Is it “intellectually consistent” to have cold winters and still believe in global warming?
Global warming is all about averages. What if the average summer temperature goes up by one degree, but the average winter, spring, and fall temperatures stay the same? That means the average yearly temperature will still go up slightly (because the summer was hotter). But the winter temperature was still the same = still cold.
What if the area where you live has the same temperature every year, but the average temperature in the desert keeps going up? Or the average temperature of the oceans?
Do the current droughts and floods in the U.S. relate to global warming? One of California’s biggest sources of water – the mountain snowpack – is practically already gone for the rest of the summer.
Scientist Bill Nye sent out a tweet linking the flooding to global warming, with predictable results.
“Welcome to this week’s installment of ‘Don’t Mess with Geophysics,'” states the Washington Post – not the most liberal newspaper in America.
According to WaPo, there is possible destabilization of the Totten Glacier of East Antarctica, which could unleash over 11 feet of sea level rise in coming centuries.
This week brings news of another climate issue.
According to a new study just out in Nature Climate Changeby Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, and a group of co-authors, we’re now seeing a slowdown of the great ocean circulation. This circulation helps to partly drive the Gulf Stream off the U.S. east coast, among other roles.
The consequences could be dire, claims the Washington Post – including significant extra sea level rise for coastal cities like New York and Boston.
But it’s just one part of a larger regional ocean conveyor system – scientists technically call it the “Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.”
This, in turn, is just one part of the larger global “thermohaline” circulation (“thermohaline” conjoins terms meaning “temperature” and “salty”).
For the whole system, a key driver occurs in the North Atlantic ocean. Here, the warm Gulf Stream flows northward into cooler waters and splits into what is called the North Atlantic Current.
This stream flows still further toward northern latitudes — until it reaches points where colder, salty water sinks due to its greater density, and then travels back southward at depth.
The Washington Post claims that this “overturning circulation” plays a major role in the climate because it brings warm water northward, thereby helping to warm Europe’s climate, and also sends cold water back towards the tropics. This could change due to climate change.
Comedian Russell Brand gives his reaction to Fox News’ coverage of President Obama’s statement that the media overstates the threat of terrorism in comparison to the threat of climate change.
In other news…
The British paper The Guardian has decided to put coverage of climate change “front and center.”
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger: “…changes to the Earth’s climate rarely make it to the top of the news list. The changes may be happening too fast for human comfort, but they happen too slowly for the newsmakers – and, to be fair, for most readers.
“The climate threat features very prominently on the home page of the Guardian on Friday even though nothing exceptional happened on this day. It will be there again next week and the week after. You will, I hope, be reading a lot about our climate over the coming weeks.”
Rusbridger will be leaving the Guardian this year, and he asked himself if he had any regrets.
“Very few regrets, I thought, except this one: that we had not done justice to this huge, overshadowing, overwhelming issue of how climate change will probably, within the lifetime of our children, cause untold havoc and stress to our species.
“So, in the time left to me as editor, I thought I would try to harness the Guardian’s best resources to describe what is happening and what – if we do nothing – is almost certain to occur, a future that one distinguished scientist has termed as ‘incompatible with any reasonable characterization of an organized, equitable and civilized global community.'”
In other news…
Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, walked onto the floor of the Senate with what he declared was persuasive evidence climate change is a hoax: a snowball. Inhofe is the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, with jurisdiction over the climate problem.
The Huffington Post: “Indeed, even on his own terms, the snowball doesn’t make the point he thinks it does. Climate change produces wild and extreme swings in weather. That Washington, D.C., is experiencing record cold and snowfall is not refutation of climate change, but rather one more data point to add to the pile in support of it.”