“So, how’s your snow? I read you had over eight inches last week. It was 48 degrees here in Miami tonight. How’s that for global warming?”
My dad is not usually sarcastic, but this global climate change thing has had him going since Al Gore was elected president. You remember; that was the election where the loser won the contest. But that’s another column.
The problem is that many climate change opponents only look at the short term, what is happening this week — not this century. They are looking at the immediate, what is going on in their visible world, and not at the entire planet. The glaciers melting in Glacier National Park, Greenland and Europe do not seem relevant because we have no glaciers in the middle of Middle America. Or, in my dad’s case, southeast Florida.
Scientific American has also discussed this. Quoting Eoin O’Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor, it reported, “You can’t tell much about the climate or where it’s headed by focusing on a particularly frigid day, or season, or year, even.”
Science looks at the big picture, at least 30 years. Or a century or two — or millions of years. Inter Press Service reported on the 2010 freeze of Europe, the coldest in 50 years. Yet Energy and Environment Publishing’s Climate Wire reported that the melting season in Greenland has increased by 50 days in the last 30 years.
Frank Boettcher, director of the German Institute for Weather and Climate Communication, told the Inter Press Service, “Right now, temperatures in Greenland are *15 degrees Celsius above the season's long-term average … a good indicator that we cannot rationalize global warming away.”
We have seen a year with a lot of snow and cold reaching into the southern-most panhandles of the North American continent. Yet the record cold may be the proof of climate’s warming and change.
James Overland of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the New York Times that the unusually warmer air worldwide causes the jet stream to “bulge,” bringing colder air further to the south, like to Florida.
In a study published in the American Meteorological Society’s online journal, Edwin K. Schneider, Ben P. Kirtman, and Richard S. Lindzen of the Center for Ocean–Land–Atmosphere Studies reported that the increase in overall temperature of the planet has increased the water vapor in the atmosphere. This factored with the dipping jet stream accounts for the snows. It also accounts for the massive flooding in Australia and Brazil this year.
And the flooding of the Missouri River? Let’s see. The Missouri River is fed, in part, by the Platte, Cache la Poudre and Big Thompson rivers in Colorado. Those rivers are fed by mountain snows. As of Sunday, Loveland Ski Area in Colorado had an-above average 74-inch base, and March is the snowiest month in the Rockies. My prediction is the Missouri River will flood this spring. As will the Mighty Mississippi. Blame global climate change.
Newscientist.com reported in 2007 about something known as the faint sun paradox. The sun is cooler now than 4 billion years ago, but the planet is hotter. Why? According to the article, “The reason: higher levels of greenhouse gases trapping more of the sun's heat.” And that is the problem.
With the increase of carbon dioxide gases, more heat is trapped. With the advent of man’s pollution, factoring in increasing 20th and 21st centuries’ transportation and energy needs, there has been a significant increase in man-made carbon dioxide. A warmer planet brings more atmospheric water vapor and a rerouted jet stream. Combine the two and we get the great and continuing blizzards of the winter of 2010-11.
The bottom line is we may be responsible for the snow we are experiencing. Buy a shovel and deal with it.
David Rosman is an award-winning editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. You can read more of David’s commentaries at InkandVoice.com and New York Journal of Books.