The Frontal Cortex

Winter and Global Warming

One of the unfortunate consequences of Iowa and New Hampshire getting so much snow this December is that it has really muted the discussion of global warming. I’ve now been to enough campaign events to realize that the weather definitely affects political discourse. On a hot summer day, just about every presidential stump speech – and I’m referring here to the speeches of Clinton, Obama, Edwards and McCain – referred at least once to the prospect of global warming. However, when the outside world is coated in a thick slick of ice, I’ve found that presidential candidates tend to steer away from such direct references to hotter climes, and instead talk about rising gas prices and our dependence on foreign oil.

Obviously, a cold winter month, or even a cold winter season, is completely irrelevant to the larger scientific consensus on global warming. A climate is not weather. But I think it’s interesting, and perhaps a little sad, that this urgent discussion about the future of earth can only take place when it’s not snowing outside.

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Comments

  1. #1 Chris
    December 31, 2007

    Send them down to Florida.

  2. #2 The Ridger
    December 31, 2007

    Yes, people don’t seem to grasp that “global warming” is about a couple of degrees everywhere. (simplified, of course) 112 would be 116, and 99 would be 103, yes, but 26 would be 30, and -10 would be -6. Wow. I guess if it can still get cold enough to snow, there can’t be any “warming” going on.

    But this is one reason I prefer to say “climate change”.

  3. #3 coyote
    December 31, 2007

    I would take people much more seriously when they say “A climate is not weather” on cold days if they said the same things on warm days. However, I instead see 5000 major media stories on “record low arctic ice” and the implications for global warming but zero stories on the record high antarctic ice which occurred on nearly the same day.

  4. #4 Tyler DiPietro
    December 31, 2007

    “However, I instead see 5000 major media stories on “record low arctic ice” and the implications for global warming but zero stories on the record high antarctic ice which occurred on nearly the same day.”

    Do you have a citation for this story?

  5. #5 oku
    December 31, 2007

    coyote, the record high in the Antarctic is pretty insignificant. The low in the NH was *very* significant. So the media echo is quite justified. See a nice summary by tamino.

  6. #6 caerbannog
    December 31, 2007


    but zero stories on the record high antarctic ice which occurred on nearly the same day.

    The “record high Antarctic ice” extent was statistically insignificant (i.e. barely above the mean extent). The situation with the Arctic, however, is much different.

    This is not unexpected, given that the Antarctic is surrounded by a giant heat-sink known as the Southern Ocean. Climatologists (and their climate-models) have long predicted that the Antarctic would warm more slowly than the Arctic. But warm it has: recent satellite-based measurements are now showing that the Antarctic as a whole is losing ice-mass.

    So take your regurgi-talking-points elsewhere, please.

  7. #7 Dave Briggs
    December 31, 2007

    Obviously, a cold winter month, or even a cold winter season, is completely irrelevant to the larger scientific consensus on global warming. A climate is not weather. But I think it’s interesting, and perhaps a little sad, that this urgent discussion about the future of earth can only take place when it’s not snowing outside.

    I have found that there is a beautiful elegance when you can synergistically tie the mitigaiton or solution to more than one problem to one course of action.
    Even if people are shivering from the cold and can’t be persuded to care about global wamring at the moment, they are still going to care about foreign oil imports and smog, cancer incidence, the national economy and other things.
    I have a post on my blog and am available as a talk show guest on the topic: Plug in Hybrid vehicles could save the planet. I have heard people claim that if we switched to plug in hybrids we could save well over 50% of the oil we import. Sequestering carbon and other pollutants is much more easily accomplished at one smokestack, rather than millions of tailpipes circumnavigating the planet, and using an indigenous resource, coal, also increases jobs in the USA.
    If you can’t get people to care about a problem try to tie it into one or more other things they are caring about, and present an amelioration or solution to all the problems at once.
    Dave Briggs :~)

  8. #8 Chris
    January 3, 2008

    I retract my previous statement. It got really cold Yesterday and snowed a little on the coast. On the news a resident interviewed stated “they’re talking about global warming and its snowing in florida.”

  9. #9 Reggie Rasmussen
    January 4, 2008

    No doubt that global warming is very debated. I, however, have never heard that man is causing global cooling. For this – all I can say is that I hope that the people that believe this is natural are not wrong. But if man is causing at least part of the problem then why not do all we can. One thing not in dispute is that we cannot continue to use non-renewable sources on energy forever.
    Are you familiar with the ground floor movement to take solar to the masses by a company called Citizenre? They are trying market solar with an approach similar to satellite TV, cellular telephones, and alarm systems. That is to provide the customer a complete solar system with no upfront charges and make money from a service contract. In this case the service contract would be a rent agreement. They intend to put a complete solar system on clients home. When the system produces electricity, it will lower the bill from the current utility provider. In most cases the savings from the lower bill will more than cover the rent fee that the company intends to charge. The company currently has no product available but intends to deploy in the middle of 2008. They are currently taking reservations and have over 26,000 takers so far. I have written several articles on this company in my blog and even have a couple of videos that I have recorded at http://www.solarjoules.com. Feel free to take a look. I welcome comments. As in any start up business, a chance exists that they may never get off the ground and fulfill any preorders, but if this is the case – the potential client has not lost anything. If you cannot afford the upfront cost of solar today, this may turn out to be a great alternative. This solution would mean that we could produce at least a little less pollution and would be a great step “just in case”. And hey, the fact that you will save money on your electricity bill over time is a pretty good reason to look into it as well.
    If anyone would like company information you can go to http://www.jointhesolution.com/razmataz.

  10. #10 Magnet Material
    June 15, 2009

    warm it has: recent satellite-based measurements are now showing that the Antarctic as a whole is losing ice-mass.