Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Great Pretender

The question which must be asked of Rush Limbaugh is one which has been begging to be asked for decades: Do you really think your audience is as stupid as you appear to believe?

On Tuesday, Limbaugh contended 

But now it's ISIS!  Now, why change?  Why do this?  I mean, climate change and the Democrat Party are inseparable.  And the Democrats are making it the number-one issue. There are reasons -- absurd, of course, 'cause there isn't any evidence that it's happening.  

Although its meterologists are loathe to emphasize it, The Weather Channel evidently would disagree because

May 2016 was the warmest May on record for the globe, making it the 13th consecutive warmest month on record.

NOAA's global State of the Climate report released Thursday found May's temperature over the Earth's surface was 0.87 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average. This beat out the previous record warm May set just last year by 0.02 degrees Celsius.

The 13-month streak, which dates back to May 2015, is the longest stretch of months in a row that a global temperature record has been set, according to NOAA's dataset which goes back to 1880.

NOAA reports "The May temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.57°F above the 20th century average of 58.6°F. This was the highest for May in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.04°F."

May 2016 (NASA temperature map, above via the U.K.'s Independent) was not the warmest month on record, merely the warmest month. Still, it was no anomaly given that it

tied with June 2015 and August 2015 as the 12th highest monthly temperature departure among all months (1,637) on record. Overall, 13 of the 15 highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred since February 2015, with February 1998 and January 2007 among the 15 highest monthly temperature departures.

Rush doesn't understand- or pretends not to understand- distinguishing between climate and weather when he remarks

See, here we have this little heatwave out in the Southwest the past three or four days. "See?  See? It's never been hotter!" I'll bet you if you go look into historical temperatures, you'll find days at this time of year since records have been kept where temperatures were as high, maybe even higher, than what they've been.  

It was 117 degrees in Phoenix on Sunday and Monday and until July 7, the high temperature is expected to be below 110 degrees only on June 30.  Limbaugh won't tell his audience that because his argument is based on the idea that weather and climate are synonymous, that 117 degrees on June 19 in Arizona would mean the earth is warming and snow on January 15 in International Falls means it is cooling.

Surely he couldn't be that ignorant. But he informs his audience that young individuals, a tiny portion of his audience, are. He continues

But to young people who don't have that historical perspective, "Oh, my God, it's never been this hot! Oh, my God, climate change! Oh, my God, global warming! Oh, my God, we're frying! Oh, my God, we're broiling! Oh, my God, it's over! Oh, my God, the climate change people are right.

And they're not. 

That's clever use of the straw man tactic.  His audience has been trained to believe that weather is climate and that there is no warming. Hence, without specifying the abnormally high temperatures occurring- which would be of out-sized importance to the audience he consistently misleads- he ascribes lack of historical perspective to young people.  It would be a cheap shot were it accurate.

It's ironic because historical perspective would demonstrate that climate change is real, and extraordinary.   2016 is expected to be (by far) the warmest year on record, as 2015 was prior to that. And 2014 prior to that. Further

Of the hottest years on record, 15 out of 17 have come since 2000. By contrast, more than a century has gone by since the planet had a record cold year (1911). In addition, this marks 39 years in a row with above average global temperatures and 372 months in a row with global temperatures above average. 

That's all coincidence, as it is when Rush Limbaugh continues to deceive and cheat listeners who deserve far better.

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