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Hottest September on record? Let’s look at that again!

One of the major problems with the climate change story is that it can create a sense of hopelessness amongst farmers (and the wider population) that there’s little that can be done and that bad weather is out of control.

Alarmist media stories build on this narrative and one such story appeared this week in many news media. The BBC news website headline read, “September was worlds ‘hottest on record’. Hmmm, thought I, interesting, let’s just look at the data.

It seems the story emanated from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. Having read the monthly summary released by Copernicus, it seems that the hottest September on record actually refers back to a set of data starting in 1979. I’ve been unable to find reference to the data going back further than that.

If I’m correct, and a news story has indeed been made from only 41-years of data, this is deeply concerning. Forty years in climatological terms is a single revolution of an anemometer in an Atlantic gale. To try to extract statistical information from such data is bad science.

Again, this gives a misleading narrative for the climate change story and tries to create the impression that what we witness day to day is climate change. It is not. What we see outside is weather, indeed I would argue that all we see in a human lifetime is weather. Yes, we may say winters are less snowy and summers are warmer, but this is based on human lifespan, heavily influenced by external factors such as the media and the selectiveness of human memory.

That is why good statistics and evidence are vital to telling the story of the earth’s climate and assessing the impact we as humans are having on our planet and businesses.

An accepted standard when calculating the change in climate over time is to look back at least 100-years, if not more.

One thought on “Hottest September on record? Let’s look at that again!

  1. I think that’s a very fair summary, and warning about media scare stories. The suspicious note the current warmer period co-incides with the industrial revolution. But as they say in medicine “correlation does not prove causation”! There was always going to be a bounce back from the “little ice age”.

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