Rush Limbaugh says "almost no temperature records were broken" during the recent heat wave, and Newsbusters writer Noel Sheppard says there were "only 34 new all-time daily temperature records set." Only 34? Why, that's barely a record-breaking heat wave at all! Except for the fact that a) 34 records is nothing to sneeze at and b) by "34," Sheppard means "somewhere between 70 and 7,612."

"All-time daily record" is not a thing, but there are daily records and all-time records. Daily records compare the max and min temperatures that day to the same date in previous years. All-time records compare the max and min temperatures that day to every day in every year ever. And July set 70 all-time maximum and 175 all-time minimum records (which are maybe more important). That's leaving out the daily and monthly records completely; when you add those in, it's over 7,000. Sheppard's number isn't even in the ballpark.

Here's the data (from NOAA) on the number of U.S. records broken or tied in the month of July so far:

  • All-Time Highest Maximum Temperature: 70
  • All-Time Highest Minimum Temperature: 175
  • Monthly Highest Maximum Temperature: 125
  • Monthly Highest Minimum Temperature: 330
  • Daily Highest Maximum Temperature: 2,125
  • Daily Highest Minimum Temperature: 4,787

Limbaugh also claimed that "it does this every year," which … if the heat is really setting records every year, wouldn't that perhaps be indicative of some kind of trend towards warming? Some kind of warming trend?

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As always, weather isn't climate, and showing a connection between record heat waves and climate change takes more work than just saying "it's motherfucking hot." But showing that climate change doesn't exist takes a HELL of a lot more than just covering your eyes, turning on the A/C, and going "la la la what heat wave?"

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