In his Aug. 6 op-ed, “A New Climate-Change Consensus,” Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp speaks of “the trend—a decades-long march toward hotter and wilder weather.” We have seen quite a few such claims this summer season, and Mr. Krupp insists that we accept them as “true.” Only with Lewis Carroll’s famous definition of truth, “What I tell you three times is true,” is this the case.
But repetition of a fib does not make it true. As one of many pieces of evidence that our climate is doing what it always does, consider the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s year-by-year data for wet and dry years in the continental U.S.
From 1900 to the present, there are only irregular, chaotic variations from year to year, but no change in the trend or in the frequency of dry years or wet years. Sometimes there are clusters of dry years, the most significant being the dry Dust Bowl years of the 1930s. These tend to be followed by clusters of wet years.
Despite shrill claims of new record highs, when we look at record highs for temperature measurement stations that have existed long enough to have a meaningful history, there is no trend in the number of extreme high temperatures, neither regionally nor continentally. We do see the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s setting the largest number of record highs, at a time when it is acknowledged that humans had negligible effect on climate.