A social media post has claimed that the in the last eighteen years, the United States is yet to experience a warming trend.
“Zero US warming in 18 years, per US Climate Reference Network temp stations,” reads the caption of the Instagram post.
“That’s no US warming despite 30% of total manmade CO2. Emissions-driven warming is a hoax.”
The Instagram post was shared on February 27, gathering 437 likes and several comments.
“Although no one truly knows the cause, it is undeniable that temperatures have risen over the past 20 years. Look at the temperature records and average snowfall,” reads one of the comments.
Despite the inaccuracy in interpreting the graph sourced from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a critical look shows an increase in temperature.
“As much as I trust the source of the data, the interpretation isn’t correct,” Olusola Ayantobo, a hydro-climatologist and research associate at China’s Tsinghua University, said.
TheCable compared annual data from the database of NOAA, which revealed a temperature increase of 0.42 degrees Celsius per decade in the US in the last seventeen years – between 2005 and 2022.
However, experts are of the opinion that more than twenty years of data is needed for accurate climate analysis.
“Station data shouldn’t be used to predict climate change conditions over a particular region. Short-term datasets can only be used for weather prediction while a long dataset is appropriate for climate change predictions,” said Ayantobo.
In line with the expert opinion that climate analysis requires several years or decades of data, TheCable extended the data analysis to cover a wider time frame by comparing the average temperature between 1901 and 2021, a period of twelve decades.
The outcome of the analysis as shown in the above graph clearly shows the annual average temperatures have changed in the 48 bordering states in the US, since 1901.
GLOBAL AVERAGE SURFACE TEMPERATURE
Apart from the temperature increase in the US, several independent research by experts on surface temperature analysis shows an upward trend in temperature as depicted in the graph below.
“Clearly, the earth’s temperature has risen by an average of 0.14° F (0.08° Celsius) per decade since 1880, or about 2° F in total. The rate of warming since 1981 is more than twice as fast: 0.32° F (0.18° C) per decade,” Ayantobo, a climate change expert told TheCable.
“Surprisingly last year was the sixth-warmest year on record based on NOAA’s temperature data. The 2022 surface temperature was 1.55 °F (0.86 °Celsius) warmer than the 20th-century average of 57.0 °F (13.9 °C) and 1.90 ˚F (1.06 ˚C) warmer than the pre-industrial period (1880-1900).”
EFFECT OF CARBON EMISSION ON GLOBAL WARMING
Also, the other claim in the Instagram post stating that emissions don’t cause warming is absolutely false. Over the years, increased human activities, essentially the burning of fossil fuels have produced more carbon dioxide (CO2) than natural processes can neutralise or remediate.
Increased CO2 has been linked to greenhouse gas which traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming. With increased warming on the other hand, there is an increase in the rapid melting of sea ice and accelerated rise in sea level, which result in flooding in some cases, and intense heat waves at other times of the year.
The claim that the US is yet to experience warming in the last eighteen years is false. Contrarily, the annual average temperature has been on a steady rise.
Also, climate experts have repeatedly stressed with evidence that burning fossil fuels is one of the most significant contributors to global warming.
This fact check was produced by TheCable with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.
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