Along with the recent blasts of arctic air dipping south over the U.S. this winter has come the predictable ranting from commentators opposed to action on climate change. They tout the cold weather as proof that global warming is some kind of hoax. Equally predictable, is that come summer, when we are sweltering under triple digit heat, these same folks will be arguing against any climate connection.
Unfortunately, that kind of agenda-driven rhetoric is designed more to manipulate than illuminate.
So, what should a conservative make of this cold weather as it relates to climate change?
The first thing to keep in mind is the difference between weather and climate. Weather events are relatively localized, short-term conditions that are influenced by a wide variety of factors, whereas the climate reflects long-term trends. A changing climate can impact weather in a variety of predictable and unpredictable ways.
The amount of global warming we are experiencing in 2014 does not preclude winter weather, or even a few weeks of record-breaking cold, but it does mean that our winters will be milder (and summers hotter) on average. Ironically, as bitterly cold winter weather becomes more uncommon, the media makes a bigger deal out of every cold snap we have.
While here in the U.S. this winter has been cold compared to recent ones, it is not very cold compared to the record-breaking winters of the late 1800s, early 1900s, 1930s, or late 1970s.
It does not mean a lot globally either. This past December was among the warmest on record worldwide and Australia is currently experiencing an extreme heatwave that is shattering records. It is so hot Down Under that 100,000 bats fell out of the sky and died from heat stress.
The Weather Channel has a well done article on its website explaining our winter weather in the context of climate change. You can read it by clicking on the link below:
So dress warmly, drive safe, and enjoy the cold while it lasts–but don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that we no longer need to worry about climate change.