Is there anything ‘Climate Change’ can’t do?
Climate crisis claims have managed to target nearly every aspect of American life from the cars we drive to the food we eat.
But a special team of geniuses at Dartmouth decided to make claims about home runs that completely strike out if reasoning and clear-minded analysis are applied.
Over 500 home runs in Major League Baseball since 2010 can be attributed to climate change, a new study that has attracted widespread media attention claims.
The study claimed that the upward trend in home runs in professional baseball is owed in part to rising temperatures making air less dense and allowing baseballs to travel farther when hit. Scientists acknowledged, however, that there are other factors as well to account for the increased amount of home runs in baseball.
It predicted that rising temperatures could end up accounting for 10% of all home runs that will occur this century, provided climate change solutions aren’t implemented.
The assertions are supposedly based on “physics.”
When air heats up, molecules move faster and away from each other, making the air less dense. Baseballs launched off a bat go farther through thinner air because there’s less resistance to slow the ball. Just a little bit farther can mean the difference between a homer and a flyout, said Alan Nathan, a University of Illinois physicist who wasn’t part of the Dartmouth study.
Nathan, one of a group of scientists who has consulted with Major League Baseball on the increase in homers, did his own simple calculation, based purely on known physics of ballistics and air density as it changes with temperature, and said he got the same result as the Dartmouth researchers.
Both Nathan and the Dartmouth team found a 1% increase in home run likelihood with every degree the air warms (1.8% with each degree Celsius). Total yearly average of warming-aided homers is only 1% of all home runs hit, the Dartmouth researchers calculated.
However, there are many complex factors that impact the strength with which a baseball is hit and how fast it flies.
The human factor cannot be ignored. It is an inconvenient truth.
Stanton hit one early this year that traveled 485' on a cold day. The record at Yankee Stadium is 500'.
Players today are bigger, faster and stronger. A lot train year round too.
Sure that doesn't have anything to do with the more home runs.
— Chuck Clark (@ChuckCl39580059) April 7, 2023
After the 2019 All Star Game, two more discerning scientists (Brian J. Love and Michael L. Burns, University of Michigan) looked at the explosion in the number of home runs.
Their results were . . . different.
Baseball surfaces were smoother.
A 2016 investigation conducted by FiveThirtyEight found that official baseballs were bouncier and less air resistant beginning in 2015.
Using X-ray imaging, FiveThirtyEight’s study compared balls made prior to 2015 with those produced after. It found an average 40% decrease in core density in baseballs produced after 2015. Compositional analyses identified roughly 7% more rubber and 10% less silicon in the later pills. These changes correspond to lower pill mass and increased bounce.
Nearly two years after the FiveThirtyEight investigation, Major League Baseball released its own 84-page report acknowledging there were aerodynamic changes in the baseball – specifically, the balls were smoother. But the league claimed this wasn’t due to any changes in the way Rawlings was making the ball. MLB suggested that it was likely due to slight variations in the materials used by Rawlings, along with the way the balls were being stored.
For example, since Rawlings acquires its leather – and doesn’t process it at its facilities – it’s possible that an alternative tanning process could result in even smoother leather surfaces. Baseballs with smoother surfaces will, once hit, move through the air more easily. It’s a minor change, but it matters.
Baseball players are reviewing videos and determining how to be more effective. As a result, hitters are now focused on “launch angles.”
In recent years, they’ve started to focus on what are called “launch angles.” The launch angle is the vertical angle at which the ball leaves a player’s bat after being struck. Due to advances in analytics, it’s become common knowledge that players have a much better chance of hitting a home run if the launch angle is between 25 and 35 degrees and the ball bounces off their bat at a velocity of more than 100 miles per hour.
With such defined criteria for hitting home runs, it is no surprise that many hitters are tweaking their swings accordingly. So while pitchers aren’t throwing harder, the new focus on launch angles could be contributing to the recent home run surge.
It took me about 15 minutes of research to find some preliminary information on the complex factors associated with successful home run hitting.
I also asked for some input from a real climate scientist, Dr. Matthew Wielicki. This is his response:
Seems pretty linear to me since 1920. I suspect it’s much more to do with strength and equipment than temperature. Plus there are way more night games now than before since many stadiums didn’t have lights back then. So likely the avg temp is down from the 1920s.
The Dartmouth analysis is based on models and projections, rather than observable evidence that the other scientists offered. I assert real data trumps computer-generated numbers.
This entire media-driven drama leads me to several disturbing conclusions. The lead author of the study is a doctoral student in climate modeling and impacts at Dartmouth. If this is the quality of research that is promoted at this level, then the area of American exceptionalism in science is nearing a sad end.
Furthermore, the American media rapidly promoted this story with no challenge. As I have noted before, this country is suffering from a dearth of serious news coverage, especially in the sciences. We have also suffered for the last three years from the lack of real professional journalists who are willing to ask an array of scientific experts for alternative explanations and then present their answers.
That’s okay, though. As Tucker Carlson noted during his interview with Professor Jacobson . . . Legal Insurrection does real journalism.
I guess when it comes to science news, I will have to step up to the plate, then.DONATE
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