Story submitted by Forrest Mims III, originally published for the San Antonio Express-News
In the early days of this column, concerned readers sent many questions about the earth’s ozone layer, which I began measuring in 1990. Today, public interest in the ozone layer has been replaced by concern about global warming.
Answering questions about global warming requires considerably more space than this 437-word column. So let’s focus in on the temperature history of Texas for now.
The 2011 Texas drought was exacerbated by the highest temperatures since 1895 during June, July and August. Several prominent climate scientists have blamed these record highs on global warming. These claims are puzzling because, in spite of the 2011 record highs, Texas records going back more than a century show slightly more cooling than warming. So I visited the National Climatic Data Center website to review Texas temperature records. The NCDC provides monthly temperature records for 10 Texas regions going back to 1895.
It also provides the average temperature for the entire state.
I retrieved all 12 months of data for each year since 1895 and plotted the average annual temperatures on a chart along with their trend. As shown in the chart, the average temperature of Texas barely changed between 1895 and 2011.