The state of Minnesota this morning just shattered another temperature record.

Like so many locations this year in the United States and Europe, temperature records are being “broken,” at least as far as the last century-plus when such records began to be cataloged.

The difference this week: Minnesota had the coldest recorded temperature in International Falls, on the border with Canada, coming in at 37 degrees Fahrenheit on the morning of Tuesday, July 30, 2019. That breaks by one degree the coldest temperature on this day, at 38 degrees, last felt in 1898, even after the “Little Ice Age” had ended earlier in the 19th century.

In other words, just when “global warming” took hold in the mid-19th century, Minnesota confounded the trend and set a cold record by century’s end. Now, 121 years later, when most of the news media, Hollywood actors and left-of-center politicians are certain the planet faces an “existential threat” from “climate change” (aka, global warming), Minnesota – the Gopher State and land of 10,000 lakes – has to spoil the narrative again!

Certainly, much of Europe and the United States has undergone a heat wave, with triple-digit, record-breaking temperatures this month. But, some perspective is in order; for starters – it’s July. It’s summertime. July is the hottest month of the year in the northern hemisphere.

The vicissitudes of weather always makes for interesting conversation at the office water cooler or at the start of a big meeting to, pardon the expression, “break the ice.” And, while July’s heat waves make news, this calendar year many places in the United States and Europe also established record cold temperatures and snowfall.

In northern Europe, for example, the month of July has brought record cold, according to the Finnish Meteorological Institute. In Germany, several locations experienced the coldest July temperatures in decades, with Rotenburg, in Lower Saxony, setting a record for the all-time coldest July temperature of 37 degrees, breaking the mark set in 1946.

Last May, numerous locales in the state of California experienced record, or near record lows in temperature. In El Cajon, outside of San Diego, it was 48 degrees on May 28th, a record cold for that day. Only two days in May did the temperature in Los Angeles reach 75 degrees or higher. Since 1878, only six times did the city of angels have fewer such days for that month.

Then there is the state of Illinois, in March, which experienced record cold temperatures in several locations, according to the National Weather Service. On March 4th it was 12 degrees in Chicago, which shattered the previous record by five degrees way back in 1890 when it hit 17 (again, after the Little Ice Age ended). That same day in Rockford it was 10 degrees, which broke the previous record of 14 in 2002 (following warmer years in the 1990’s).

I could go on, but you get the point. This is not about making the case for global cooling just because many locales shattered cold records for a given day, any more than others should spout evidence of global warming for record heat.

The point of this is that “unseasonably” hot or cold weather is newsworthy in the moment, but is otherwise evidence of nothing on a trend basis, including” man-made” global warming.

The late geologist Robert M. Carter, a long-time professor at James Cook University in Australia, said it well: “The fact that the temperature was warmer at the end of the 20th century than it was in the preceding hundred years, is such a piece of kindergarten science. It’s true, and it is completely meaningless in telling you anything about climate change.”

That doesn’t prevent actors (who act for a living), news people (who pretend for a living), and politicians (who lie for a living), from dramatizing the moment to further their self-importance and their climate change narrative.

Democratic candidates running for president, for example, are tripping over each other to ring up estimates for their version of a Green New Deal to “address” climate change. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York just released a $10 trillion plan, which surpassed Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s $9 trillion plan. I guess that makes Gillibrand even “greener”? (Aside: if you’ve never heard of either presidential candidate, you’re not alone; both are basically at zero in the polls.)

The reality is that unusual weather is momentarily interesting. It does not make for any pattern, or “evidence” of a decades long climate trend by 2030, 2040 or eight decades into the future, which is commonly claimed by so many that comprise the climate change cottage industry.

Indeed, climate has always changed and it always will. So, relax. You can enjoy the summers in Europe, Minnesota and most everywhere else in the northern half of the globe. Just don’t pack your coats away in the attic.

Author

  • Peter Murphy, a CFACT analyst, has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the New York Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.