Global warming offers the perfect test of how deep you think—basically, how smart you are.
In 2001, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that “milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms.” The IPCC doubled down on this claim in 2007, saying that “a growing number of case studies of larger settlements indicate that climate change is likely to increase heat stress in summers while reducing cold-weather stresses in winter.”
Of course that was stupid: the UN said it.
But your humble correspondent thinks a little deeper (like at all). He has noticed that the twenty years he has lived in Boston have been simultaneously the warmest (in modern times, according to the Warm-mongers) and the snowiest. But for the legendary Blizzard of ’78 and one or two other storms, all of the top ten “snow events” have happened during my residency here.
Coincidence, or something deeper at play?
A recent study from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology found that while warming could mean less overall snowfall in a year, it could drive more major blizzards in places like New England.
O’Gorman argued that snowfall will become increasingly rare in milder regions of the world, but cold regions like New England could see more extreme snowstorms because of increases in water vapor in the atmosphere or because of shifts in weather patterns.
“Sea surface temperatures off the coast of New England right now are at record levels, 11.5C (21F) warmer than normal in some locations,” Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann told the Washington Post. “There is [a] direct relationship between the surface warmth of the ocean and the amount of moisture in the air. What that means is that this storm will be feeding off these very warm seas, producing very large amounts of snow as spiraling winds of the storm squeeze that moisture out of the air, cool, it, and deposit it as snow inland.”
That’s what your humble correspondent (YHC) surmised, as repulsed as he is to see Michael Mann saying it.
But the faux Nobel laureate and (YHC) share another trait: we’re not that smart.
But not all scientists agree. The University of Alabama, Huntsville climate scientist Dr. Roy Spencer says claims that increased water vapor is creating more extreme blizzards in New England doesn’t hold water.
Spencer’s analysis of the data found “no relationship between available water vapor and snowstorm events over the last 27 years.”
“In fact, while warm season water vapor has increased, cold season water vapor (if anything) has decreased on average over the region, making less vapor available for storms,” Spencer wrote in his blog.
“There is always abundant water vapor available for U.S. snowstorms to feed off of, just as there is always abundant tropical water vapor available for hurricanes and typhoons,” Spencer said. “But that’s not the limiting factor in storm formation. What is necessary is the variety of conditions which can support the formation of low pressure centers….sufficient water vapor is usually ready and waiting to play its part.”
Dumb people deny the snow piling up ever higher around us; less dumb people (YHC) seize upon the evidence as proof of what the more dumb people said could never happen; and actual smart people look at the big picture, factor in the data, and say it’s snowing so much because it’s cold.