Skip to comments.Time Magazine blizzard science sets low standard for green journalism
Posted on 01/01/2011 10:04:46 AM PST by Signalman
The line must be drawn here! This far and no further!
Bryan Walsh deserves a giant watermelon for his journalistic efforts this Time around in his annual piece on global warming causing blizzards.
He comes out swinging right away: A big winter snowstorm provides more fodder for the global-warming skeptics. But theyre wrong
Oh really? Bryan, if you can find any (credible) scientist that wants to go on record supporting your contortionist logic with respect to this holiday blizzard, please quote them directly on the record, and do not cherry-pick their blog postings or opinion-editorials. Is this the type of new green journalism expertise that we can expect from the vaunted and much lauded Climate Science Rapid Response Team? Preemptive straw man arguments that would make the master blush? This article is just another in a long line of really speculative pieces that reek of scientific ignorance. Enough of it, please!
Before getting to this years Time Life installment of blizzards gone wild, lets go back to February 10, 2010 and Snowmageddon when Bryan Walsh authored this gem: As the blizzard-bound residents of the mid-Atlantic region get ready to dig themselves out of the third major storm of the season, they may stop to wonder two things: Why havent we bothered to invest in a snow blower, and what happened to climate change? After all, it stands to reason that if the world is getting warmer and the past decade was the hottest on record major snowstorms should become a thing of the past, like PalmPilots and majority rule in the Senate. Certainly thats what the Virginia state Republican Party thinks: the GOP aired an ad last weekend that attacked two Democratic members of Congress for supporting the 2009 carbon-cap-and-trade bill, using the recent storms to cast doubt on global warming.
Indeed, what happened to that climate change perhaps a follow up on that Virginia state GOP campaign strategy (Tsunami warning). 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.
Were braced. Semi-interested readers will see from that February Time piece that Bryan Walsh relies on Dr. Jeff Masters blog posting to rationalize the blizzard and global warming saying that warmer air carries more moisture true. However, intense baroclinic cyclones such as blizzards also rely on Arctic-cold air for their fuel which is usually provided behind dynamically-positioned midlatitude troughs. I havent read any peer-reviewed literature lately linking an increase in moisture being responsible for that blizzards intensity or existence, specifically. That reasoning is essentially a thought experiment extrapolated to the situation at hand. Walsh finishes up: Ultimately, however, its a mistake to use any one storm or even a seasons worth of storms to disprove climate change (or to prove it; some environmentalists have wrongly tied the lack of snow in Vancouver, the site of the Winter Olympic Games, which begin this week, to global warming). Weather is what will happen next weekend; climate is what will happen over the next decades and centuries. And while our ability to predict the former has become reasonably reliable, scientists are still a long way from being able to make accurate projections about the future of the global climate. Of course, that doesnt help you much when youre trying to locate your car under a foot of powder.
We are in agreement on that. Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. says the same thing over at his Climate Science blog in reaction to the woeful Dr. Judah Cohen opinion editorial.
Fast forward to December 28, 2010 and the most recent blizzard. Everyone that participated in our sarcastic peremptory analysis of the blizzard journalism-to-come had some jolly holiday laughs conjuring up what was expected to be written by the liberal media. Time Magazine does not disappoint! But while piles of snow blocking your driveway hardly conjure images of a dangerously warming world, it doesnt mean that climate change is a myth. The World Meteorological Organization recently reported that 2010 is almost certainly going to be one of the three warmest years on record, while 2001 to 2010 is already the hottest decade in recorded history. Indeed, according to some scientists, all of these events may actually be connected.
First off, lets get our time-scales right. Decadal-time-scale, mean-global warming on the order of tenths of a degree is not an event. The blizzard is an event. Who is coming out saying that climate change is a myth? The climate is always changing Id be surprised and alarmed if it stayed the same. Alas, I thought you werent supposed to conflate a singular weather event to climate change/global warming/disruption/something. There are two main arguments that are cobbled together to form a scientific thesis:
(1) A warmer Arctic will lead to colder and snowier winters in the middle-latitudes due to the continued Arctic sea-ice meltdown. The loss of ice will make the surface darker, absorb more heat, and change pressure patterns leading to a weakening of the jet stream, which allows cold-air to seep into Europe. This is called the Warm Arctic Cold Continents theory by NOAA and operates exclusively in the fall months. Dr. Jeff Masters calls it leaving the refrigerator door open to cool your house.
(2) Dr. Judah Cohens theory about Siberian snow-cover early in the fall leading to a dome of cold air forming near the mountains which in turn bends the passing jet stream. This affects the middle-latitude waveguide and results in a highly amplified pattern. Thus, more meridional flow exchanges of cold-air equatorward. This is an appeal to the negative Arctic Oscillation phase.
Okay, these theories are not in dispute but their applicability to the current blizzard is. Dr. Cohens scholarship on Arctic climate dynamics is top-notch. Conversely, his recent NY Times op-ed was not received well. But, what does this have to do with a singular event like a blizzard which has happened many, many times in the past? The Arctic Oscillation has been negative before. Look at this time-series graphic. To establish a causal chain that links these theories to the situation at hand requires a leap of faith:
How are autumn sea-ice or snow-cover changes supposed to affect the winter circulation three-months later when the troposphere has such a short memory?
See the aforementioned Pielke, Sr. posting for additional science reasoning. Im just going to throw something out there that the Climate Rapid Response Team might want to discover: El Nino and La Nina (ENSO) in that potentially important body of water known as the Pacific Ocean. Have you heard anything about this driving our current climate/weather in the media lately? Crickets
No objective person will disagree that Time Magazine or the NY Times green journalism is liberal in nature and fits perfectly in with the political agenda of the Democrat party. So, why did Bryan Walsh go from correctly stating in February that one storm or event isnt proof of anything to unabashedly blaming global warming for the most recent blizzard? Open question
While Dr. Oppenheimer talks about loaded dice with respect to global warming and extreme events, Walsh and the drive-by media are putting their cards down too soon, and are in effect overplaying their hand in a reflexive manner. They are looking for theories hidden in the tapestry to make the worlds weather fit a narrative. In doing this, green journalism ends up being science fiction, unsupportable, reflexive, and only worthy of watermelons.
In the meantime, the line is drawn here, no more of this type of article, please. Blow up the damn ship!
Only a braindead “journalist” could turn the weather into “the end of mankind”. Geeesh!
I cannot fix stupid.
Old Mother Nature sure is having fun with all these Global Warming Nazis.
Junk science invariably makes for junk journalism.... =.=
He could be right.
It’s 54F in Bflo right now. No snow. Light jacket weather.
These same lying liberal jerks were telling us a few years ago that snow would soon become a thing of the past!
Out of all the idiotic nonsense of the climate change crowd, the one point that always stands out to me above any arguments over whether or not global warming is occuring, is the inherent assumption among the global warmers that the earth is supposed to have a certain global average temperature and that anything above or below that is somehow abnormal.
Al Gore tells kids the earth has a fever. That assumes that there is a normal “body” temperature for the earth. This type of insane thinking is the litmus test of credibility that global warmers fail spectacularly.
Wait a few hours pal, your one day warm up will be history. (speaking from 300 miles west, LOL)
New York is covered waist deep in snow.
Here in the midwest it was 60 degrees (2 days ago). Not it’s around 30 degrees, but no snow.
The amount of snow you may or may not get, is totally dependent on where you are. And that ‘climate’ is not ‘locked’ to a position on the ground.
When the Sun is calm, we experience less ‘extremes’ of weather. When it rages away with solar flares, the weather is more ‘active’, more ‘powerful’, more ‘extreme’.
Nothing is ‘disappearing’ (such as snow). It just is happening somewhere else. The end result (an average of temps/rainfall/snow/ice/etc) pretty much stays the same.
I remember when people used the phrase “You can’t control the weather”. Now we have the government stating they can, and that we have to pay them for it.
I believe that CAVE MEN exhibited more intelligence in this area than our current ‘leaders’.
We need to have 5 seasons instead of the 4 seasons. Spring, summer, fall, winter, lastly OPEN season on idiots.
As usual, it’s all about the money. Wall Street and western governments now spend most of their time fantasizing about creating a new B.S. “market” with their ridiculous proposed international carbon trading scheme.
The Mighty Wind to lay low the mountains has yet to begin.
Is that slush the Time editors are wading through—or is it something else? ;-)
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