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And Katharine Hayhoe Calls This Science?

January 31, 2014

By Paul Homewood


h/t Sunshinehours





We all will still recall the shrill claims made a year or two ago that heatwaves in the Midwest were all due to climate change, and even might have something to do with evil Republicans.

Leaving aside idiots like this one, Katharine Hayhoe and co were also making similar claims, (well not the republicans bit!)




In their above report, they start by saying:

Climate conditions typical of the Midwest are already changing in noticeable ways. Average temperatures have risen, particularly in winter. There have been a number of major heat waves in recent years….

Recent changes in Midwest climate are consistent with those expected due to increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.


They go on to be a bit more specific.

The number of hot days (over 90oF) and extremely hot days (over 100oF) is very likely to increase. Looking at 9 urban centers in the Midwest (Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit,
Des Moines, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and St. Louis), the average number of days per year over 90oF are projected to increase 2-3 times by end-of-century
under lower emissions, and 4-7 times under higher. Proportionally, an even larger increase is projected in days over 100oF, with 4-8 times more days by end-of-century under lower
emissions, and 15-30 more days under higher


All very scary, no doubt, until we start checking the facts. Fortunately, NWS keep a database of daily temperatures for a few major sites in each state. For Missouri, they list St Louis and Columbia, so let’s have a look at the record for the latter, not as big a city as St Louis, but still with a population of over 100,000.

One of the spreadsheets ranks the number of hot days each year.




From the entire database, we can put together these graphs for the number of days a year >100F and >90F.





Clearly, there is no long term increase in heatwaves, which rather demolishes Katharine’s claim that “Recent changes in Midwest climate are consistent with those expected due to increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations”.

Not only do the 1930’s and 50’s stick out as having many more heatwaves, but also the 1890’s.

As for the claim that days over 100F will increase at an even faster rate than 90F+ ones, this does not tally with recent experience, when top temperatures have not been as high as past decades. As the list below shows, the highest temperature in the last decade only ranks tie 22nd on the all time list, 5F lower than the record set in 1954. And only two days this century get into the top 41.




As I mentioned above, Columbia, though not as big as St Louis, is still a major city. So let’s take a look at a smaller town, Appleton City, with a population of 1000 and about 100 miles from Columbia.

Appleton City is a USHCN station, recognised as a high quality site, and daily data is available from USHCN. We can use this to produce the same graph for 100F+ days. It is worth noting that NOAA Station Metadata confirms that no significant station location changes have been made.





The contrast between recent years and earlier decades is even starker, and highlights the UHI impact in Columbia.

To look at that and say that heatwaves are increasing in Missouri is either incompetence or fraud.


There is one further consideration. One of the beauties of daily temperature data is that it is not adjusted and homogenised as the monthly NOAA datasets are. Instead, they tell the real story.

  1. Don permalink
    January 31, 2014 10:21 pm

    Great stuff. Now, how long until they find ‘error’ in the past in these locations and cool it down? LOL

  2. February 1, 2014 12:13 am

    Thanks Paul. Good work!

  3. John F. Hultquist permalink
    February 1, 2014 5:46 am

    The paper by Hayhoe et al. reminds me of the set of papers done about 8 to 10 years ago called State Climate Profiles and available on the web site of the Science & Public Policy Institute (SPPI) [ ]. Look under Navigation – Reports.

    I don’t have the info saved but recall there was money made available and a consulting firm contacted the proper person in each state and then set in motion meetings and the writing of reports. They are all very similar to the point of showing unintentional cut-&-paste boneheaded insertations from one state’s Profile to another’s. The consulting firm made it clear at the meetings that only people that agreed with the agenda could participate.

    You have to read many of these Profiles to get the feel for what was done.

    Back to the paper in question: Katharine Hayhoe, from what I have read of anything she has written, seems to be way beyond the pale. A Hayhoe should understand that phrase and that I’m using it figuratively here. I wonder who paid for this?

    This paper has “chapters” ! In Chapter 3 there are maps showing Illinois migrating to south central Texas and Michigan migrating to western Oklahoma (figuratively speaking). Both of these “faux migrations” are physical nonsense. Someone needs a class in basic Earth Science, Geography 100 would do. There is so much damage done to the real world in this silly exercise that the authors should be embarrassed.

  4. Anything is possible permalink
    February 1, 2014 6:06 am

    “Recent changes in Midwest climate are consistent with those expected due to increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations”.


    Katharine’s statement works for me :

    It is entirely consistent with my expectation that increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations will have minimal impacts on climate in the Midwest (or anywhere else for that matter).

  5. Brian H permalink
    February 1, 2014 7:33 am

    Why not both? “Incompetent fraud” sounds about right.

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