Hot Weather Sucks…

…So starts an article in Wired titled “Climate Change Is Going To Be Expensive–For Everybody.” Not being an expert in suckology I decided to read further.

A paper recently published in Nature “compared annual temperature to annual GDP for every country. “What we found is that temperature has played an important role in shaping GDP output in the last 50 years,” says Marshall Burke, economist at Stanford University and co-author of the study.”

“The study found that economic growth has a sweet spot: Around 55˚F. If the average annual temperature falls above or below that, GDP starts to taper off—slow at first, then very fast. “The graph looks like a strong inverted U,” says Edward Miguel, economist at UC Berkeley and another co-author of the study. At either end, the GDP remains fairly stable between 32 and 77 degrees F, but drops rapidly beyond those boundaries.”

As global average temperature right now is 60.4˚F, we must already be suffering the effects, right? And the global average has been above 55˚F since…. well, 1880, at the conclusion of the Little Ice Age. And you can see the crippling effect of the climb in temperatures on global GDP here:

Global gdp

But of course, it could be that some countries have been over-producing because their temperatures haven’t been rising as fast.

Countries in the northern hemisphere have been warming  faster than those in the South. “If global warming were a race, the Northern Hemisphere would be winning. It is warming faster than the Southern Hemisphere, with some of the most rapid warming rates on Earth located in the Arctic, where sea and land ice is shrinking and thinning.”

Hemispheric warming

So obviously, the Southern hemisphere must be going like gangbusters to compensate for lazy folk in the North sweltering under this newly arrived heat, right?

And in fact, the top two countries in GDP growth between 1990 and 2007 are Equatorial Guinea and Vietnam. And so is number 11 on the list, the Cook Islands. And so is number 21, Samoa, and Sri Lanka at number 29.

But the other 24 top growing countries are in the Northern Hemisphere.


Average temperatures:

Equatorial Guinea: Over the course of a year, the temperature typically varies from 73°F to 88°F and is rarely below 70°F.

Vietnam: July is the hottest month in Hanoi with an average temperature of 29°C (84°F) and the coldest is January at 17°C (63°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 8 in July.

Cook Islands: the average daily temperature is 25 degrees celcius/77 fahrenheit.

Sri Lanka: The average temperature in Sri Lanka is 27.0 °C (81 °F). * The range of average monthly temperatures is 2 °C.

Samoa: You will find year round sunshine with temperatures rarely dropping below 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) by day and sea temperatures averagingaround 24 degrees Celsius (75° Fahrenheit).

So the quickest growing economies in the Southern part of the world have temperatures dramatically above 55°F. The quickest growing economies in the Northern part of the world are warming more rapidly. There’s something I’m not seeing here, evidently.

The Wired interview quotes one of the paper’s authors as saying ““Overall economic production would fall by about 23 percent by 2100 if climate keeps changing under the current models.”

That’s kind of a lot. I wonder what model they are using?

Some models work better than others.



3 responses to “Hot Weather Sucks…

  1. The paper has the look and feel of “Global Warming will Increase Children´s deaths from Hypothermia”.

    The authors would groan with envy if they found out it took me 21 minutes, including the Statistical Analysis, to write it.

  2. The name Burke rang a bell. He was the lead author of “Warming Increases The Risk Of Civil War In Africa” (PNAS, 2009) discussed by Pielke Sr. and Pielke Jr.. Their conclusion: “This historical response to temperature suggests a roughly 54% increase in armed conflict incidence by 2030.”

    This sounds like a similar exercise: regress, over-simplify, extrapolate. Presumably it will attract rebuttals such as the two which Pielke père and fils mentioned for the African war paper. But not until well after the Paris folk have the opportunity to throw around these large figures (“23% lower GDP!”) as if they were firm facts.

  3. I doubt that Singapore is in that temperature sweet spot. Having lived there for 10 years, I can attest that temperature did not seem to have any detrimental impact on Singapore’s rapid growth from a malaria ridden port city at the tip of the Malay peninsular to one of the most advanced and economically vibrant city-states in the world, all made possible by the fossil fuels that powered their air conditioners. The late Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s founding father and long time Prime Minister, credits air conditioning with the economic rise of Singapore and the Southern Hemisphere. It has also been responsible for the economic rise of the south in the U.S. Both would not have been possible without the fossil fuels that powered those air conditioners. The cited paper is just another in the pile of trash that “Alarmists” use to justify their failing hypothesis.

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