Americans Increasingly Choose a Warmer Life

From Dr. Roy Spencer’s Blog

Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

We hear that a new El Nino forming in the Pacific Ocean is likely to push global-average temperatures to new record highs in 2023.

Setting aside the fact that we have no idea if current temperatures are warmer than during the Medieval Warm Period of ~1,000 years ago, I have to ask…

So what?

Doing something about global warming depends a lot on how much we are asked to pay to fix it. If it was cheap and practical, we would have already transitioned to renewable energy sources.

It also depends upon just how much global warming we have experienced, and whether it is enough to be concerned with. For the global oceans, the climate models enlisted to scare us in a steady stream of alarmist news reports over-predict ocean warming by a factor of 2. In America’s heartland during the summer, the discrepancy is a factor of 6(!). So, clearly, public concern is being inflated by factually incorrect information.

What Temperature do Americans Choose?

When it comes to life in these United States, roughly 50% of U.S. residents have at least a moderate worry about climate change and global warming. As mentioned above, I believe this is largely due to their response to what is reported by the news media, which is routinely exaggerated.

An interesting question that the late Dr. Pat Michaels asked about 25 years ago is, what temperature do Americans choose to live with? We have a large country with a wide range of climates, from frigid winters to tropical year-round, so there is considerable choice of what climate we decide to live in.

Dr. Michaels pointed out (most recently in 2013) that over the years, Americans tend to migrate to warmer climates. Some of us might claim to be concerned about global warming, but we increasingly choose to live where it’s warmer. I’ve updated those calculations to 2022, and the results are the same:

The blue curve is the usual area-averaged temperatures for the Lower 48, while the orange curve is the state population-weighted average. While the area average temperatures have warmed modestly over the last century, the temperatures where people choose to live have increased by twice that amount. (The possibility that Urban Heat Island effects have spuriously warmed these NOAA-reported temperatures is part of a research project we have been involved in).

Some might claim that the migration to states with warmer temperatures has more to do with economic opportunity than with temperature. But who creates economic opportunity? People. And where do people choose to live? Where the weather is warmer.

There’s a reason why people are flocking to Texas and Florida, and not to the Dakotas or Maine. Ultimately, it’s due to the climate. So, while some of us like to think we are Saving the Earth by buying a Tesla, our migration habits are telling a different story.

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Nick Stokes
May 9, 2023 6:05 pm

“For the global oceans, the climate models enlisted to scare us in a steady stream of alarmist news reports over-predict ocean warming by a factor of 2.”

No, they don’t.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 9, 2023 6:36 pm

Surely you jest Nick.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute website:
“…the top 700 meters (2,300 feet) of the global ocean has warmed about 1.5°F since 1901.” which is made up nonsense for public consumption.

Mean while we have thousands of readings taken multiple ways that seem to show .8 degrees C (about 1.5F) sea surface warming since 1850, and thats the surface, not down a few hundred meters…

Hadcrut Sea Surface Temp 3

Last edited 25 days ago by DMacKenzie
Nick Stokes
Reply to  DMacKenzie
May 9, 2023 6:44 pm

In the comparison of ocean with CMIP6 here, it is the CMIP6 side that is wrong. Roy took early data listed by KNMI, with 68 runs. But of those, 50 were runs of a Canadian model CanESM5, which runs hot. When a more representative set of data became available, models and observations were much closer.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 9, 2023 8:02 pm

SO how many zetajoules is it? Why zetajoules? Do Argo buoys measure in zetajoules?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 9, 2023 9:54 pm

The comment you chose refers to the steady stream of alarmist reports, which is daily double this and quadruple that…. obvious lies when the sensationalist media reports and the actual measurements are compared.

B Zipperer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 9, 2023 9:56 pm

Thanks for the link.
So the issue seems to be using a “wrong” model, which gets to a crucial issue. How do you decide now which model(s) projection to choose?
Here is a graph from Gavin Schmidt’s site regarding CMIP6. To me, he uses post hoc reasoning to ignore all the “hot” model runs. Even so, the rest on average still seem to run higher than observations.
If we are projecting, say 60 years out, how do we know a priori which models to ignore & which to use?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  B Zipperer
May 9, 2023 10:23 pm

how do we know a priori which models to ignore & which to use?”
We don’t. And the hot models might be right.

Here is another Gavin plot:

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It shows that models tend to split into three groups, with the main central group that he calls “the pack”. And he is saying that the central group lines up well with observations. So why not discard the “wolf pack”? Because they might be right! As is not well understood here, the weather models produce in the future is not synchronised (but the response to longterm climate drivers is shared
), and won’t be shared in sequence between models, or with Earth. If Earth was having a cool spell, models wouldn’t know. If there was such a spell, the hotter models will look wrong, but would look better in the future when the cool spell went away.

At some stage the hypothetical cool spell will have gone on too long to be believed, and the hot models will have to be discarded. But I don’t think we are there yet.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 10, 2023 12:17 am

At some stage the hypothetical cool spell will have gone on too long to be believed, and the hot models will have to be discarded. But I don’t think we are there yet.

Has the “too long” been defined yet?

Reply to  old cocky
May 10, 2023 2:11 am

“Too long” is defined as longer than “long enough”.

“Long enough” is the period it takes a fraudulent climate scientist to save up for a nice beach house.

old cocky
Reply to  UKSceptic
May 10, 2023 3:08 pm

That was actually a serious question. If the criteria aren’t clearly defined, we’re just winging it.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 10, 2023 4:20 am

You are ignoring the simple conclusion of the article.

What is the best temperature for mankind? Define the value you expect all of mankind to live with before justifying what alarmists are spouting. You surely have sufficient data to make a decision with right now! Tell us what you expect. I’m not talking about anomaly, I’m asking what temperature should we be shooting for?

Somehow I don’t think you’ll find a lot of people living at ±60° latitude as compared to ±30°.

The Precautionary Principle that you are following where something MIGHT happen, requires decision be made on what the baseline required is. Again, what absolute temperature should mankind be shooting for?

Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 10, 2023 6:02 am

You are ignoring the simple conclusion of the article.

So you do think an average, even a population weighted one, can be useful?

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Bellman
May 10, 2023 6:41 am

I have nothing against averages per se. I do wish Dr. Spencer had shown the standard deviation related to these distributions.

You operate under the assumption that every mean is from a normal distribution and that knowing the parameters of the distribution is not needed.

I also see his graphs depict temps to at least one decimal point in the early 20th century. This is one order of magnitude less than the recorded temperatures for this period. NOAA’s standard for rounding temps says that for integer recorded values, calculations should be rounded to a 0.0 or 0.5.

I’m not sure where you are headed, but if you want to deal with adding precision to temperature averages, you need to deal with Significant Digits rules in a fashion that is not a simple rejection.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 10, 2023 7:05 am

I have nothing against averages per se.


It seems that every few weeks for the last 2 years I’ve been getting into increasing length arguments with you and your brother, which usually involve someone shouting things like

“Averages tell you NOTHING!”
“An average is MEANINGLESS”
“It’s just like averaging telephone numbers.”
“It’s physically impossible to average temperatures because they are an intensive property.
“Nobody lives in the average temperature.”

I’m not sure why you are trying to drag this down to the number of significant digits again. It’s got nothing to do with my point. I was simply to calling out the contradiction between you insisting averages are useless, but then saying an argument based entirely on a weighted average was meaningful.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Bellman
May 10, 2023 8:20 am

You didn’t ask about temperature averages.

Here is a document showing some of the problems with Tmax/Tmin.

Go to this site and read the rounding advice pdf!

Ask yourself why you don’t follow NOAA advice when doing calculations on THEIR DATA.

Last edited 24 days ago by Jim Gorman
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 10, 2023 8:39 am

Stop trying to distract from the point I was making. Do you think there is a simple conclusion based on the average population weighted temperature in the USA, or not?

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Bellman
May 10, 2023 8:57 am

I’m not distracting. You asked about “AVERAGES” in general. The population weighted curve is interesting but I have no basis for assessing it’s accuracy or it’s usefulness.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 10, 2023 11:56 am

Then how do you assess the conclusion is correct? The conclusion is that in the USA people are migrating to warmer areas, and the only evidence is the weighted average.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Bellman
May 10, 2023 12:30 pm

Because I read the news. New York, Illinois, and California are all losing population. Where do you think they are going? North?

People crossing the U.S./Mexico are also counted in the population thanks to left wing lawsuits. Do you think the preponderance of them are going north? Heck the ones that crossed into Canada are wanting to return!

I have no reason to suspect what is shown is in error. You obviously do, so spit it out.

Last edited 24 days ago by Jim Gorman
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 10, 2023 1:32 pm

So just anecdotal evidence.

New York, Illinois, and California are all losing population.

Isn’t California meant to be one of the warmer locations?

According to this page

Between 2010 and 2020 New York increased by 4% and California by 6%.

In absolute terms California was the 3rd fastest growing state (after Texas and Florida), New York the 7th fastest.

The only states that lost population where Illinois and Mississippi and West Virginia.

Where do you think they are going? North?

North Dakota’s population increased by almost 16% over the same period. In absolute numbers Washington had the 5th fastest growing population.

Reply to  Bellman
May 10, 2023 1:42 pm

You obviously do, so spit it out.”

I have no reason to doubt the population averages, and I suspect the general conclusion is correct.

But it would be interested to look at the figures in more detail. It’s difficult to know just by looking at the average how much is caused by people migrating to warmer locations, or if the populations are changing because of different birth and death rates.

The bigger question if you can deduce from this argument that global warming isn’t a problem. The issues go beyond what temperature you want for your retirement, and even if it was, I’m not sure the global situation can be extrapolated from the USA.

Reply to  Bellman
May 11, 2023 4:20 am

Digging into the figures a bit more, one interesting factor is the large rise over the last few decades of the Hispanic population. If some of this is because of immigration into the USA from Latin America it raises questions about the idea that it’s simply people moving to warmer climes.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 10, 2023 1:33 pm

LOL, Gavin Schmidt comparing his own “models” against his own fabricated surface data.

Get real. !

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 10, 2023 8:22 am

The comment referred to “alarmist news reports” and not the models themselves. You might want to learn to read before you spam the comment section.

And the article was about people moving to warmer places, not about one throwaway line (that was actually true), so you are nitpicking. What next, a search for typos?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 10, 2023 8:49 am

I like to look at real data–and it’s not alarming Nick.

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Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 10, 2023 1:29 pm

LOL, you have just shown everyone why the climate models are considered such a JOKE.

Result depends on which of the many FAKE models you choose.

Well done. !

Last edited 24 days ago by bnice2000
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 10, 2023 6:03 am

Yes, they do.

William Howard
Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 10, 2023 8:58 am

coming off a mini ice age (ended about 1870) shouldn’t we expect some warming which is probably a good thing – in my old Texas history books there are comments about Trinity Bay, a mostly salt water body of water, freezing in the early 1800s enough that people could actually walk across it – now that’s cold

Reply to  Nick Stokes
May 10, 2023 10:46 am

Nick. Regardless of the actual measurements, you have no solution, short of keeping the majority of people, billions, in abject energy poverty, and dramatically raising energy costs and reducing energy availability and reliability for everyone else. So, no thank you.

David Dibbell
May 9, 2023 6:11 pm

What a disappointment, that here in Central New York, we may not get those climate refugees after all! /sarc

Tom Halla
May 9, 2023 6:13 pm

I live in Texas, and the set point for my AC is 27 C, 80 F. Which would be called a heat wave by Brits.
When I lived in California, it mattered whether one was in the fog belt or not. One side could be in the low 60’s, the other side high 80’s, low 90’s F.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 9, 2023 7:24 pm

It’s 74F in my house right now and the wife turns on our AC. I had to change my shorts to pants to stay comfortable.

Anyway, the ski season is winding down and I plan to go to Winter Park (Mary Jane side is open) for their last weekend. Only 35 miles as the crow flies there’s still feet of snow on the ground. It’s about a 75 mile drive to get over and around the mountains.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Scissor
May 9, 2023 7:30 pm

The normal cliche is women wanting the temperature warmer, as with multiple discussions of office thermostat settings.

Thomas Finegan
May 9, 2023 7:34 pm

My favorite poster child for harsh climate is Aberdeen, South Dakota, a lovely city of nearly thirty thousand residents. A typical year will see summertime highs of 35C and winter lows of -30C.
There are no Del Webb retirement communities in South Dakota

Dave O.
Reply to  Thomas Finegan
May 10, 2023 3:45 am

Living close to Aberdeen might be why I’m a sceptic. The real world says the climate’s not changing to the warm side in a significant way.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Dave O.
May 10, 2023 10:23 am

Considering the fact the summers are having less 90 degree days in the northern plains, than they did in the past, that’s not a surprise. Oh by the way how the weather in Eureka.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Thomas Finegan
May 10, 2023 10:19 am

If you think Aberdeen has nasty weather try Fargo. The joke in my house was my wife though what winter was like until she married me and moved to Fargo. She grew up and lived most of her adult life in and around Pierre. She also learned the climate was noticeable different in my home town in Minnesota, the leaves drop about two weeks earlier than Fargo and come out about two weeks later than Fargo, yet it a little over and hour drive to there from Fargo. The present weather experts keep changing the low reading in that area because they can’t be right. The educated idiots only need to look at the topography to figure out why but they are so blind.

May 9, 2023 8:16 pm

For those who claim people moved to warmer climates from colder climates for economic opportunity I say hold on a minute. If people are moving from a cooler climate to a warmer climate just to make a few dollars more then I would say a warmer climate can’t be much of a problem. Where I live the people moving to warmer climates do so to get away from the cold. That is why they are called snowbirds. On the other hand many people went to Alaska for economic opportunity, when they have made their money they return to enjoy our nice climate. Our weather varies from -20’s in the winter to 105 in the summer, all Fahrenheit of course. We manage somehow.

The average global climate is disingenuous, if you look at the spread between -20 and 105 it is 125, divide that by two and you get 62.5. Pretty damn close to the supposed global average 61. The way I look at it everything is okay we are about average. Of course you would have a hard time convincing people of that when they are freezing their ass off at -20 or sweltering at 105. But it’s a dry climate so we are okay.

Reply to  Bob
May 10, 2023 1:47 am

“The way I look at it everything is okay we are about average

The sex ratio – the share of the population that is female – varies across the world. And globally in 2020 the share of women in the world was just under 50%.

So globally, the average person has …
one head, one bum, 3.75 limbs (lots of amputees ) one breast & is hermaphrodite (both male & female genitals ) !!!

Have you looked in a mirror lately ??

also – Have you tried phoning the average phone number; or sending something to the average post/zip code ???

May 9, 2023 9:20 pm

Obviously people choose warmth, if they can. CA is a perfect example: 300 sunny days a year, abundant fruits and vegetables, swimming pools, movie stars, and a population that has grown 10-fold in the last 100 years. In contrast, the populations of Minnesota and Maine have only doubled since 1920.

There are other factors of course. Some people prefer subzero for months on end. The rich, for instance, like to winter in Alaska and Canada. Hahahahaha! Sarc tag that one! There are so many Canadians in AZ during winter the cheese sales go through the roof! Seriously, Can Am golf tournaments are de rigueur and lots of fun for everyone.

Warmer is better for human health and happiness. We all love warm puppies, but nobody wants to hug a cod fish. Our favorite Ozzie here doesn’t winter in Siberia, although he would certainly be welcomed there and probably fully comped.

The most extreme Warmunistas shun cold climes. Pierre jets south to the tropics every winter, Al lives in SoCal, and the whole WEF crowd frequent Cancun, Ibiza, and Dubai (best serviles on the planet). The wackies wade in Roman pools, not Finnish ones.

If they didn’t have their lunatic “ochuns gonna burl inta eater speece” argument, they’d have nothing to squawk about. Don’t do as we do, do what we order you to do! Typical ubermenchen wannabes.

May 9, 2023 9:54 pm

So, while some of us like to think we are Saving the Earth by buying a Tesla, our migration habits are telling a different story.

If some people truly want to save the planet they shouldn’t buy a Tesla, They shouldn’t buy or use anything produced using modern methods.

In other words, all their food, clothing and shelter must only come from their own hands and ingenuity.

Let’s see how long they still believe in keeping oil in the ground.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Redge
May 10, 2023 10:27 am

My comment is today not enough people have had to shovel manure. If they did have to shovel manure to live climate change would not be an issue for them.

May 9, 2023 11:17 pm

Don’t you people get it? The weather is supposed to be perfect all the time!

Reply to  FarmerBrett
May 10, 2023 1:52 am

It is & the sun goes off at night to save energy !!

May 10, 2023 12:29 am

Oh, completely agree with the title of the article!

In fact, when I first became homeless due to an on the job work injury in 2012, I knew without a doubt that I had to find someplace warmer than where I was. I began a journey from Denver, CO to Pensacola, FL on my recumbent pedal tricycle pulling a small trailer for a distance of 2,600 miles. Title of my blog was, “Denver To St Louis And Turning Right”. (the subtitle was ‘where they don’t know what a snowblower is!’)

Now things are much better living in the boonies in the northern panhandle of Florida. Winters here are much more warmer and while it does get cold, we don’t get the days on end of sub-zero temps as before. Winter is very short, usually 2-3 months, then back to much nicer weather. I’m far enough inland (60 miles) that most hurricanes are reduced to rainy storms with a bit of wind. That and it is vastly cheaper to live here than anywhere in the frigid North.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  derbrix
May 10, 2023 5:11 am

“That and it is vastly cheaper to live here than anywhere in the frigid North.”

I know a guy from MA who sold his average working class home and move to South Carolina. With the money from selling his home- he bought 50 acres and built a home twice as large on it and had money left over.

May 10, 2023 4:14 am

State income tax policies may also be a significant factor. FL, TN, and TX have no income tax, and other southern states have relatively low tax rates.

Jim Gorman
May 10, 2023 4:45 am

Great article Dr. Spencer. The alarmists amongst us, including politicians, should be required to define what they expect the best temperature should be.

May 10, 2023 4:45 am

Air conditioning is an amazing thing. Minimal cultural variations, highways, and air travel help, too.

The US population migration started shortly after air conditioning became widely deployed. Hot and cold weather both have downsides. Air conditioning solves enough of the hot weather problems to tip the scales more in favor of warm areas than before it was common.

The US sees bigger movement than other countries because the country is big enough to pick a climate. Doing the same in Europe means different language, different culture, and historically a need for paperwork.

Good transit systems further reduce the cost of moving. We live in our area of choice while still visiting our family in their climate.

John Oliver
Reply to  vboring
May 10, 2023 8:04 am

good point V . Unfortunately we on on a path to becoming a balkanized multi language nation with freedom of movement restricted at the rate we are going.

Joseph Zorzin
May 10, 2023 5:05 am

The human race evolved in hot Africa. Best to not forget that.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
May 10, 2023 9:57 am

Started in Africa. Evolved in Europe and Asia.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Mr.
May 10, 2023 1:13 pm

Homo sapiens were fully evolved when they left Africa- with some trivial changes after they left.

Joseph Zorzin
May 10, 2023 5:13 am

With some northern states now having net zero laws- I bet many more people will be moving south.

Mr Ed
May 10, 2023 7:06 am

I own a piece of valley farm ground in west central MT. It’s close to a major
city and has seen a very high population growth since the ’90’s. To my east
there is a family from Tucson, he’s a MD. At my SE corner there is a guy from Flagstaff,
they own a business .
On the SW corner they are from New York. And on my west there is a couple
from western Washington, both are professionals. Most are on property’s that
have been split off and only a few acres with a high end house, or a remodeled

Up at the ranch to the west in the mountains, it more of the same.
My wife and I went to a dinner party maybe
15 yrs ago and the host and another guy sat in the corner and had a very
intense conversation about their vineyards and winery’s in the Bay area, Napa
IIRC. The wine was pretty good…
Not all of these types winter in the south, there is a lot more driving this dislocation
than warm weather. The local chamber of commerce noted that this area has
a very high turnover of the local population, something like 15-25%. I know
a principle of a major accounting firm who explained to me that in their local
office they had several hundred clients with businesses based in MT but no
clients in the state, and had annual income in the millions.

Last edited 24 days ago by Mr Ed
William Howard
May 10, 2023 8:55 am

not to worry – when Buyden bans air conditioners then everyone will have to move to Blue aka communists states

May 10, 2023 9:32 am

I recall walking on frozen and snow-covered Lake Superior in 1979 when the lake froze all the way across. Is that walkability supposed to be the benchmark for global climate policy (UN funding) and U.S. budget, climate, and industrial policy?

Jim Gorman
Reply to  ResourceGuy
May 10, 2023 10:38 am

Think colder!

Edward Katz
May 10, 2023 5:56 pm

This revelation is just another reminder of how seriously people are taking the climate alarmists’ dire predictions of devastating heat waves, droughts, storms, floods, rising sea levels, etc., all leading to reduced food production, widespread famine and declining populations, ad nauseam. And it’s not only Americans who are choosing warmer climates despite the threats they presumably pose; it’s a worldwide phenomenon. Are Canadians moving to Yukon, Labrador and the northern areas of the central provinces, or are they preferring the locations fairly close to the US? Are Europeans swarming northward into Scandinavia? Are Asians re-locating to Siberia? None of this is happening and won’t because people are aware that cold poses a greater threat than heat and don’t need any statistics for proof. These demographics are yet another instance of how climate disinformation and hyperbole continues to fail.

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