Climate realists should gird their loins in preparation for the pending onslaught of stories in the mainstream media proclaiming this or that seasonal weather event is being enhanced by anthropogenic climate change.
For the past two decades, every year as winter wanes, the media has engaged in its contemporary rite of spring: stoking unwarranted climate fearmongering.
As long as there have been seasons—long before environmental Chicken Littles began proclaiming the end is near because of climate change—spring has meant the start of allergy season, because pollen from flowering plants creates allergic reactions among sufferers. Modest warming has contributed to a slight decrease in the average period of below-freezing temperatures and late-season plant-killing frost. This means plants start budding and flowering earlier.
Therefore, over the past few decades, allergy season has begun earlier.
In recent years, every allergy season has been accompanied by myriad news stories claiming climate change is making the season longer and worse.
If the allergy season is lasting longer, that counts as a deleterious effect of climate change. What the stories ignore, however, are the net benefits of the longer growing season: a general greening of the Earth and an increase in hunger-reducing crop production. News stories bemoan the fate of allergy sufferers while ignoring the bigger picture.
The stories focus on a drawback of a greener world—worsening allergies—while disregarding the much greater benefits: more trees, shrubs, grasses, flowers, and food crops, all of which is good for pollinators, animals, and humans.
Even allergy suffers, except perhaps the most curmudgeonly, would probably consider a few extra days of allergies a small price to pay for a greener world with more food and less hunger.
Spring also marks the commencement of the “big four” of climate change scare mongering: floods, hurricanes, drought, and wildfires.
Towns and cities have been located along rivers since civilization began. Rivers make natural travel corridors and trade routes. As a result, every year when spring rains come, ice breaks up, and snow begins to melt, towns and cities along rivers have flooded. Not every town on every river every year, but some towns on some rivers somewhere each year experience flooding.
In addition, modern development along rivers has made flooding more likely or more damaging when it occurs. This includes building in natural flood zones, failure to maintain levees, channelizing feeder streams and rivers, increasing the building of impervious surfaces, and wetlands removal.
To hear climate alarmists tell it, you’d think flooding was nonexistent or exceedingly rare before humans began burning fossil fuels.
However, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found no increase in flooding nor evidence of changes in flood frequency or severity that it can attribute to anthropogenic climate change. This is true even though the IPCC says climate change has contributed to increased incidents of heavy precipitation. As the IPCC writes, “heavier rainfall does not always lead to greater flooding.”
What’s true of flooding is equally true of hurricanes, drought, and wildfires. Each of these types of weather events occur seasonally. There is a “hurricane season,” typically June through November.
Drought doesn’t really have a defined “season,” but it is more often noticed and commented upon during the spring planting season and through the summer months when rains typically are sparse, land dries out, and ephemeral or shallow water bodies shrink or disappear.
“Wildfire season” typically occurs in the summer months and peaks in August. Wildfires, though not technically weather events, are more common during droughts.
Each of these event types has occurred with such regularity throughout geologic and recorded history that people have commonly seen them as having seasons—which began long before purported catastrophic anthropogenic global warming became a talking point for political, entertainment, and media pundits.
If recent history is any guide, once hurricane season and wildfire season arrive and as lands become drier during the summer, the media will slam audiences with story after story claiming human fossil fuel use is making hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts more frequent, more severe, or both.
Most of these stories will feature so-called “experts” attributing this or that hurricane or fire to climate change, generally based on computer models when they bother to offer any pretense of evidence.
The problem is hard data refute each of these claims. Data show hurricanes aren’t becoming more frequent or more powerful, regardless of the handpicked experts’ claims.
Data likewise show neither drought nor wildfire numbers or severity are above their historical norms: long-term trends evident in the data simply don’t support claims that wildfires and droughts are more frequent or severe now than they have been throughout history.
When models and theories conflict with hard data, following the science means accepting the facts and rejecting falsified claims, no matter how elegant the theory, how complex the model, or how prestigious the person making the claim.
So, when the mainstream media tries to scare you with stories throughout the spring and summer claiming climate change is causing an apocalypse of allergies, floods, hurricanes, drought, and wildfires, check the facts. It will make you feel better.
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