Global warming is like Allah: it can do whatever it wills

When snow decreases, warmists say that global warming caused it; when snow increases, warmists say that global warming caused it.

From an IBD editorial on Al Gore’s February 28 New York Times op-ed:

The blizzards that have buried the Northeast, he writes, are proof of global warming because record evaporation due to warming is what produces record snows. Except that supporters of his theory not long ago argued exactly the opposite.

He writes that we should “not miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm.” He should explain why last year Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., warned that lack of snow in the mountains was threatening California’s water supply.

Boxer, who along with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, is trying to ram through a Senate version of the House’s Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, said: “Looking at the United States of America, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) clearly warned that unchecked global warming will lead to reduced snowpack in the western mountains, critically reducing access to water, which is our lifeblood.”

So global warming simultaneously causes mountain snow to vanish and Himalayan glaciers to recede while blanketing the northeastern United States with snowfalls measured in feet. Clearly, this is an untenable position. One phenomenon cannot simultaneously produce two different results.

[end of IBD editorial]

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Sage McLaughlin writes:

The IBD article you cite says,

“So global warming simultaneously causes mountain snow to vanish and Himalayan glaciers to recede while blanketing the northeastern United States with snowfalls measured in feet. Clearly, this is an untenable position. One phenomenon cannot simultaneously produce two different results.”

But of course it can. The Himalayas are a long way from the highlands of California, and the climate is a complex system in which evaporation in one place can lead to precipitation and flooding in another—Gore is basically right about that. The same phenomenon acting on an entire system can produce different, even opposite, effects. This happens in dynamic systems all the time, like national economies (where the same policy could simultaneously depress some wages and boost others) or the human body (where the same metabolic depressant could slow the rate of breathing while increasing the heart rate, depending on the body’s history of exposure to that stimulus). One phenomenon certainly can produce two different results.

Warmists can argue this all day long and the fact is there’s nothing for it—that’s why environmentalist ideology is so seductive. It’s irrefutable, because 1) massive change is assured no matter what we do, and 2) any change that happens can be blamed on “warming,” practically a priori, with no real research or proof required. The real action isn’t in whether a certain discreet phenomenon is a result of rising temperatures. The debate can go in circles on that. The real action is in whether there is any warming in the first place, and if there is, whether that warming is caused by people. Citing a hurricane or a snowstorm to support one’s case, one way or another, is a losing proposition. The bottom line is that there has been no warming over the last decade and a half, all the data that suggests there has been is corrupted beyond any real utility, and the theory that human beings are causing the global climate to change is still completely unproven.

We should not get dragged into a debate over the snow in DC or New York, and we’re going to look silly if we make the claim that global warming should be producing heat waves and droughts everywhere simultaneously, because that’s just not true.

LA replies:

I don’t think that the editors of Investors Business Daily are doing what you are accusing them of. They are not saying that warming is not true because there has been a lot of snow this year. Rather they are pointing to the fact that when there was less snow in a given year in a given place, the warmists said that this was proof of warming; and that when there was more snow in a given year and a given place, the warmists said that this also was proof of global warming. The editorial goes to the quality of the arguments used by warmists, not to the truth or falsity of warming itself. I agree with you that the latter cannot be settled on the basis of transient weather conditions, and that people who make such arguments are being silly.

Ken Hechtman writes:

As long as I’ve been following this issue, at least twenty years now, the climate models used have assumed increased variation around a slight warming trend — hotter heat waves in summer and colder cold snaps in winter. So an increase in winter snowfall together with an even larger increase in summer runoff would cause retreating glaciers and this would be entirely consistent with the climate models.

LA replies:

So, according to you, Boxer’s past statement that lessening snowpack in the mountains was evidence for global warming is consistent with Gore’s saying that increasing winter snows are evidence of global warming? Because according to warming models, winter snows increase, but summer run-off increases even more, so there is more snow combined with lesser snow pack. Is that right?

Now, if that is what you are saying, let me ask you this. Have you or any warming advocate ever said this before? Did any of you ever predict that warming would cause greater winter snows combined with a lessening of mountain snowpack? Or is this an argument we are hearing for the first time?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 03, 2010 12:19 AM | Send

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