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No, the snow does not disprove global warming

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"It's going to keep snowing in DC until Al Gore cries 'uncle,' " tweets Jim DeMint, who seems to be really enjoying how ignorant he is about climate science. In fact, the U.S. Global Change Research Program actually predicted more violent storms in the Northeast in its 2009 report assessing the likely impact of climate change on the United States. "Strong cold season storms are likely to become stronger and more frequent, with greater wind speeds and more extreme wave heights."

But wait, you say, isn't this supposed to be global warming? How can it make things colder?

In the aggregate, Earth's atmosphere is getting warmer. But that affects particular climates in different ways. What's difficult about getting it to snow isn't temperature, but precipitation. And global warming is expected to increase precipitation. Meteorologist Jeff Masters explains:

There are two requirements for a record snow storm:

1) A near-record amount of moisture in the air (or a very slow moving storm).

2) Temperatures cold enough for snow.

It's not hard at all to get temperatures cold enough for snow in a world experiencing global warming. According to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the globe warmed 0.74°C (1.3°F) over the past 100 years. There will still be colder than average winters in a world that is experiencing warming, with plenty of opportunities for snow.

The more difficult ingredient for producing a record snowstorm is the requirement of near-record levels of moisture. Global warming theory predicts that global precipitation will increase, and that heavy precipitation events--the ones most likely to cause flash flooding--will also increase. This occurs because as the climate warms, evaporation of moisture from the oceans increases, resulting in more water vapor in the air.

According to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, water vapor in the global atmosphere has increased by about 5% over the 20th century, and 4% since 1970. This extra moisture in the air will tend to produce heavier snowstorms, assuming it is cold enough to snow. Groisman et al. (2004) found a 14% increase in heavy (top 5%) and 20% increase in very heavy (top 1%) precipitation events in the U.S. over the past 100 years, though mainly in spring and summer. However, the authors did find a significant increase in winter heavy precipitation events have occurred in the Northeast U.S.

Does that mean the current snowstorm can be blamed on SUVs? Of course not. Global warming isn't the most important cause for our current weather patterns. It's just the most important and visible force disrupting our future weather patterns. But anyone suggesting that heavier snowstorms are somehow inconsistent with global warming is either lying or misinformed.

(Via Brad Plumer, again!)

Photo credit: Alex Brandon/AP

By Ezra Klein  |  February 10, 2010; 1:05 PM ET
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Comments

Can we name this most recent storm "Chillibuster" in honor of Republicans' efforts to shut down government? I mean, this is the third straight day the federal government has been closed! Mother Nature is doing her best Tom Coburn impression.

http://akwag.blogspot.com/2010/02/chillibuster-government-takes-third.html

Posted by: akent07 | February 10, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

True. This seeming contradiction was known by 19th century rural Americans, as well:
It rained so hard the day I left
The weather it was dry
The sun so hot I froze to death
Susanna don't you cry
Oh, Susanna....

Posted by: truck1 | February 10, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Either lying, misinformed, or as window-licking rock-stupid as Jim DeMint, I think you mean.

Posted by: Jenn2 | February 10, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

When will someone simply rebut nonsense this with, "What part of GLOBAL warming don't you get? Your town is not the globe."

Posted by: jamois | February 10, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The whole point of renaming global warming to "climate change" was so that cold extremes could be blamed on capitalism, too. After that "ice age" embarrassment of the late 70s, actual weather trends are no longer as important as placing blame. Apparently, leftists can place blame for client changes on capitalism with scientific precision even if they can't predict whether any given year will be warmer or cooler than the last.

That's the true "science" of climate change.

Posted by: cpurick | February 10, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"anyone suggesting that heavier snowstorms are somehow inconsistent with global warming is either lying or misinformed."

Or both. Watching Sarah Palin over the weekend was an excellent reminder that being misinformed and telling lies are not always mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 10, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

It's worth it to point out the flip side of the argument as you do towards the end. Individual data points neither confirm nor disprove global warming. If we give the impression that we think that they confirm, then conservatives will think that they're simply turning our own logic against us.

There's a certain legitimate tendency to point at bad weather and say "If we don't do something about global warming, more of this will happen!" but even then, we should be clear what exactly we're saying.

Posted by: usergoogol | February 10, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Here's an everyday example.

If you have a glass of lemonade with ice in a 72 degree room, the contents of the glass as a whole are warming, but the liquid contents of the glass are cooling.

Posted by: thomasoa | February 10, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I know someone who got a raise, so clearly all this "unemployment" and "recession" and "depressed wages" are just lefty talking points.

Posted by: Jenn2 | February 10, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

DeMint is making a joke.... Sheesh...

Posted by: sold2u | February 10, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

sold, yes, in that quote he's making a lame joke, but they actually do claim to believe that snow somehow refutes global warming. Srsly, they do.

Posted by: Jenn2 | February 10, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"The whole point of renaming global warming to "climate change" was so that cold extremes could be blamed on capitalism, too."

The disappearance of mountain glaciers and the polar ice caps are evidently ~not~ empirical evidence a changein the climate. That's simply a bunch of anti-capitalist nonsense, with no science behind it.

Who are you going to believe...the carbon-spewing capitalists and their apologists, or your own lying eyes?

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 10, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree, the snow does not disprove global warming. But periods without snow do not prove global warming either.

Posted by: lancediverson | February 10, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of asking whether Republican leadership are fools or knaves. I'm fully prepared to take Senator Jim DeMint at his word that he's stupid.

"DeMint is making a joke.... Sheesh..."

And why would this joke be even remotely understandable if certain people didn't believe that climate change and snow were somehow incompatible?

Posted by: slag | February 10, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"Your village is not the globe" is one of the best lines about climate change I have heard. Evidently these clowns do not realize that the Earth is round, and that it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Australia had a heat wave in January that produced the hottest night in Melbourne since 1902 and 2009 saw record heat and terrible fires. They will tell you that it is definitely warming down under.

Posted by: Mimikatz | February 10, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

So, did any of the climate change models predict this sort of unprecedented winter storm activity? And how frequently were we warned of global warming leading to, in certain areas, significantly colder winters, cooler summers, and unprecedented winter storms?

The fact that most of the clarity on the cooling trends involved in global warming seem to be happening only now, when the cooling trends are being observed, could reasonably suggest to some that the justifications for global warming actually causing severe winter weather are simply a case of the theory being twisted in whichever way is necessary to make it fit changing data.

It could seem to some that this is climate astrology, not science, in that it appears that whatever happens--warmer winters, colder winter, more hurricanes, fewer hurricanes--that global warming is always the cause.

In all fairness, it's not just the winter storms that are leading to increased skepticism regarding global warming. There are the East Anglia emails. The UN IPCC report was apparently chock full of questionable data, including unfounded rainforest loss claims (referencing a non-peer-reviewed paper), pieces based on student dissertations and magazine articles rather than legitimate research, a recent study that indicates carbon dioxide appears to play a very limited role in setting interglacial temperatures, the news that NASA GISS on rural US Sites shows no temperature increase since 1900, the BBC piece on temperature and CO2 feedback looping being weaker than thought, the news that the claims for coral reef degradation were unsubstantiated, a recent review of satellite data indicates that Alaskan glacier melt was over estimated, and on and on.

None of these things disproved global warming, but would certainly seem to call into question the process by which the global warming consensus was built. And that doesn't even get into the money trail, from who stands to profit from cap and trade and green energy, to the BBC reallocating it's pension fund in synchronicity with it's global warming reportage.

Which means the scientific consensus has more to worry about than snow storms in Washington if they intend to assuage public skepticism. Severe winter weather this year is just, at this point, icing on the cake.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Nice of you to say "misinformed" instead of "ignorant".

Posted by: KyleDeas | February 10, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"The disappearance of mountain glaciers and the polar ice caps are evidently ~not~ evidence a changein the climate"

Perhaps not when there is some question as to if it is actually happening. From the London Times: "Rajendra Pachauri was told that the Intergovernmental Panel empirical on Climate Change assessment that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 was wrong, but he waited two months to correct it. He failed to act despite learning that the claim had been refuted by several leading glaciologists."

Perhaps it's not my eyes that are lying, but the IPCC.

The largest glacier in Argentina is advancing, not shrinking. There's evidence that glaciers in the western Himalayas are actually thickening and expanding. The Greenland icecap has apparently thickened slightly. Alaska's Hubbard glacier is advancing. Polar ice was slightly above average in May, yet still higher than it had been since satellite records began being kept.

And it seems that arctic ice is, in fact, twice as thick as recently projected. Antarctic ice is up 4.7% since 1980. Except for the Antarctic Peninsula, the Antarctic Ice Sheet is growing.

If I believe my eyes, I may have to start questioning the IPCC.

That being said, a lot of snow in D.C. does not in any way disprove global warming.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, yours must be a truly maddening occupation - spending all day trying to intellectually justify junk science and nonsense. Yes, there is climate change, because we live on a dynamic planet not because me and 100 million other Americans drive vehicles that get 17 rather than 40 mpg. And not because I use (gasp)incandescent light bulbs as opposed to ones filled with mercury. Carbon offsets are nothing more than modern snake oil sold to dupes with a guilty conscience, and cap and trade is a huge, needless tax on the poor. If you're going to continue posting these kind of sentiments, at least change your profile picture to one that shows the Kool-Aid mustache.

Posted by: superman32 | February 10, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, I can't engage on the scientific evidence for global warming because I'm not a climate scientist, nor any kind of scientist, for that matter, that would have enough background to interpret the climate science data.

What I do know is that there are many areas outside my expertise. In those instances I trust in reliance on the experts in the field and my understanding of the scientific process and how it leads to a consensus around reliable theories. Global warming is not "proven" in a way that a layman understands it, but most scientists seem to agree that it is the most reliable model currently available.

And the justifications for why lots of snow in one part of the world in one particular winter are not new. We go through this every winter when there's some particularly cold day and conservatives start "joking" about how this disproves global warming. I've seen these arguments every winter for years now.

And though, again, my scientific background is minimal, my understanding is that even if we irreparably damage the climate as we know it, the globe will continue to tilt on its axis. The Northern Hemisphere will cool in some months and heat up in others.

Posted by: MosBen | February 10, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I love it! The Global Warming Zealots, feeling a little insecure with this latest winter blast, reach into their arsenal of "every weather condition known to humanity is due to man-made global warming" and pluck out a nifty report "backing up" (fill in the blanks). Heat? Global warming. Freeze? Global warming. Real bad hurricanes? Global warming. No hurricanes? Global warming. Too wet? Global warming. Too dry? Global warming.

I did spend a few years studying climatology (with NASA's blessing) and can say that the potpourri of reports "supporting" this or that twisted AWG theory are as varied as Baskin-Robbins' 31 flavors. You guys crack me up! Don't worry, although your fear that "global warming" will be buried under the current 4 feet of snow will re-emerge again, like the spring grasses. You guys can't give up a great ride for less than that!

Stay warm while pulling out those reports!

Posted by: mikeinaustintx | February 10, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps El Nino might have something to do with it? We've had them before and we'll have them again.

Nobody experiences global climate. What matters is what happens on a regional or local scale, and the global climate change models give little or no useful information about that.

Posted by: tl_houston | February 10, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Ezra is a kneejerk liberal twit.

Posted by: MCDC1 | February 10, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

By the way, here's the MET office prediction for winter 2009-2010, as of September:
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/science/creating/monthsahead/seasonal/2009/winter.html

Posted by: tl_houston | February 10, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

My understanding is that global climate change models do give useful on local or regional weather patterns insofar as they will change dramatically. Global climate change may not predict the weather on a given day in New Orleans, but I understand it does predict more powerful hurricanes, so I think people do experience global climate change on a local scale.

Posted by: MosBen | February 10, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I want to rephrase that last point a little. Katrina in and of itself does not prove or disprove global climate change. Nor do the last two winter storms to his the Atlantic states. What they are is consistent with a global warming theory of climate change, and that it is consistent that people on a local or regional level may be effected by climate change.

Posted by: MosBen | February 10, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Willis,
Nicely written but I don't think you appreciate how much your examples are still tiny data points compared to the overall trend and evidence. The points you make are analogous to the person who sees a snowstorm from their living room window and scoffs at the claim of climate change.

The oft-cited 1990-to-present trend is the most misleading of claims made by those who deny climate change. Look at the graphs (e.g, http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/). As you can see, year to year, even decade to decade there is lots of variation such that the overall trend is hard to see. But then zoom out to 1880. It's just that 1990 was an outlier year, so people with a bias latch on to that one point on the graph to make the argument that "temperature has been going down since 1990." This argument shows in fact the disingenuous use of data that you accuse others of.

Nobody knows the truth with certainty, but science is our best proxy. It's not just Al Gore and his ilk sounding the alarm. They're just easy targets. If you want an honest argument, take on the whole of climate science. The real science. Not the anecdotes, not the emails from one scientist to another. Look at the whole body of evidence honestly and objectively. Read your choice of respected journals: Science, Nature, for starters.

Science can be wrong, but I would rather be on the side of the debate that it supports and learn later that I was wrong, than take a position based on defensiveness, intellectual shortcuts, or personal bias and turn out to be right. One must have the courage to consider the best evidence available, regardless of your world view.

Posted by: lakkalnin | February 10, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Actually, if you look at our average temps for Nov. '09, Dec. '09 and Jan. '10, we are actually ABOVE normal. Here's a good post with excellent links for real data:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/2/7/834821/-Where-Did-Global-Warming-Go

Posted by: DJMonet | February 10, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Liberals like Ezra Klein don't get it: no matter how much nonsense they continue to spew, it doesn't matter: the gig is up.

Informed Americans now know full well that the IPCC has no credibility left at all, and that many of the top "climate scientists" have been manipulating, hiding, and in some cases even destroying data sets to perpetrate a sham.

Posted by: GoNatsGo | February 10, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

In Brad Plumer's piece, and Ezra's, and all the comments but an earlier one of mine, the term "El Nino" is not mentioned once. Look it up in Wiki. Lots of opinions, but no indication of the knowledge of the issues at hand that, say, a casual Weather Channel viewer would have.

Posted by: tl_houston | February 10, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

@mosBen:

"Kevin, I can't engage on the scientific evidence for global warming because I'm not a climate scientist, nor any kind of scientist, for that matter"

Nor am I. My point tends to be that there are reasons for intelligent and well-meaning people to skeptical of at least some of the claims made in regards to climate change. As there are good reasons to accept the consensus.

Keeping in mind, of course, those claims come from all quarters. There can be reasonable folks and crazy folks sharing their opinions on every issue.

I am not remotely a scientist, but in the late 80s I was consuming a lot of eco-apocolypse books and came to believe that the end of the world was imminent. Turns out, I was somewhat mistaken. I have since come to distrust modeling of extraordinarily complex systems, projections, predictions, etc. So I'm coming from a position where I'm more skeptical of global warming, and have been, than perhaps is warranted, given my art school background. ;)

That having been said, I agree that the whole "it's snowing more than ever" argument is anecdotal. I don't think anecdotes make the case, either way. Next summer may be impressively hot. What will the folks chortling about this D.C. snow be saying then?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention how ignorant he is about where Al Gore actually lives (hint, it's not in the Baltimore/Washington area).

Posted by: awsnyde | February 10, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Ratigan on MSNBC is squirming along with Ezra!! Global Warming can cause more snow!!

Wow! Do you also called the record breaking freeze in Florida last month Global Warming?

The internet Picture of the Day just appeared on Fox News.

Propped up in a D.C. snow bank a copy of, "An Inconvenient Truth"!!

Al Gore is in Cuncun on the beach taking temperature readings?

While Europe and Asia are pounded with blizzards too!!

Posted by: jjcrocket2 | February 10, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Patrick_M:
"The disappearance of mountain glaciers and the polar ice caps are evidently ~not~ empirical evidence a changein the climate."

Climate changes. Naturally. Constantly. With or without man.

Accordingly, changing climate by itself is far from proof that man is the cause. Or that the change is necessarily even worse. Or that man would be better off in the long run if he tried to live without impacting the environment.

Taking political control of mankind in order to regulate the weather is nothing short of insane.

Posted by: cpurick | February 10, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

@lakkalnin:

"Nicely written but I don't think you appreciate how much your examples are still tiny data points compared to the overall trend and evidence. The points you make are analogous to the person who sees a snowstorm from their living room window and scoffs at the claim of climate change."

Perhaps. But I just don't think it's that unreasonable to wonder if the global warming model is the best model, when glacial ice often seems to be growing, or at least re-distributing, rather than melting. When it turns out arctic ice is thicker than expected. And so on. There are interpretations of historical climate data, as well as ice-age cycles, that might suggest a macro-seasonal model. As one example.

"The oft-cited 1990-to-present trend is the most misleading of claims made by those who deny climate change."

I should say, I'm very skeptical about anthropogenic global warming. The idea that the climate changes over time, and perhaps cyclically, I have no trouble with at all.

"This argument shows in fact the disingenuous use of data that you accuse others of."

I don't mean to accuse anybody of anything, or vouch for any particular set of data. There are just a lot of good reasons that some people might be skeptical about the anthropogenic global warming model. To insist their all idiots, rubes or liars (not that you have, but there have been some . . .) tends to make the global warming argument look weaker than perhaps it really is. All I'm saying.

"Nobody knows the truth with certainty, but science is our best proxy. It's not just Al Gore and his ilk sounding the alarm."

I should note, I did not mention Al Gore. ;)

"Not the anecdotes, not the emails from one scientist to another."

I don't think it's as easy for everybody to dismiss the apparent data manipulation going on in regards to the so-called "Climate Gate" emails. Anecdotes are one thing. Apparently distorting data to achieve a pre-conceived conclusion is quite another.

"Science can be wrong, but I would rather be on the side of the debate that it supports and learn later that I was wrong, than take a position based on defensiveness, intellectual shortcuts, or personal bias and turn out to be right. One must have the courage to consider the best evidence available, regardless of your world view."

Well, I can agree with that entirely, but I'm afraid we still might reach differing conclusions.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

People used to be intelligent enough to understand that snow is associated with cold, not heat. It is very cold outside.

The previous snow record was in 1922. Was it hot back then, or was it cold? Do you really think that the properties of snow have changed?

Superstition has returned with a vengeance.

Posted by: pkhenry | February 10, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The Senate cancelled Global Warming hearings today due to Global Cooling.

Posted by: badgerburg | February 10, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The polar ice caps are not disappearing. There has been some reduction in Arctic ice and a complementary increase in Antarctic ice.

Glaciers have been disappearing for 20,000 years - when Chicago and New York were under a mile of ice.

The whole global warming story is predicated on unmitigated BS.

Posted by: pkhenry | February 10, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Leftist suckers like Klein never disappoint.. He's not a scientist, and he probably didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Posted by: wewintheylose | February 10, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

cpurick-

"The whole point of renaming global warming to 'climate change' was so that cold extremes could be blamed on capitalism, too."

No. The renaming was done by Republican strategist Frank Luntz, who encouraged the Bush administration to use the term because it sounds less threatening. You fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

In a memo to Bush, Luntz wrote, "The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science. ... Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field."

Posted by: jtw_alexandria | February 10, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at the jet stream, folks. It's shifted way south, protecting some areas, pumping storms into others. Yeah, you're getting hammered on the East Coast, but here in Seattle we had our warmest January ever. Tulips and daffodils have popped up, trees have been budding for a week; it's looked like the end of March for the past two weeks around here. I don't expect this every year from now on, but there's definitely something happening with the world's climate.

Posted by: DBrierpatch | February 10, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

AGW has been completely discredited since the release of the climategate emails and subsequent findings of numerous errors in the 2007 IPCC report which included "non pal reviewed" papers.

The games over alarmists. Crawl back into your little anti-capitalists holes and dream up something new for our continued amusement.

I have to say, this latest game of "chicken little" got farther than I expected so we'll be on the lookout and crush your next attempt completely at stage 1.

Buhbye!!!!

Posted by: knight1977 | February 10, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

science schmience. stop with your elite formulas and numbers. the world was made in 6 days and the similarities between us and the chimps is non existent. The Post is too reliant on "facts" and "science." Yekh.

Paging Chris Plante of WMAL.

Posted by: FiatBooks | February 10, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"Nobody knows the truth with certainty, but science is our best proxy." Posted by: lakkalnin

It certainly is. And now that the East Anglia data and emails posted online reveal that much of the science has been manipulated and honest peer review has been stifled, maybe we'll get some real science instead of garbage in/garbage out and fear mongering.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 10, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

What condemns the entire AGW/ACC fiasco to a footnote in political history isn't the regional cooling which defies the forecasts of the advocates; but the weather events which call into dispute the theory behind these forecasts.

Like why are the regions of the world which have the highest CO2 levels---N. Europe through China and into Canada and New England, having the coldest weather?

Why are remote, quasi wilderness regions like Siberia having warming spells according to Hansen's global climate maps?

One can only shout out that night is day so long before they get pitchforked out into the night.

Theory should be validated by data; and the theory has failed miserably so far; creative semantics by the author and the faithful isn't helping.

Posted by: Common_Cents1 | February 10, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps someone should point out to these scientifically-challenged yahoos that snow comes from moisture in the air, and moisture in the air comes from evaporated sea water, and sea water evaporates and forms clouds FASTER when it's WARMER.

I live in Montreal, Canada, and everyone here, knows, as all people from cold climates do, that the winters with the most snow are those with the HIGHEST average temperatures. In fact, snow almost never falls when it gets really cold. All the biggest snowfalls come at just a few degress below zero (centrigade).

Posted by: kevrobb | February 10, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Idiot journalists like Ezra Klein are quick to point out that cold weather and snow don't disprove global warming, but are equally quick to tout hot summers and other localized weather phenomena as proof that it's happening. Sorry, pal, can't have it both ways.

Double standards aside, you're right: snowstorms don't prove global warming isn't happening. We have plenty of other evidence that it's a fraud, namely no change in global temp averages for the past decade and documented chicanery and lying among the global warming alarmist/"scientist" community.

Posted by: Kelifu | February 10, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Washington is having a very cold winter, not a warm winter. Alarmists seem unable to get a grasp on that simple fact.

But suppose that the air was warmer than normal? That would mean more rain, not record snow.

Posted by: pkhenry | February 10, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Yet another manchild telling Americans what they need to think. Would that I could shove all the snow up your (and the imbecile in the WH's) you know what. Maybe that would shut you and the other hystericals up about the global warming fraud.

Posted by: DCer1 | February 10, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

kevrobb, stick your head back in the freezer. Your mouth is more compelling when it's frozen shut.

Posted by: DCer1 | February 10, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Radiohead's Thom Yorke has already told us everything we need to know about climate change and why some people angrily insist it isn't really happening.

From "Idioteque":

Ice age coming
Ice age coming
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both sides
Let me hear both--

Ice age coming
Ice age coming
Throw them in the fire
Throw them in the fire
Throw them in the--

We're not scaremongering
This is really happening
We're not scaremongering
This is really happening

Mobiles quirking
Mobiles chirping
Take the money and run
Take the money and run
Take the money--

Posted by: FBGraham1 | February 10, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

ez young man get a grip. wx is wx.can humans change it? NO all we do is follow the BS,one way or the other.

Posted by: pofinpa | February 10, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

It's just flat-out sad how uneducated the average conservative yahoo is. I've seen posts on Facebook waving this bit of ignorance around. At least it's a good shortcut way of knowing when you're dealing with a FauxNews captive. Just nothing upstairs, nada.

Posted by: B2O2 | February 10, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

RFK, Jr. 15 months ago: Global warming means no snow or cold in DC.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/RFK-79834057.html

O.K. So where was your criticism then? Too inconvenient? Or just that you prefer to write only about things that support your preconceived ideas?

Posted by: infuse | February 10, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"But anyone suggesting that heavier snowstorms are somehow inconsistent with global warming is either lying or misinformed."

Then how do you explain the lack of snow in Vancouver where the winter Olympics will be held?


CHECKMATE

Posted by: rockbroker | February 10, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

"Taking political control of mankind in order to regulate the weather is nothing short of insane."

On the one hand you don't believe that excessive carbon emissions cause climate change, yet you belive that reducing carbon emissions will "regulate the weather." Kind of strange.

Also, we have been successfully reducing automobile tailpipe emissions for years, and as a results kids in Los Angeles can safely play outdoors and breathe the air again, whereas in the 1960's there were frequent "smog alerts." I suppose this is also an example of how "taking political control of mankind" is "insane?"

"Ratigan on MSNBC is squirming along with Ezra!! Global Warming can cause more snow!!"

It is amusing how the "flat earth society" is reading Ezra Klein while simultaneously watching MSNBC. Ever vigilant.

"In Brad Plumer's piece, and Ezra's, and all the comments but an earlier one of mine, the term "El Nino" is not mentioned once."

You are correct that the pieces don't mention El Nino, but that is not because the writers don't know that we are in an El Nino year. The reason it does need to be mentioned is because the El Nino pattern is essentially irrelevant to the very narrow point that is being made.

Ezra is not arguing for or against climate change, or for or against any explanation for this particular snowstorm. Instead, he is simply pointing out that there is nothing in the scientific theories of global warming that is inconsistent with severe snow storms in the Northeast, despite the fact that right wing pundits and politicians are mocking global warming based on the falling snow. On the contrary, the climate change scientists anticipate increasingly extreme seasonal weather.

You can argue against global warming if you wish, but you really can't argue Ezra's point about what the generally accepted theories on the other side actually are (unless of course you are lying or misinformed).

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 10, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

"Hey wait, let's call it CLIMATE CHANGE, then we have all of the bases covered."

Posted by: ThomFromDen | February 10, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

The Post's "Economic and Domestic Policy" writer has suddenly become an expert on climate change? Expert enough to tell everybody who doesn't agree with him that they are wrong, and he is right? Aren't there a few words in our language to describe that attitude? And doesn't Ezra Klein typically use them when writing about Republicans? Which then suggests another word?

Posted by: infuse | February 10, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"Then how do you explain the lack of snow in Vancouver where the winter Olympics will be held?"

That is El Nino too. The mild winter in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, the heavy rains in California, and the snow in the Northeast are all part of the El Nino pattern. It neither proves or disproves anything about climate change.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 10, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

What Mr Klein fails to acknowledge is that this winter has been particularly bitter for the entire Northern Hemisphere, not just the US. And not to get too technical, but if it snows enough to deposit more snow than melts from the ice caps, I think nature is coping just fine. I may be "misinformed", but that sounds like a break even for ocean levels to me. What the left ignores about the scientific data they cite is the uncertainty. Any serious scientist follows the statement, "the globe warmed 0.74°C" with the uncertainty! If the "data" is .74 degrees +/- 2 degrees, it is statistically zero!! It just shows again how the left tries to marginalize those who do not agree with their view of the optimal world order.

Posted by: kroverstreet | February 10, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

"That is El Nino too. The mild winter in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, the heavy rains in California, and the snow in the Northeast are all part of the El Nino pattern. It neither proves or disproves anything about climate change."

Bingo, the large amounts of snow are because of El Nino not global warming/climate change like those Al Gore sheep losers on MSNBC keep repeating 24/7.

Keith Oberman et al couldn't carry Bill O'Reillys et al jock strap.

Posted by: rockbroker | February 10, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was going to be cold and snowy until the ice caps finished melting and then become hot.

Posted by: fejjarific | February 10, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

@FBGraham1

That is the best thing I have read all week. Kudos.

Posted by: viciouslips | February 10, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

"Bingo, the large amounts of snow are because of El Nino not global warming/climate change like those Al Gore sheep losers on MSNBC keep repeating 24/7."

Sigh. Let's try this again.

Yes, of course the snow is consistent with the El Nino pattern.

No, "those Al Gore sheep losers on MSNBC" aren't blaming the snowstorm on global warming/climate change. They are simply pointing out that the science of climate change does not conflict in the slightest with the expectation that a snowstorm will happen. The snowstorm is not evidence for or against global warming.

The reason the "sheep" are pointing this out is because certain persons are citing the snowstorm as proof that climate change theories are bunk.

So the fact that such persons are saying such things proves only that such persons are either badly misinformed about the theories of the effects of climate change, or that these persons are lying.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 10, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

What about when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. writes an op-ed in 2009 saying that because of global warming, Washington doesn't get snow any more? (You can't read about that in the Post, you have to go to the Examiner.) What about it, Ezra? Was he lying or misinformed?

Posted by: Arlington2 | February 10, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

" that this winter has been particularly bitter for the entire Northern Hemisphere"

Simply not true. Really all you can say is the the mid-Atlantic region got extra ***WARM*** moisture resulting in more snow. Right now as we speak, the ***entire southern hemisphere*** is undergoing a scorching summer -- the hottest on record. And this is after 2009 was the hottest year on record for the southern hemisphere and the 2nd hottest year for the globe as a whole.

The climate deniers are losing this debate because they can only cherry pick a data point here or there while there are mountains of evidence and New Jersey sized glaciers melting into the ocean off of Antarctica.

Posted by: goaway41 | February 10, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Global Warming is proven by both warming and cooling. GW is proven by large snows and the absence of large snows. Hurricanes and the absence of Hurricanes. Face it, are people in line to make a fortune by GW being declared valid and taxes levied. So no matter what happens, no matter what evidence is uncovered as forged and cheated. We are going down the GW road no matter what the evidence says.

Posted by: jason33 | February 10, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Willis said:

"I am not remotely a scientist, but in the late 80s I was consuming a lot of eco-apocolypse books and came to believe that the end of the world was imminent. Turns out, I was somewhat mistaken. I have since come to distrust modeling of extraordinarily complex systems, projections, predictions, etc."

Wow, where to start. Let me just point out, in case it matters to you, that popular "eco apocalypse" books, as well as popular media magazines, are not even remotely the same as peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. And while the FORMER were hyping all kind of catastropic futures for us back in the 70s - among which was the occasional "coming ice age" story - peer reviewed climate science was decidedly NOT buying into it. This is a myth that's been built up by desperate conservatives and other ignorant souls who do not know Newsweek from Nature or Popular Science from the Journal of Geophysical Letters, to try to make people think climatology has no credibility.

In fact, the few scientists who were looking at global climate back in the 70s were actually starting to wonder about a greenhouse effect - even before temperature really started to spike upward when the dampening effect from pollutant aerosols was removed thanks to the new clean air laws.

There are so many red herrings and falsehoods being spread around by conservatives these days. You would think they would have learned to shut up by now, but I guess as long as there are a few fools around still buying their crap, people like DeMint and Inhofe will keep snorting away.

Posted by: B2O2 | February 10, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Willis,

I don't agree with the argument that since there have been apocalyptic claims in the past that we should give less weight to the current evidence for climate change. The science should be evaluated on its own merits. Otherwise, we run the risk of over-calibrating to conclude that science always exaggerates. I don't think it does, in the long run. Again, scientific progress is analogous to a graph of climate data containing noise and long term trends: Climate-gate is a tiny point of data (like the 1990 temperature spike) compared to a huge body of evidence moving in a contrary direction.

Regarding the claims back in the 80s, they were relatively fleeting and based on vastly smaller amounts of data than what we have now.

The best evidence that we have today, produced by the people most qualified to talk about it, is that anthropogenic activity is very likely having an effect on climate and will very likely have an increasing one in the future. The models do take into account natural cycles and, with pretty high confidence, are able to tease apart the background of natural cycles from what are apparently causal factors, i.e., a large increase in greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. There's a very well established branch of statistics called regression analysis on which these conclusions are based.

True, they might have it wrong. That's always the case with a science that is inherently probabilistic. We can't know with certainty. But the people who do climate science for a living collect mountains of data and conduct some pretty sophisticated modeling and statistics no different from the work done in other areas of science and engineering. If the consensus from the world's best thinkers is that humans have contributed to climate change, then I will need an equally compelling set of data and arguments from those who think otherwise to change my view. From what I've seen, such a convincing refutation does not exist.

In fact, the only counter-arguments I've seen are based on psychological "gotchas" like climate-gate, and relatively small points of data that, on the surface, appear to contradict the science.

At the risk of being repetitious, I won't argue that anthropogenic climate change is a fact, but rather that the science supporting it is very strong. Much, much stronger than the arguments I've seen from skeptics.

I think people fall into a trap of equating the validity of arguments merely because there are two sides. But from what I've seen the evidence and arguments are very lopsided.

Posted by: lakkalnin | February 10, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Note to global warming hysterics" the ice caps have been melting for the last 10,000 years. That's why we have Canada; they used to extend down to like Nebraska. So the polar ice caps melting is just a continuation of the last 10,000 years.

Posted by: ronjaboy | February 10, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

There's a fanaticism in the believers in GW a lot like religious fanaticism. They admit no skepticism, no doubt, although climate science is very young. They insist, without being qualified to assess the evidence, that the book is closed and there can be no doubt. But Jason is on to the real key here: the tons of money to be made by the new "carbon barons" of whom Gore is the leading one.

Posted by: truck1 | February 10, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Jim F*****g DeMint. Cracker barrel hero, dumb-a** yokel deluxe, spiteful creationist stooge and a match made in heaven for Sarah Palin. A bigger embarrassment than Mark Sanford or Charley Wilson.

Congratulation SC. You're nice folks and I've enjoyed visiting your state, but your taste in politicians is downright awful.

Posted by: st50taw | February 10, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

"What Mr Klein fails to acknowledge is that this winter has been particularly bitter for the entire Northern Hemisphere, not just the US."

Sigh. And what kroverstreet fails to acknowledge is that the Northern Hemisphere is not the Earth, and the Earth itself experienced an ABOVE NORMAL (even for the past decade) December and early January. That is from the an excellent data- and temperature-anomaly-map-laden blog by Andrew Friedman of the Post's CWG:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2010/01/cold_weather_in_a_hot_climate_1.html#more

If you take a look at that, while N. America, Europe and parts of Asia were in the deep freeze, the Arctic, the oceans, Africa, other parts of Asia, Australia and the middle east were all experiencing hotter than normal temperatures for this time of year. Shocking as it sounds, the world is bigger than just your back yard kroverstreet. A follow up comment from SteveT of the CWG draws the bottom line: December .50F hotter than normal and early January 1.00 F warmer than normal.

"And not to get too technical, but if it snows enough to deposit more snow than melts from the ice caps, I think nature is coping just fine. I may be "misinformed", but that sounds like a break even for ocean levels to me."

Good thing you're not getting technical, since both your premise and your conclusion are wrong. Melting goes way up, and that puts more moisture into the water cycle, which then snows or rains down, but it all ends up in the ocean - in addition to the melting from the glaciers and landed ice sheets. "Nature" is coping fine, but if we want to keep living in it - particularly on the world's coasts - WE won't be fine. Nature doesn't give a damn about us - in much the same way that you don't give a damn about humanity.

"What the left ignores about the scientific data they cite is the uncertainty. Any serious scientist follows the statement, "the globe warmed 0.74°C" with the uncertainty!"

Gosh, those silly 97% of all practicing climatologists. They never had a basic intro stats course, according to you. Who knew?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090119210532.htm

Posted by: B2O2 | February 10, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I am a member of the I am not a scientist club. So you'll excuse me when I say that Farmers Almanac predicted this winter season. They base their predictions on "solar science, the study of sunspots and other solar activity; climatology, the study of prevailing weather patterns; and meteorology, the study of the atmosphere. We predict weather trends and events by comparing solar patterns and historical weather conditions with current solar activity."

Until the email debacle is rounded out and the raw data studied (which I think I read that not all the raw data is available anymore since it was "thrown out"), I think I"ll pay attention to solar activity and patterns. Lots going on right now.

Posted by: StudyUp | February 10, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, one other point: I think it's telling that there are so many arguments against anthropogenic climate change, some of which are quite passionate, but you don't see such arguments in other areas of science and engineering where there is no political interest. I'm reminded of the people who passionately argue against evolution but don't have any complaints about other branches of chemistry or biology or physics, etc. that are based on exactly the same kinds of evidence. The skepticism, if it is honest, must be based on a disagreement with scientific method. And therefore, all science should be doubted with equal passion, not just those areas where there's an ideology to defend.

Posted by: lakkalnin | February 10, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Willis? EXCELLENT POSTS. And you of course, didn't even mention Al Gore, winner of the Nobel for his work in climate change, not even bothering to factcheck his sources and stating baldly at the climate change conference in Copenhagen that "the glacier ice caps will be gone in 30 years"-a HORRENDOUS overstatement that had to be immediately retracted... honest to god, these climate change true believers though, are STILL clinging to their myths-don't want their articles of faith tampered with in any way-they are indeed like cultists.

Posted by: arrabbiato | February 10, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

jtw_alexandria:
"In a memo to Bush, Luntz wrote, "The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science. ... Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field."


Lets read between your ellipses. What Luntz really wrote, in the order he wrote it:

***************************
The scientific debate remains open. Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public some to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field.

Americans want a free and open discussion. Even though Democrats savaged President Bush for formally withdrawing from the Kyoto accord, the truth is that none of them would have actually voted to ratify the treaty, and they were all glad to see it die. Emphasize the importance of "acting only with all the facts in hand" and "making the right decision, not the quick decision."

(Somewhere on the next page)

...The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science. Americans believe that all the strange weather that was associated with El Nino had something to do with global warming, and there is little you can do to convince them otherwise. However, only a handful of people believes the science of global warming is a closed question. Most Americans want more information so that they can make an informed decision. It is our job to provide that information."
****************************

In saying the "debate is closing," Luntz was observing that the scientific debate could be lost, not on its merits, but because the public would seize upon phenomena like El Nino (or, say, severe winter storms in the mid-Atlantic states) as proof of global warming. In context, Luntz is not saying that the science is settled, but that people are sheep. Not surprising, since he's a politics guy and not a weather man.

Posted by: cpurick | February 10, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

This winter's precipitation is high because the path of the jet streams has been shifted by an El Nino event of unusual strength, driven by WARMING in the western Pacific.

Remember Gleick's book on chaos and fractals? The weather system is chaotic - it doesn't have a simple linear response to adding more fuel (heat) to the system, like pushing the accelerator of a car. Instead you get shifts in climactic zones and wilder swings in the weather.

One can't attribute any single storm to warming; there are many other factors involved. However, increased storms are consistent with, and predicted by, the theories of global climate change.

Posted by: j2hess | February 10, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

"On the one hand you don't believe that excessive carbon emissions cause climate change, yet you belive that reducing carbon emissions will "regulate the weather."

When I say the left seeks certain policies "in order to regulate the weather," that's only intended to describe a ridiculous goal, which is why I used the word "insane." Don't misread me in any way which infers that I actually believe that crap.

"Also, we have been successfully reducing automobile tailpipe emissions for years, and as a results kids in Los Angeles can safely play outdoors and breathe the air again, whereas in the 1960's there were frequent "smog alerts." I suppose this is also an example of how "taking political control of mankind" is "insane?""

Nope. Smog is real. Some substances are truly toxic. In fact, I'm a big proponent of catalytic converters, since carbon MONoxide emission imposes a real cost on people who aren't driving.

But CO2 is a part of the life-cycle, and an essential element for much of the world's biomass -- without it, everything on Earth would die. At atmospheric levels (measured at a few hundred parts per million), CO2 is not toxic to anything. Plus, water vapor and other naturally-occurring gases like methane play a much greater role in the greenhouse effect, not to mention that one decent volcanic eruption could contribute more to greenhouse effect than decades, or perhaps even centuries, of human activity.

It's a matter of scale and perspective. You should get some.

Posted by: cpurick | February 10, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

@B2OB: "Wow, where to start. Let me just point out, in case it matters to you, that popular 'eco apocalypse' books, as well as popular media magazines, are not even remotely the same as peer-reviewed scientific journal articles."

I understand that. I was giving a context for my non-scientific skepticism. Which I confess has an emotional component, which I'm sure your opinion does not.

I did not mean to imply they were remotely the same, or that I was treated them as "peer-reviewed scientific journal articles".

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein, meet Charles Onains. In 2000 he lamented in the UK's Independent that "Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past".

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

Here are a few other shrieks from global warmists over the years. It took me about 30 seconds to turn up these samples from the MSM.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/RFK-79834057.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6185345.stm

Anybody with a memory longer than about 6 months knows from personal experience that that during the warmer 90's, we had to listen every day to global warmists who generalized on weather from "their village" to prove global weather change. Now these same folks are saying with a straight face that they knew all along that the winters were going to get snowier.

It's a religion folks, what do you expect.


Posted by: TYoke | February 10, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

"But CO2 is a part of the life-cycle, and an essential element for much of the world's biomass -- without it, everything on Earth would die. At atmospheric levels (measured at a few hundred parts per million), CO2 is not toxic to anything."

This paean to carbon emissions reminds me of one my favorite Ronald Reagan stories.

During the 1980 presidential campaign Reagan famously stated that trees cause more air pollution than do automobiles.

At one of his campaign stops in California, a banner was hung on a tree that read:

“Chop me down before I kill again.”

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 10, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

@lakkalnin: "I don't agree with the argument that since there have been apocalyptic claims in the past that we should give less weight to the current evidence for climate change."

I'm not making that argument. I was offering an indication of where my own skepticism comes from, as a form of full disclosure, rather than suggesting it as a template for anybody else.

"The science should be evaluated on its own merits. Otherwise, we run the risk of over-calibrating to conclude that science always exaggerates. I don't think it does, in the long run."

I believe there can be distortions in the short run, however. There is a lot of emotion on both sides of the issue, and a lot of money at stake--on both sides of the issue. It makes me skeptical. Not that that is the template which you or anyone else should use, but I can only be informed by my own education, research and experience, which is certainly incomplete. I am not, in any way, a climate scientist.

"Again, scientific progress is analogous to a graph of climate data containing noise and long term trends: Climate-gate is a tiny point of data (like the 1990 temperature spike) compared to a huge body of evidence moving in a contrary direction."

In terms of what's being attempted legislatively, much of it based on the distorted or inaccurate work done at the University East Anglia and the growing number of errors and misrepresentations of the IPCC report, I don't regard it as such a tiny point of data. Perhaps it is. In the end, the decision isn't going to be made by me. I think we might agree that climate scientist could exercise a little more rigor in their research, and a little more openness in regards to their data. That would help prevent such small points of data becoming such potentially damaging issues on the political front.

"True, they might have it wrong. That's always the case with a science that is inherently probabilistic. We can't know with certainty. But the people who do climate science for a living collect mountains of data and conduct some pretty sophisticated modeling and statistics no different from the work done in other areas of science and engineering."

There are some differences. The nature of our global weather system, and the sheer numbers of factors that interact, make it much more difficult to accurately model global climate trends than it is to put a man on the moon.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

@lakkalnin continued:

"From what I've seen, such a convincing refutation does not exist."

Perhaps not. Perhaps I just can't trust the people I should. But, given recent events, I tend to feel--rightly or wrongly--that my skepticism was entirely justified.

"In fact, the only counter-arguments I've seen are based on psychological 'gotchas' like climate-gate, and relatively small points of data that, on the surface, appear to contradict the science."

I'm not trying to convince anyone otherwise. Just arguing that if the smartest people in the world are right about global warming, they need to be a great deal smarter about advancing their agenda in political and social realms if they want to make a significant change. At this point, I don't think Cap and Trade has much hope.

"At the risk of being repetitious, I won't argue that anthropogenic climate change is a fact, but rather that the science supporting it is very strong. Much, much stronger than the arguments I've seen from skeptics."

Could well be. I tend to suspect our preconceptions affect such analysis, inflating that which supports our presupposed conclusions and minimizing that which does not. But if I think that might be the case for you, then I had to admit that it must as well be the case for me.

"I think people fall into a trap of equating the validity of arguments merely because there are two sides. But from what I've seen the evidence and arguments are very lopsided."

I don't think most people equate the arguments. From what I've seen, those who are certain of anthropogenic global warming think deniers are idiots, charlatans, and cads. And skeptics tend to think the warmers are doomsayers, and quasi-religious fanatics. Some may attempt to treat both sides of the argument equally, but I think most people view the argument as lopsided.

But, as tiny as the points of Climate Gate and the IPCC report problems may be in reality, they point to more significant structural problems that will be difficult to wish away.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Whether global warming is being caused by we humans, or is part of a long natural climate cycle, or a combonation of both is just a matter for debate. The reality is that nothing significant will be done by Earth`s countries to change things.
Also a reality is the fact that a lot of people are making a lot of money off the global warming issue. Those people do not want the problem to be solved..just like with the AIG`s...it is always about money.

Posted by: blazerguy234 | February 10, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"Kevin, one other point: I think it's telling that there are so many arguments against anthropogenic climate change, some of which are quite passionate, but you don't see such arguments in other areas of science and engineering where there is no political interest."

I agree, though I think this works both ways. I believe much of the flaws in the IPCC report and the East Anglia emails come from an emotional justification that the ends--saving the planet--justifies the means. Unfortunately, well-intentioned climate scientists who fudge or forge data do not, at the end of the day, actually do anything to help the cause.

"I'm reminded of the people who passionately argue against evolution but don't have any complaints about other branches of chemistry or biology or physics, etc. that are based on exactly the same kinds of evidence."

Well, to be clear, I'm not arguing against evolution. And I'm not sure that comparison is valid, given that deniers aren't objecting to the very existence of climate science, but the idea of anthropogenic global warming.

In the field of evolution, there is some difference between theories of steady progression and Gould and Elderedge's punctuated equilibrium. And then there are clearly discredited branches of evolutionary science, such as Lamarckian inheritance. All of which happened under the rubric of evolution. And given with way Gould and Elderedge were treated by some when they proposed punctuated equilibrium--as heretics announcing there was no God--I expect some of those argument had an emotional component too.

While the emotional comparison to creationists or flat-earthers may be satisfying, I don't think it's generally accurate. Certainly, my own skepticism has emotional and intuitive components, but I don't deny that we have a climate, and that the climate changes. I am skeptical that man is a significant factor in climate change, but I don't think that is equivalent to railing against evolution.

"The skepticism, if it is honest, must be based on a disagreement with scientific method. And therefore, all science should be doubted with equal passion, not just those areas where there's an ideology to defend."

Oh, absolutely. I think it's all bunk, when it comes down to it. :)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis wrote:

"Just arguing that if the smartest people in the world are right about global warming, they need to be a great deal smarter about advancing their agenda in political and social realms if they want to make a significant change."

In other words, "scientists now not only have to be excellent at what they do, but they should also excel at PR work and political theatre, or I will continue to sit on my butt and say 'meh'..."

Reminds me of the lackluster college students who say to themselves, "the teacher really knows his stuff, but until he makes the class more exciting, I'm simply not going to lift a finger to learn this material".

Does this species even *deserve* to survive? One has to wonder.

Posted by: B2O2 | February 10, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

That's what's great about being a global warming true believer anything that goes on in the climate can be put onto the altar of your religion. There's a warming trend for a couple of years: it's obvious and a done deal that it's caused by global warming. The climate gets inconviently colder for a couple of years: you manipulate the data so that is shows that it isn't really getting colder, or you talk about glaciers melting that really aren't or if all else fails you can simply claim that when it gets colder that's also a symptom of global warming. Isn't it great? Nothing interferes with your worldview.

Posted by: RobT1 | February 10, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

"...or you talk about glaciers melting that really aren't..."

America's Glacier National Park, then and now:

http://www.livescience.com/php/multimedia/imagegallery/igviewer.php?imgid=626&gid=42&index=0

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 10, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

"We can't know with certainty. But the people who do climate science for a living collect mountains of data and conduct some pretty sophisticated modeling and statistics no different from the work done in other areas of science and engineering."
posted by lakkalnin

It doesn't matter how sophisticated the modeling and elegant the statistics, if the data is garbage, all the edifices constructed atop it are garbage as well. And if the East Anglia emails demonstrate anything, it's that the temperature data from which all else flows and upon which all else rests is tainted, flawed, and cherry picked; after which it was manipulated, smoothed and massaged so as to promote the agenda of the global warming community and the fortunes of money at stake.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 10, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

"This paean to carbon emissions"

It wasn't a "paean to carbon emissions." It's just a reminder that CO2 is one of the good guys. You libs seem to have forgotten.

Posted by: cpurick | February 10, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

"a reminder that CO2 is one of the good guys. You libs seem to have forgotten."

We "libs" already remember that. We also understand that within an eco-system, too much of anything, even a good thing, is not a good thing.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 10, 2010 10:55 PM | Report abuse

It's easy to confuse weather with climate.. nevertheless, climate change has predicted extreme precipitation events. And here we have one. Even a quick glance will tell anyone that temperatures are only slightly below average, but well within what is typical for this time of year. The temperatures are well above extreme low temperatures (-10 on Feb 10 at Dulles for the record ).

And how about all the snow being trucked into the Winter Olympics? Looking on a "global" scale it's easy to see that "global" warming isn't such a farce after all.

It's always a mistake to confuse science and politics.

Posted by: firstweatherman | February 10, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

So let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that environmentalism is a religion. Is religion bad? Is all religion that isn't your religion unacceptable? What's the problem?

Posted by: jtw_alexandria | February 11, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

"We "libs" already remember that. We also understand that within an eco-system, too much of anything, even a good thing, is not a good thing."

Well, when you can convince our scientists that there's too much CO2 it'll be settled science. Until then, it's just another attack on freedom and wealth from the usual bleeding-heart, sky-is-falling, suspects on the left.

And I don't know whether you've noticed, but lately your "scientists" have been looking more and more like they're trying to prove what libs already believe, rather than simply looking for the truth. Is it any wonder real scientists are increasingly skeptical?

Tell me, Patrick: When you hear evidence that anthropogenic global warming may be less of a threat than you've been led to believe, does that make you feel relieved -- or disappointed and defensive? I mean, rationally, that *should* be good news, shouldn't it? And yet I suspect it bothers you greatly. Because you've already made up your mind.

Open your eyes -- you're not interested in global warming for the truth. You're in it for the misery.

Posted by: cpurick | February 11, 2010 3:09 AM | Report abuse

"Is religion bad? Is all religion that isn't your religion unacceptable? What's the problem?"

The problem comes when you seek policies that force everyone to live as if the tenets of your religion are scientific fact. I refer you to the First Amendment.

And that's not just global warming -- it's pretty much everything liberals believe. During the 20th Century, a hundred million people died trying to live under leftist rule -- or trying to escapt it. Either way, you might say they simply fell in the gap between what the left believes and what's actually true.

Posted by: cpurick | February 11, 2010 3:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if Roger Pielke, Jr. is reading this blog, but...

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/weather-is-not-climate.html

Take that!

Posted by: tl_houston | February 11, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"Tell me, Patrick: When you hear evidence that anthropogenic global warming may be less of a threat than you've been led to believe, does that make you feel relieved -- or disappointed and defensive? I mean, rationally, that *should* be good news, shouldn't it? And yet I suspect it bothers you greatly. Because you've already made up your mind.

Open your eyes -- you're not interested in global warming for the truth. You're in it for the misery."


Just plain wrong.

I am not "in" anything "for the misery." If a time ever comes when the mainstream scientific community downgrades the estimation of the climate change threat, I will be delighted.

Until that time comes, I will continue to think that it is prudent to develop sensible strategies to minimize the potential worsening of the problem. Especially since there are so many ancillary benefits to clean and sustainable energy technologies, such as the prospect of energy independence.

You are absolutely entitled to believe and to say that nothing man has ever done can lead to a change in the climate of the Earth. But your argument on behalf of that belief is not made any stronger by claiming that people who may believe differently than yourself are "in it for the misery."

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 11, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

So when you see that the East Anglia CRU gang has a tough time justifying their numbers, you're relieved to learn that things may not be as pessimistic as their numbers have been suggesting?

You really want them -- and all global warming scientists -- to release all their data and methods for true peer review, rather than for review by selected peers, right? After all, there's nothing to hide in the data, is there?

Posted by: cpurick | February 11, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Now Ezra feels qualified enough to give advice on the current climate debate? This is insanity. Washington DC winters have rarely been wanting for moisture. The reason why it is rare to see such snow storms is because the air is rarely cold enough to convert the moisture to snow.

That being said, the massive snow falls of the past 3 months is NOT evidence against AGW (I'm talking to you, Sen. DeMint & Co.). Such an argument is as ludicrous as suggesting that the snow fall supports the AGW hypothesis (ahem, I'm talking to you, Joe Romm, Time Mag, NY Times). Both claims are rooted in either politics or ignorance (probably both). Climate is measured over DECADES, not days, months, or even years.

So my advice to Ezra and all other non-physical/life sciences degree-holding pundits is to stick to economics and politics, and enjoy the snow. One of the reasons why the climate debate is in such a sorry state is because more than a fair share of economists and politicians have weighed in on the topic with their "expertise."

Posted by: jurban | February 11, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"Until that time comes, I will continue to think that it is prudent to develop sensible strategies to minimize the potential worsening of the problem. Especially since there are so many ancillary benefits to clean and sustainable energy technologies, such as the prospect of energy independence."

Well whaddya know. I agree with Patrick. I would go further and add that it would be prudent as well for the EPA to get back to looking after the cleanliness of our air and water and leave off with regulating cow farts until we know for sure that cow farts are melting glaciers.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 11, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"So when you see that the East Anglia CRU gang has a tough time justifying their numbers, you're relieved to learn that things may not be as pessimistic as their numbers have been suggesting?

You really want them -- and all global warming scientists -- to release all their data and methods for true peer review, rather than for review by selected peers, right? After all, there's nothing to hide in the data, is there?"

In case this was meant to be addressed to me....

1). Yes, I believe that everyone in every field of the scientific community ought to share the data used in their studies for the purpose of rigorous peer review.

2.) Yes, I would be most relieved if in the future I learn that scientists conclude that previous widely-accepted conclusions are incorrect, and that the prognosis regarding the progression of climate change is less severe than previously thought. However, I have seen nothing in the "email-gate" revelations that rises to a level where the vast bulk of scientific opinion on this subject built up over decades is suddenly called into any substantial doubt.

The assumption that continues to be asserted or implied is that those of us who are concerned about climate change are actually anti-capitalist anarchists, working in a conspiracy with thousands of scientists worldwide, who are cheering for for a bottomless well of discouraging data (which we do not actually believe is factual).

Portraying everyone who believes in the wisdom of the goal of lower carbon emissions as though they were wild-eyed WTO rioters does not make your argument any more valid. When you go down that road, you simply reduce the chances that you will pursuade any open-minded person on the other side to your point of view, or that you can even get them to listen.

So if you want to stay forever in a sealed echo chamber of your own making, keep it up.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 11, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"The assumption that continues to be asserted or implied is that those of us who are concerned about climate change are actually anti-capitalist anarchists, working in a conspiracy with thousands of scientists worldwide, who are cheering for for a bottomless well of discouraging data (which we do not actually believe is factual)."

No, it's more like anti-capitalist Marxists, embracing a "scientific" justification for anti-capitalist policy -- science which, apparently, the scientists themselves are not as convinced about as anti-capitalists are. But religion works that way.

Posted by: cpurick | February 11, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

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