By the Numbers

Beyond propaganda and rhetoric, numbers tell the real story

Lake and sky

THE NATIONAL OCEANIC and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center recently released research findings for October 2009. Nationally, the United States experienced its wettest October in the 115 years that data has been collected. Precipitation nearly doubled from the long-term average of 2.11 inches to 4.15 inches in 2009. The NOAA Midwest Regional Climate Center in Champaign, Ill., reported that more than half of its Midwest stations recorded one of the five wettest Octobers on record, with one out of five recording the wettest. For NOAA purposes, nine states are categorized as Midwestern: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. For Michigan and Indiana, October was the fourth-wettest. Snowfall in that month ranged from one to five inches across northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. All told, the Midwest recorded far cooler temperatures than are considered normal for October. Data indicates that the month was the seventh coldest on record for the region.

For more information, visit www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?report=national &year=2009&month=10.

THE WORLD HEALTH Organization reported that more than 36 million individuals were cured of tuberculosis over the course of the past 15 years, and that as many as 8 million TB deaths were averted through WHO's Directly Observed Therapy Short-Course strategy. Over the 12-month period from December 2008 to December 2009, WHO recorded the highest number of TB patients cured — 2.3 million, totaling 87 percent of treated patients and exceeding the 85 percent global target. TB is the second-leading cause of death internationally, behind only HIV/AIDS. In 2008, 1.8 million people died from TB.

For more information, visit www.who.int/mediacentre/news/ releases/2009/tb_report_20091208/en/index.html.

IN NOVEMBER 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a study titled "Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 through 2009." The EPA reports that fuel economy has increased over the past five years with a proportional decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. The EPA projected that average fuel economy would increase from 21 miles per gallon in 2008 to 21.1 mpg in 2009. Fuel economy has increased 9 percent (1.8 mpg) since 2004. Average CO2 emissions decreased 8 percent (approximately 39 grams per mile) over the same period.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/oms/fetrends.htm.

GLOBAL TEMPERATURES HAVE not risen since 2000, according to meteorologist Mojb Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science in Kiel, Germany. This assessment was backed by Jochem Marotzke, director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany. According to Latif, global temperatures rose 0.7 degrees Celsius (1.25 degrees Fahrenheit) from the 1970s to late 1990s. The Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Great Britain released calculations that the planet warmed 0.07 degrees Celsius between 1999 to 2008 rather than the 0.2 degrees Celsius reported by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Hadley scientists assert that the temperature fluctuation is due to natural climate occurrences El Nino and La Nina, and compensating for those two phenomena reduce the temperature change calculations to 0.0 degrees Celsius.

For more information, visit www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,druck-662092,00.html.