“Ever recorded” is a very important qualifier

Published 4:14 pm Monday, July 15, 2019

Dear Editor,

Citing the Copernicus Climate Change Service, your July 12, 2019, editorial claims this past June “was the hottest June ever recorded in the history of the earth.”  That is a bold statement that requires clarification.  I read the report published by this service on July 2, 2019.

“Ever recorded” is a very important qualifier.  How far back does the data go?  The chart provided in the announcement shows data beginning in 1880.  If the earth is 4.45 billion years old, this 140-year period represents 3.1 x 108 percent of earth’s history.  A similar calculation reveals that this same time frame is only 0.005 percent of human history.

Email newsletter signup

How comprehensive and accurate have the recordings been?  And what have been the past long-term trends in temperature?  The Harris-Mann climatology site has a graph of temperature changes since 2400 BC.

The graph shows that we are in our 5th warming cycle.  Around the time of 1100 BCE seems to be the hottest cycle.  This was the time of the drought and famine described in the Bible which brought the Children of Israel to Egypt.  At the time of Christ’s birth, the world had experienced 500 years of cooling temperatures beginning about when Jerusalem fell.

This was followed by a 500-year warm period during the Roman empire; a 400-year cold period in the early Medieval period and another 400-year warm period in the late Middle Ages.  Then we had the “little ice age” from 1350 to 1850 ACE when it got very cold in the late 1500s.  We are now in a warming cycle that began in and around 1880.  We have yet to reach the high temperatures of the Exodus period.

These large cycles seem to be influenced by volcanic activity.  How much we contribute to that warming over and above large geological phenomenon are very difficult to determine.  It requires distinguishing between what is happening as part of the cycle vs what we are contributing.  These cycles are very long and are just a small part of a larger history.

Yes, it is getting hotter.  So, take the precautions advised by the editorial.  Stay out of the extreme heat as much as possible and drink plenty of fluids and electrolytes.

The climate debate is being lost in emotions and politics.  Those who bring us the news have an obligation to double-check their facts and do research which may involve significant time and many more “clicks” of the mouse.  Provide an objective reasoned perspective instead of an emotive subjective introitus.