Summer has arrived and the heat is on, naturally. Some like it hot, but for those who don’t, recalling the ache of last winter’s frigid fingers and toes may ease the discomfort. It’s smart to remember the atmospheric tribulations that blow hot and cold and resist the madding crowd, certain, like Chicken Little and climate-change hysterics, that the sky is falling. To do otherwise is to succumb to the well-established disease called “Weather Amnesia.”
It’s advice especially appropriate for Europeans who rarely break a sweat and who have recently suffered through the misery of one of the continent’s most oppressive heat waves. An early summer dome of high pressure over Western Europe pulled steamy air from Africa northward to Europe, breaking a 72-year record with a new record of 101.5 degrees (Fahrenheit) in eastern Germany. Most of the landmass baked under temperatures ranging from the 90s to more than 100 degrees for most of the week.
On this side of the pond, where Miamians are accustomed to seasonal steam baths, a mere 98-degree reading tied the June record, matching the misery of our continental cousins. The cause was familiar, a stalled high-pressure ridge immobilizing scorched air from the Sahara.
Predictably, climate scientists are eager to exploit sticky weather and blame it on planetary warming. “Global temperatures are increasing due to climate change,” says professor Len Shaffrey of the United Kingdom’s University of Reading. “The global rise in temperatures means the probability that an extreme heatwave will occur is also increasing.” Who to blame is easy and inevitable. Human beings. If we could just get rid of them the globe’s miseries would disappear.
But not so fast, counsels Judith Curry, president of Climate Forecast Applications Network and former chairman of Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She says reflexively blaming homo sapiens for temperature extremes, while discounting nature’s own weather cycles, is shortsighted. “The sense that extreme weather events are now more frequent or intense, caused by manmade global warming, is symptomatic of Weather Amnesia.”
Testifying last week before the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Environmental Subcommittee, the learned Dr. Curry reminded lawmakers that the devastating convergence of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017 make it easy to forget that of the 13 most powerful hurricanes to make U.S. landfall in recorded history, only three have occurred since 1970, when human activity has made the deepest and most powerful weather impact.
Natural climate variability is expected to determine the severity of hurricanes until 2050, rather than global warming, she says. The natural effect anticipated in the Atlantic Ocean, where U.S.-targeted storms form, is a “shift to the cold phase.” The result should be a reduction in destructive hurricanes as well as a diminishing risk of wildfire. That’s a forecast considerably less dismal than a global meltdown. Blaming rapacious behavior of modern man, who insists on driving a SUV while munching on burgers, is scarier and thus more fun.
The blame-humans meme has engendered a climate catastrophe movement founded on a commitment to quit having children. Blythe Pepino, a 33-year-old Londoner, started Birthstrike in 2018 to voice her view that reproducing consigns the next generation to suffer the consequences of climate change, and will inevitably produce heat waves, floods, droughts, famine and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Her pledge to forswear childbirth has been echoed by 450 others caught up in climate fear.
“Really, what we need is a change of our ideology,” she tells Canada’s CTV. “You know, the world of humans is being run by people who believe in constant growth and believe in ignoring the limitations of the natural world. And that’s why we’ve reached this point.”
Certainty that climate-change-induced mass die-offs can be abandoned for happier thoughts when weather forecasts change. Manipulation of temperature data is a sign that the science is not as settled as its practitioners claim.
Tony Heller, a geologist and climate whistleblower, published graphs last week that show NASA temperature records have been modified to sharpen the effect of global warming. In 2000, the space agency’s data showed a 0.5 degree Celsius rise between the mid-1800s and 2000. In 2017, data from the same period had been revised to show a 1.5 degree increase. This year, it has been altered again to indicate a 2.0 degree Celsius rise. The fudging of numbers could give new meaning to “climate change.”
Scientists are only human, but like the rest of us may have a little chicken in their collective DNA. When they peck at their data and cluck about the end of the world, they cause young adults, sadly, to dread the future and spurn the joys of parenthood. The cure for weather amnesia is common sense.
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