From the blog of Dr. Roy Spencer
Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.
We’re hearing that a new El Nino forming in the Pacific Ocean is likely to propel global average temperatures to new record highs in 2023.
Aside from the fact that we have no idea if current temperatures are warmer than they were during the Medieval Warm Period about 1,000 years ago, I have to ask…
Doing something about global warming depends heavily on how much we have to pay to fix it. If it was cheap and practical, we would have already switched to renewable energy sources.
It also depends on how much global warming we’ve experienced and whether it’s enough to worry about it. For the global oceans, the climate models that shock us in a steady stream of alarming news reports have overestimated ocean warming by a factor of 2. In America’s heartland, the summer discrepancy is a factor of 6 (!). Clearly, then, public concern is being inflated by factually incorrect information.
What temperature do Americans choose?
When it comes to life in this United States, around 50% of US citizens are at least moderately concerned about climate change and global warming. As mentioned above, I believe this is largely due to their reaction to the news media’s regularly exaggerated reports.
An interesting question asked by the late Dr. Pat Michaels asked about 25 years ago: What temperature do Americans live with? We’re a large country with a wide range of climates, from cold winters to year-round tropical, so there’s a considerable range of climates in which we choose to live.
dr Michaels pointed out (most recently in 2013) that Americans tend to migrate to warmer climates over the years. Some of us may claim to be concerned about global warming, but we are increasingly choosing to live where it is warmer. I updated these calculations to 2022 and the results are the same:
The blue curve shows the usual area-average temperatures for the Lower 48, while the orange curve shows the state’s population-weighted average. While the region’s average temperatures have warmed slightly over the past century, temperatures where people live have more than doubled. (The possibility that Urban Heat Island effects may have erroneously warmed these NOAA-reported temperatures is part of a research project we were involved with).
Some may argue that migration to states with warmer temperatures has more to do with economic opportunity than temperature. But who creates economic opportunities? People. And where do people live? Where the weather is warmer.
There’s a reason people are flocking to Texas and Florida and not the Dakotas or Maine. In the end it’s the climate. While some of us like to think we’re saving the earth by buying a Tesla, our migration habits tell a different story.