Summertime Heat Must Mean Global Warming

Summertime brings hot days at least as long as I can remember. Currently it has been hotter than normal, whatever “normal” really is. The media is panting, not from the heat, but over another chance to push the global warming narrative. After all, it’s better than talking about something else that’s hot – the Trump economy.

Summers were hot in the 60’s. Remember when the Lovin’ Spoonful sang, “Hot town, summer in the city, back of my neck getting dirty and gritty.” A few years later, summers were still hot as Mungo Jerry sang, “In the summertime when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch the sky.”

2018 is another hot summer. Temperatures are breaking records in California as well as across the ocean in Iceland and the UK.  As predictable as sunrise and sunset, the media has pivoted from Stormy Daniels to stormy weather, specifically global warming. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s recent resignation is the perfect segue to stories about climate change and how Pruitt caused the current heat wave.

The British Metro is all over the story with a headline, “Global warming to blame for worldwide record-breaking heatwave.” The Guardian echoes the concern, “This heatwave is just the start. Britain has to adapt to climate change, fast.”

Seems the Brits would welcome the hot air this coming week as it’s all the better for their “Baby Trump” blimp to remain afloat over London during President Trump’s upcoming visit. Remember when they flew a “Baby Obama” blimp while Obama was presenting the Queen with an iPod full of his past speeches? I don’t remember that either.

The New York Times, not to be outdone by their British fake news counterparts, ran this op-ed entitled, “Scott Pruitt and the global heat wave.” Scott Pruitt caused the heat wave, “It was his aggressive campaign to aggravate global warming by rolling back federal attempts to combat it.”

No, actually he was following through on Trump’s promise to roll back crippling command and control government regulations which were keeping the US economy on life support. Trump was pushing back against fascism, something he is accused of promoting. How ironic.

Sure it’s hot, but I wonder how these high temperatures are being recorded? The National Climate Data Center has about 1200 temperature monitors in white boxes, scattered across the fruited plains. There is a problem though.

Nearly every single weather station the U.S. government uses to measure the country's surface temperature may be compromised. Sensors that are supposed to be in empty clearings are instead exposed to crackling electronics and other unlikely sources of heat, from exhaust pipes and trash-burning barrels to chimneys and human graves.

This is a basic limitation of data collection – garbage in, garbage out. How many of these sensors are in the middle of the concrete urban jungles, heat reflecting off buildings and roadways, bathed in bus exhaust, artificially raising the temperatures?

Another problem is that these monitoring networks have only been in existence since 1892. How were we measuring temperatures before then?

The premise of a heat wave is that temperatures are higher than “normal”? That’s also the basis of global warming theory. If we don’t know what “normal” is, how can we know if the current temperatures are higher or lower than normal? What is “normal” temperature? Until that question can be answered with certainty, talk of global warming, or cooling for that matter, are speculative.

Heat waves are not unique to Scott Pruitt’s short reign of terror at the EPA. A European heatwave in 1757 caused the, “hottest summer in 500 years prior to 2003.” In 1901, an Eastern US heat wave killed 9,500 people. In 1936, we had a summer heat wave during the Dust Bowl, followed by one of the coldest winters on record.

Imagine the climate change zealots in 1936 having to wail about global warming in the summer and then do an about face to warn of global cooling a few months later.

Planet Earth has had ice ages come and go, multiple times. Is “normal” temperature during an ice age when Chicago was under a mile of ice? Or when it warmed up allowing Chicago to sit aside a temperate lake? Or some time and temperature in between?

In other areas of science it is easier to determine “normal”. Measure the blood pressure, height, or eye pressure in a million individuals and statisticians can calculate a mean, median, and range. In other words, an idea of “normal”.

Unfortunately we have only one planet with significant geographic variation. There is no “normal” temperature for the planet, only for specific locations. This requires longitudinal data collection. Temperature measurements for the past ten or hundred years are fine, but are no better than weighing 100 people at O’Hare Airport and calculating normal human weight.

What about 500 years ago? 5000 years ago? 5 million years ago? Each spot on Earth had a temperature at every point in history. If we don’t know those temperatures, how can we know what “normal” temperature is?

Until normal can be defined, talk of global warming, or cooling for that matter, is nothing but a wild guess, often pushed by a political or financial concerns. Hence the new term “climate change” which covers both sides, and reflects the reality that some years are hotter, and some cooler, constantly changing.

But that won’t stop the media, pushing a political agenda, rather than providing objective and thoughtful analysis. If this summer remains warm, the drumbeat of global warming will continue. As Alan Jackson sang, “Cause there ain't no cure for the summertime blues.”

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.

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