Climate Change Forecast: Warmer but Still Snowy

Dan Coleman's picture

They may have their tongues in cheek (it's hard to tell), but the editors of the Chapel Hill Herald today told us that "We know all about global warming. We just don't believe it."

The reason for this leap into irrationality: the several snow events that we've had this winter.

The Herald appears to be committing the common error of confusing climate with weather. Weather is the state of the climate at a given time and place. Climate describes long term weather patterns. Global warming is about climate change. Yesterday’s storm was the weather.

Among the impacts of climate change are increases in and changing patterns of precipitation. Increased precipitation during the winter, even at a degree or two warmer, will usually result in more snow.

Even the Herald’s own notion of using isolated weather events to rebut the world’s scientific community does not stand-up. One could as easily have argued that, without global warming, yesterday’s slush and freezing rain would instead have been snow. In other words, we can conclude that our own weather experience is consistent with global warming.

But they were only kidding, I’m sure.

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Total votes: 1

22 Comments

Mr. Hot Air, Don't mistake

Mr. Hot Air,

Don't mistake what I said about Fred Singer as character assassination. If you can provide a peer-reviewed article in a legitimate scientific journal written by Singer in the last 15 years, I'll be shocked.

Mark

Hey, this may be slightly

Hey, this may be slightly off topic but then again, those posting to this thread may find it sobering (or at least entertaining...) to check out this website:

http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/goes/burn/

It is a meteorological site at the U. of Wisconsin that monitors biomass burning, that is, forest fires or large burns of acreage (the so-called 'slash and burn' of cattle grazing fame), from a satellite. On this site you can see how many fires burn each day in north and south america, and it features a 3-day loop for south america. Go to the "local links" in the middle of the page, find "real time loops" feature and scroll down to the "South America GOES 12 overview"

The site explains that particulate matter from the burnings likely impacts global climate . The home page says:

"The international scientific community has stressed the need for long-term monitoring of biomass burning for global climate change research. Biomass burning is a distinct biogeochemical process and plays a major role in the global carbon cycle impacting both regional and global climate change."

Note, the JAVA feature that plays the loops seems only to work with Netscape Navigator, not Explorer.

Enjoy...

Interesting point, Terri,

Interesting point, Terri, plus all of the things that cause Global Warming are also damaging to the environment and human health in other ways. Curtailing Global Warming would involve reducing dependence on Middle East oil, improving Americans' physical fitness, improving the quality of the air we breathe, reducing non-point source water pollution, and a huge long list of other improvements to our society.

AND ironically such societal changes could be a source of new market opportunities for businesses (big and small). See for example www.zapworld.com (NASDAQ Symbol: ZAPZ). I am not realy reccommending buying stock in this company, but if it is publicly traded then there are a significant number of investors out there who are taking the business seriously.

-Mark Chilton

If there isn't enough

If there isn't enough information to make a 'conclusive' decision, why not follow the conservative (non political defintion!) route and take protective action now? Wouldn't acceptanace stimulate further research that might provide more conclusive evidence? Wouldn't action spur on new business ventures? Where does the greatest risk lie--in taking proactive action in case global warming is real or finding out 10 years from now when it's too late to reverse the damage?

The petition is hardly a

The petition is hardly a fraud. It's rather simple and straightforward, actually, and only says there's not enough evidence to make conclusive judgments about warming and its causes.

I would only add to your concession that "Only the extent of its impact is in doubt" that causation (natural or man-made) isn't yet provable (no models work yet) nor is what kind of impact (postitive or negative) can be expected. Lots of theories, but they remain just that.

I don't think we're going to solve this issue in this space, however.

BTW, way too often on this site counterargument is based solely on impugning the source (above, red light cameras, etc). While it's good to understand potential motivations, that doesn't mean that arguments put forth are by implication wrong. It's important to raise connections, but also talk facts and reason. It doesn't do the dialogue, or your case, any good to rely on simple character assassination. Funding source does not necessarily disqualify output, even if it invites heightened scrutiny.

The so-called global warming

The so-called global warming petition project is a fraud. You can find an explanation of this on the Union of Concerned Scientists web site.

Pretty much every scientist who works on climate change as well as every international organization responsible for such matters is long on board with the concern for global warming. Global warming is a reality. Only the extent of its impact is in doubt.

For one of many recent articles on this, see the UK Guardian at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1032984,00.html

Ruby, Just because your set

Ruby,

Just because your set of professors ten years ago accepted this doesn't mean there isn't real debate, perhaps out of the public eye, on this subject. Please don't be so dismissive of the 17000+ scientists, 2100 of whom are climatologists, meteorologists and environmental scientists. This is not settled science, despite the PR it's received. The data is contradictory; the models aren't supportable and often contradict each other.

This issue is so fraught with politics and closemindedness (if my professors said so it must be so) that its no wonder productive debate cannot be held openly.

FoHA, your implication that

FoHA, your implication that there is not a common understanding about the facts of this issue among scientists doesn't ring true. Of course there's not unanimity. There's not unanimity on Darwinism either, but I'm not going to have my kids taught creationism in *state-run* schools.

When I got my environmental science degree (UNC BSPH '93) - that's over ten years ago - global, human-initiated climate change was already an accepted scientific fact by every professor I ever met (or heard of).

The hemming and hawing of the type employed by the Chapel Hill Herald has got to stop so we can move on to understanding how we are individually and collectively contributing to this impending disaster. I would start by cancelling my subscription to the Herald to protest their conservatism, but I already did that about six years ago.

Hmmm . . . so Rockefeller

Hmmm . . . so Rockefeller discredits the petition initiator (BTW, you have 17,199 more signators to disparage) whereas the military industrial capitalist Nobel doesn't taint your folks?

If you think this was a flame, then you're easily burned. I was merely pointing out there is hardly unanimity among the scientific community about the causes, effects or even current condition of our complicated global climate. It wasn't very many years ago when the headlines touted top scientists' conclusions of an impending ice age due to global cooling. (See my first post, above.) More recently, CO2 was a bad thing; now it's a good thing.

The global climate may be warming, or it may not be. That may be a natural phenomenon, or we may be contributing to it.

What would help would be if the chicken littles of the scientific community and their sensationalist headline seeking jounalist collaborators would stop their alarmist shrieking while ALL the scientists gather better data, develop better models and argue it out.

Where would we be right now if we had taken to heart the "ice age cometh" folks in the 70's and developed policies to rapidly heat up our atmosphere?

Global warming brings more

Global warming brings more warm air to pick up moisture from the seas in the winter. This brings more moist air to the land masses. Last I checked, moist and cold air, not just cold air, is what brings snow. . .

I fail to see the contradiction between more snow lately, and global warming.

60 scientists, including 20

60 scientists, including 20 nobel laureates, think scientifically ignorant poltics by presidents is wrong

http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,62339,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_2

Presidents should consider the results of Global Climate change a national security issue.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story 0,12374,1153530,00.html

Also there is lots to read on google news about 'climate change'

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&edition=us&q=climate+change&btnG=Search+News

<flame bait for Damion or

<flame bait for Damion or whomever is Full of Hot Air>

I'm sorry but my 20 nobel laureates easily trumps your 17,200+ scientists suposedly signing a potition started by a "past" president of a university named after the capitalist icon Rockefeller.

<flame bait for Damion or whomever is Full of Hot Air/>

Seriously...this is about "who do you trust" & "where do you put your faith". Being a devout atheist and a commie to boot...I guess you can figure where I DON'T put my faith. If not...I have faith in the nobel laureates.

The definition of Flame Bait

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamebait