No, North America’s climate boundary did not move east

The mainstream media have been flooding readers with claims that global warming is shifting North American climate boundaries. Specifically, the media this past month have uncritically reported on a paper by climate alarmists claiming a climate barrier east of the Rockies has moved 140 miles east due to global warming. A look at objective data, however, reveals no such shift.

Richard Seager, who among many dubious claims has blamed Syria’s civil war on global warming, published a paper claiming the dividing line between arid western air masses and humid eastern air masses has moved 100 miles to the east. The result, the paper claims, is less rainfall and more drought in some of America’s most important croplands.

According to Seager, the dividing line previously ran north-south at the 100th meridian. The meridian cut through the middle of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

“In the northern plains, rainfall has not changed much, but temperatures are going up, increasing evaporation from the soil. Further south, concurrent shifts in wind patterns are in fact causing less rain to fall. Either way, this tends to push western aridity eastward,” claims a Columbia University press release announcing Seager’s paper.

Objective data, however, tell as different story.

Data from North Dakota show a 30-year trend of fewer extremely hot days and a 30-year trend of more annual precipitation.

Data from South Dakota similarly show a 30-year trend of fewer extremely hot days and a 30-year trend of more annual precipitation.

Data from Nebraska show a 50-year trend of fewer extremely hot days and a 40-year trend of more annual precipitation.

Data from Kansas show a 60-year trend of fewer extremely hot days and a 30-year trend of more annual precipitation.

Data from Oklahoma show a 60-year trend of fewer extremely hot days and a 30-year trend of more annual precipitation.

Data from Texas show a 50-year trend of fewer extremely hot days and a 50-year trend of more annual precipitation.

And finally, U.S. crop production continues to set records nearly every year; something that would be difficult to accomplish if Seager’s claims were correct.

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About the Author: CFACT

CFACT defends the environment and human welfare through facts, news, and analysis.