Warmer-than-normal winters? Must be evidence of global warming. Colder-than-normal winters? Must be evidence of global warming.
So say the global warming alarmists.
An example of the first sentiment is an article in today’s Washington Post – lamenting the warmer-than-normal winter we’ve been having so far.
An example of the second sentiment is an article in the Washington Post from a few weeks ago. According to Washington Post weather blogger Andrew Freedman, global warming paradoxically is supposed to cause colder winters in mid-latitudes. With melted ice in the arctic resulting in open water, Freedman writes,
the dark ocean surface absorbs more incoming solar radiation than sea ice does ….warmer air leads to higher atmospheric pressure surfaces over the Arctic Ocean, and this can weaken the high-altitude winds that circle the North Pole from west to east, known as the ‘polar vortex.’ A weaker polar vortex can provide greater opportunities for Arctic air to flow southward, into areas like the U.S. and parts of Europe, while the Arctic experiences warmer-than-average conditions.
So based on the above observation, a warmer-than-normal winter here must mean a colder-than-normal winter in the arctic. But under the global warming theory, the arctic is supposed to be warming, resulting in colder winters here (because warm air up there pushes the cold air southward).
According to the above theory, our hitherto warmer-than-normal winter here is inconsistent with global warming. So maybe you can rest easy after all.
I say maybe because no one seems to have any definitive answers regarding man-made global warming. Even the scientists admit that there are huge unanswered questions; and most meteorologists only concern themselves with weather forecasts 10 days out. It’s incredible that so many non-scientists are so smugly sure of themselves on man-made global warming pro- and con. Yet they know know next to nothing about the science of weather. I bet if you asked them basic questions of weather, like what causes clouds, what causes precipitation, what causes storms, what causes wind, what causes dew, and even how a barometer predicts weather, nine out of ten wouldn’t know the answers. And if they don’t know answers to basic questions of weather, how can they be so smugly sure of themselves on a topic vastly more complicated – i.e. climate change?
Having said that, just from anecdotal evidence within my own narrow vantage point, I’d be inclined to think that winters in North America are a bit warmer than in the past. Back when I was a kid in northern Minnesota (Grand Rapids. No, not Michigan.), we were usually skating by Thanksgiving, i.e. the lakes were usually frozen by then. These days, however, my sister, who still lives there, tells me that they usually can’t skate by Thanksgiving. Then I looked to find out if there’s an official record of ice freezes and thaws in Northern Minnesota. I found this one – of Detroit Lake. (No, not Michigan. Minnesota.) It shows that in the 2000′s, the ice freezes have been only slightly later than in previous decades – although substantially later than in the early part of the 20th century (when it sometimes froze in October).
But in fact, the above-referenced ice freeze record is probably inconsistent with the man-caused theory. Based on the logic of the man-caused version of events, the 2000′s ice freezes should be substantially later than the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s – i.e. the 2000′s should be substantially warmer than those decades – because during the second half of the 20th century so much of the third world industrialized. Much more carbon likely (I say likely because I don’t have time to research it right now – remember that this is just a think-out-loud blog) was pumped into the atmosphere during the second part of the the century than the first due to factories and cars proliferating everywhere around the world – like China and India and Mexico and Brazil – not just primarily North American and Europe. With accelerating levels of carbon going into the atmosphere in recent decades – much more so than in the pre-WWII era – you’d think that average temperatures should have likewise accelerated upward during the post-WWII timeframe. But they haven’t.
But who knows. There are tons of variables involved. Again, climate science is so inexact. Unanswered questions galore. As a nonscientist, any speculation from me on the matter is feeble. Same with other nonscientists – as well as scientists who don’t study long-term weather trends (which means most scientists). Even the conclusions of some weather scientists should be suspect – e.g. those with an agenda and/or who get global warming funding.
In any case the earth – or at least North America – may well be warming, but the big question is whether it’s man-caused. After all, there was the medieval warming period, which definitely wasn’t caused by industrial emissions.
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that the earth’s climate sometimes warms, sometimes cools, regardless of the influence of mankind.
And a History Channel special, How the Earth Was Made, points out that in the end, the ice always wins out. I.e., even if the earth is warming now, it’s only temporary. We’re living during an interglacial period, which are said to last around 10,000 years whereas ice ages are said to last around 100,000 years. (And evidently it’s been around 10,000 years since the last ice age.) Someday the climate will be so cold that the northern part of what’s now the United States will be covered in ice two miles thick.
But that’s way beyond any of our lifetimes. Probably hundreds or, more likely, thousands of years hence.