With Europe gripped by successive heatwaves, local weather change deniers are spreading scepticism by publishing knowledge on social media on excessive temperatures allegedly recorded a long time in the past to indicate scientists are exaggerating world warming.
However consultants say the figures cited from the previous are sometimes incorrect or taken out of context — and even when correct don’t change the truth that heatwaves have gotten extra frequent and intense.
The posts sometimes embody warmth information from almanacs or newspaper experiences from the previous, arguing that they’re much like the report highs set throughout this 12 months’s heatwaves in Europe.
One submit that has gone viral on Fb features a display seize of a short article revealed within the New York Instances on June 23, 1935, which stated the mercury had hit 127 levels Fahrenheit (52.7 levels Celsius) in Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain, the day earlier than.
That temperature is far larger than the report for the best temperature in Spain of 47.6 levels Celsius recorded on August 14, 2021 by nationwide climate workplace Aemet on the La Rambla meteorological station within the southern province of Cordoba.
Contacted by AFP Reality Verify, Aemet spokesman Ruben del Campo stated the best temperature recorded in Zaragoza that day in 1935 was simply 39 levels Celsius.
“The determine of over 52 levels in incorrect. It isn’t a determine that’s in our local weather database, and in reality, there isn’t a log of a temperature above 50 levels Celsius,” he stated.
And “even when the determine was appropriate, which I stress it’s not, that’s not proof that local weather modifications doesn’t exist”, he added.
Spanish every day newspaper La Vanguardia in 1935 additionally reported that temperatures had hit the low 50s in Zaragoza however defined that the measurement was taken “within the solar”.
Scientists suggest a sequence of strict standards to make sure an correct temperature studying.
“Sensors have to be protected against the solar and the rain, and the temperature contained in the climate station have to be the identical as what it’s outdoors,” stated Aemet meteorologists Ricardo Torrijo.
One other submit that has gone viral on Fb, Telegram and Twitter since final June reveals a entrance web page of Spanish weekly journal El Espanol from August 1957 with the headline: “The most well liked summer season of the century”.
It referred to a studying of a temperature of fifty levels Celsius in central Spain, which was additionally taken within the solar.
Isabel Cacho, a local weather knowledgeable on the College of Barcelona, stated that “within the hypothetical case” that the mercury soared above 50 levels Celsius, “this is able to not be an argument to query that it’s hotter now”.
‘Not change pattern’
Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that carbon emissions from people burning fossil fuels are heating the planet, elevating the chance, size and severity of heatwaves and different excessive climate occasions.
“These figures of excessive temperatures (up to now) don’t discredit the existence of local weather change,” stated Jose Luis Garcia, a local weather change knowledgeable at Greenpeace in Spain.
“They’re unrelated. One factor is one-off temperature knowledge and one other very totally different factor is the tendency in direction of a rise within the common temperature.”
Pedro Zorrilla, a Spanish knowledgeable in local weather change, stated the “anomaly” of a really excessive temperature recorded in 1935 would have a “very small impact” on common temperatures.
“It doesn’t change the pattern,” he added.
Data present heatwaves are occurring with higher frequency within the Iberian Peninsula, stated Mariano Barriendos, a geography and historical past professor on the College of Barcelona.
“It’s comparatively traditional for a sizzling air mass to enter the peninsula from the Sahara Desert. What’s worrying is that heatwaves are taking place extra usually,” he stated.