By Chris Morrison
Last year humanity lived through the hottest 12 months in at least 125,000 years, reported an hysterical CNN, a frame of mind replicated throughout much of the mainstream media. Scientists have compared 2023’s “climate change fallout” to a “disaster movie”, added the U.S. cable news channel. All poppycock, needless to say, with a political Net Zero motive, and little if any scientific evidence to back it up. Accurate temperature records barely started before the 20th century, and recent measurements by fixed thermometers have been heavily corrupted by growing urban heat. It is in fact possible using proxy measurements to get a good idea of general temperature movements over the last 125,000 years. All the evidence points to periods of much higher temperatures, notably between 10,000 to 5,000 years ago. The latest science paper examining this trend has just been published, and it points to summer temperatures at least 1.5°C higher around 5,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean, at a time when civilisation was developing rapidly.
It is not the only paper recently published that suggests there were much higher temperatures periods in the recent past. The science blog No Tricks Zone reports that Arctic regions with at least six months of current sea ice coverage were ice free nearly all year round between 9,000 to 5,000 years ago, and 2°C warmer than today. Furthermore it was found that temperatures were 7-8°C warmer 130,000 to 115,000 years ago. During the early Holocene from 10,000 years ago it was so warm that boreal forests expanded northward to Arctic regions that are today too cold to support anything other than tundra. Polar bears not only survived without sea ice during the warmer Holocene, but also the much hotter periods over 100,000 years ago. These two papers attest to much warmer periods over the last 125,000 years, and further examples covered in the Daily Sceptic can be found here.
Against this weight of scientific evidence, it is simply incorrect, in fact grossly misleading, to suggest temperatures are at an all-time 125,000-year high. But of course scientific credibility has nothing to do with the relentless campaign of weather catastrophising that is pushing the collectivist Net Zero agenda. Nothing must disturb the set ‘global boiling’ narrative. Few mainstream media outlets, for instance, are likely to report on just released figures from the U.S.-based National Snow and Ice Data Centre, that revealed Arctic sea ice in December 2023 recorded its third highest gain in the 45-year record.
An interesting article was published yesterday in the Conservative Women written by the distinguished medical scientist Professor Angus Dalgleish. Having been a Covid sceptic, he noted that he has recently been delving into climate change. Two words sprang to his mind, “specious and sophistry”. In his view, “the worldwide rush to Net Zero is entirely based on (yes, you guessed it) useless computer models and simulations which have been heavily doctored to give the required answer. Past data have been homogenised to make it look as if recent climate change is something to do with man-made CO2 production, when the available raw data show no recent correlation at all and complete ignorance of the fact that rising CO2 levels tend to follow temperature change and not cause it”.
Emotion drives much of mainstream media climate reporting these days. The doomsday sandwich board is standard issue in most newsrooms. “These are temperatures we should not be experiencing,” says Andrew Pershing from Climate Central, quoted by CNN. The “vast majority” of humanity was affected by unusual high heat in 2023, with 7.3 billion people experiencing “at least 10 days of high temperatures with very strong climate fingerprints”. Note how meaningless, unfalsifiable numbers are picked and an immediate unscientific connection is made to long-term changes in the climate. Climate Central specialises in ready-to-publish climate catastrophe media copy, and is funded by a small group of green billionaire foundations.
Lack of any historical perspective is also commonplace. The CNN article quoted Geography Professor Hannah Cloke who said we are “already” seeing more violent storms, heavier rains and floods and more intense, frequent and longer heat waves, droughts and wildfires. Alas little of this is backed up by scientific data, where in reality there is hardly any indication that extreme weather and its impacts are getting much worse.
But when was the climate perfect, asks the science writer Roger Pielke Jnr. in a recent blog post. Climate activists claim that every increment of warming over the pre-industrial baseline of 1850-1900 results in more harm to people and the planet. Pielke notes that this baseline serves as a “climate utopia” since almost nobody has an idea what the climate looked like back then, much less the climate impacts actually experienced. But researchers can piece together some dramatic events particularly in a strong El Niño year, currently being experienced at present, and very powerful in 1877-88. This period saw horrendous drought and famine to add to other major catastrophes around this time. The great U.S. midwestern fires of 1871 killed as many as 2,400 people, and other events were the 1872 Baltic Sea flood, an 1875 midwestern locust swarm of an estimated 12.5 trillion insects, the 1878 China typhoon that killed as many as 100,000 people, and the six major landfall hurricanes in the 1870s, compared with three in the 2010s.
Pielke provides the above graph which shows the dramatic fall in estimated deaths caused by extreme weather since the 1870s. Caution is advised since the estimates are uncertain, although he notes the 1870s and 1920s numbers are certainly under-estimates. While not precise figures, they provide orders of magnitude guidance.
One can only imagine the hysterical and feverish weather speculations of imaginative modern climate journalists if they were plying their trade back in Victorian times. Of one thing you can be certain – human sin would invariably be blamed for upsetting Mother Nature.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.
Chris Morrison of Daily Skeptic: Last year humanity lived through the hottest 12 months in at least 125,000 years, reported an hysterical CNN, a frame of mind replicated throughout much of the mainstream media. …
Accurate temperature records barely started before the 20th century, and recent measurements by fixed thermometers have been heavily corrupted by growing urban heat. It is in fact possible using proxy measurements to get a good idea of general temperature movements over the last 125,000 years.
All the evidence points to periods of much higher temperatures, notably between 10,000 to 5,000 years ago.
The latest science paper examining this trend has just been published, and it points to summer temperatures at least 1.5°C higher around 5,000 years ago in the eastern Mediterranean, at a time when civilization was developing rapidly.