Extreme Heat Hysteria Fail

In its latest entry on "health repercussions for Canadians of a changing climate" in the Globe and Mail newspaper, Karen McColl raises the alarm bells on "substantial increases in occurrences of extremely hot seasons" in Canada.

Apparently, "Clean Air Partnership [CAP], a non-profit that addresses climate-change issues, says maximum temperatures in Toronto are expected to rise 7 C over the next 30 to 40 years." That is a remarkable claim. A predicted 7 degrees Celsius increase in maximum temperatures over a 30-year period in Toronto equates to a rate of 23.3 degrees Celsius per century. To say that is insanely large would be an understatement.

So how does the historical trend in maximum temperatures for Toronto compare with this hysterical claim? The results are not promising for the Globe and Mail. Using the benchmark Environment Canada Adjusted and Homogenized Canadian Climate Data (AHCCD) database, the mean of daily maximum temperatures during the summer months in Toronto has not increased one bit since 1920. In other words, over the past century, the mean maximum summertime temperatures in Toronto exhibit absolutely no trend. None whatsoever. If you are familiar with linear regression statistics, the p-value for the correlation is 0.87, which is almost a perfect non-correlation. In fact, the correlation coefficient is negative (r=-0.02), meaning that if there was a trend, it would likely involve declining summertime maximum temperatures.

The p-value for July -- the hottest individual month -- average maximum temperatures (p=0.93, r=-0.01) in Toronto from 1920 to 2012 is even worse for the climate alarmists. As it is for August (p=0.92, r=-0.01). Once again, there is absolutely no evidence that mean maximum summertime temperatures in Canada's largest city are increasing, never mind increasing at the crazy-high rate of 23.3 degrees Celsius per century.

What about extreme maximum temperatures in Toronto? Using data from the Environment Canada Historical Climate Data online database for the WMO certified Toronto Lester B. Pearson International Airport site, there is absolutely no temporal correlation for extreme maximum temperatures between 1938 (when the dataset begins) and 2012 during either July (p=0.79, r=-0.03) or August (p=0.36, r=-0.10). Actually, there is a modest possibility that extreme maximum temperatures are declining in August.

And yet we read this in the Globe and Mail article that "'this is major,' said CAP deputy director Kevin Behan, adding that by 2040, Toronto may jump from having one heat wave every other year, on average, to two or three heat waves each year." Huh? The historical climate data for this city unequivocally show that summertime maximum temperatures (both average maxima and the extremes) are in no way increasing since the first half of the 20th century, and yet somehow extreme heat climatageddon will occur in only the next couple decades?

To show how local governments have gone off the deep end, the article goes on to state that "'Looking forward, everywhere is going to get hotter in Canada,' said Ewa Jackson, director of ICLEI -- Local Governments for Sustainability, an organization that works with about 250 Canadian municipalities." Everywhere? That's a bold statement.

Here is a table of the trends in average maximum and extreme maximum summertime temperatures at Canada's major cities since 1920 or the earliest year available in the databases.

There is not a single increasing summer maximum temperature trend at any of these major cities. I repeat, not one. Indeed, in Calgary there is an extremely significant (p=0.0005, r=-0.36) trend in extreme maximum temperatures during July. Similarly, at Regina, there is almost (p=0.053) a statistically significant trend for declining (r=-0.20) average maximum summertime temperatures. During July, the declining maximum trend at Regina is highly significant for both average maximum (p=0.004, r=-0.30) and extreme maximum (p=0.001, r=-0.34) temperatures. And many, if not most, of the "not significant" trends noted above involve negative -- not positive -- correlations, meaning that if there was a significant trend, it would likely be towards declining summertime maximum temperatures, not increasing.

But the article also claims that "in 2009, Health Canada worked with four pilot communities to develop heat-alert and response programs. Windsor, Ont., is expected to be particularly hard hit." Ah yes, Windsor, where there has been no significant change in extreme maximum temperatures during July (p=0.43) or August (p=0.70) since records began in 1940, nor in average maximum temperatures during either the summertime period as a whole, or July and August individually.

And municipalities, and even higher levels of government, are going along willingly with this hysterical nonsense. Why? Follow the money. Drumming up public concern over climate change equals more funding for infrastructure and staff and a host of other projects, both within the government and for politically well-connected contractors. Who is getting duped? The taxpayers.