Snow-storms & Cold Weather DO NOT Disprove Global Warming

Climate-science skeptics have been gleeful in their assault on climate change theory, the hard research and tens of thousands of scientists behind it and the very concept of human responsibility to the environment, because there has been snowfall. In a stunning display of ignorance, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) openly claimed the record snows that hit Washington, DC, were evidence there was in fact no climate change, that the whole idea is just a myth.

His obvious ignorance about the definition of climate —it does not mean local weather— is one facet of his failure to reason. But the truly sinister feature of his non-evidentiary, ideologically driven, and well-funded (by corporate donors) attack on climate response policy is his unwillingess to see pattern of global climate destabilization. Record snowfalls across the nation, with snow falling in 49 of the 50 states (none in Hawaii, of course) are anecdotal proof of global climate destabilization.

But while Sen. Inhofe is using his family to build an igloo, alleging that snowfall makes global climate change an impossibility, the science is showing the destabilization of global climate patterns to be far more severe than any previous models had projected. It remains to be adequately studied whether eight years of flagrantly climate-skeptic industrial policy in the US may have contributed to a worldwide emissions binge, accelerating the process.

What the most unthoughtful, mean-spirited and self-interested climate skeptics, like Inhofe, fail to understand, or want the public and the government to fail to understand, is that a slight warming of the global average temperature alters weather patterns of all kinds. This leads to the destabilization of major climate patterns, and can mean the breakdown of deep ocean currents, the jet-stream —which keeps Europe warm despite its high latitude— and even the African and south Asian monsoons.

One of the most visible and immediate effects of destabilization is the more intense storms that come with warming of the global average temperature. With warmer seas and a slightly warmer atmosphere, storms that feed on sea-water evaporation —which is accelerated in a warmer climate— become more powerful, and have more precipitation to dump when they hit land. Intensifying hurricanes and the intensified snows of 2010 are equally indicative of that trend.

But the inconvenience, beauty and/or shock of incredible snows, is just one detail of how warming shifts climate bands and causes patterns of weather communication between regions to break down; the most dangerous scenarios relate to the oceans. The rapid and accelerating melting of polar ices shows not only the risk for rising sea levels, but also the risk of undersea climatological destabilization factors: the breakdown of sea methane hydrates along the sea bottom or the Deep Ocean Current could fundamentally alter climate patterns everywhere on Earth.

Methane clathrate hydrates —more commonly called methane hydrates— are deep ocean deposits of highly concentrated methane gas, trapped in the crystal structure of water ice. If these become vulnerable to melting, the release of methane could have a catastrophic effect on the relatively stable climate patterns that have existed throughout recorded human history.

Research in the permafrost region of Siberia in 2008 showed millions of tons of methane being released from melting clathrate hydrates, with the result being concentrations as high as 100 times normal in some areas. Methane is many times more greenhouse effective than carbon dioxide, and an atmosphere filled with massive concentrations of it would certainly produce significant destabilization in global climate patterns.

It is believed the rapid release of methane from methane hydrates may have been part of the feedback loop of catastrophic climate destabilization that led to major extinctions in the past. Major extinction events or global climate alterations may have been spurred by massive global methane release that resulted from melting of hydrates thawed by warming induced by either meteor strikes or volcanic eruptions of catastrophic magnitude.

The severe warming of the global average temperature over recent decades has no evident natural cause, though it is clearly explained by the massive increase, over the last several centuries, and most importantly over the last 100 years, of carbon-based gases that contribute to the “greenhouse effect”, keeping warm air closer to the surface of the planet, creating these dangerous climate destabilizing feedbacks.

The Deep Ocean Current has been described as a conveyor-belt of stable climate, required for civilization as we know it to function. It is, in fact, a global flow of water, the dynamics of which protect the climate distribution we view as “normal”. The most crucial engine of the Deep Ocean Current is where the warm Gulf Stream waters, having brought warmer temperatures to northern Europe —which is on the same latitude as Newfoundland—, reaches a literal tipping point in the North Sea, where the ambient temperature is so low the tropical waters rapidly cool and plunge to the bottom.

The effect is a powerful waterfall with more downward thrust than the driving current of any river system in the world. That thrust is crucial to keeping the global Deep Ocean Current moving, because it has enough force to push that same current down around Africa and into the Indian Ocean. Similar inducement zones occur across the globe, but the most crucial is the North Sea plunge. The breakdown of this “conveyor belt” could simply do away with warm European climates or the monsoon rains on which half the world’s population depends for food.

This is why “warming” is global and not local. The snows of Washington, DC, might appear to mean “cold” to the non-evidentiary observer, but in fact, they mean “warm”. Harsh mountain winters can just as easily be a sign of warming as snowless winters, because “global warming” is just a trigger for what is actually climate destabilization. It is foolish, if not brutish, to argue that somehow “cold” will make for climate stability in the same way water stands still when it freezes.

The climate does not work that way. It is a global contagion of temperature variations, humidity, atmospheric gases and feedbacks, which never stops or freezes. Winds are not mystical forces or the breath of gods, but rather the result of temperature fluctuations. Sen. Inhofe cannot explain away decades of climate science with record snowfalls, in part because the snows are a predicted proof of the warming and destabilization trend, and secondly, because he is talking about weather, not climate.

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7 Comments

on “Snow-storms & Cold Weather DO NOT Disprove Global Warming
7 Comments on “Snow-storms & Cold Weather DO NOT Disprove Global Warming
  1. But was it not the AGW enthusiasts a few years ago that warned us that snow would be a thing of the past because of climate change?
    In fact the British Met. service told us solemnly that our children would ask to see videos of snow falling, because it would only be a memory for us, and a wild story of Narnian proportions for them!!!
    You can’t have it both ways – or can you?

  2. “Sen. Inhofe cannot explain away decades of climate science with record snowfalls, in part because the snows are a predicted proof of the warming and destabilization trend, and secondly, because he is talking about weather, not climate.”

    So is it only Gloabl Warming believers that can use weather to prove (“predicted proof”) climate change? Do you know how silly your last paragraph reads? You cannot prove Global Warming with weather either.

    Computer models cannot predict 10 days of weather let alone 10 years of climate. The “proof” will be reviewing the data after it has occurred. The last 15 years show the climate cooling – that’s better proof than weather, don’t you think?

    Can’t we just agree that realistic measures should be taken by ALL parties to control waste (and I’m not talking about CO2 here) and uses of resourses?

    Respectfully Submitted.

  3. Re OVERDEW: That intense snowfalls are one of the “predicted proofs” of climate destabilization does not mean weather is used to “prove” climate change theory, but rather that when informed science evaluates the causes of a shift in weather patterns, the underlying research behind climate change and behind intensified precipitation can line up. Sen. Inhofe has it backwards. More intense winters, just like more intense summers, are a demonstration of a climate undergoing pervasive destabilization, not (as Sen. Inhofe would have it) a demonstration that in fact there is no change happening.

    Re RADIOSPU: Some climate theorists have suggested that where there has been snow in the past, it would cease to exist, which may hold true, over the long term (talking decades or even centuries) for some regions. It is foolish for climate scientists to make the claim that local weather is the proof of global climate change, just as it is foolish to say that local weather disproves climate change… there is, however, a caveat: in certain cases, fundamental changes in regional or even local climate make-up can show evidence of a pervasive global trend, but the science has to be there.

    So, yes you can “have it both ways”, if by that you mean can warming cause intense cold and can both snow and the absence of snow be signs of pervasive climate change. But no, you cannot suggest warming must and will lead to specific local weather events; climate science is not predictive in that way, but it can show clear scientific evidence for fundamental changes in the ingredients that make up actual climate patterns.

  4. Solar scientists have been prediciting a warming period followed by a cooling period for many years. These scientists use Solar cycles to predict the current cooling period with increased cloud cover and precipitation for low solar sunspot scycles as we are currently experiencing. This research, which is well documented has been dismissed by global warming “climate scientists” like AL Gore as insignificant. It is funny that they continue to cry globl warming and that many “climate scientists” now claim that this cooling is a result of warming!!!! What???? The man-made global warming theories have no mechanism to account for a cooling planet (period). CO2 increases and the temperature increases. The global temperature is not following their predictions (period). CO2 continues to climb while temperatures fall! When are these “scientists” going to WAKE UP and look at the real data and stop using the “data” manufactured by Mr. Phil Jones? (Until their funding runs out, I guess!)

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html#ixzz0fk3Hsfyj

  5. Re DrSteve: Solar activity science is not “dismissed” by the climate science community. But the evidence of newly sensitive solar activity assessment methods does not have a long enough history to accurately determine any long-term relationship to Earth climate. As far as the “cooling trend”, this is fundamentally untrue.

    There is no evidence of any global cooling; quite the opposite, the warming trend is the most pronounced and consistent seen in recorded history. Our information about previous warming and cooling cycles is largely geological. We can trace what took place, but our evidence for what took place in previous warming and cooling cycles is not adequate to determine scientifically a specific involvement of solar cycles, sunspots and solar radiation releases, in altering global climate patterns.

    What’s more, solar activity science tends to focus more on the relationship of solar cycles to electromagnetic fields than to climate directly. There is a logical leap involved in much of what is claimed about the link between solar activity and climate; until that logical leap is narrowed to evidentiary verifiability, the global scientific consensus will not treat the claims you cite as truly scientific.

    Solar cycles are 11 years in length, but the climate warming trend does not follow that cycle, and even as the intensity of solar activity has dipped, the warming trend has continued, raising very strong doubts about the veracity of the claim that the Earth warms and cools according to the solar cycle: http://solar-center.stanford.edu/sun-on-earth/glob-warm.html

  6. Mr. Robertson,
    You state the following:
    1. “As far as the “cooling trend”, this is fundamentally untrue. There is no evidence of any global cooling; quite the opposite, the warming trend is the most pronounced and consistent seen in recorded history.”

    What does NASA satellite data tell us? “Unlike the surface-based temperatures, global temperature measurements of the Earth’s lower atmosphere obtained from satellites reveal no definitive warming trend over the past two decades. The slight trend that is in the data actually appears to be downward. The largest fluctuations in the satellite temperature data are not from any man-made activity, but from natural phenomena such as large volcanic eruptions from Mt. Pinatubo, and from El Niño. So the programs which model global warming in a computer say the temperature of the Earth’s lower atmosphere should be going up markedly, but actual measurements of the temperature of the lower atmosphere reveal no such pronounced activity. “ http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/essd06oct97_1.htm .
    2. “…even as the intensity of solar activity has dipped, the warming trend has continued,”

    These statements are categorically untrue! Even Professor Phil Jones disagrees with this statement. “He further admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming…”
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html

    You also state:
    3. “…the evidence of newly sensitive solar activity assessment methods does not have a long enough history to accurately determine any long-term relationship to Earth climate.”

    Let me re-phrase this… …the evidence of the newly proclaimed anthropomorphic global warming does not have a long enough history to accurately determine any long-term relationship to Earth climate.

    AND:
    4. There is a logical leap involved in much of what is claimed about the link between solar activity and climate; until that logical leap is narrowed to evidentiary verifiability, the global scientific consensus will not treat the claims you cite as truly scientific.

    May I re-phrase this… There is a logical leap involved in much of what is claimed about the link between anthropomorphic global warming (i.e. man-made increases in CO2 production) and climate; until that logical leap is narrowed to evidentiary verifiability, the global scientific consensus will not treat the claims you cite as truly scientific.

    You should pay attention to what scientists are saying, http://www.solarstorms.org/SClimate.html

    If you believe that there is a scientific consensus on global warming, you must not be aware of the growing number of scientists that disagree with the theory of anthropomorphic global warming.

  7. Re DrSteve: This comment misinterprets or misapplies information related to a different level of the atmosphere altogether, and the information is 13 years old. First, you need to consider that an increased difference between surface temperature (remember, we live at the surface; ocean temperature, glaciers and ice-melt are also at the surface) and temperatures in the lower atmosphere can lead to even more severe storms and climate-related environmental impact. That temperature difference means stronger winds, and those winds cause climate phenomena to move, which is how we get weather. If surface temperatures are warming, the warming itself will also be more widespread due to increased wind activity.

    Now, if you want to know what NASA’s climate scientists say about warming trends, 13 years after addressing the problem of whether certain methods of measurement were accurate enough to deliver reliable data (the report you cite from 1997 explored not whether surface temperature measurements were accurate, but whether satellite temperature measurements were accurate), you need to read the latest research: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20100121/

    In fact, NASA finds a marked upward trend in global average temperature. Regarding El Niño, there is recognition that the “unusually high temperatures” for 1998 might be in part attributable to that phenomenon, but El Niño shifts weather patterns within a specific latitudinal range, and does not explain long-term global trends in average temperature.

    The NASA report from 21 Jan. 2010 reads:

    “A deep solar minimum has made sunspots a rarity in the last few years. Such lulls in solar activity, which can cause the total amount of energy given off by the Sun to decrease by about a tenth of a percent, typically spur surface temperature to dip slightly. Overall, solar minimums and maximums are thought to produce no more than 0.1°C (0.18°F) of cooling or warming.

    ‘In 2009, it was clear that even the deepest solar minimum in the period of satellite data hasn’t stopped global warming from continuing,’ said Hansen.

    Small particles in the atmosphere called aerosols can also affect the climate. Volcanoes are powerful sources of sulfate aerosols that counteract global warming by reflecting incoming solar radiation back into space. In the past, large eruptions at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines and El Chichón in Mexico have caused global dips in surface temperature of as much as 0.3°C (0.54°F). But volcanic eruptions in 2009 have not had a significant impact.”

    NASA also specifies that in fact the period 2000 to 2009 (not part of your 1997 report) is clearly the warmest decade on record.

    Your second point is covered by NASA’s data in response to the first. The truth is that the ONLY extant data on whether global average temperatures have changed during the recent solar cycle minimum show that in fact WARMING CONTINUED virtually unabated.

    Your third point is a flawed rhetorical inversion; that solar activity assessment methods do not have a long-enough history is a factor, because they attempt to measure the specific relationship of activity on a distant celestial body, with no hard surface where history can be explored or traced. We have no way of determining what the solar history in relation to these measurements was.

    Therefore, your attempted inversion —”the evidence of the newly proclaimed anthropomorphic global warming does not have a long enough history to accurately determine any long-term relationship to Earth climate”— does not work, because the Earth does have a hard surface, with hundreds of millions of years of climate information recorded in its geological record. Ice and sediment, organic matter and the fossil record, all show us information about the make-up of past climate patterns and even average temperature ranges for specific regions, based on things like the distribution of flora and fauna during a given period in the geological record.

    (By the way, the term “anthropomorphic” means “in the form of human beings”. It refers to when we see an object as having human qualities, like assigning the value of “face” to a car because of the layout of its headlights and grill, or when we assign to animals virtues and abilities we value in human beings. The term is used by some climate skeptics either out of ignorance or as a way of making the mainstream climate consensus sound foolish. The proper term is “anthropogenic”, meaning “caused by human beings”.)

    Your fourth point, another flawed rhetorical inversion, also does not work, because it ignores the rhetorical premise of what it seeks to invert. There is a fundamental difference between mainstream climate science and the logical leap involved in the alternative theories you cite. The difference is that mainstream climate science is based on the established evidentiary history of climate modeling, temperature study, physics, meteorology and geology. It is a vast, interdisciplinary terrain of fact and evidence, and leaves little room for interpretation or guesswork. The solar cycle critique you cite has already been shown to NOT illustrate what you and some scientists say it might illustrate, and the critique is based wholly on the assumption, entirely in the realm of theory and untested, that reduced sunspot activity means cooler temperatures on the surface of the Earth.

    The only reliable evidentiary measure of this claim is NASA’s modeling mostly over the last 10 years, after the 1997 report you cited as having some bearing on satellite temperature measures, and what NASA ACTUALLY FOUND during the last ten years is that the solar cycle minimum might reduce global average temperatures by 0.1ºC (in a decade when global average temperatures have risen “to the highest levels ever recorded”, according to NASA’s research.

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