Political, Media, and Bureaucratic Distortions of Weather and Climate

Commentary, Environment, Frontier Centre

Mainstream television has extreme or severe weather reports when they are actually reporting natural events.

Hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards are all natural events and warnings for potential loss of life are commendable, but the focus creates a false impression. It reinforces the false IPCC claims of more severe weather with global warming.

The syndrome created is comparable to when you are introduced to someone and it seems every time you turn around they are there. They were always there but just not part of your perception. This is reinforced by the advent of cameras and video so that many more events are recorded, reported and seen. How many tornadoes occurred when nobody was watching? How many would have died if current population densities existed? Of course, we also have the benefit of fewer deaths because of advanced warming.

What Year Are They Talking About?

How would you rate the year that experienced the following events? Which year was it?

254 people died in tornadoes in the US: 30 people in Marquette, Kansas; 87 people in Snyder, Oklahoma; 97 in Southwest Oklahoma; and 40 in Montague, Texas. 40 people died in a November storm in Minnesota.

Global storms: Typhoons struck the Philippines in July, August and September; a June typhoon in the Marshall Islands resulted in 500 reported deaths; a storm killed 33 in the Republic of Salvador; Ireland had severe storms and flooding. Only five tropical storms formed in the Atlantic and only one became a hurricane. This was used conveniently as the base year to argue there was an increasing trend due to global warming.

Record low temperatures: February 13, -33°C at Pond, Arkansas, -40°C at Lebanon, Kansas, and -40°C at Warsaw, Missouri. Sydney, Australia lowest monthly averages in September and October and the lowest spring minimums. 

Record high temperatures: Algonquin, Illinois recorded 47°C in September. An estimated 91 people died of a July heat wave in New York City. On July 7th Parker, Arizona recorded 53°C. Rivadivia, Argentina record high of 49°C on 11th December. The heat caused an outbreak of the tropical disease Yellow Fever in New Orleans and it spread north to Indiana.

Precipitation: Taylor, Texas, received 2.4 inches in fifteen minutes on April 29th. On July 29th, 11 inches of rain in southwest Connecticut resulted in extensive flooding that caused a dam to burst.

Arctic ice retreated dramatically allowing an explorer to be the first to enter waters previously inaccessible.

People Have Always Worried About ‘Abnormal’ Weather

There is always concern about the current conditions and the belief that they are abnormal. Now people are deliberately led to believe that the conditions are abnormal to perpetuate the claims that humans are causing the change. They can get away with it because few people are able to put the reports in historical context. On January 15th, 1662 English diarist Samuel Pepys wrote, “And after we had eaten, he (Mr. Berchenshaw, a friend) asked me whether we have not committed a fault in eating today, telling me that it is a fastday, ordered by the parliament to pray for more seasonable weather it hitherto had been some weather, that is, both as to warm and every other thing, just as if it were the middle of May or June, which doth threaten a plague (as all men think) to follow; for so it was almost all last winter, and the whole year after hath been a very sickly time, to this day.” On January 26th he wrote, “It having been a very fine clear frosty day God send us more of them, for the weather all this winter makes us fear for a sick summer.” This confirms the old English proverb, “A green winter makes a fat churchyard.”

Consider as examples the commentary from fur traders at York Factory on Hudson Bay.

23 October, 1806; “So mild at so late a period was never before witnessed by the oldest native about the Factory, and there are two now on the plantation who well remember two vessels sent on discovery wintering in Ten Shilling Creek.” This means for the last 50 years.

In 1838 they note, “This season so far is unusually moderate. The ground is yet uncovered with snow the swamps as open as in the middle of July, and no ice on either shores of the river. Indeed, this mild weather this year has endured a full month longer than any instance within the last 10 years.”

These comments are about climate and the journals are replete with similar remarks. They are different than daily weather observations, which generally fulfills Heinlein’s comment that “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” But in these cases it was climate they didn’t expect.

If you listen to the mainstream media, believe the IPCC reports or fall prey to the alarmist’s extremism you would think we are setting high temperature records every day. A quick look at global extremes tells a different story. According to the US official weather agency the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the record high and low temperatures by continent are;

High Temperatures

Africa Libya, 1922 58°C
North America California 1913 57°C
Asia Israel 1942 54°C
Australia Queensland 1889 53°C
Europe Spain 1881 50°C
South America Argentina 1905 49°C
Oceania Philippines 1912 42°C
Antarctica Scott Coast 1974 15°C

Low Temperatures

Antarctica Vostok 1983 -89°C
Asia Verkhoyansk 1892 -68°C
Greenland Northice 1954 -66°C
North America Snag, Yukon 1947 -63°C
Europe Russia 1957 -55°C
South America Argentina 1907 -33°C
Africa Morocco 1935 -24°C
Australia New South Wales 1947 -22°C


These numbers are not a ringing endorsement of the claim current conditions are worse or more extreme than ever.

Public awareness and concern about the weather are immediate, limited and local. We even dismiss it as false memory when seniors talk about, “When I was a child.” Our perceptions are colored by how the weather affects us. Studies of weather memories among US farmers found they only recalled with some accuracy whether a year was very hot or cold. However, they recalled precipitation for most years.

Global temperature records are affected by the increase of temperatures in cities known as the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE). We forget that since most of the population now lives in urban areas the perception of a warmer world is also tainted by this anomaly. Beyond the city things are different but it is not the condition for most people. Besides, as Mark Twain said, nature is always devising new weather patterns to challenge us, but Chicken Little and political exploitation make it hard to maintain touch with reality.

Oh by the way, the year was 1905.