Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach [See update at the end]
Let me start with a simple fact. The earth has been warming for about 300 years, since the depth of the Little Ice Age in 1700AD.
Figure 1. Ljungqvist et al. estimation of Northern Hemisphere temperature from AD 1 to 1999, overlaid with ice core and modern observational CO2 data.
But is this warming significant? We’re usually treated to graphs like the following, showing various estimates of modern warming.
Figure 2. Three modern estimates of warming since 1850.
Setting aside the question of whether these estimates are hopelessly contaminated by urban warming (most probably they are), the question remains—how big is this warming in the real world?
One way to look at this is to look at the normal range of average temperatures for a country. Here, for example, are the monthly maximum and minimum temperatures for the USA. Contrary to my usual practice, I’ve put them in degrees Fahrenheit, for no reason other than that’s what the US uses …
Figure 3. Maximum (red) and minimum (blue) monthly average temperatures for the US, along with the LOWESS smooths for each one (red/black and blue/black lines).
You can still see the slight rise since 1840 … and you can see that it is small compared to the range of maximum and minimum temperatures.
But nobody experiences average temperatures. So to put the modest temperature rise in an even more accurate context, here are daily temperature maximums and minimums since 1945 in Chicago …
Figure 4. Maximum (red) and minimum (blue) daily actual temperatures for Chicago, along with the LOWESS smooths for each one (red/black and blue/black lines).
Because these are not averages, there is more variation in the LOWESS smooths of the temperatures. And yes, the maximum and minimum temperatures in Chicago have indeed warmed over that period of record … but as you can see, if we’d never invented thermometers, nobody would be aware of the change because it is so small compared to the average daily temperature swing. The daily temperature swing from minimum to maximum in Chicago has a median value of 55°F (a swing of 31°C), but it often is as much as 70°F (a swing of 39°C).
Figure 5. Violin plot of the daily temperature swings in Chicago. The black box in the center shows the “interquartile range”, the range that contains half of the values. The white bar shows the median. The width of the “violin” at any point shows the relative number of temperature swings of that size.
This is a fairly typical range for a temperate location … and with that large a daily swing, a temperature increase of a degree or so in a hundred years will not be noticeable without careful attention to a thermometer.
Finally, the earth’s climate is a giant heat engine. A heat engine converts energy into motion. The climate converts solar energy into the ceaseless movement of the oceans and the atmosphere. We are interested in things like the energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere.
And to analyze a heat engine, we cannot use either Fahrenheit or Celsius temperature scales. The only temperature scale which gives answers to questions about heat engines is the Kelvin scale, which starts at absolute zero (-273.15°C, or -459.67°F). Here’s the Chicago data from above, only this time in Kelvins.
Figure 6. As in Figure 4, except in Kelvins
I hold that:
• The warming of five-hundredths of a percent per decade shown in Figure 6 is further evidence that, as I’ve detailed here, here, here, and in no less than 60 other posts linked here, the earth has a thermoregulatory system that keeps temperatures very stable.
• As a study in the British medical journal Lancet showed, the slight warming has saved far more lives than it has cost.
Figure 7. Lancet listing of deaths from heat and cold.
• In the most recent IPCC Assessment Report (AR6), the only time the IPCC used the terms “climate crisis” or “climate emergency” was to diss the media and others for spreading alarmism.
• As I detail here with dozens and dozens of graphs from scientific studies, there is no climate emergency. You’ve been lied to by climate alarmists who are getting more and more desperate to keep the river of taxpayer carbodollars flowing into their pockets. Will they change their ways? Unlikely. As Upton Sinclair noted a while ago,
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
• A half-century of efforts to affect the climate through CO2 emission reductions and carbon taxes and carbon offsets and endless doomcasts about “TEN YEARS TO THERMAGEDDON™! EVERYONE PANIC!” and arcane incantations about “Net-Zero” and “personal carbon footprints” have done exactly nothing to change the temperature. Zero. Zip. Nada. Nihil. Rien. Nichts. Trillions of dollars were wasted that could have provided a better life for millions of people around the planet.
• Finally, if you still really think that the insane war against carbon dioxide is worth fighting, I beg you, I implore you, do NOT do it by increasing the cost of energy. That is the most regressive tax you can imagine, hitting the poor harder and the poorest the hardest. I discuss this in detail in my post “We Have Met The 1% And He Is Us“.
[UPDATE] A commenter asked for a view of the global temperature in kelvins … here you go.
Figure 8. As in Figure 6, but showing the global temperature swings instead of the data for Chicago.
And that, dear friends, is me providing some badly needed perspective on the question of the insane war against carbon dioxide.
And here on our hillside in the redwoods, I’ve just finished replacing the last five pickets on the deck guardrail.
Life is good.
My best regards and wishes to all,