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On a sticky wicket

19 Jun 2024 | OP ED Watch

Oh joy. Just in time for summer we are offered “A new way to talk about heat”. The New York Times piece kicks off with: “Last month was not only the hottest May on record, it was the 12th month in a row to earn such a distinction. But was it ‘stickier’?” Beats us. But regarding old-fashioned heat, where we live it was so chilly that we had extra blankets on the bed in mid-June as nighttime lows got down into single digits (Celsius). And we don’t seem to be alone here. In fact an alert reader shared two Sky News pieces with us, the first saying “UK had its warmest May and spring on record, Met Office figures show/ It was a wet and dull season for many, with the UK seeing its wettest spring since 1986 and the sixth wettest on record” and the second “Why is June so cold and when will it warm up?” But if the ordinary kind of heat doesn’t show up scientists can simply invent a new kind only their computers can detect.

Our correspondent added, “The weather here has been unusually cold, wet and windy for May.” Granted it’s anecdotal. But it did remind us that normally when it’s out-of-control hot, or wet, or weird in some other weather way, people keep commenting on it almost as if we were not independently able to notice that we had just had to peel ourselves off the car seat or wade to our door. It reminds us of the story of the man so exasperated at the mistaken readings on his barometer that he threw it out the window saying “Here, you fool, see for yourself.”

As far as we can see, nobody is saying this spring was unusually hot, let alone the hottest they’d ever seen. Yet the press keep insisting on it. Which brings us to this dangerous stress point in a political and social system when the smart set claim that the people are ignorant fools who don’t even know it’s raining.

For instance, that Times piece welcomed this new and unfamiliar piece of terminology, one nobody seems to have thought they needed until now, because:

“As climate scientists, meteorologists and public health officials grapple with record-breaking temperatures, they’re also exploring new ways of measuring extreme heat and new ways of communicating its risks.”

Because not only are we too dim to notice the record-breaking temperatures, and we do invite you to check whether wherever you live actually broke any records this spring, we need new ways for the smart set to yell it at the rubes.

Incidentally when seeking to break through to an inattentive public you might not want to start:

“Extreme wet-bulb temperatures (Tw) are often used as indicators of heat stress. However, humid heat extremes are fundamentally compound events, and a given Tw can be generated by various combinations of temperature and humidity. Differentiating between extreme humid heat driven by temperature versus humidity is essential to identifying these extremes’ physical drivers and preparing for their distinct impacts.”

Something like “Whoa Nelly it’s hot, especially ’cuz it’s so wet” seems more suited to the occasion. Except it’s not. Even if “World hits streak of record temperatures as UN warns of 'climate hell'” according to Reuters, naturally channelling U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres who “called for urgent action to avert ‘climate hell’” after already claiming we had opened the gates of same last fall.

If so, Satan might be tempted to lace them up and work on his slapshot because, we say again, there’s a serious disconnect between what we’re being told and what actually seems to be happening. Where is all this heat? Is it all in the oceans as part of some anomaly science could not explain were it not by now decided that everything is CO2?

According to Reuters:

“The average global temperature for the 12-month period to the end of May was 1.63 degrees Celsius (2.9 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average - making it the warmest such period since record-keeping began in 1940, the Copernicus Climate Change Service said.”

And again we say bosh. Copernicus has no idea what the world temperature was to two decimal places in 1941… or what it is now. As we also say bosh to their subsequent:

“This 12-month average does not mean that the world has yet surpassed the 1.5 C (2.7 F) global warming threshold, which describes a temperature average over decades, beyond which scientists warn of more extreme and irreversible impacts.”

Scientists warn of nothing to do with the 1.5C threshold, an arbitrary political line, and any journalist who doesn’t know it needs to put down the word processor and go back to school.

Let us note here that the UAH satellite data, which seem to be about the best around, do agree that it’s been warm this spring and is currently, well, what’s the word? A temperature anomaly of 0.9C isn’t exactly the gates of hell. But if it’s so hot, why isn’t it hot?

It gets worse. Inside Climate News thundered:

“In these early days of summer, we can already see what’s in store for us this season: scorching heat waves, dangerous wildfires, battering hurricanes.”

Yeah? Where? The U.S. hasn’t had one hurricane yet. Which wildfires? Yes, we know India’s been hot. But it often is. (And its all-time high was set in 2016, nearly a decade ago, in Phalodi, Rajasthan, a notorious heat trap… and of course it was measured at the airport.)

Another Times column said:

“We’re not even done with June yet and it feels as if many of us are ready to wrap this year up. Several major conflicts with reverberations around the world, a presidential election of lugubrious proportions here in America, the specter of bird flu, the hottest summer on record poised to come down on us … oh, and the most exciting Knicks team in over a decade got knocked out of the N.B.A. playoffs.”

So it’s not here yet but it is. And one would expect, surely, that if it does hit, we’ll see all-time records set in a lot of places for June, July and August or at least particular days. As we’ve observed elsewhere, the world is a big place and with temperature now being measured in a great many locations, a surprising number at airports, you’d expect purely random fluctuations to yield quite a few hundred-year highs every year. But there should be a pattern, or else something weird is going on.

6 comments on “On a sticky wicket”

  1. Until the UK Mets stop taking temperature readings at the concrete deserts we call airports, we may have to defund their computer toy world, where it is always warmer than it was last week...

  2. Several nights here very recently in So. Ontario fell to single digits C.Some people prob. had their furnaces on.My house temp dipped to 70F/21C.No
    furnace on here,windows open.Crickets from media there too.

  3. It snowed in the foothills and mountains west of calgary the last couple days and tonight there are frost warnings all through the area west of calgary, north and south.
    That is what global warming brings.

  4. Of course they were predicting 15" of snow in the Rocky Mountains around Yellowstone a few days ago, but I assume it didn't happen because blaring "climate change" headlines did not occur. Then the first hurricane of the season was slated to wipe out Corpus Cristy TX but it hit Mexico instead! Sooooo saaaaad!

  5. I'm sure BOM in Australia will call 2024 hottest ever. Just because we have record cold in June.
    I also noted, as my brother is dedicated skier, than on the opening of the ski season there was no snow in the alps.
    Of course, media started with no snow this season or ever after. No skiing in Australia.
    It did snow the next day, and hardly stopped since.
    Ski season is going on as normal

  6. On the Met office web site they do give the average temperature range they are using for comparison. Buried in a Q and A document. "History debunked" on YouTube found it and reported it in video called Met Office, https://youtu.be/4S7F6bqkTCE?si=nmpPTalJsrZXFNN9.
    I looked it up on the web site and found it was put together by the Universityof East Anglia, famous for CO2 versus temperature. The average for comparison is based on the years 1961 to 1990. The coldest in the last century! By the time the numbers are fiddled it comes out as 14 degrees C.

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