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1934 is the hottest year on record

The year 1934 was a very hot year in the United States, ranking fourth behind 2012, 2006, and 1998. However, global warming takes into account temperatures over the entire planet. The U.S.’s land area accounts for only 2% of the earth’s total surface area. Despite the U.S. heat in 1934, the year was not so hot over the rest of the planet, and is barely holding onto a place in the hottest 50 years in the global rankings (today it ranks 49th).

Climate change skeptics like to point to 1934 in the U.S. as proof that recent hot years are not unusual. However, this is another example of “cherry-picking” a single fact that supports a claim, while ignoring the rest of the data. Globally, the ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998, with 2005 and 2010 as the hottest.

The fact that there were hot years in some parts of the world in the past is not an argument against climate change. There will always be regional temperature variations as well as variations from year to year. These happened in the past, and they will continue. The problem with climate change is that on average, when looking at the entire world, the long term trend shows an unmistakable increase in global surface temperatures, in a way that is likely to dramatically alter the planet.