Climate Change Hysteria and Droughts in Illinois

Sierra Rayne
And the unsupportable climate hysteria rolls on.

On Fox News recently, George Will made the following point that agreed with what some of us have been saying for a number of years:

"A moment ago, we had a report here on our crumbling infrastructure, gave it a D, emergency. Who wrote it? As we said on there, it was written by civil engineers, who said, by golly, we need more of what civil engineers do and are paid to do. Again, there is a sociology of science, there is a sociology in all of this, and engaging the politics of this, we have to understand the enormous interests now invested in climate change."

Science nowadays is big science, and it is all money, all the time. Vested interests are ubiquitous. The collusion between the science establishment and all levels of government and their politically well-connected contractors is very tight indeed.

This brings us back to the latest National Climate Assessment, which apparently even some at the Washington Post are starting to see through its pseudo-scientific alarmist nature.

Henry Henderson from the Natural Resources Defense Council has an article up at the Huffington Post about "Illinois Infrastructure: Getting Our Water Systems Up to Snuff Amidst the Climate Crush." To see the infrastructure dollars reliant on climate change hysteria, read Henderson's piece. Multiple billions for this state alone.

Too bad a rigorous examination of the science doesn't agree with Illinois' climate hysteria. Take this quote from the NRDC article:

"Illinois' cities and towns are dealing with an increasingly complex set of problems that will tax water infrastructure not designed to address the extremes wrought by climate change: more frequent floods, more violent rainfall events that overwhelm storm sewers and longer periods of drought that will strain water supplies."

 "Longer periods of drought that will strain water supplies"? That's a fascinating prediction for Illinois, given that the historical dataset is headed in exactly the opposite direction.

There are highly statistically significant trends towards far less drought in Illinois since 1895 on the 12-month, 24-month, 36-month, 48-month, and 60-month bases. The figure below, showing the 60-month (a.k.a., "long") drought index in Illinois since 1895, does a good job illustrating how ridiculous it is to claim that climate change will lead to "longer periods of drought" in the state. Green and more positive numbers indicate increasingly non-drought (anti-drought) conditions; yellow and more negative numbers represent increasing drought situations.

According to NOAA's data, long droughts have all but disappeared in Illinois, and the data is headed even more in the anti-drought direction.

Of course, the NRDC interprets the recent drought history of Illinois as follows:

"In Illinois we have whipsawed back and forth between having too much of it and not enough in recent years. From a flooded and re-reversed Chicago River to the mighty Mississippi being reduced to levels so low it was unnavigable to the barges that carry grain and other bulk commodities, with a historic drought withering corn and soybean in between, the impact of climate change has been impossible to ignore."

Withering soybeans in Illinois during a "historic drought" in "recent years"? The average soybean yield in the state since 2000 is 45.8 bushels/acre. In 2012 during the "historic drought," it was 43 bushels/acre, only 6 percent lower than the post-1999 average, down less than 10 percent from the year before, and well within natural variability (the range has been from 37 to 51.5 bushels/acre over the past 14 years). Even drilling down at the agricultural district level fails to find a "withering" of soybean yields in Illinois during 2012.

The NRDC goes on to claim that in Illinois, "hotter temperatures bring drought" and that the following is apparently projected to occur in the Land of Lincoln:

"Average precipitation during the summer is projected to decrease by up to 10 percent.  This would coincide with projected summer temperature increases of 5 to 6°F. Hotter temperatures combined with decreased precipitation could contribute to drier soils and more droughts."

Having already debunked the "more drought" trend in Illinois, let us take a look at the rest of the alarmist claims. There is a near statistically significant trend since 1895 towards increasing -- not decreasing -- summertime precipitation during the June-August period, and no significant trend for the July-September time-frame.

Summer temperature trends in Illinois? Since 1895, there has been absolutely no trend in average summertime temperatures. None whatsoever.

Meanwhile, taxpayers in Illinois appear to be bankrolling billions in infrastructure investments based on these types of clearly problematic climate change predictions. The climate hysteria gravy train must be brought to a stop.

And the unsupportable climate hysteria rolls on.

On Fox News recently, George Will made the following point that agreed with what some of us have been saying for a number of years:

"A moment ago, we had a report here on our crumbling infrastructure, gave it a D, emergency. Who wrote it? As we said on there, it was written by civil engineers, who said, by golly, we need more of what civil engineers do and are paid to do. Again, there is a sociology of science, there is a sociology in all of this, and engaging the politics of this, we have to understand the enormous interests now invested in climate change."

Science nowadays is big science, and it is all money, all the time. Vested interests are ubiquitous. The collusion between the science establishment and all levels of government and their politically well-connected contractors is very tight indeed.

This brings us back to the latest National Climate Assessment, which apparently even some at the Washington Post are starting to see through its pseudo-scientific alarmist nature.

Henry Henderson from the Natural Resources Defense Council has an article up at the Huffington Post about "Illinois Infrastructure: Getting Our Water Systems Up to Snuff Amidst the Climate Crush." To see the infrastructure dollars reliant on climate change hysteria, read Henderson's piece. Multiple billions for this state alone.

Too bad a rigorous examination of the science doesn't agree with Illinois' climate hysteria. Take this quote from the NRDC article:

"Illinois' cities and towns are dealing with an increasingly complex set of problems that will tax water infrastructure not designed to address the extremes wrought by climate change: more frequent floods, more violent rainfall events that overwhelm storm sewers and longer periods of drought that will strain water supplies."

 "Longer periods of drought that will strain water supplies"? That's a fascinating prediction for Illinois, given that the historical dataset is headed in exactly the opposite direction.

There are highly statistically significant trends towards far less drought in Illinois since 1895 on the 12-month, 24-month, 36-month, 48-month, and 60-month bases. The figure below, showing the 60-month (a.k.a., "long") drought index in Illinois since 1895, does a good job illustrating how ridiculous it is to claim that climate change will lead to "longer periods of drought" in the state. Green and more positive numbers indicate increasingly non-drought (anti-drought) conditions; yellow and more negative numbers represent increasing drought situations.

According to NOAA's data, long droughts have all but disappeared in Illinois, and the data is headed even more in the anti-drought direction.

Of course, the NRDC interprets the recent drought history of Illinois as follows:

"In Illinois we have whipsawed back and forth between having too much of it and not enough in recent years. From a flooded and re-reversed Chicago River to the mighty Mississippi being reduced to levels so low it was unnavigable to the barges that carry grain and other bulk commodities, with a historic drought withering corn and soybean in between, the impact of climate change has been impossible to ignore."

Withering soybeans in Illinois during a "historic drought" in "recent years"? The average soybean yield in the state since 2000 is 45.8 bushels/acre. In 2012 during the "historic drought," it was 43 bushels/acre, only 6 percent lower than the post-1999 average, down less than 10 percent from the year before, and well within natural variability (the range has been from 37 to 51.5 bushels/acre over the past 14 years). Even drilling down at the agricultural district level fails to find a "withering" of soybean yields in Illinois during 2012.

The NRDC goes on to claim that in Illinois, "hotter temperatures bring drought" and that the following is apparently projected to occur in the Land of Lincoln:

"Average precipitation during the summer is projected to decrease by up to 10 percent.  This would coincide with projected summer temperature increases of 5 to 6°F. Hotter temperatures combined with decreased precipitation could contribute to drier soils and more droughts."

Having already debunked the "more drought" trend in Illinois, let us take a look at the rest of the alarmist claims. There is a near statistically significant trend since 1895 towards increasing -- not decreasing -- summertime precipitation during the June-August period, and no significant trend for the July-September time-frame.

Summer temperature trends in Illinois? Since 1895, there has been absolutely no trend in average summertime temperatures. None whatsoever.

Meanwhile, taxpayers in Illinois appear to be bankrolling billions in infrastructure investments based on these types of clearly problematic climate change predictions. The climate hysteria gravy train must be brought to a stop.