Left-wing media is claiming that U.S. heat waves are getting worse this week because of climate change. This is false. Actual data from temperature measurements show that heat waves in the U.S. are on the decline even as climate change has occurred over the last 75 years.
It is summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and unsurprisingly to those that pay attention to data, it is hot in many places in the U.S. In other words, it’s business as usual for summer. It is summer, and the heat is fierce in some locations. A single year’s hot weather does not a climate trend make, however. Recorded high temperatures in Phoenix and elsewhere in the western US this year are a result of a combination of an El Niño and a heat dome lingering over the region, among other short-term atmospheric factors.
None of the left-wing news outlets running heat wave stories examines or cites historical data on heat waves, preferring instead to push scary numbers in the form of heat indexes that combine temperature and humidity, reprint the opinion of alleged “climate scientists,”
and reference computer models that suggest climate change is making heat waves worse.
Yet, data exists for any reporter with a modicum of journalistic curiosity to find. The problem is that the data doesn’t look scary. The EPA maintains a web page on heat waves in the U.S., which contains some very interesting data and maps. Despite the claims of climate change creating worse heat waves, the data the EPA has compiled going back to 1948 says exactly the opposite.
The EPA’s data for 1,066 weather stations across the United States showed a total of 863 stations, or 81%, reporting either a decrease or no change in the number of unusually hot days. By comparison, only 19% of all weather stations reported an increase in the number of unusually hot days since 1948.
Many of the stations showing hotter temperatures over the 1948-2020 period were located at airports or otherwise badly sited locations that created heat biases such as those reported by the study Corrupted Climate Stations: The U.S. Temperature Record Remains Fatally Flawed. Much of the upward heat bias occurs in the minimum overnight temperature at these weather stations, enabling them to reach higher than expected daytime high temperatures had they not had a “head start” from the warmer than expected overnight low.
In fact, you can see this issue on display using maximum and minimum data for all weather stations in the US. n fact, there are spikes of high temperatures in the United States in 1954 and in 1963 that are higher than the present day. Minimum temperatures have had a slow and steady rise since 1948, with peaks in the last 20 years (warmer nights) being higher than values in the 1940s and 1950s. And the EPA shows that heat waves were actually the worst for the US in the 1930s.The bottom line is this: despite what the media say, real-world data shows heat waves are not getting worse in the US because of climate change.