The BBC is reporting that heatwaves are the “new normal” as 50°C hits the United States and China. Scientists are reported to say that climate change is making heatwaves longer, more intense and more frequent. Quite where all this fearmongering guff is coming from is not immediately clear. Certainly not from official figures produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that show a decline in U.S. heatwaves stretching back 75 years. EPA data for 1,066 weather stations across the U.S. show a total of 863 locations, or 81%, reporting either a decrease or no change in the number of unusually hot days.
As we noted on Monday, the decline in very hot days stretches back to the 1930s. Since that time the number of U.S. weather stations recording 38°C (100°F) has fallen by half. Writing for Climate Realism, the U.S. meteorologist Anthony Watts referred to the graph below from the EPA showing that heatwaves were much worse in the 1930s, well before climate change became a blip on the media radar.
Despite what the media say, observes Watts, “real-world” data show heatwaves are not getting worse in the U.S. due to climate change. “This flies in the face of opinions by climate scientists cited in the mainstream media which seem wedded to the narrative that climate change is causing a crisis, despite data to the contrary”, he adds. Looking at the graph above, and considering the EPA’s 75-year recorded figures, it is difficult to see how any climate scientist, or inquiring journalist, could conclude that the U.S. is on a path to Thermogeddon.
Of course it is high summer in the Northern Hemisphere and, regular as clockwork, the Scorchio gang has ridden into town demanding money with menaces to fund its Net Zero racket. Writing in Axios, Andrew Freedman wrote that monitoring the climate this summer can give one the impression that the system “has gone off the rails”. Regular BBC contributor Dr. Frederieke Otto, who claims the power to spot human-caused climate change behind individual weather events, said we are not in a “stable climate”. The climate would remain unstable until humans stop burning fossil fuels. Meanwhile, Dr. Otto continues her modelled “attribution” work, helped by funding from the green billionaire investor Jeremy Grantham.
In fact there may be less heat around in the U.S. than even the official figures suggest. Watts notes that many of the stations reporting higher temperatures were located at airports or otherwise badly-sited locations that create heat biases. Last year, Watts produced a seminal work on the siting of U.S. weather stations, and their suitability to provide accurate measurements. Titled Corrupted Climate Stations: The U.S. Temperature Record Remains Fatally Flawed, he found that 96% of stations were poorly sited, and therefore prone to non-climatic heat additions. As reported, much of the upward heat bias was found to occur in the minimum overnight temperature as tarmac, concrete and buildings released heat. This gave daytime temperatures a head start, enabling them to reach higher than expected maxima.
Evidence to support this proposition can be seen in the two graphs below.
Graph 2A shows that maximum temperatures have not changed much since 1948. A small number of spikes can be seen scattered through the periods, but if anything there is a small trend downward. But the minimum graph 2B shows signs of a little warming, and that may confirm the presence of non-climatic corruptions.
The BBC’s ‘new normal’ story was written by Georgina Rannard, and she reported that large areas of the world “saw up close” what life is like under extreme temperatures. She quoted two places where temperatures rose over 50°C, namely Death Valley in California and a remote Chinese location called Sanbao in western Xinjiang. Quite why Death Valley should be associated with climate change is a mystery. The clue to its reliable scorching temperatures is in its name. The Valley is located 86 metres below sea level in the Mojave desert. Temperatures well over 50°C are frequently recorded at the equally aptly-named Furnace Creek.
So far as the Chinese record is concerned, Rennard seems to have scoured the globe to find a place in China that most resembles Death Valley. The diligent climate journalist Paul Homewood noted that Sanbao has a harsh desert climate and is 150 metres below sea level. Like Death Valley, the natural depression traps heat from surrounding mountains, and it is known as one of the Furnaces of China. As Homewood correctly notes, it is a micro-climate and any record is meaningless.
“You might just as well claim a record temperature next to the runway at Heathrow,” he says. Or indeed RAF Coningsby, he could have added.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.