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:

  1. Highest ever measured temperature by state
  2. Lowest ever measured temperature by state
  3. 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.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Jul 15, 2012, in Climate, culture, Global Warming, Life, news, Opinion, Politics, science, Thoughts. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. You have touched upon a topic that is of great interest to me. This combines two passions of mine: history and the environment.

    I used to believe as you do- that global warming is happening but it was not clear if it was caused by humans. Now, however, I am thoroughly convinced that people are indeed the cause of global climate change. Sorry for the length of the comment, but this is fascinating stuff.

    My background is in history. From studying history I knew that there were variations in climate over time. For example, the medival warm period, or the little ice age. Even on a larger time scale differences in climate can be seen- the Holocene is warmer the the Pleistocene before it, and the Pleistocene was cooler than the Pliocene before it. So, through studying history I concluded that there may be a climate cycle that causes temperatures to vary over time producing warm and cool periods. Actually, this may be true, but there is strong evidence that points to human activity contributing to climate change. Ultimately, what convinced me that my analysis was wrong was a friend of mine- who is a PHD in meteorology. He explained to evidence to me in a clear and indisputable fashion. I won’t detail it here but you can easily google it. There have been temperature variations in the (pre-fossil fuel) past but that does disprove human causes of global warming.

    My next points are a criticism of you approach. First, you only looked at US temps. you should use global temps. But, this is minor. Secondly, you provided data only on record temps. This is problematic. Records (extreme highs, and lows) by their very nature are generally outliers. You only looked at the data that does not fit in with the general data trend. Thirdly, you did not provide data on average temperatures. The average global temperature is indeed increasing, if it is plotted on a graph it roughly approxamates the CO2 graph you used.

    The average temperature has been increasing, the number of hot-90°+ (not necessarily record) days has been increasing, in concert with increases with CO2 emissions.

    I do agree with you about the exaggerated claims of the ‘alarmists.’ Climate change may not be happening as fast at scientists once thought. This however does not undermine the data that shows that it is happening and that human activity is the most important contributing factor.

    Thanks for a thought provoking article. I hope I didn’t ramble too much.

  2. All of your points of disagreement are well stated, well explained and correct. I agree.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I learn more from thinking about what you say than I do writing the articles in the first place!

    The point of this article is not to conclusively disprove the premise of anthro-CO2 generated global warming. (Though I do believe the link is precarious at best)

    The purpose of the article was this:
    1-Show that increased anthro-CO2 does not correlate to U.S. climate extremes as claimed
    2-Show that NOAA’s June “State of the Climate” report for the U.S. is alarmist misleading.

    That, I did…. using NOAA’s own datasets… including the very dataset NOAA used for its heat extreme claims in their June “State of the Climate” report.

    NOAA’s extreme weather datasets clearly demonstrate there is no correlation at all of U.S. weather extremes with anthro-CO2 increases.

    I suspect that if I had a global dataset of country weather extremes for analysis the results would be exactly the same… no correlation to those extremes either.

    Creating climate extremes is a global warming alarmist claim that simply isn’t supported by data.

    In NOAA’s June report 2 new state record high temperatures were reported. The 113 degree record for South Carolina isn’t even on NOAA’s official list of June high temperatures:

    Suspicious, I looked for local reports out of South Carolina and saw that the SC state meteorologist believes the report is in error and will not be verified.

    Stuff like that is what makes me call alarmist reports into question and write ITP articles. lol!!!

    I couldn’t help but notice that you did NOT refute my data or my analysis… you explained it away.

    In my experience when someone resorts to explaining away results without directly refuting them then they have already lost the argument. 😉 😉

  3. You may recall our exchange on this subject a while back in which the HCRUT data showed no warming over the past 15 years or so. Well today running around the web I am running into articles saying they are revising the data set to include more weather stations, and once done, it shows continued warming. Is this revision scientific and with sound basis, or are the books being cooked so to speak?

    • You are correct… the HadCRUT4 update of East Anglia’s global air-sea database was revised a few months back.

      In the revision they made the past slightly colder and the present warmer. It turned a slight decline in Earth temperature since 1998 into a slight increase.

      What they did was added a bunch of Arctic stations that weren’t in the database before. It had the net effect to make things look warmer now. Its an artificial effect.

      Because the past was made slightly colder and the present slightly warmer it suspiciously favors AGW theory.

      Just this week it was announced that Jim Hansen’s GISS temperature database was similarly updated.

      Both revisions are from highly AGW-biased groups.

      I don’t say this lightly, but believe the books are being cooked in a Piltdown Man kinda way.

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