EDITORIAL: Blowing smoke over global warming

Hot snapshots screen out the chill

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Legend has it that Washington was built on a swamp, and its sweltering summers add credence to the story. Lately, global warming adherents have been capitalizing on the city’s sultry weather to advance their belief that the use of fossil fuels is responsible for rising temperatures baking the planet. Beware of warmists who point to localized summer heat as proof of climate change across the entire world: They’re only making hay while the sun shines.

Eco-ideologist Al Gore posted an account on his blog Friday of a US Airways passenger jet becoming stuck at Reagan National Airport when its tires sank into the heat-softened tarmac while waiting to take off. Temperatures reached 100 degrees at the airport on July 6 when the incident occurred. A passenger with a phone camera posted a photo of the trapped plane, which Mr. Gore used to bolster his argument that carbon dioxide — the gas essential for all plant and animal life — is capturing the sun’s heat and threatening the global ecosystem.

Relying on anecdotes of hot summer temperatures as evidence of global warming can be treacherous. The scorching heat in the eastern United States grabbed the headlines during the last week of June, but few noticed that on June 27, 116 cities from Montana to Florida measured record low temperatures. Orlando International Airport, for example, saw an overnight low of 64 degrees, shattering the previous record of 66 set in 1920. As sticky as June proved to be, it didn’t match the record set in 1933 when atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentration was less than it is today.

It’s easy to forget that at 3.8 million square miles, the United States comprises less than 2 percent of the Earth’s surface. Sizzling thermometer readings here don’t indicate temperature patterns elsewhere. Sweden’s Meteorological and Hydrological Institute recently reported that Swedes shivered through their chilliest June since weather statistics were first recorded in 1786, with an average daytime high of 56 degrees — three degrees below normal. At about the same distance from Washington as Stockholm, Anchorage, Alaska, hasn’t once seen the temperature rise to its normal average of 65 for this month, and is on pace to set a record low average temperature for July.

The severe thunderstorm that knocked out power to millions along the East Coast two weeks ago has provided fodder for policymakers like Maryland’s Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley to push their anti-industrial agenda. On July 11, Mr. O’Malley said, “A grid that was resilient for the weather of [the past] is not resilient enough to withstand violent storms that climate change and global warming in our atmosphere are causing today,” the Washington Examiner reported.

Even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would take issue with the governor’s assertion. The body published a special report in March admitting long-term weather trends “have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change.”

Complaining about the weather is human nature, but those looking for someone to blame for summer heat should tell it to Mother Nature.

The Washington Times

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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