Record cold reported, global warming still not debunked

Warning on Hwy 141 in Georgia.
Credit: John Amis/AP

Al Jazeera America has a nice compact feature about how the record low temperatures and unusual storm activity are evidence that climate change is real and an increasing threat. Peter Moscowitz also makes a distinction that is overlooked (or willfully ignored) by mainstream media outlets translating scientific information-

But those who think cold weather disproves climate change may be ignoring a solid and ever-increasing body of evidence.

Cold weather is just that — weather, which is defined by NASA as “conditions of the atmosphere…over a short period of time.”

According to most climate scientists, no weather condition can be linked to climate change.

Just as the cold snap can’t necessarily be linked to climate by itself, neither can the unprecedented heat wave currently hitting Australia. (It’s so hot, meteorologists have been forced to add new colors to their heat maps.)

But unlike individual events, weather patterns can be linked to climate change. And scientists point out that patterns suggest it’s getting hotter and weather is becoming more dangerous.

Individuals and groups bent on denying scientific consensus use a key dodge in cases like this- where bizarre weather strikes the Pacific Northwest, the Eastern seaboard , and now (again) the South. It is to conflate two related but different terms- global warming and climate change. Skeptical Science has a nice piece explaining the two, and debunking the myth that the former was phased out by political consultants like Frank Lutz.

Global warming is the increase in temperature associated with increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, and climate change are the visible effects of that change. Groups like Fox News and conservative column writers tend to say that record cold weather disproves global warming- when in fact it validates the concept of climate change. Also (probably) willfully ignored is the difference between short-term and long-term. A three-day storm in a region of one country does not reverse decades of planet-wide temperature increase. Perhaps it is a bit of American chauvinism that weather in the United States can prove or disprove global climate theories.

Also, to prove that the latest rabble about global warming being a hoax is regurgitated, here’s a Daily Show segment from almost exactly four years ago. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean we’re headed for Hoth. Just like when it gets dark at night, eventually the sun will come up.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-february-10-2010/unusually-large-snowstorm

Where puddles lurk and wait

The rain falls desperately, knowing that in California it is long overdue
and the state had been looking to fill the position with other
natural fluids. The feeling is the same, but we waddle, awkward
not remembering where puddles lurk and wait to immerse our sneakers
and lead to a shrill

“Fuck!”

punctuating an otherwise civil morning.

But how could I stay mad at rain, there were many forces working against
my terse annoyance, occasionally shifting to a broad, impotent rage
I needed it more than it needed me. I was clingy, dragged down by my
body, filled with bitchy tissues and cells that wanted water all
the
goddamn
time
and what did water want with me? It was with its own kind in the clouds
swirling in ecstasy before it stopped the party early to grace me with its presence
I was boring, my dancing lurching and silly compared to the single drop before me in its infinite
small fluid rhythms. The rain would never take me up to see its friends and family,
I’d just sit there and with I had worn a more fashionable tie.

Hood up, the umbrella forgotten way back home. Top of the closet, near the gloves that had been until recently equally useless
the rain slips down and finds its friends in low places and glides towards welcoming
storm drains. It wants nothing with me, just a brief kiss on my startled cheek before it flows out to meet its friends in the sea.