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News flash: intense snowstorms now caused
Bill McKibben, a scholar at Middlebury College and author of "The End of Nature," explains that "the weird and disruptive weather patterns around the world are pretty much exactly what you'd expect as the planet warms."
In fact, it has been frigid in many parts of the northern hemisphere, despite the planetary warming McKibben says is happening. China and Mongolia experienced their coldest weather since 1971. Europe and Russia were hit by deadly cold and blizzards. Florida, along with other areas of the southeast, experienced its longest spell of cold weather in history. And the state's citrus crop sustained its worst damage since 1989.
Meteorologist and Weather Underground blogger Jeff Masters also fingers global-warming as the culprit behind the record-breaking snowstorms.
He writes: "It is quite possible that the dice have been loaded in favor of more intense Nor'easters for the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, thanks to the higher level of moisture present in the air due to warmer global temperatures."
But the explanations of both McKibben and Masters conflict with statements from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Technical Support Document. Global warming should result in milder weather, producing more rain, not snow, the agencies claim:
EPA Technical Support Document ES3
"Rising temperatures have generally resulted in rain rather than snow in
locations and seasons where climatological average (1961-1990)
temperatures were close to 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit )."
"Observations show that changes are occurring in the amount, intensity, frequency and type of precipitation. More precipitation now falls as rain rather than snow in northern regions. For a future warmer climate, models project a 50 to 100 percent decline in the frequency of cold air outbreaks relative to the present in NH [Northern Hemisphere] winters in most areas."
El Nino, arctic oscillation to blame
According to Joe D'Aleo, Intellicast chief meteorologist and founder of Icecap.us, the snowy winter pattern is the result of two weather anomalies: El Nino and a very, strong "negative" arctic oscillation (AO).
"This [winter weather] is typical of El Ninos," says D'Aleo.
"During the last few years, we had all-time record snows from Washington and Oregon across Colorado to Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and parts of New England and throughout much of southern Canada. The media and the scientists either ignored it or blamed it on La Nina, promising global warming would resume when El Nino returned. El Nino came back, but the cold and snow just shifted south all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, with temperatures dropping to a rare 40 degrees in Cuba," he says.
This season's cold and snowy weather pattern is not unprecedented. Several years ago scientists at NASA's Earth Observatory documented the correlation between declining solar activity and cold periods like the Dalton Minimum (a snowy period during the time of Charles Dickens similar to what London has seen the past two years) in the early 1800s and the Maunder Minimum (1645-1710), an intensely cold period during the Little Ice Age. They determined that a decline in ultra-violet light from the sun reduced ozone in the stratosphere, driving the jet stream south and bringing on colder temperatures.
"The sun has been a ‘Dalton-like' quiet in recent years, and now we're beginning to see the onset of a colder weather pattern, with cold and winter storms unusually far south," D'Aleo says. "The recent cold is consistent with the behavior of the sun, not CO2 emissions."
"The earth has been getting cooler, not warmer, for nearly a decade. Last week, professor Phil Jones, the former director of Britain's Climate Research Unit, had to admit during an interview with the BBC that the world has cooled 1.2 degrees since January 2002, and that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995.
"The earth is cooling. The folks in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast will attest to that fact. No media spin to the contrary or data manipulation by NOAA and NASA can convince them otherwise," Daleo says.
Washington D.C. has broken its 1899 snow record of 54.4 inches, reporting a new high of 54.9 inches. As Steve Goddard writes on What's Up With That: "We are told that the new record is due to ‘extreme weather' caused by ‘global warming.' If so, what caused the nearly identical ‘extreme weather' over a century ago? Alarmists tell us that heavy snow used to be caused by cold, but now is caused by warmth. The 1899 record was set long before the hockey stick [Penn State University professor Michael Mann's now-discredited graph] brought temperatures to unprecedented levels."
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