Friday, March 4, 2011

Global Warming - You're Doing it Wrong

Image courtesy of NASA image archive

Every winter for at least the past 10 years, if not 15 or 20...I have heard someone make a comment about how cold or snowy it is and follow that up with something like "So much for Global Warming!"  Most the time, you can tell that the person is joking and a good laugh is had by all (even though it has now been used so much that I want to punch the person instead of laugh)...but in the past couple years, I have been running into people who I am pretty sure are serious.

So let me just point out a couple common mistakes that some people seem to make.


  1. It is GLOBAL warming.  Just because it happens to be cold where you are at the moment doesn't mean that temperatures are higher than normal elsewhere.  It is a global average of temperatures...and the average appears to be rising.
  2. More rain and more snow.  All over the US the past couple of years there have been some record snowfall and rainfall amounts.  This does not negate global warming...in fact it could be because of global warming even though on the surface that might not make sense to people.  Weather is somewhat cyclical - a severe summer will often lead to a more severe winter.  Higher temperatures in other parts of the world can lead to more precipitation.  Warmer air holds more moisture and warmer seas evaporate faster into the air.  When this air laden with more than traditional amounts of moisture finally do cool, it creates more precipitation.

2 comments:

Lax Guy said...

More importantly, I think that NOBODY really understands the complexity of weather systems. Weather is a hard beast to grasp on a short term (weekly) basis - as evidenced by the constant bumbling mistakes and changing forecasts by highly trained meteorologists. Obviously there are things at work on a small level that make impacts beyond comprehension. If we cannot figure weather out for a specific area over the short term, how can we claim to understand global weather over the long term?
Based on the constant publication of conflicting articles, it seems that the scientific community is pretty evenly split on the global warming topic. If/when a majority does exist one way or the other, it is quite narrow (less than 60%). That says to me that the scientific community, as a collective entity, does not understand weather on such a massive scale, but at the same time refuses to let that fact be known publicly.
The only fact of global warming that has reached anything near consensus is that weather and global temperatures change over time. Not the whys and hows, but the simple fact that large scale change happens. To which I say, "No shit, Sherlock." The fact that there were glaciers here thousands of years ago and not there are not can be taken for evidence of that.
I am sure there is some likelihood that humans are responsible for warming the planet more quickly than nature would have, but the facts seem to indicate that we have been in state of warming since the end of the last major Ice Age. I have read some arguments that we are still technically in an Ice Age. I do not pretend to know enough about the subject to agree or disagree.
What I do know is that people - and even more disturbing, GOVERNMENTS - have found a way to use global warming to make insane amounts of money (Carbon credits? Really?). While some of these concepts probably started for the greater good, nearly all have capitalized on sensationalism to guilt us into "going green." And for something that we really may not even have control over to begin with...
But to address your point - I was begging for global warming last winter. And yes, I love that joke! Usually mine comes out as "Damn global warming" as I try to maneuver my Jeep through the wonderfully cleaned DM streets...

Jessica and Brett said...

THANK YOU. This drives me nuts, too.