Skip to main content

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

The extreme cold temperatures strafing North America and causing embarrassing shrinkage from Montana to Boston is very likely caused by global warming and the subsequent weakening of what's called the "polar vortex."
  • Author:
  • Updated:

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.

If 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.