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A blast from the past

18 Nov 2020 | OP ED Watch

This summer there was a big hoohah over a record temperature set in Death Valley, California. Hottest ever, proof of climate change etc. But an alert viewer points out that while calling it the highest temperature in the past century appeared to seal the deal since we all know things are getting warmer, the actual all-time Death Valley record was 134°F and was set on … July 10 1913. According to the U.S. NOAA, which matters because NOAA is not a climate sceptic outfit. And yet the paper in question (“NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS WR-289/ A Century of Weather in Death Valley, CA: 1911-2011 published January 2013”) goes further and provides a table of the hottest recorded temperatures by month for both Death Valley and the United States as a whole. Wanna guess when they happened? Gotta be mostly recent, right? Eighteen of the hottest years on record were in the last twenty, right? Um no.

In fact the all-time national record for January in the U.S. was set in 1997. Which is quite recent. But for February… what’s this? 1902? And for March it was 1954. And we’re just getting started. For April it was 1898. Yes – in the 19th century. Ditto May, when it was in 1896. In June it surged forward to 1902. And in July to 1913, the aforementioned Death Valley mark. August 1915. September 1950. October 1980. Now we’re getting somewhere, right? Because for November it was in ‘06. Unfortunately for the alarmists, that would be 1906. And in December, 1938.

Notice something odd? No, not that the first three were in Texas and all the others in California (though they were). That the most recent monthly record was set in 1997, and before that 1980, and before that we’re back in the Eisenhower Administration.

Of course it is possible that some of these measurements are not accurate. The paper itself describes some comic irregularities in the Death Valley records, including an employee who, well, couldn’t really see the thermometer or much of anything else. But for what it’s worth, the monthly records there were set in 1962, 1986, 2011, 1946, 2000, 1994, 1913, 1927, 1993, 1996, 1980, 1931, 1966 and 1949 respectively. Which is better than the national records from the alarmist point of view but not very. Only one was in this century and more than half are more than half a century old. (For the U.S. as a whole it’s none at all and all but two.)

Such numbers are hard to square with the narrative of ever-increasing temperatures, and one record after another being shattered in the early 21st century. And of course U.S. government agencies have worked diligently to “adjust” the records, always in the direction of the past being cooler. But it’s hard to believe all this stuff is just the result of human error, whereas the reconstructions and computer models made by true believers are all beyond reproach.

One comment on “A blast from the past”

  1. Why do , essentially government agencies hide or adjust data. There must be a paper I can read. All I know that they do, why is the question.

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