Climate change alarmists have led people to believe that all weather is freakish and somehow explained by their models. Heat is hotter; ice is colder; clouds are wetter; droughts are drier; all weather is now referred to as unprecedented.
Every extreme weather event causes a media frenzy – mostly to boost ratings and sell advertising – that spoon feeds sound bites to the masses so people can say things like, “they said it has never rained this much before… scary!” Unfortunately, mainstream media has no motivation to do any independent research or provide any context, so any myth can be propagated with very little resistance.
Here are some reality checks on common claims made by climate alarmists.
Amazingly, extreme temperatures are not becoming more frequent in the U.S. A table of highest and lowest temperatures in recorded history (around 200 years of data) for all 50 states definitively contradicts claims that U.S. temperatures have become more extreme since global warming began on some vague date midway through the 20th century. In fact, of all record high temperatures by state, just 19 out of 50 occurred after 1950, and only one record high occurred since the year 2000 (June 13, 2012, South Carolina at 113F tied the state’s previous record). Of all record low temperatures by state, 24 out of 50 occurred after 1950, and two occurred since the year 2000 (Maine at -50F January 2016, and Oklahoma at -31F in 2011).
Somehow more than half of all-time highs and lows by state occurred before CO2 levels began rising in the late 1940’s. Somehow there have been more all-time record lows (24) than all-time record highs (19) across all 50 states since global warming began. Stranger still, more than half of all U.S. states have had a record low more recently than the state’s all-time high (25 out of 47 states; 3 had record high/low in same year). Some notable examples include very cold places like Alaska (record high 100F in 1915 and record low -80F in 1971), Colorado (114F in 1954 and -61F in 1985), Maine (105F in 1911 and -50F in 2009), and Minnesota (115F in 1917 and -60F in 1996). The Dakota’s each observed record high and low temperatures in 1936, well before extreme weather phenomena started.
Here’s the data:
Based on the climate change narrative one would expect to see the majority of extreme temperatures – high and low — occurring within the past 25 years, or at least the past 50 years, and the data doesn’t support this in the U.S. In fact 19 out of 50 states have not broken their high or low temperature in the past 75 years. And it’s not just the U.S. The lowest temperature for any summer day in the entire Northern Hemisphere was recently recorded in Greenland on July 10, 2017 at -24F. Somehow the media still prioritized reports about the Greenland ice melt despite summertime temperatures that were 56F below the freezing point for water (see USA Today on July 25, 2017 https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/world/2017/07/25/sunnier-weather-accelerating-greenlands-ice-melt/103976368/)
Hurricane activity for the U.S. shows the same lack of trend. The good people of Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico obviously got hammered by the 2017 hurricane season, however, data going back to 1851 shows no trend in either frequency nor intensity of hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. for any ten-year period. On average, the U.S. is hit by 6 hurricanes per decade that are category 3 or stronger during any observed period. There has been no upward trend since atmospheric CO2 levels began to rise around 1950, and in fact there have been fewer landfalling hurricanes by decade since 1970 compared to decades prior to increasing CO2.
Here’s the data:
The most recent 12-year period from 2005 to 2017 was the longest streak without a category 3+ making landfall in the U.S. since NOAA record keeping began in 1851.
California has experienced a difficult 2017 fire season, and residents have been struck by tragic loss of life and property. California governor, Jerry Brown, said in response that “This is the new normal,” and that “this could be something that happens every year or every few years.” Brown then challenged the current administration’s pull out of the Paris climate accord saying, “I don’t think President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God.” As truly horrific a fire is for residents in affected areas, the recent California fires are hardly unprecedented, nor trend setting. In fact, total U.S. acres lost to forest fires per year has dropped by 80% since the 1930’s. Here’s the data:
The most likely cause of weather misperceptions on a mass scale is mass scale itself. Devastating hurricanes have been hitting the U.S. since before the country declared its independence in 1776. The difference today is that major cities have sprawled out along U.S. coastlines often paving over natural flood plains, plus news travels faster with the advent of social media. So indeed, more people are affected by extreme weather, cities are less adapted to deal with the effects, and more people become aware of catastrophic news. Plus, data collection has changed. Prior to the satellite era, hurricanes that didn’t make landfall were observed only by crews in shipping lanes, and their reporting was inconsistent.
Circling back to temperature data, urban sprawl also applies. When a heatwave hits Western U.S. states, data is now collected from monitoring stations in cities and suburbs that didn’t even exist prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. While it sounds impressive for weather reporters in mainstream media to say, “more than a dozen cities broke their all-time temperature records yesterday,” the data is less impressive when put into context. Many of the records are limited to 150 years or less, many of the cities either didn’t exist or didn’t report in decades past, and very few local records look extreme when rolled up and compared to larger regional records (see temperature data by state above).
Extreme weather isn’t occurring more, but it is reported more and emphasized more.