Understanding “Global Warming” in 30 seconds.
Happy New Year! You may have noticed that precious little attention has been paid to the subject of “Global Climate Change” since the Obama Administration took office. A few minor policies here and there. But where is that desperately needed “Green Jobs Program” when unemployment is pushing 10% and the nations weather patterns are going to Hell in a hand-basket? Over the past couple of weeks much of the North East has been hit hard by the worst snowstorm that part of the country has seen since… well, since last year. Last year, headlines were bleating titles like “Snowmageddon!” and “The Snowpocalypse!”. Republican Senator and lead anti-Global Warming denier Jim Inhoff was positively giddy, building a feux “igloo” in the front yard of his grandchildren and calling it “Al Gore’s Summer Home”. Jokes flew about how “the snow would not stop until Al Gore cried Uncle!” I wrote about this tireless march of stupidity coming from Climate Change deniers several times last Winter. Where did all those idiots think all that moisture was coming from? Suddenly, here we are once again, just 12-months later, reporting “record breaking” snowfall, “history-making” catastrophic weather, and suddenly, the critics all seem to have fallen silent. Oh sure, Glenn Beck said the caving in of the MetroDome roof in Minnesota two weeks ago under the weight of all that snow was “Proof!” that “Global Warming didn’t exist!”, and some Republicans are threatening to drag Climatologists before Congress and force them to explain… in what is sure to be a humiliating experience for Washington skeptics… just how warm weather creates snow. But for the most part, the subject of “Global Warming” is barely a blip on the Media’s radar this Winter.
I was more than a tad bemused that NOT ONE of the Network Sunday Talk Shows this week brought up “Global Warming”. I wasn’t sure if it was because they’re starting to understand that one doesn’t necessarily negate the other, or if it’s because they’ve come to a private consensus that the threat of “Global Warming” is over-blown, “long debunked” following two years of wild Winter weather? Either way, when the subject of the record snowfall came up, the topic was “how bad it was for the politicians”… Bloomberg (NYC) and Christie (NJ)… who had an insufficient response (Donna Brazile on “ThisWeek” did point out the obvious that, “this is what you get when you cut city budgets for snowplows and city workers to deal with emergencies.”) It is painfully easy to deny “Global Warming” when you don’t understand the science, and I have nothing but harsh words for “climatologists” that can’t sum up their work in a 30 second soundbite so deniers can’t just tune them out. Republicans no likey math & science. Science hard! So let’s see if I can’t explain this in a way you can deliver it in a 30 second elevator ride with some Climate-Change denying assclown snickering in back after digging his car out of “6 inches of Global Warming” that morning:
First, as I note on top, “Where do you think all that moisture came from?” Snow is “moisture”. It evaporated from somewhere. While it is Winter here, it is Summer below the equator. Record heat = record evaporation. That moisture turns to snow when it reaches the North and falls in the form of a record amount of snow. ThinkProgress reported last week that 2010… the hottest year on record… saw a record number of “killer climate disasters”. From a string of Winter tornadoes in Missouri, Arkansas, and now Illinois, to torrential rain in Australia flooding an area the size of Texas.
Deniers love to conflate “Global Warming” with “Summer in the Wintertime”. No, “Global Warming” means exactly that: this big ball of dirt we call “Earth” is actually “warming”… a fraction of a degree on average (from 7-8 degrees at the poles to less than one degree at the equator), but enough to affect the planet’s ability to regulate temperatures from season-to-season… so that we don’t have 113′ Autumn’s in Los Angeles followed by massive snowfall on the East Coast that Winter (you may have noticed that both are becoming more common. “Hellooo!”) The planet’s inability to regulate temperatures from season-to-season means a change in global weather patterns. That’s “Climate Change”.
It is sorely tempting to point to a single weather anomaly like last weeks’ blizzard and “blame Global Warming”. But there is a difference between “Climate” and “Weather”. We all know Miami has a warm climate, and if it snows in Miami one Christmas, no one is going to start claiming Miami has a “cold climate”. However, if it starts snowing in Miami every Xmas, THAT is “probably” a sign Florida’s climate is changing due to Global Warming. Get it?
And it’s that word: “probably”, that causes Climate Scientists so much trouble. There really is no way to “prove” a “predictable” change in weather is “proof” of “Climate Change” any more than you can argue finding a man standing over a dead body with a bloody knife is “proof” they committed the murder. If that were the case, we wouldn’t need trials. But the likelihood the two events are connected is about as close to 100% as anyone’s going to get. And any “Denier” demanding “100% absolute proof” has no business being taken seriously on ANYTHING because there are few things in life as complicated as Climate Science that can be “proven 100%” to where even Rush Limbaugh can’t deny it.
So, to sum up: “Global Warming” doesn’t mean “no more snow”. If the Earth warms up THAT much, we’ll all be dead before Winter arrives anyway. “Global Warming” refers only to a fraction of a degree. “Climate Change” is what happens when the Earth starts having trouble regulating its own temperature. You may have noticed that “Global Warming Deniers” NEVER use the term “Climate Change”. That’s because it’s harder to make fun of. They think the two terms can be used interchangeably. They can’t. In fact, the two terms refer to two completely different phenomena. Not unlike “voting” vs. “legislating”. One has a direct effect on the other, but you can’t substitute one word for the other.
It’s really quite simple, but as a wise man once said, “It is much more difficult to convince someone of something if their job depends upon NOT knowing it’s true.” There are a LOT of people out there whose job depends upon Climate Change either NOT being real, and/or convincing you that to be the case, and they’ll spend untold amounts of money trying to “complicate” a subject that takes just 30 seconds to explain & understand.
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