Posted by: mystic444 | February 14, 2010

Unusually Heavy Snow Storms vs. Global Warming?

The Mid-Atlantic States have had 3 major snow storms this winter, all ranking in the top 10 for amount of snow accumulations. So many people say, “Where’s the global warming we’ve been warned about? We’d sure like to see some of it!” That sounds funny, doesn’t it? Yeah, I’ve had to laugh – but not for the reason you might suppose. The funny thing to me is that this increase in extreme weather conditions is just the kind of thing climate scientists have been predicting to occur as a result of human caused global warming – and yet so many people seem to think extreme amounts of snowfall disprove global warming!

Why would climate scientists predict heavier than normal snowfalls in the winter, if global temperatures are rising? For the same reason that they predict heavier than normal (and increasingly so) amounts of rain, and flooding, during the non-winter seasons. The reason that the amounts of precipitation would increase is because of more moisture in the air. The atmosphere accumulates more moisture due to warmer temperatures. When temperatures rise, more evaporation occurs, and the atmosphere is able to hold more moisture. But more moisture in the air means that when conditions are right for the moisture to be released as precipitation, the amounts of precipitation will be greater. This means that when the temperatures are cold enough in winter for snow, the amounts of snow will be greater.

Climate scientists have not said that the gradual but continual rise in global temperatures will eliminate winter – at least not yet. Perhaps by the end of this century some areas of the world will no longer have temperatures cold enough in the winter for frozen precipitation (if we don’t take action to reduce drastically the amount of carbon dioxide we’re putting into the atmosphere) – but it won’t happen suddenly or immediately. So long as global temperatures continue to rise, though, the amount of moisture in the air will continue to increase – resulting in higher amounts of precipitation (including higher amounts of snow in the winter). So when we see these major snowfalls, we should take them as an indication that climate scientists know what they’re talking about, rather than the reverse.

It’s true that 1 unusually heavy snow storm (or rain storm) does not prove global warming or climate change. Even 2 or 3 such unusually heavy storms don’t prove it. But several such heavy storms in a season do indicate it, since that is exactly what the science of climate change associated with global warming tells us to expect. Temperature measurements over the past several decades do conclusively show that temperatures are increasing rather steadily. This decade just concluded was the warmest in the past couple of thousand years; the next warmest decade was 1990-1999; the next warmest prior to that was 1980-1989. Do you get the picture? In conjunction with the increasing temperatures, we are seeing increasingly heavy precipitation, as well as a number of other climate changes which climate science tells us would naturally accompany rising temperatures. Shouldn’t we take a hint, and take whatever action we can to stop the increase of human caused carbon dioxide in the atmosphere before it’s too late to stop the drastic changes in climate? If we wait until there’s so much evidence that even the hard core deniers of human caused global warming can no longer remain unconvinced, it will be too late to prevent the disastrous consequences.

So let’s quit thinking that these heavy snowfalls indicate that ‘global warming’ is false, and realize that it indicates just the opposite!

My information comes from a couple of sources: Climate Progress, and Skeptical Science. If you want to check out the accuracy of what I have said, those are 2 very good sites to go to in order to get the details, and links to scientific studies.

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Responses

  1. the problem with that logic is that our precipitation is below normal for the past 30 days, 90 days and 12 months, and barely above normal for the past 2 years.

    • Thanks, Paul, for reading and making a comment. I definitely enjoy seeing those rare comments. The article was aimed at explaining how severe storm events (such as several near record snow storms in a short period of time) are related to global warming. I don’t see any problem with the logic in that regard. To have precipitation requires moisture in the air. To have heavy precipitation in any individual storm requires heavy amounts of moisture in the air. Moisture gets into the air by evaporation; water evaporates due to heat. More heat produces more evaporation, and the air is able to retain more moisture before reaching ‘saturation’. When the heavy ‘moisture accumulation’ in the air is released in any form of precipitation, the precipitation will be heavy. That is both logical and scientifically proven. Those major snow storms didn’t disprove global warming, certainly; and they are just the sort of events climate change models predict.

      Heavy precipitation events do not necessarily mean that the total precipitation over a month or season or year will be greater than normal, especially in any particular region. And where the heavy precipitation occurs depends on the weather patterns that move the ‘systems’ around. I don’t know for sure what area of the world you meant when you said “our precipitation”, but I imagine that the mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast probably are showing greater than normal over all precipitation amounts due to those 3 major snow storms! If you meant our particular state or region of the country, you may be right.

  2. The very crux of your writing while sounding reasonable initially, did not sit properly with me after some time. Someplace throughout the sentences you managed to make me a believer unfortunately just for a short while. I however have got a problem with your jumps in assumptions and one would do nicely to fill in those breaks. In the event that you actually can accomplish that, I will definitely be fascinated.

    • “Free Vector”: Peace be with you.

      Thanks for considering my article (or articles) and being willing to make a comment. I’m sorry that you perceive “jumps in assumptions” in those articles. I’m unable to see those “jumps”; but of course it’s not unusual for a person to have difficulty seeing his own faults. 🙂

      I don’t know whether you read just the one article, or others also that I have written on the subject of Climate Change/Global Warming. I have written 4 articles on that subject, and they can now be easily located by looking for that heading under the “Categories” section on the right side of the blog article. Perhaps if you read the others (assuming you’ve only read one so far) – particularly the most recent one you will find better explanations of my argument.

      My knowledge and understanding of scientific matters is pretty slim, so I list my sources for my ideas in my articles. A lot of what they say is way beyond my level of comprehension (whichever side is being argued), so I have to settle for the simpler arguments – and attempt to get the ‘gist’ of the matter. I do recommend those sites, especially if you’re more scientifically knowledgeable than me (to be which would not be difficult).

      To summarize the evidence as I understand it:
      (1) The earth’s temperature is indeed slowly increasing. Year after year, and more importantly decade after decade, this is shown by meteorological measurements.
      (2) The climate is changing as a result of this rising temperature, just as climatologists have been forecasting. This is especially evident in the record levels of precipitation (both snow and rain) we’re seeing, and the flooding which accompanies the heavy precipitation. This year is setting new records in those areas.
      (3) The rising temperature of the earth, and the accompanying climate changes, cannot be accounted for by the “natural” (not human caused) factors which contribute to Global Warming and Cooling. If those “natural” factors alone are taken into consideration, we would expect to be seeing Global Cooling now – but we’re not.
      (4) This means that human caused (“anthropogenic”) factors must be the driving force behind the current trend of warming which is actually taking place.
      (5) The predominant human factor at this time is the amount of carbon dioxide we’re pumping into the atmosphere. Increased carbon dioxide levels will ‘naturally’ cause the temperature to rise.
      (6) Although the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is small, it doesn’t take much to cause a change in temperature with some pretty drastic climate changes resulting. The climate is very sensitive to small changes in temperature.

      My conclusion from all this, since the predictions of climatologists are actually taking place, is that we would definitely do well to heed them and make the necessary changes in our habits and lifestyles. If nothing else, that old slogan “better safe than sorry” is a good one to follow.

      I hope that will help. If not, and there still appears to you to be “jumps in assumptions”, I can only apologize for the presence of those jumps which I can’t see – and say thanks for politely considering what I’ve written. 🙂


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