Climate Change In Perspective
NOAA produces regular “State of the Climate” reports for the United States. The current monthly summary for June 2012 is especially ominous. It begins:
Nation experiences warmest first-half of year; wildfires claim 1.3 million acres across nation
– “State of the Climate“, NOAA Summary, June 2012
Describing 2012′s unbearable heat NOAA went on to say it is:
2.0°F above the 20th century average. Scorching temperatures during the second half of the month led to at least 170 all-time high temperature records broken or tied. The June temperatures contributed to a record-warm first half of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.
NOAA reports that two June temperatures, 113°F in South Carolina and 112°F in Georgia, are under review as all-time high temperature state records.
This latest news has global warming alarmists running around like Chicken Little crying out, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
A 2°F increase is a call to arms for global warming alarmists. That increase, if permanent, is where the IPCC implies that runaway global warming begins and irreversible catastrophe is assured.
Ratings seeking news media subject us to more and more climate warnings. Climate extremes attract viewer attention and produce more listeners.
Occasionally, we need to put climate change reality back into proper perspective again.
U.S. Climate Records vs. Global Warming
The core IPCC hypothesis is that human-caused (anthropomorphic) CO2 atmospheric emissions are causing global warming, melting the ice caps, generating extreme weather conditions, etc., etc.
One of the ways to put climate change alarmism into proper perspective is to compare rising atmospheric CO2 levels with the occurrence of climate extremes.
Four graphics help to provide a reality check:
The first graphic shows the accumulation of anthropomorphic CO2 in the atmosphere since 1751. It was created by T.A. Boden of the DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory for a federal government report called, “Our Changing Planet: The U.S. Climate Change Science Program for Fiscal Year 2007“.
Anthropomorphic CO2 emissions have increased dramatically in the last 100 years. If it is driving global warming then, according to IPCC warnings, there should be climate data showing relationships to weather extremes.
The other graphics plot three U.S. state record extremes listed by the U.S. National Climate Data Center:
- Highest ever measured temperature by state
- Lowest ever measured temperature by state
- Deepest ever measured snowfall by state
The number of records set by decade were tallied and plotted. Those records ranged from the 1890s to the present.
If anthropomorphic CO2 emissions are driving climate change, as the IPCC says, then we should see a larger percentage of state high temperature records set in the most recent decades. We should also see most low temperature records set in the early decades.
It is clear as clear can be… there is absolutely no relationship whatsoever between anthropomorphic CO2 emissions and U.S. hot/cold state weather records.
32% of the high and low temperature extremes occurred in the decade of the 1930s alone. That is very early in the rapid rise in accumulated anthro-CO2.
The smooth slope in CO2 is not reflected at all in U.S. weather record extremes as the IPCC says should occur.
Is the planet the warmest it has been in the last 400 years? Yes, it is! Are glaciers melting? Yes, they are! The body of accumulated empirical climate data proves it.
However, before making expensive legislative decisions to reduce our human carbon footprint, we need empirical verification that anthro-CO2 emissions are causing global warming. Conclusive evidence does not yet appear forthcoming.
It’s obvious, for example, from the graphics above that a statistical link between anthro-CO2 and U.S. weather extremes does not exist. That calls into question a fundamental IPCC climate forecast claim.
The closer you look, the weaker the anthropological CO2 and climate link becomes. The amount and slope of the anthro-CO2 increase shown above has yet to be unambiguously reflected in virtually any climate data yet measured.
It appears, in this case, that NOAA’s dire report exaggerates reality.