letter to the editor

An inconvenient truth

Mon, 05/20/2024 - 4:00pm

Dear Editor:

Recent headlines have read; “World's record-breaking temperature streak extends through April,” “The last 12 months were the hottest on record,” “The Last 8 Years Were the Hottest on Record,” and this week’s headline, “A warning from a new poll: Fewer people are worried about climate change.” How can that be, 18 years after An Inconvenient Truth and hundreds of thousands of doomsday headlines people are becoming less worried? Could it be a victory of common sense by the common man? There is a disconnect between the headlines and reality, and people are noticing. 

Little has changed after another year of headlines. Maine’s record high temperature of 105°F, set on July 10, 1911, is now one hundred and twelve years old. Twelve Maine towns and cities have high temperature records of 100 degrees and above. Five of the records were set in 1975. The remaining seven were set in 1897, 1911, 1911, 1911, 1935, 1955, and 1988. Portland’s record of 103 degrees was set in 1911 and still stands.

The U.S. data is like Maine’s. Three states set an all-time record high in the 1800s. In the following three decades ending in 1929, another 10 states set their record. In the 1930s, by far the hottest decade, 23 states were added. In the following three decades ending in 1969 three more states were added. In the three decades ending in 1999, another eight states were added. Only two states, South Carolina and Washington, have set high records in this century.

The temperature record of planet Earth also does not show a dramatic trend. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), divides the world into 11 regions for recording “highest temperature.”  The following is a list of the dates of those records; 1931, 2017, 1905, 1913, 1960, 1942, 1977, 1982, 2020, 1989, and 2020. Five of these records are older than 60 years.

Joe Grant