for the money, a lot more of them would be working for corporations making 3 or more times the salary.

    I get frustrated with the man-made vs natural cyclical climate change debate because while we are so obsessed arguing about what is responsible for climate change, we are losing time to clean up our act, fiddling while Rome burns.

    Pollution in all forms is and has been poisoning and killing us and we can do much to change that if we choose to. Coal came into large scale use during the Industrial Revolution producing massive smog and soot. In 1948 severe industrial pollution created a deadly smog that asphyxiated 20 and sickened 7,000 people in Donora, PA. Similarly in 1952, 4,000 people in London were killed over several days. In 1969, chemical waste released by factories into Ohio’s Cuyahoga River caused it to burst into flames. Man-made disasters became too catastrophic to ignore finally resulting in regulation.

    We love catching and eating fish in MN but we now have to restrict our consumption especially pregnant women and children, because toxic mercury concentration in fish due to coal burning. Mercury from coal-burning is carried by wind, comes down in acid rain landing in our lakes, streams, gardens.

    A study of oil fracking in CO tracking births from 1996 to 2009 showed a 30% increase in birth defects from pregnant women living near areas of concentrated wells. Fracking which uses chemicals companies call proprietary information cause infertility and many physical ailments, pollutes water tables and increases earthquake activity. 2 million ton of carbon dioxide including sulfure dioxide and particulars are released per year by our neighbor ND from oil burnoff that can be seen from space. ND oil company radioactive waste is being dumped by bagloads in abandoned buildings and near populated areas.

    imo, the argument against man-made climate change is there to divert attention away from constructive discussion about our serious human pollution issues which are killing us. I don’t get why we don’t all want to do a lot more to safeguard our children’s and grandchildren’s health and well-being.

    The Lord gave us a beautiful gift, the earth, and we are trashing and destroying it. The Lord also gave us brains to use to take care of our home, earth, and our selves and not sit on roof refusing a boat expecting God to show up in person to save us. If it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes, are you implying the princes are scientists instead of princes of profit, greed and idolatry of money?

    • David Gray says

      “If it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes, are you implying the princes are scientists instead of princes of profit, greed and idolatry of money?”

      It is to say that it is better to take refuge in the Lord than in those who wield temporal power, whoever they may be.

      Psa 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

      This is not to say we should not exercise our abilities as best we can and in a responsible fashion. This is why I stand opposed to the global warming charade. It is a good example of Lysenkoism and the blind worship of the cult of the expert. And unimpressive experts at that.

  25. How could you miss my whole point? Forget the whole man-made climate change angle. We have extremely serious problems with man-made pollution that is doing great harm to us, our kids and grandkids right now. All of us have a responsibility to do something to reverse bad policies by irresponsible actors. Ignoring what’s painfully obvious is a copout.

  26. Well, Mr. Gray,if placing everything in the hands of some mystical/mythical entity isn’t superstitious I don’t know what is.
    And what is claiming to have more children representative of ….mine is bigger than yours? Doesn’t require any special ability to procreate. For the record, I have 4 daughters, 3 grandchildren and 8 great- grandchildren, whom I love dearly.
    I will probably be not around to witness the major/severe changes in climate predicted, but I certainly fear for my family if nothing is done to change the current practices of polluting industries, and the destruction of the environment by a very careless population.
    Hiding behind the bunkers of ignorance can cannot prevent what is looming on the horizon, but will most assuredly stand in the way of ameliorating the disastrous events that lie ahead.

  27. Sorry for the typo, no “can” prefacing “cannot prevent”.

  28. David Gray says

    “I will probably be not around to witness the major/severe changes in climate predicted”

    Don’t worry, nobody will witness those changes…

    And if they did there wouldn’t be anything meaningful that could be done about them.

  29. Oh sure, you just go get raptured while the rest of us clean up after y’all slackers.

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