What Global Warming? A Century of Virginia Julys

Graphing every daily high temperature for July in Purcellville, VA, more than a century of daily readings up through last month. What global warming? Click for full view.

By Steve Haner

The constant media hysteria about July’s temperatures gets even harder to swallow when the long-term data are examined. For example, take a look at that graph above, which represents every daily high in July going back to the 19th Century at Purcellville in Loudoun County.

The Purcellville weather monitor is one of just 19 in Virginia with a long enough and reliable enough history to be included in National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s U.S. Historical Climatology Network. It is the closest Virginia USHCN monitor to the Washington metropolitan region, but like many of the selected monitors is not deep in an urban setting.

The graph itself was generated by a program developed by a regular writer on climate topics named Tony Heller, who spent much of his career doing research at the Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories. This is mentioned because he will be attacked by the Bacon’s Rebellion usual suspects as not a real scientist or not a climate scientist. More of his background.

The graphing program can be balky (it could be my equipment or operator error), and you can try it yourself here under “Daily Station Temperatures.” You can select by state, and if you get the version that includes a box at the top marked “Annual Average,” that gives you a pulldown menu for the individual USHCN monitor stations in each state. The graph adds a trend line if you wish, which I included in my screenshots.

Running through the Virginia stations, the thought that comes to mind is, what climate change? What spike in temperatures? Most seem to be complete through all or most of last month. The media coverage has admitted that Virginia was not among the areas supposedly “broiling.” The state’s official NOAA summary claims a temperature rise of only 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, almost 125 years.

Graphing the July daily highs at Norfolk Airport. Click for a larger view.

Graphing daily minimum temperature at Norfolk Airport during a century plus of Julys. Click for larger view.

You can see a small tick upwards over the decades in some of the station graphs, such as the one above for Norfolk’s airport. But if there has been a rise in the average temperature, it is mainly due to slight increases in the daily low temperatures, a more noticeable trend for Norfolk. Some of that could be a heat island effect.

Hopewell is one of the stations closest to Richmond, and actually not far from Richmond’s airport, which is not a USHCN monitor. Hopewell July temps in the early 20th Century look no different than Hopewell in recent Julys. There is virtually no change in the daily highs and lows for the hottest month of the year.

Graphing dally highs for July at the Hopewell USHCN monitor. Click for larger view.

The same program will graph station by station data over time on rainfall and snowfall (don’t check for snow in July) and again, the eye sees little variation over the years.  If anything, rainfall may be edging up in places, but not substantially.

On the basis of this we are supposed to abandon all use of gasoline and diesel, get rid of our natural gas furnaces and stoves, and shut down perfectly viable electric generation plants? All the prophecies of imminent doom, famine, and death are based on these tiny (and in some places non-existent) changes in temperature and rainfall.

July 2023 on a worldwide basis was a hot month. Looking at some of the more reliable measurement methods, it may have reached a recent record. The difference from the previous high in 2016 is just a fraction of a degree. That was also an El Niño year. The satellite readings monitored by the University of Alabama-Huntsville start in 1979 and did show July 2023 with the largest anomaly from the mean for July measured by the satellites so far.

But media efforts to claim it was the hottest ever month in history, claiming comparisons to prior centuries with no such records, are nonsense.  The Climate Catastrophe Narrative is a religious doctrine, a matter of faith overcoming evidence. And like most organized religions, a priestly class has grown up claiming to know how to appease the angry weather gods. If we just give them the money, they will save us! But what are we being saved from?