Cold Weather Doesn’t Disprove Global Warming. Global Warming is Why It’s So Damn Cold.

Every now and then, it’s worth reminding ourselves that much of the national political discourse operates based upon a script, and, usually, script cues are driven by the news media. For example, every Christmas as if on cue the conservative entertainment complex wheels out its crusade against the so-called “War on Christmas.” Every beat is predictable and completely bogus. There is no “War on Christmas” and any anyone who says it’s real should be greeted with either boisterous laughter or a well-timed obscenity.

Likewise, in recent years, whenever there’s snowy, cold weather somewhere, the same crew, mostly led by Matt Drudge, unpacks and dusts off its “global warming is a myth” headlines, using a snap of cold weather in the northeast as hard evidence that the entire globe isn’t getting warmer at an alarming rate. Drudge, in particular, likes to juxtapose news of a blizzard (somewhere) with a recent global warming headline. The internet’s most popular troll’s favorite trick.

Clearly, this chapter of the script, just like the “War on Christmas” chapter, is intended to exploit the idiocy of slow-witted, low information viewers/listeners/readers. Lookie outside! BRR! It’s cold! So much for global warming. Har-har. Uh no. Anyone who’s dumb enough to draw this conclusion, I’d love to sell them some robot insurance. Because robots are strong and they eat old people’s medicine for fuel.

See, it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and Summer in the Southern Hemisphere where in Australia, for example, they’re enduring a record-breaking heat wave. The seasons are opposite due to the natural tilt of the Earth’s axis and — well, you know. Science, science, science. But screw that mumbo-jumbo — it’s easier to look outside, see snow on the ground and then to, via confirmation bias, conclude that global warming is a hoax. Easy. And dumb.

500_mb_Mon_nightIf you’d like to see the heads of your denialist friends explode like that guy from Scanners, tell them about the polar vortex.

Ironically, and based upon pure climate science, the extreme cold temperatures strafing North America and causing embarrassing shrinkage from Montana to Boston is very likely caused by global warming. But how can this be? Global warming is supposed to mean everything is getting warmer. My cat smells like cat-food.

The polar vortex is made up of a loop of swirling high-speed winds that normally encircles the Arctic. As the polar ice cap melts, the sun’s heat is absorbed by the water instead of reflected by the ice. This is causing the Arctic to grow warmer more rapidly than other parts of the hemisphere. And it’s the normal difference in temperature between the Arctic and lower latitudes that keeps the vortex in place, were it not for global warming. As polar temperatures grow closer to temperatures at lower latitudes, the high-speed winds inside the vortex weaken and the frigid vortex that’s normally trapped by those winds at the Arctic slips out of place and drifts southward. This is precisely what’s happening now, according to Berlin’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

Simply put: the Arctic’s weather has slipped out of place and now resides over the U.S. and Canada.

The caveat here is that the science on this phenomenon is fairly new due to the fact that Arctic ice has only recently begun to dissipate. There simply isn’t large enough trove of data to fully substantiate the science. But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has drawn a similar conclusion to the PIK.

Or whatever. It’s cold outside because global warming is a hoax. That’s easier — and horrendously wrong.

  • Barry__S

    What does weather do when global cooling occurs?

    • That River Gal

      Google ice age. I’ll refrain from insult for now.

      • Barry__S

        An inconvenient question eh?

  • Erik

    Good luck getting Republicans to believe this. Heck, almost 2/3rds of them don’t even believe in evolution. To them, “global warming” is just a librul plot to usher in a one world government under the UN.

  • Razib_Taif1

    just want to be an ass and mention how i’m sitting at a coffee shop in the bay area in just a t-shirt after a great bike ride this morning. Of course my rent is over 3k a month and I don’t have a bathtub or a closet so it all evens out.

    • That River Gal

      I suggest finding a hobby.

  • http://www.according2robyn.blogspot.com/ According2Robyn

    This arctic weather is proof that Al Gore is fat.

  • Christopher Foxx

    Global warming is supposed to mean everything is getting warmer.

    Much of the problem in getting the concept across to the lazy minded who just want to believe what they’re told is the use of the term “global warming”. It’s best avoided.

    Instead use the more accurate, and far less distortable, “global climate change”.

    • Draxiar

      The syntax of the term “global warming” inherently leads one to assume that cold weather will cease to exist. People focus on the word and not the consequences or the science. So yeah, the term should be tossed on the scrap heap.

      Furthermore, it’s disingenuous for people to use climate science discoveries to then debunk the same climate science that offers evidence of human induced climate change. For example, how many times have you heard someone say “Well climate change is a hoax because the climate has changed in the past when people weren’t around”. That’s right, and how the fuck do they know that? Climate Science! Also, that point doesn’t prove the climate isn’t changing.

      Denying climate change (when the evidence of it has been tracked in multiple ways) is just a convenient way for folks to keep right on doing what they’re doing or turn a profit. That or the situation is way to friggin’ scary, huge, and confusing for folks to think about.

      • Christopher Foxx

        That’s right, and how the fuck do they know that? Climate Science!

        Excellent point. I’ll remember that next time a denier tries to make that “is a hoax because the climate has changed in the past” argument to me.

  • JozefAL

    You know, Bob. I would love–just once–if we’d hear from the deniers during our summertime record-setting heat waves and droughts and wildfires that “global warming is just a hoax.” But nope. Just crickets then.

  • joseph2004

    Who cares. Cesca, you aren’t going to solve the climate change situation, no matter who you mock or point fingers at. Might as well point a finger at yourself.

    Hey Cescans, guess what Big Auto in America is doing to stay profitable… Exactly what it was doing before Obama paid off the UAW… selling tons of Pickups and SUV’s, those same gas guzzling evils y’all love to hate.

    Keep up those convictions! Our planet needs you!

    • Vipsanius

      Too funny!!

    • JozefAL

      Gee dude. It couldn’t possibly be because gas prices are about 25% LOWER than they were back in 2008, now could it? When people aren’t paying $4 and $5 and $6 a gallon for gas and putting it in vehicles that hold 20-30 gallons and only getting about 10mpg, they’re more likely to go for the SUVs. In point of fact, contemporary SUVs are being made as hybrids (even some are electric) and they’re more fuel-efficient than they were a decade ago (when YOUR government was offering tax breaks to SUV owners).

      Also, you might want to tone down your SOP Obama-bashing. It was DUBYA who bailed out the auto makers. (Also, I’d love to know how “what Big Auto is doing to stay profitable” and “Obama paid off the UAW” actually work together. The UAW’s people were building WHATEVER vehicles “Big Auto” was telling them to build. If the CEO saw compact cars as being the big seller, the plants–and the UAW workers–built them; if the CEO saw SUVs as being the big seller, those got built.) Of course, conservatives do what they do best: CON.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Trolling noted.

      • Christopher Foxx

        Indeed. joseph doesn’t even try to mask his worthlessness anymore.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      The planet doesn’t need the noxious hot air coming out of your large piehole, joeyloudmouth.

  • feloniousgrammar

    Welcome to the Anthropocene. Before long, it won’t be the slightest bit controversial and no one will be rich enough of smart enough to rise completely above it.

    We need to get out the vote in the midterms and get rid of the stupid lose/lose authoritarians who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

  • trgahan

    “It’s cold outside because global warming is a hoax. That’s easier — and horrendously wrong.”

    It’s also easier because the average middle of the road person rarely sees/understands what an actual low carbon first world society/economy would be like. They are bombarded with climate denier, dog whistle filled, screeds all based on the premise of “Liberals want YOU to sacrifice all your dreams, while THOSE people (currently the Chinese) are getting everything they want! YOU’RE just a sucker and your sacrifice is meaningless!” Pretty much the same rant they use on all economic issues. Few understand that the ‘get rich quick,’ short term, next quarter stock price only matters, Romney-esque version of capitalism is a major cause of much of environmental/climate degradation.

    • feloniousgrammar

      Also, every generation is born to a deader planet. If, as long as you’ve been conscious the natural world around you has been sterile, then that’s just the way it is, and there’s no feeling of loss. Of course it’s speeding up now so that a lot of losses will be hard to miss , especially the loss of large populations.

      In the 21st century, there are more refugees from environmental disasters than from wars. This is a first, it’s getting steadily worse, and there are no “new” lands to populate.

      • joseph2004

        Not to mention the UN prediction of a world population of 9.5 billion by 2050. There are many more of us to be affected. Dot the landscape with more people, more people are affected, even if the number of weather events stays the same. But never mind that little inconvenient truth, a truth that climatologists have cited in recent weather-related disasters in the US. Better to just claim Armageddon is on the way. Yep, that’ll solve our problems.

        • Christopher Foxx

          Dot the landscape with more people, more people are affected, even if the number of weather events stays the same.

          But the number of weather events is not staying the same. OK, it’s a fair point that the severity of the problem, in terms of number of people affected, is increasing due to population growth. But the number of weather events is not staying the same.

          To suggest we should ignore one contributing factor just because it isn’t the sole contributing factor is stupid.

        • That River Gal

          Wow. Just wow.

      • Christopher Foxx

        and there are no “new” lands to populate.

        Mars!

        (Hey, anything to get the space program moving forward again.)

  • D_C_Wilson

    Be glad you’ve moved out of Pennsylvania, Bob. It’s f*cking cold here.

    In some ways, we may be better off using the term “climate change” even though promoted it because he thought it sounded less menacing that “global warming.” But the latter term is easier for the derp squad to twist it’s meanings.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Exactly. It’s a lot harder for the fools to get away with saying “It’s freakishly cold, so clearly climate change is a myth.”

      Using “global warming” is surrendering a lot of the argument.

      • condew

        Right now, it’s not the warming or the change, it’s the instability; lower lows, higher highs and bigger winds; in places that haven’t seen them on a regular basis.

        • Christopher Foxx

          OK, “climate instability” where warranted.

          But never “global warming”.

  • dbtheonly

    Yeah. Like you see snow on the ground there in Hawaii.

    • That River Gal

      When the sea levels rise, there might not be a Hawaii.

      • dbtheonly

        It’s the whole argument in micro. Bob’s maybe having to move in years & me risking hitting ice on the way home tonight. I know intellectually that the risk to Hawaii is more important. But a car wreck would be me. Tonight.