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Climate Change Reality Review for City State and National Leaders

Updated on May 11, 2019
Robert Kernodle profile image

I have been independently researching and writing about climate issues since 2009.

Current state of climate-change education photo compiled by Robert G. Kernodle
Current state of climate-change education photo compiled by Robert G. Kernodle

What Climate Change is Not

Accurate data exists from a variety of reliable, professional sources that indicate trends in the climates of various Earth regions. In looking at this data, it is important to remember that climate change is not an unusual phenomenon, but rather a phenomenon that has existed since Earth's beginning.

Today, many people speak of "climate change" as if human beings alone are the cause of it. This use of the phrase, however, is not what the phrase actually means. Climate has always changed, with or without human beings. Today's fashionable focus on humans has drifted in a direction that misuses the term. Consequently, the popular idea of "climate change" encourages uneducated, incorrect language that misrepresents the idea entirely.

Climate change is not what humans cause, but rather what happens with or without humans in the Earth-atmosphere system. The human focus alone, therefore, is egotistical on the part of humans who think that they are this much in control.

What the Data Says

We are routinely informed that temperatures are rising abnormally, that sea level is rising at an alarming rate, that droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires are surging to new heights of intensity, while ice is melting, and life as we know it is threatened in an unprecedented way.

Real-world, hands-on data reveals a different truth than this popularly-portrayed "truth".

Temperature

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies (often abbreviated as GISS) provides the following Figure 1: Trend of global annual surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 mean:

Source

This graph represents how much the whole Earth's temperature changed from its 1951-1980 average, over a hundred years.

Look at the left-hand side of the graph that shows the range of change. This range is measured in increments of 0.2 or two tenths of a degree.

Notice that, over more than a hundred years, the temperature of the whole Earth has remained within 0.8 or eight tenths of a degree. From 1880 to about 1933, the temperature of the whole Earth was cooler within 0.2 or two tenths of a degree, and from about 1933 to the present, the temperature of the whole Earth has been warmer within 0.5 or five tenths of a degree.

Tenths of a degree! The whole Earth! For over a hundred years! This is remarkably stable.

Temperature increments on this graph, while quite small in magnitude, are represented as quite large graphically. Twenty years on the bottom part of the graph is allotted the same space as 0.2 or two tenths of a degree on the left part of the graph. This gives the impression that a very small change in temperature, over a large number of years, is a big change.

The human body cannot even sense a tenth of a degree. We routinely live our lives comfortably within multiple whole degrees of temperature change. Tenths of degrees, therefore, mean nothing in our daily reality, and yet we are told by popular reports that tenths of degrees will be catastrophic for the Earth.

Why are we being told this? Ask yourself this question. Why are tenths of a degree being announced as huge risks for the planet? I will not speculate as to why. I simply ask the reader to consider this question seriously.

Then consider the following, more realistic representation of Earth's temperature over all these years:

Realistic, practical representation of the remarkable stability of global temperature over the past hundred or so years.
Realistic, practical representation of the remarkable stability of global temperature over the past hundred or so years. | Source

Sea Level

Popular accounts of climate change claim that sea levels are rising at an accelerating pace. Real-world data proves this claim false.

The fact is that sea level has always risen and fallen over the eons, and today's rising is nothing unusual, compared to what has always happened.

Sea level, thus, has been doing what it has been doing for quite some time, at the same rate, not at an accelerated rate, as shown by the following graph from the United States Environmental Protection Agency:

The steady rate of sea-level rise continues today, as it has since the year 1880, with no accelerating trend in sight.
The steady rate of sea-level rise continues today, as it has since the year 1880, with no accelerating trend in sight. | Source

Many factors can determine a particular region's sea-level rise. Any future projection of sea-level rise is quite small, at best, and , at worst, very uncertain, since any such projection is based on educated guesses inserted into climate models.

Real-world data shows positively zero alarming trend in sea-level rise.

Extreme Weather

Popular accounts frequently report that extreme weather events are becoming more intense and more frequent. Real-world data, however, reveals that this claim is false.

Hurricanes

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) clearly states,

"Once an estimate for likely missing storms is accounted for, the increase in tropical storms in the Atlantic since the late-19th Century is not distinguishable from no change."

In other words, the frequency of hurricanes has not increased in over a hundred years.

NOAA publishes a chart that clearly shows that, between 1950 and 2015, no increasing trend in Atlantic-hurricane intensity exists. A similar chart shows a similar zero-trend in the Pacific.


These two charts appear below, where the ACE Index refers to a standard scale for measuring hurricane intensity -- it stands for "Accumulated Cyclone Energy" (ACE).

The horizontal red line shows, first, no increasing trend in Atlantic hurricane intensity for at least the last sixty-five years and, second, no increasing trend in North Pacific Hurricanes for at least forty-five years:

No trend in Atlantic hurricanes for sixty-five years.
No trend in Atlantic hurricanes for sixty-five years.
No trend in Pacific hurricanes for forty-five years.
No trend in Pacific hurricanes for forty-five years.

As for the frequency of hurricanes, actual data clearly indicates that their frequency has gone downwards, not upwards the way popular reports claim.

More people than ever before might be experiencing hurricanes. More news channels than ever before might be reporting hurricanes. More property-development than ever before might be happening in hurricane-prone regions, thus leading to more humans than ever before being affected by hurricanes.

This is a population-growth phenomenon and a property-growth phenomenon, not a hurricane-growth phenomenon.


The number and intensity of hurricanes themselves has NOT increased. Rather, the number of human beings born (or living in a location long enough) to experience hurricanes has increased.

Consequently, the claim of "more frequent and intense hurricanes" has no foundation in real-world data.

Such a claim is based on future projections from improperly tuned climate models whose highly questionable outputs are being treated as a greater reality than reality itself.

Tornadoes

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association plainly states, "... there has been little trend in the frequency of the stronger tornadoes over the past 55 years. "

At the time, data for this statement extended only to the year 2014. Since that time, as of this writing, extended to the year 2018, the trend has continued on a downward path, as indicated by the following graph:

The occurrence of tornadoes has followed a slight downward trend, since the year 1950.
The occurrence of tornadoes has followed a slight downward trend, since the year 1950.

As with hurricanes, the number of people alive to report tornadoes and to experience them has increased dramatically.

In addition, methods of detecting these storms have improved, as well as the number of instances that these storms are reported by a growing number of newscasts.

Further, people today share their hardships more than ever through social media and through a plethora of communication opportunities that never existed until recently.

Droughts

Widespread claims of increasing droughts appear regularly in the news. We even hear the phrase, "100-year drought", used in a factual sense for the current era.

Once again, however, real-world data does not support such claims.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration publishes a chart that shows no trend in droughts for at least one-hundred-twenty-five years in the contiguous forty-eight states of America:

The United States has had zero trend in droughts since the year 1890.
The United States has had zero trend in droughts since the year 1890.

An even broader examination of global events shows that droughts have been much more severe in the past:

Global droughts have been much more severe in the past.
Global droughts have been much more severe in the past.
There has been little change during the past sixty years.
There has been little change during the past sixty years.

Responsible news outlets and national organizations seem very uneducated in these facts.

Policies based on a lack of diligence in researching these facts are equally uninformed, where the public good is concerned.

Wildfires

Disaster stories make highly sought after news. Consequently, occurrences of California wildfires, over the two years before this article was written, spawned numerous alarming stories about wildfires increasing, due to climate change.

As before, this alarming claim does not stand up to real-world data for either North America or for the entire globe:

Failure to seek out this important information, before enacting relevant laws, leads to a misdirection of human resources. Mistakenly equating more disaster stories to more actual disasters is an immature approach to turning information into practical action.

City, state, and national leaders need to research cold hard facts, before bending to the whims of popular opinion or to the appeal of popular mass news reporting.

Educators are teaching lessons to students of all ages, without a proper foundation in facts, which means, from childhood to adulthood, citizens are being led down the same dark road of misinformation as government leaders who help insure their futures.

Update Made on 4-13-2019

Here are a couple more charts showing hurricane numbers and frequency, starting in 1851.

Notice the lack of any significant trend in this longer interval, as well.

Chart based on NOAA data.
Chart based on NOAA data.
Chart based on NOAA data.
Chart based on NOAA data.
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