Editor's note: This column was co-authored by David R. Legates.
During this hot, wet summer, a “national climate expert” recently told Delawareans that they can expect even hotter summers – with a climate like Savannah, Georgia’s – by the end of the century. The culprit, naturally: runaway global warming.
Savannah residents are long accustomed to their climate and, thanks to air conditioning and other modern technologies, are better able to deal with the heat and humidity. Nevertheless, the impact on Delaware will be disastrous, Dr. Katherine Hayhoe claims. Nonsense.
Her forthcoming report promises to be no different than other proclamations that persistently predict dire consequences from climate change – and then present taxpayers with a hefty bill. In this scenario, the State’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) paid $46,000 for her report, presumably to suggest that “independent scholars” support the state’s positions.
The preliminary release of her report reads like the script from a bad disaster movie – think The Day After Tomorrow and An Inconvenient Truth. Like them, it also plays fast and loose with the facts.
It fails to mention the extreme cold that many places around the globe experienced recently. Europe and Russia in particular suffered through bitter cold the past two winters. The report likewise ignores the fact that average global temperatures have not risen at all over the last sixteen years; in fact, Earth has actually cooled slightly during the past decade.
For its really scary worst-case scenario, Dr. Hayhoe says Delaware’s temperatures will rise astronomically in coming decades: with more than two full months of endless days above 95°F and a hundred-fold increase in days with temperatures at or above 100°F by 2100. “Trends to more extreme highs and fewer extreme lows already are apparent,” Dr. Hayhoe asserts. Except they are not.
Data from 970 weather stations across the United States reveal that more record daily maximum air temperatures were set in the 1930s than in any recent decade, and no increase in frequency of higher temperatures has been observed since 1955. The Delaware State Climatologist examined New Castle County Airport records in Wilmington and found no long-term trend in either the total number of days or the number of consecutive days with maximum air temperature above 90°F.
The same can be said for days where temperatures remain below freezing.
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