from Powerline on November 23rd
by John Hinderaker
As part of its effort to promote global warming hysteria, the New York Times has published an interactive feature titled How Much Hotter Is Your Home Town Than When You Were Born? The Times page will show you how many 90-degree-plus days there are currently, compared with the year of your birth (or 1960, which is as far into the past as the Times goes). This is a rather random metric, especially since the warmists’ models predict that most warming will occur at night, which would tend to raise minimum more than maximum temperatures.
But let’s take it for what it is worth. My organization’s communications director ran across the Times feature and checked the results for his home town, Cokato, Minnesota. He found that temperatures have cooled there, by the Times’ measure, since 1960. I tried the same thing with my home town, Watertown, South Dakota, and got the same result:
Our dataset goes back to 1960, when you were 10. Back then, the Watertown area could expect about 14 days per year to reach at least 90 degrees. Today, the Watertown area can expect 10 days at or above 90 degrees, on average.
Here is the chart for my home town:
My point in this post is not to rehash the many arguments surrounding the global warming theory, but rather to pose a question: Why is it that so many people seem willing to believe that their environment has gotten significantly hotter, even when that claim is, or should be, contradicted by their own experience?
I think the reason is that today, we live mostly in a climate-controlled environment. Thus, it comes as a shock when we venture out into midsummer heat. That wasn’t true circa 1960. At that time, I believe my town had one air-conditioned building, the Plaza Theater. Our cars weren’t air conditioned, either. When it got hot, we rolled down the windows. In the Summer, my family lived in a shack (we euphemistically called it a “cottage”) on a lake near my home town. Our shack didn’t reliably keep out the rain, so we lived in the elements. My brothers and I could sometimes go from Sunday to Sunday, when we dressed for church, without wearing clothes other than a swim suit. Sun tan lotion was a new product, but not one that any boy would dream of using. We turned brown in the Sun.
Did it get hot then? Of course. But by the time temperatures got into the 80s and 90s, our bodies had adapted and we were ready for the heat. Today, most of us never do adapt. The time comes when we leave our air-conditioned cocoon and walk outside when the temperature is in the 90s. We think the heat is horrific and scurry back indoors or into an air-conditioned vehicle. That’s what I tend to do, anyway.
That is my theory as to why so many people seem to accept the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming theory, when their own experience ought to make them skeptical.