I know. I know. It’s easy in the dead of winter in Ohio — or just about anywhere else in the USA right now — to make fun of the pundits who warn about global warming. In fact, I’m writing this post at about 4 a.m., listening to the gentle hum of a snowplow scrapping snow, ice and whatever off my driveway.
That happens almost every day now. Since I’m awake these days before most people are going to bed and generally with little to do, maybe I should start a new career behind the wheel of a snowplow — looks like one of the few growth industries we have in this country. I digress.
Anyway, I pressed my face against the window a few minutes ago and it doesn’t appear that my little world has received as much ice and snow as many other parts of the nation. But something tells me the drive to the health club — remember when it was called a gym? — is going to be dicey.
So, what gives with this global warming? Well, I went right to the expert, Al Gore, who opines on The Huffington Post:
Last week on his show Bill O’Reilly asked, “Why has southern New York turned into the tundra?” and then said he had a call into me. I appreciate the question.
As it turns out, the scientific community has been addressing this particular question for some time now and they say that increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming. Here’s Clarence Page at the Chicago Tribune:
“In fact, scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow.”
“A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species.”
OK. I’m never totally sure about Al Gore these days. Did he really invent the Internet? So what did Clarence Page at the Chicago Tribune have to say about all of this. Here’s from a blog post — “Yes, global warming could mean more snow” — from a year ago, February 2010:
Here’s a recent headline that caused a few double takes in Washington, D.C.: “Global warming hearing postponed because of snow.”
Yes, nothing gives an unearned boost to global warming skeptics like back-to-back snowstorms variously nicknamed “snow-pocalypse” and “snow-mageddon,” among other less-charitable labels in the nation’s capital.
Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, an outspoken skeptic of global warming and warm friend of his state’s oil and gas industries, recently mocked Al Gore, climate activist and former vice president. Inhofe posted photos on his Facebook page of his family building an igloo near the Capitol with a sign that read “Al Gore’s new home.” Har, har.
But, contrary to popular belief, a robust snowfall does not mean global warming is a myth.
In fact, scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow.
A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species.
That’s simple science even for me, a guy whose scientific education pretty much ended with the old “Watch Mr. Wizard” TV show and a subscription to Popular Mechanics.
Yet, confusion about that simple science is one of the reasons why experts and activists increasingly prefer the term “climate change” as less confusing and politically loaded than “global warming.” Still, confusion and politics persist. Fox News host Sean Hannity cheerfully asserted that the storm “would seem to contradict Al Gore’s hysterical global warming theories.” His fellow Fox host Glenn Beck agreed, mocking the very idea that “warming” could lead to more snow.
Sure, it’s laughable if you believe in the very unscientific theory of simple observational research, which means you base your views about global warming on your own weather.
Or, as Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert summarized the Fox News stars’ view: “Whatever just happened is the only thing that’s happening.”
OK. Maybe Gore and others are on to something here. Maybe we are going to see more snow and ice — and more violent weather in general throughout all the seasons. If so, the notion of global warming isn’t something to laugh about.
Saying that, I tend these days not to fret too much about things I don’t know anything about and really can’t control in any event. Better to be up several hours before Mr. Sol pacing and cursing MLB’s designated hitter rule.
But I am fretting about the drive over to the
health club gym on a surface that appears better suited for a hockey game than driving.
Let’s hope I don’t back my Jeep into that damn snowplow.