Facts and facts

Fact: The past April was the coldest April in twenty years in the United States and the thirteenth coldest in the past 124 years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Fact: The American southwest was warmer than usual, as were the southern plains, with record dryness in the southwest and mid-Mississippi Valley.

Fact: The United Kingdom had an unusually warm April, with days that were the hottest in 70 years, so hot that horse races were cancelled.

Fact: The German National Meteorological Service reported that April was the hottest month in the recorded history of German weather.

Fact: Italy also had a warm April, with five cities – Trieste, Genoa, Pisa, Venice, and Grosseto – recording record temperatures for the month.

Fact: Australia had a warm April as well, with parts of the country measuring the second hottest April on record.

Fact: On April 30th, a city in Pakistan – Nawabshah – set the world heat record for April, with temperatures reaching 122.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the city of over a million, causing heatstroke deaths, power outages and general misery.

Fact: Even with cold temperatures in North America, world-wide, April 2018 was the third warmest on record.

So… which facts do you choose to believe?

Do you pick the ones that reinforce what you want to believe? Or the ones you’ve experienced? Or do you look at all the facts and try to sort them out?

Can you even sort them out?

I did a quick scan of news stories I could find on April weather that were published in the last month. Out of some 280 stories, only fifteen mentioned the heat in any other part of the world, and only five mentioned the point that April, world-wide, was much hotter than average and the third warmest on record.

Most of the stories available in English focused on the unseasonably cold U.S. weather without any world-wide perspective. That’s understandable in some ways, because news outlets cater to their local constituencies, but it’s also deceptive because it reinforces a very localized perspective.

All of which bring up a question we need to keep asking ourselves. From just where did we get the facts we so blithely trot out to support what we believe?

4 thoughts on “Facts and facts”

  1. Daze says:

    We like our facts to be simple. The complex answer – primarily that the extraordinary warming of the Arctic is pushing the jetstream south and making it unstable, bringing some Arctic winds to lower latitudes – doesn’t easily fit into a tweet, or into the brain of some prominent tweeters.

    Also, it’s much easier to explain everything if the answer “God made it happen” is accepted. (Or for that matter, “God loves us, so wouldn’t let that happen.”)

  2. Daze says:

    Also also – laws of thermodynamics: the total energy in the weather system doesn’t get destroyed, just moved about (and added to by the greenhouse effect) – so in the short term if some areas are having exceptionally high temperatures, then that energy is being taken from somewhere else, which will likely be having a cold snap.

  3. JakeB says:

    A powerful and extremely destructive illustration of the part looking the opposite of the whole is likely to occur in the relatively near future, if the trends continue with the gulf stream.

    Large sections of Europe will become too cold to be livable except by the kind of people who like places like Alaska and Northern Canada, there will be collapses throughout the world economy, and millions upon millions of refugees. It won’t do the east coast of the US much good, either.

    And no doubt climate change deniers will be shouting, look at how much colder Europe has gotten! How can there be global warming??

  4. Asaf sahin says:

    ‘In turkey also we had the hottest April of the last 38 yrs -recorded- and funnily enough we may have the coldest May; such that frost damaged the apricot and peach trees in wide areas, and do not forget the flash floods which become commonplace for the last 10 yrs.

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