Climate Change Claims for Alabama Fall Short
The fossil fuels industry is routinely – and wrongly – pilloried in the mainstream media over its purported obfuscations surrounding climate change. Actually, to many of us climate realists, the fossil fuels industry has ceded too much ground to the climate alarmists over the past decade. Far too many claims by the alarmists have gone unchallenged.
As noted in a previous article on Tennessee, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) has a range of "fact sheets" regarding climate change impacts for the southeastern states. It doesn't appear that all the "facts" are quite what they are claimed to be.
Today we move along to the "fact sheet" by SACE dealing with "Climate Change Impacts on Alabama."
Some claims to examine:
Heritage foods and agriculture are suffering because of global warming. Some seafood, such as oysters, are directly harmed by the carbon pollution absorbed into the ocean, while farmers are losing crops to drought and unreliable winter weather, expected to become more frequent in a warmer world. For example, in 2007, Alabama was the epicenter of the worst drought on record, prompting the entire state to be declared a natural disaster area, and in 2014, winter freezes destroyed a good portion of Mobile County's citrus crop.
Sure, there was a severe drought in the state during 2007, but climate change is not leading to more drought in Alabama. It is the reverse. There is a statistically significant trend towards less drought since records began in 1895, whether we look at annual or 24-, 36-, 48-, or 60-month drought indices. The five-year drought index has a massively (p=0.0001) significant trend towards far less drought over the last 120 years.
As for that winter of 2014 in Alabama, it doesn't live up to the climate alarmism, either. The SACE fact sheet cites a February 20, 2014 article from the Alabama Farmers Federation claiming that the "Winter of 2014 is one for the record books":
The winter of 2014 will be recorded as one of the coldest in Alabama's history, leaving lasting memories for those who experienced it.
Well, not really. The state's average temperature during the winter of 2014 was ranked as only the 21st coldest in history, just 2.5º F below the 20th-century average. The winter of 2009-2010 was far colder, coming in at 4.8º F below average and ranking as the 7th coldest in the state's 120 years of records. None of Alabama's climate divisions exhibited anything close to an overall record cold during the 2013-2014 winter. As well, the trendline for winter temperatures in the state is perfectly flat since 1895. No climate change to be seen.
Back to the SACE fact sheet for polar vortex alarmism:
"Extreme weather, including severe storms, heat waves, cold snaps, and more intense hurricanes are all becoming more typical in a warmer world. These events have a large toll in terms of physical damage, lost productivity, higher insurance costs, and public health. For example the 'polar vortex' snowfall of 2014 practically shut down Birmingham with road gridlock while thousands of children had to spend the night at school because their parents couldn't reach them."
So Birmingham received a few inches of snow during January and February 2014. Is this unusual? No. The record snowfall for January in this area is 11.8 inches in 1936. Compare that to just two inches in 2014. Total winter season snowfall in the Birmingham area since records began is as follows.
Clearly no significant trend, and no cause for alarm. The winter of 2013-2014 was anything but unusual.
The great energy game continues. The "clean energy" advocates are welcome to make their case, and in return, the realists will reply.