Little has changed after another year of global warming headlines. All of Maine’s record highs and most of the world’s Continental high temperature records remain unchanged.
Maine’s record high temperature of 105°F set July 10, 1911, in North Bridgton, is now one hundred and ten years old. Sixteen towns and cities in Maine have current high temperature records of 100 degrees and above. Eleven of the records were set in 1975. The five remaining records were set in 1907,1911,1935,1955, and the latest in 1987. Contrary to last week’s newspaper headlines, data sourced to the National Climate Data Center shows Portland’s record of 103 degrees set in 1975 still stands. The same data source also notes the hottest year on record for Maine was 1913.
Thirty-four states (68%) still have record highs more than fifty years old. Only three states have set record highs in the last 20 years. Low temperature records also do not support the often-stated extremes. Thirteen states have record lows over 100 years old. Only 3 states, Maine included, have set record lows in the last 20 years. A review of temperature records in world capitols shows Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America with some record highs set over 100 years ago.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recognized a single new Continental high record temperature in 2020. It was for the Antarctic Continent with a February 6 temperature of 64.9 F. The previous record was 63.5°F. In the review process, they rejected a higher reported temperature of 69.4°F at another location.
It is important to note that there is a certification process for recognized temperature records as noted in the paragraph above. Headline stories, for the most part, do not receive any type of rigorous review and are unreliable from a scientific standpoint. To those who say “follow the science” I would caution them not to confuse headlines and sound bites with science but rather to follow the data. Taken by itself, the data looks unremarkable.
Joe Grant, Wiscasset