What’s Up with the Deep Freeze?

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:

Polar Vortex and Climate Change: Why Rush Limbaugh and Others Are Wrong

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.

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4 Responses to What’s Up with the Deep Freeze?

  1. Mike says:

    While the eastern third of the US is experiencing its coldest weather in decades, Alaska is setting records for high temperatures. That’s just a reminder for people who think that what’s happening outside their window represents the whole picture.

  2. Mike says:

    Please tell your friends at the Wall Street Journal.
    They continue to publish articles claiming that AGW is a hoax.

  3. RobertG says:

    The rhetoric used here is “Unfortunately, that kind of agenda-driven rhetoric is designed more to manipulate than illuminate.” agenda-driven.

    I was once a believer in global warming and defended the “science” for quite a few years until I took time really to delve into climate science. At which point, I became a skeptic.

    One of the problems is that climate alarmists typically have no real understanding of the history of the global warming movement, the science, how the models work and etc. etc., and absolutely no understanding of the position of scientific skeptics.

    What we would agree on is that CO2 causes some warming. What we would not agree on is that there is scientific evidence that indicates most of the warming in the last 60 years is caused by man released CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

    What we would also agree on is that climate change is real. What we would not agree on is that most climate change is caused by man or that we can even distinguish how much CO2 has impacted climate change. The fact is that the earth has always had climate change and always will. The amount of climate change tends to vary over a few decades with some decades having for example many hurricanes some severe. Then other periods like now having very few hurricanes. Even the IPCC was forced to acknowledge that there is no evidence of the climate becoming more “extreme” based on tropical cyclones, rain, floods or tornadoes.

    One of the funny things about this debate is that during the warming years from the late 1970s to late 1990s, skeptics reported that many events that happened were caused by weather. The alarmists indicated no, it was not weather. It was caused by global warming. Now of course, the skeptics have fun by saying the cooling is evidence that the global warming alarmism is wrong and that it is not just changes in weather. We of course know that it is not really evidence of much except weather. But then we knew it was weather also during the warming years from the late 1970s to the late 1990s. So it is really simply using the same rhetoric that the alarmists used because it is funny and because when alarmists disagree with this usage, it undermines how the alarmists used rhetoric in the past and forces them to say it is only weather. This is a big win by skeptics to force alarmists to say what skeptics have said for years.

    The problem with alarmists is that they either don’t know enough about the science to debate it or won’t debate it so that they won’t look bad. Instead, they always try to make general attacks on the character of alarmists or make general science sounding arguments that really never address the central scientific issue. That issue is how sensitive is the earth’s climate to CO2? What temperature increase is there if CO2 doubles – and what is the science that backs up any prediction? Keep in mind I wrote “SCIENCE” not climate models.

    • Climate Conservative says:

      Conservatism supports responsible stewardship and prudence. Promoting those priorities is not alarm-ism.

      The role that greenhouse gases play in our atmosphere is basic physics and has been understood for more than a century. Alexander Graham Bell warned about the unchecked burning of fossil fuels resulting in a “greenhouse effect” back in 1917.

      Still, you do not even need to understand physics to recognize the problem here.

      The earth was designed to maintain a balance of carbon in the atmosphere through the carbon cycle. While much of the carbon stays in a constant loop between air, water and living things, some of it gets removed from that loop and stored underground in the form of fossil fuels.

      When we burn those fossil fuels, we send that stored carbon—carbon stored though the ages–back up into our life-sustaining atmosphere, altering the carbon concentrations and playing Russian roulette with its chemistry. How is that prudent?

      Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer who, like you, questions the predictions of climate scientists, acknowledges that “it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”

      On one hand we have the vast majority of climate scientists—including conservative ones—who, based on many different sources of evidence (not just computer models), are 100 percent convinced that fossil fuel emissions are altering our climate for the worse. On the other, we have a few scientists who have connections to the fossil fuel industry trying to poke holes in the science and exaggerate the unknowns, and a number of non-scientists who for primarily partisan or parochial reasons want to believe that climate change is some vast left-wing conspiracy.

      Just as President Reagan determined on the issue of ozone depletion, the prudent thing to do is to listen to the most credible source, which was and is the climate scientists, and act accordingly.

      The thing we learned in the 1980s, when Al Gore whined about ozone depletion and President Reagan actually did something about it, is that it doesn’t matter who first identifies a problem, what matters is who solves it.

      Conservatives have always been able to craft more efficient and effective solutions to environmental problems than liberals do–but that can only happen with respect to climate change if conservatives acknowledge the problem and are constructively engaged in crafting conservative solutions. Otherwise, all of the solutions offered will come from the left.

      The National Academy of Science, one of the most universally trusted sources of scientific information, has recently put out a great overview of climate change. It discusses the evidence and explains what we know and what we don’t. A link to it is below.

      Climate Change, Evidence and Causes

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