The Sierra Club immediately issued a statement applauding the president's reaction to the "climate crisis and increasingly erratic weather events."
It is apparent that neither Obama nor the Sierra Club has been monitoring data from the president's own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The executive order first cites "an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures." This is a false assertion in view of records from NOAA and the U.S. Historical Climatology Network. Using raw data from these bureaus, Paul Dorian with The SI Organization, a private defense contractor and weather advisor to government agencies such as NASA and NOAA, charted temperatures in the United States since 1910. "The five summers with the highest number of 100 degree days across the US are as follows: 1936, 1934, 1954, 1980 and 1930," noted Dorian, who pointed out that the number of high temperature records this year is less than half the number in 2012.
Next, the president lists "more heavy downpours," and later "more severe droughts." But again the facts prove otherwise for both extremes. Raw data from NOAA for precipitation in the 48 contiguous states shows an upward linear trend since 1895 of 1.6 inches per century, as charted by Craig Loehle, Ph.D., principal scientist at the National Council for Air and Stream Development. Since 1976, that trend lowered to 0.58 inches per century, reaching its lowest during the period of 1976 to 2005 at 0.35 inches per century. Hardly a gullywasher! Additionally, in testimony at a U.S. Senate hearing on global warming earlier this year, Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., environmental studies professor with the University of Colorado, observed, "Flood losses as a percentage of US GDP have dropped by about 75 percent since 1940."
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