1934 Is Once Again Our Hottest Year

Published October 24, 2007

A global warming believer told me, “Of course global warming is dangerous. Every year gets hotter than the year before.”

Until recently that is, when NASA’s Goddard Institute announced it had to revise its U.S. temperature histories–and the ranking of our country’s “recent hottest” years. Why? GISS had shifted the database for its records in 2000 and hadn’t fully corrected for the modest differences in the two data sets.

So, 1934 is once again the hottest year since 1880. And 1998 has been relegated to second place, just ahead of 1921. Four of our hottest years now come from the 1930s–and only three from the last decade. Did global warming cause the Great Depression?

All of this emphasizes–no thanks to the Goddard folks–that we’re having the most moderate global warming crisis ever. Globally, our thermometer records have inched up a net of just 0.2 degrees C since 1940. We’ve had no significant warming in the nine years since 1998, and this year’s record so far is cooler too.

Since 1910, our temperature has waffled up and down in a pattern strangely similar to the warming and cooling phases of what we now know as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation–that 50- to 60-year cycle in northern Pacific sea temperatures that also governs the salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest. The Earth’s temperatures warmed strongly from 1916 to 1940, while the PDO was warming. Our temperatures then declined from 1940 to 1975, while the PDO was cooling. From 1976 to 1998, both the temperatures and the PDO warmed.

There’s been no warming since the last PDO peak in 1998, and the salmon have had strong runs in the Columbia River.

Global warming alarmists say the sunspot index has now turned down, and they ask why the temperatures haven’t. But a good estimate of the lag time between the sunspots shifting and our sea surface temperatures responding is 34 years–according to Charles Perry of the U.S. Geological Survey, writing in Advances in Space Research, Vol. 40, 2007, pp. 353-364.

So far, there is nothing in the thermometer record that is inconsistent with the long, moderate 1,500-year climate cycle, which shifted from the Medieval Warming into the Little Ice Age about 1300, and then into the Modern Warming about 1850.

It looks as if the temperatures aren’t heating up nearly as much as the scare rhetoric.

Dennis T. Avery ([email protected]) is a senior fellow with The Heartland Institute and coauthor of the bestselling book Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1,500 Years.