Category Archive 'Double Think'

16 Dec 2016

Damn That Global Warming, It’s Cold Out There!

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In the New York Times, Tatiana Schlossberg (Caroline Kennedy’s daughter, Y’ 12) explains that if the weather’s getting cooler, that doesn’t mean there isn’t Global Warming. Why, well-educated members of the community of fashion elect can even explain to you that Global Warming actually can cause colder weather!

On Thursday, temperatures on the East Coast are expected to plummet, and some people — fellow journalists and weather broadcasters, we’re looking at you — may start talking about a “polar vortex.”

We thought you might want to know what the polar vortex is, and what it’s not.

(And we wanted to pre-empt the inevitable chatter about climate change that usually crops up when the thermometer drops — “It’s bone-shakingly cold, how could the Earth be warming?” We’ll tell you how.) …

When these cold snaps come, you may hear other people asking,” If global warming is supposed to be warming the globe, then why is it so cold?”

Well, for starters, there is a difference between weather and climate. Climate refers to the long-term averages and trends in atmospheric conditions over large areas, while weather deals with short-term variations, which is what happens when the polar vortex visits your hometown.

And of course, an Arctic blast can still occur in a warmer world. The air that comes down from the North Pole might not be as cold, Ms. Barthold said, but it would still be the product of the same phenomenon.

Some studies suggest that climate change could actually make these frigid waves of Arctic air more common, a result of shrinking sea ice. However, other scientists remain skeptical of this theory.

And the earth is definitely warming: Temperature records show that, by the end of last year, the earth’s surface had warmed by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century. But even though the earth’s surface is warming, scientists say that winter will still exist.

And even if parts of the United States are experiencing unusually cold temperatures, it represents such a small portion of the earth’s surface — about 2 percent — that it does not mean much in terms of average global temperatures.

So, if, for instance, a senator (perhaps James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma) brandishes a snowball on the floor of the Senate to dispute the validity of climate science when a chill wind blows through Washington, you will know that the unseasonably cold temperatures he is talking about do not mean that global warming is not happening.

It is.

Apparently the Great Big Brains have understood all this for years. Warmlist, the attempted complete list of all the things caused by Anthropogenic Global Warming, already has listed:

cold spells, cold spells (Australia), colder waters (Long Island), cold wave (India), cold weather (world), cold winters


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