Accuracy in Media

Extreme heat caused by global warming already is changing the way athletes compete, and it threatens to wreak havoc on the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, according to a recent story in the Washington Post.

In “Athlete vs. heat” – subhead: “Scorching conditions are increasingly common at sporting events, creating risks and challenges for athletes” – Rick Maese of the Post provides a lot of explosive-if-questionable data points.

He writes that the last four years are the warmest on record, when nearly every year of the 1930s was warmer.

And he says “Climate projections suggest the planet could warm by 3 or 4 degrees by the end of this century, which would have major ramifications for outdoor sports everywhere, from recreational weekend joggers to elite athletes competing on the biggest stages,” even though the Earth appears to be on a cooling trend.

In fact, global warming does not seem to be cooperating with Maese’s narrative at all.

The drought is over in California, and wildfires are a tiny fraction of the problem they have been in recent years, according to another story on the Time magazine website.

Last year, almost the entire state was listed on the U.S. Drought Monitor map. Today, only a tiny portion is.

CalFire has fought fires on just 38 square miles this year, down from an average of 416 square miles from 2014 through 2018.

Acreage burned is down 90 percent compared to the average of the last five years and 95 percent from last year, thanks to “the amount of precipitation the state received during a winter of near-record snowfall and cooler-than-average temperatures.”

A spokesman for CalFire said “the state hasn’t dried out as quickly this year and the temperatures haven’t been as consistently hot. Hot spells have been followed by cooler weather and winds haven’t been as strong.”

On the other coast, the news is just as bad for global warming alarmists. The National Weather Service expects this month to be the first August in more than 20 years to not produce a named storm and only the third such year since 1950. There has not been a named storm in the Atlantic since Tropical Storm Barry on July 14, making this the quietest start to a hurricane season in more than a decade.

Maese’s argument is based on the fact those who stage competitions in hot environments have begun to take precautions against overheating by competitors. But this has to do with the venues chosen more than any changes in the weather.

For instance, he talks of the Australian Open, which always has been affected by extreme heat, coming as it does in January at the height of the Southern hemisphere’s summer. He talks about Tokyo, where the hot, humid climate already has forced organizers to move the marathon event to 6 a.m.

He mentions Qatar, which has become a big player in international sports. It will play host to this year’s track and field world championships, and the marathon there will start at midnight to avoid the desert heat as much as possible. The World Cup will be played there in 2022, and organizers already have moved it back to November and December from its traditional June dates to avoid heat.

But the drumbeat of his story is that this is getting worse. “As extreme heat becomes more prevalent and events are increasingly staged in oppressive conditions, athletes who struggle in heat can expect to see their performances affected and will need to take added precautions in training and during competition,” he wrote.

In truth, temperatures have been more or less flat for 20 years and are falling now.

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