Midwinter Meetings for the American Library Association are typically at the end of January. This one this year in Boston was unusually early—January 8-11. If we have met at the customary time, over 10,000 people would have been unable to get to the conference or stranded in the Northeast as a blizzard threatens 50 million people on the East Coast. With this storm, we can expect Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) or one of his colleagues to bring another snowball onto the Senate floor to prove that climate change doesn’t exist. Once again, they lack the education—or willingness to accept science—to understand that “Snowmageddons” is all a part of the human-created changes in climate around the world.
Once again, climatologists try to explain to the uneducated how warming-fueled ocean temperatures super-charged all this snow. As Thomas Mann, Director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, explained:
“There is peer-reviewed science that now suggests that climate change will lead to more of these intense, blizzard-producing nor’easters, for precisely the reason we’re seeing this massive storm—unusually warm Atlantic ocean surface temperatures (temperatures are in the 70s off the coast of Virginia).”
Extra moisture plus a cold Arctic outbreak equals monster snowfalls, he said, pointing out that massive winter storms are favored by climate change.
Levom Trenberth, former head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, added:
“At present sea surface temperatures are more the 3F above normal over huge expanses (1000 miles) off the NE coast and water vapor in the atmosphere is about 10 to 15% higher as a result. Up to half of this can be attributed to climate change.”
A long-term pattern of more extreme precipitation, especially in Northeast winters, has led to superstorms predicted by climate scientists. Trenberth stated that “all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.” The U.K. Met Office explained:
“Basic physics tells us that a warmer atmosphere is able to hold more moisture — at a rate of approximately 7 per cent increase per degree [Celsius] warming. This is expected to lead to similar percentage increases in heavy rainfall, which has generally been borne out by models and observed changes in daily rainfall.”
When the temperature drops far enough down for snow, the storms will be fueled by more water vapor and thus be more intense themselves. The result is fewer snowstorms in regions close to the rain-snow line, such as the central United States, but with more intense snowstorms in the area when they do occur, just like more intense snowstorms in generally cold regions.
Climate warming is not enough to end below-freezing temperatures during midwinter but large enough to put more water vapor into the air. Studies show that warmer-than-normal winters favor snow storms as shown by wide fluctuations during the twentieth century, which experienced upward trends corresponding with strong cyclonic activity. Most of the United States had 71 to 80 percent of their snowstorms in warmer-than-normal years.
Climate change also causes snowstorms to be longer. The changing jet stream results in slower storm systems and longer periods of heavy precipitation.
Scientists announced that 2015 was the warmest year on record, the second year in a row. The world is on a trajectory of rapid global warming. Fifteen of NOAA’s 16 hottest-recorded years have occurred since 2000, and last year was the 39th consecutive year in which global temperatures have been higher than the 20th century average. To Democrats, these facts make the fight against climate change more urgent than ever. Yet GOP presidential candidates laughed at Bernie Sanders when he said that climate change is the greatest threat to the U.S., preferring to stick with international terrorism. (It’s easier to scare the people in the U.S. with this position.) GOP candidates’ positions:
Donald Trump: The snowstorms are just “weather” until someone can prove otherwise to him. Global warming is a “hoax.”
Ted Cruz: He uses incomplete data in an attempt to show that satellite data shows no warming in the past 17 years.
Marco Rubio: Climate change exists, but the U.S. shouldn’t bother with addressing any problems in this area if other countries don’t do the same thing. The Paris climate deal is “ridiculous.” The U.S. can’t limit its economy to tackle climate change.
Ben Carson: “There is no overwhelming science that the things that are going on are man-caused and not naturally caused. Gimme a break.” His spokesman tried to cover for his ignorance by explaining that Carson is a “questioner” and “could be persuaded.”
Jeb Bush: He follows Rubio, calling himself a climate “skeptic.”
Chris Christie: Although New Jersey has met clean air goals and expanded zero-emission electricity—according to the candidate—he doesn’t like government intervention “to chase some wild left-wing idea that somehow us [sic] by ourselves is going to fix the climate.”
John Kasich: He admits a problem with climate change but doesn’t “want to overreact to it.” Ohio is a fossil fuel-producing state (aka fracking) so Kasich doesn’t want to “worship the environment.” Last September, he said, “I don’t believe that humans are the primary cause of climate change.”
Carly Fiorina: The energy industry should innovate on its own instead of having climate change regulations. The Paris conference was “baloney.”
Rick Santorum: A skeptic of climate change, he follows Trump and Cruz. He wants more than 97 percent of the scientists to believe in human-created climate change. “Lots of things cause climate change,” he said.
Mike Huckabee: In the past, he said that people need to take care of the Earth, a biblical precept, but he’s moved to “science is not settled” on climate change.
Rand Paul: Nature is a bigger part of climate change than humans. The planet has always had different climates, according to Paul, although he left out the parts in which humans couldn’t live on it.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was the only candidate who believed in climate change, and he’s gone.
The Earth’s average land temperature of 2.39 degrees Fahrenheit above the twentieth-century average should make it difficult for climate deniers to claim that global warming stopped in 1998. Record-high temperatures in ten months don’t show the “pause” that some people claim. Republican climate deniers are now much quieter than in the past, but they still won’t agree. Pundit David Brooks wrote that the GOP “has come to resemble a Soviet dictatorship” about climate science: even politicians who know the truth about global warming say otherwise “because they’re afraid the thought police will knock on their door and drag them off to an AM radio interrogation.”
A month ago, the North Pole temperature was 50 degrees higher than normal. Manhattan was over 70 degrees on Christmas, and people were surfing in Queens. The storm system drawing warm air to the North Pole caused recent tornadoes in Texas and heavy rain and flooding in the Mid- and Southeast. A January hurricane in the north Atlantic was the first at this time of the year in 78 years. During an upper level low pressure center above Tucson in December created a temperature of -26 degrees at about 18,000 feet while the temperature at the same altitude in Barrow, Alaska was just only a few degrees colder.
Do you live in a state that’s preparing for climate change disaster? Check the above map to see what grade your state receives.