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Snowmageddon – The End of Global Warming? February 11, 2010

Posted by Jamie Friedland in Climate Change, Media, Politics.
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It’s cold here in Washington, DC.  By now, everybody knows we’ve had quite a bit of snow over the last week.  Conservative media outlets (and conservative pundits given a platform by mainstream outlets in the name of “balance”) offer these powerful blizzards as proof that global warming is a hoax.  In reality, however, all that these storms prove is that one cannot win an argument with a climate denier.

The term “climate change” was adopted because it is more accurate than “global warming.”  Even as the average global temperature rises, there will be some regions that grow cooler.  Yet taken as a whole, our planet is incontrovertibly warming.  According to NASA, the 2000s were the warmest decade on record, and 2009 tied as the second warmest year.  In fact, despite the chill here, last month (Jan. 2010) was 0.3 degrees warmer than the long term average.  Moreover, the recent storms don’t even counter the theory of climate change – they are predicted by it!

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies report of surface temperatures.

As a disclaimer, it should be noted that individual weather events (short instances not to be confused with the much longer trends of climate) neither prove nor disprove climatic trends.  That being said, it is established fact that warmer air can hold more moisture.  So it makes sense that we would see increased precipitation fall on a warming planet.  In summer, that means more rainfall.  In winter, that warmer air with its increased moisture cools and causes “Sno-verkill” (the most recent, annoying successor to “Snowpocalypse” and “Snowmageddon”).

The Daily Show has a particularly good (and hilarious) segment demonstrating how ridiculous this denier logic is. One of my favorites to date.

The term “climate change” is also preferable because it helps to counter the annual lies that winter somehow disproves a demonstrable warming of our planet.  Regardless of the global temperature, the nature of our planet’s orbit and axial tilt in relation to the sun will always cause seasons of relative warmth and cold.  You knew this.  But unfortunately many people don’t.  And the media are allowing climate deniers to wield events that are literally explained by climate change as evidence of its failure.  This news story casts doubt upon the reality of climate change in the minds of the public, who are continually told by conservatives that we cannot act because scientists aren’t even sure it’s happening.

Climate change is not certain; it’s a theory.  But it’s a theory the same way that gravity is a theory: the best available explanation for a phenomenon, based on volumes of verifiable evidence, and tantamount to fact as long as there is no contradictory data or a better explanation.  The IPCC, over 2000 of the world’s leading climate scientists from around the world, has concluded with “at least 90% certainty” that greenhouse gases released by fossil fuels and other human activities are warming our planet.  That is more than enough certainty to act upon.

If an airline mechanic told you that the plane you were about to board had at least a 90% chance of crashing, would you get on that flight?  Definitely not.  Now let’s make the analogy a little more accurate: you are already on that plane, with that same at least 90% chance of crashing.  Don’t you think it’s about time we found a safe way to land?

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Comments»

1. A Siegel - February 12, 2010

Perhaps “climate disruption” …

Now, those screaming about DC snow are unlikely to be mentioning that a Vancouver Olympic site is having helicopters moving snow to enable competition. http://getenergysmartnow.com/2010/02/11/climate-disruption-airlifting-snow-from-washington-dc-to-vancouver-british-columbia/

jdf15 - February 12, 2010

Very true. I’m curious to see if that plot line will make it into Fox/Drudge Olympic coverage. It would be very hard to totally avoid.

2. global warming deniers | GLOBAL WARMING - February 12, 2010

[…] Snowmageddon – The End of Global Warming? « The Political Climate Tags: Antarctica, carbon dioxide production, Earth, environmental footprint, warming Published by admin on Feb 12, 2010 under 1 | Post your comment now Find out more: here. « global warming data […]


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