Winter Weather Climate Spin Contradicts Science

Climate-change spinmeisters have been in overdrive since late December, hustling to explain how this spate of treacherous, winter weather is all due to global warming…just like they told us. (No doubt, the next thaw or blizzard will be mankind’s fault, too.) But their avowals mostly contradict scientific fact—including facts they have affirmed in reports they helped write themselves—not to mention current weather trends.

On January 4, as a “bomb cyclone” savaged the eastern seaboard, Al Gore tweeted this:

Gore, who oddly didn’t include clips of massive snowstorms and record-breaking cold temperatures in his films or paid lectures about global warming, linked to an article written by Michael Mann, a Penn State University scientist, author of the infamous “hockey stick” graph, and the media’s favorite climate mouthpiece.

In his customary, humble fashion, Mann appropriates the two-week stretch of brutal weather as evidence of exactly what he’s been saying all along: “Listening to climate contrarians like President Donald Trump, you might think this constitutes the death knell for concern over human-caused climate change. Yet, what we were witnessing play out is in fact very much consistent with our expectations of the response of weather dynamics to human-caused climate change.” The professor then throws in some maps and graphs to purportedly boost his claim, and concludes with, “so, to the climate change doubters and deniers out there, the unusual weather we’re seeing this winter is in no way evidence against climate change. It is an example of precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.”

Gore and Mann aren’t the only climate propagandists who tried to convince a shivering, iced-over, snowed-in public that this deep freeze is proof of anthropogenic global warming. Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University (and owner of a climate consulting firm that advises her clients to “plan to deal with climate change and its impacts today and tomorrow”) claims massive amounts of lake-effect snow, such as the record-breaking dump in Erie, PA over Christmas, is caused by a warming world: “If the Great Lakes aren’t frozen, when cold winter weather systems sweep across the lakes, the air warms and becomes more humid.” Hayhoe posted this chart, which was supposed to make her case but confuses her point by failing to demonstrate a long-term pattern in Great Lakes ice coverage:

She further said NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) had projected “very low Great Lakes ice coverage for this year.” Mann supported Hayhoe’s view, writing that “global warming is leading to later freeze-up of the Great Lakes and warmer lake temperatures.”

So, despite all this climate puffery, what does the actual evidence say? Let’s first compare their arguments with the most recent National Climate Assessment (NCA), a quadrennial report released by the White House in November. (All the work was conducted under the Obama administration.) Hayhoe was a lead author of this 477-page report, which lists four key findings to bolster manmade climate change. One finding suggests that, “extreme temperatures in the contiguous United States are projected to increase even more than average temperatures. The temperatures of extremely cold days and extremely warm days are both expected to increase. Cold waves are projected to become less intense while heat waves will become more intense. The number of days below freezing is projected to decline while the number above 90°F will rise.” So, “bitter cold” is not what we should expect from the “climate crisis.”

The NCA is also pretty ambiguous about other weather patterns. Concerning the lake-effect snow that Hayhoe attributes to global warming, the report concluded that, “lake effect snowfall has increased overall since the early 20th century for Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and Erie. However, individual studies for Lakes Michigan and Ontario indicate that this increase has not been continuous. In both cases, upward trends were observed until the 1970s/early 1980s. Since then, however, lake effect snowfall has decreased in these regions.” Fair to call this a mixed bag.

What about the claims by Gore and Mann that this extreme winter weather is exactly what we should expect from climate change? The NCA doesn’t support that view: “Some storm types such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and winter storms are also exhibiting changes that have been linked to climate change, although the current state of the science does not yet permit detailed understanding.” It also refuted the oft-cited connection between a warming Arctic and worsening winter storms here: “Potential linkages between the frequency and intensity of severe winter storms in the United States and accelerated warming in the Arctic have been postulated, but they are complex, and, to some extent, contested, and confidence in the connection is currently low.”

And no sooner did Hayhoe and Mann warn about low ice coverage for the Great Lakes this season than updated models started to show the rapid pace at which these lakes are now freezing over. On December 26, the day Hayhoe tweeted about lake effect snow, the total ice coverage across the Great Lakes was nearly seven percent; by January 6, that figure jumped to 30 percent, exceeding NOAAs projections for the entire season. Lake Erie is almost completely frozen over at one of the earliest dates on record. (NOAAs seasonal forecast for ice coverage of Lake Erie is 82 percent.) Hayhoe, who describes climate scientists like herself as “physicians of the planet,” just made a major misdiagnosis.

The further irony is that, despite the conflicting claims and evidence, the climate propagandists’ solution to human-caused global warming is to curb the use of the very energy sources that are, in fact, preventing millions of people from freezing to death. Natural gas use hit an all-time high last week as half the nation struggled to keep warm, and prices soared. Just days before New Yorkers were pummeled by snow and cold, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to divest the state’s retirement plans from fossil fuel companies, calling them “the energy economy of the past.” OK.

All this hypocrisy and chicanery by climate peddlers isn’t going unnoticed by the public. “The popularizing of hand-wavy talking points does little to advance science and instead evokes laughter from many in the public, including President Trump,” Ryan Maue, an adjunct scholar with the Cato Institute’s Center for Science, told me. “The compulsion of activists to link every weather event with climate change, regardless of established science, lessens the credibility of well-meaning scientists who are often stuck defending nonsense.”

Perhaps it’s time for those scientists to speak-up before the entire field becomes a laughingstock.

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7 responses to “Winter Weather Climate Spin Contradicts Science”

  1. In footbal this is called “Monday Morning Quarterbacking”.

  2. The irony is that any fool can make a prediction that will come true: “it will rain”, so it takes real skill or total arrogance or incompetence to make predictions that don’t come true.

  3. It could rain sand and the so-called climate scientists would say, “That’s what you would expect with climate change.”

  4. No offense but who gets “science” off of american greatness?

  5. One thing you have to give these shiny shoes experts, when they get a bone in their mouths they absolutely will not let it go. Roll on climate change. My climate has changed since this morning.

  6. They are simply doubling down on their hoax. In Hawaii last night, a manager at a TV station claimed, in his daily editorial, that the sea levels will rise three feet over the next two decades.
    Meanwhile the Governor out in Washington state said that the people have sixty days to save their children from the ravages of global warming…. It would be hilariously funny except that half of the population of America is stupid enough to believe it.

    Semper Fi,

  7. Real climate will not adhere to the false prophets’ predictions.

    Science has not identified the real strong forces for climate change… the science just hasn’t matured to that point… and it may never because climate and climate change are highly complex dynamics invloving many factors, some involving Earth and others independent of Earth.

    It is the height of hubris to merely assume what the IPCC assumes and then proceed on assumptions rather than actual science validated/verified by the Scientific Method.

    The US records for global CO2, anthropogenic emissions of CO2 and near surface temperatures since the late 19th century DO NOT agree with the IPCC theory or its predictions and pronouncements about climate and climate change. When the real data are contrary to theory, the theory is invalid.

    After more than 50 years of CO2 growth, this winter is colder than many were 45-55 years ago! How is that possible if CO2 is such a powerful force?

    Mann’s predictions are as valid as his fake science “hockey stick” fraud. It take a lot of hubris to conjure up a “methodology” to eliminate the Roman Warm Period, Medieval Warm Period, and Little Ice Age… but Mann managed to amass the sufficient hubris to try to pull that off. Fortunately, far more credible scientists noticed the fraud an exposed the fakery.

    Humans do not now, nor will they ever have the capacity to alter global climate.

    There has never been a time in Earth’s long climate history where atmospheric CO2 was responsible for climate change. The theory is specious and unscientific.