Consider today's breathless dispatch from Time Magazine concerning how Global Warming is causing the string of snowstorms that has crippled the Eastern seaboard:
Brace yourselves now - this may be a case of politicians twisting the facts. There is some evidence that climate change could in fact make such massive snowstorms more common, even as the world continues to warm. As the meteorologist Jeff Masters points out in his excellent blog at Weather Underground, the two major storms that hit Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., this winter - in December and during the first weekend of February - are already among the 10 heaviest snowfalls those cities have ever recorded. The chance of that happening in the same winter is incredibly unlikely.
But there have been hints that it was coming. The 2009 U.S. Climate Impacts Report found that large-scale cold-weather storm systems have gradually tracked to the north in the U.S. over the past 50 years. While the frequency of storms in the middle latitudes has decreased as the climate has warmed, the intensity of those storms has increased. That's in part because of global warming - hotter air can hold more moisture, so when a storm gathers it can unleash massive amounts of snow. Colder air, by contrast, is drier; if we were in a truly vicious cold snap, like the one that occurred over much of the East Coast during parts of January, we would be unlikely to see heavy snowfall.
Okay, let's hold that thought. Do you remember other recent winters and the effect that Global Warming was ostensibly causing? Tell you what -- see for yourself, based on the testimony of various people who spend a lot of time in the Washington, D.C. area. Click the link and come back: I'll wait.
Hey, Robert Byrd, Barbara Boxer, Amy Klobuchar, Dianne Feinstein and Jay Inslee were quite worried about the lack of snow, which Global Warming was causing then. Now, apparently, it causes massive snow. It's a regular Perpetual Motion Machine of a theory. It's a floor wax and a dessert topping!
I suppose I'm just being provincial or close-minded here. After all, we've been able to share in the fun, too -- the 5-foot tall snowbanks from this year's snowfall (which the local meteorologists have assured me are just at the yearly averages) have turned my driveway into a luge run. This is the 13th winter we've lived in this house and the snowbanks are higher now than they've ever been. Then again, I remember 1979, which was snowier than this year by rather a lot and significantly colder, too. I think one thing is clear -- average doesn't mean much.
There is good news for Amy K. -- the ice fishermen have had no trouble getting their ice houses out on lakes this year. That Global Warming will kill us all and solve all our problems. I just wish everything was as efficient.