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EarthTalk: Does a Cold and Snowy Winter Mean Global Warming is Bunk?

More extreme weather events - from snowstorms to hurricanes to droughts -  are likely side effects of a climate in transition, but most scientists maintain that any year-to-year variation in weather cannot be linked directly to either a warming or cooling climate

Earthtalk is a weekly environmental column made available to our readers from the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Don’t all these huge snow and ice storms across the country mean that the globe isn’t really warming? I’ve never seen such a winter! – Mark Franklin, Helena, MT

On the surface it certainly can appear that way. But just because some of us are suffering through a particularly cold and snowy winter doesn’t refute the fact that the globe is warming as we continue to pump carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1997. And the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration (NOAA) reports that recent decades have been the warmest since at least around 1000 AD, and that the warming we’ve seen since the late 19th century is unprecedented over the last 1,000 years.

“You can’t tell much about the climate or where it’s headed by focusing on a particularly frigid day, or season, or year, even,” writes Eoin O’Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor. “It’s all in the long-term trends,” concurs Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

Most scientists agree that we need to differentiate between weather and climate. The NOAA defines climate as the average of weather over at least a 30-year period. So periodic aberrations—like the harsh winter storms ravaging the Southeast and other parts of the country this winter—do not call the science of human-induced global warming into question.

The flip side of the question, of course, is whether global warming is at least partly to blame for especially harsh winter weather. As we pointed out in a recent EarthTalk column, warmer temperatures in the winter of 2006 caused Lake Erie to not freeze for the first time in its history. This actually led to increased snowfalls because more evaporating water from the lake was available for precipitation.

But while more extreme weather events of all kinds—from snowstorms to hurricanes to droughts—are likely side effects of a climate in transition, most scientists maintain that any year-to-year variation in weather cannot be linked directly to either a warming or cooling climate.

Even most global warming skeptics agree that a specific cold snap or freak storm doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not the climate problem is real. One such skeptic, Jimmy Hogan of the Rational Environmentalist website writes, “If we are throwing out anecdotal evidence that refutes global warming we must at the same time throw out anecdotal evidence that supports it.” He cites environmental groups holding up Hurricane Katrina as proof of global warming as one example of the latter.

If nothing else, we should all keep in mind that every time we turn up the thermostat this winter to combat the cold, we are contributing to global warming by consuming more fossil fuel power. Until we can shift our economy over to greener energy sources, global warming will be a problem, regardless of how warm or cold it is outside.

Contacts:
NASA
NOAA

Image Credit: Getty Images

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Comments

    • HI Wilbert. Thanks for the comment. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, but I assume you’re asking why people don’t correct others when (if) they assert that a hot spell is caused by global warming? If so, now you know what to say if you do hear that.

      Weather is not climate.

  1. My Question was clear.. Why don’t we see articles like this one during summer time when we are being told one warm day is proof of Global warming..it is Not “IF”. Thank you for the answer.

    • Your question was clear enough I guess. I completely disagree with your supposition that there has not been plenty written about the difference between climate and weather. The fact is that every winter climate change “skeptics” (though in many cases the word “skeptic” is not appropriate) challenge the science of climate change based on the snow outside their window.
      Again, if it matters this much to you that you haven’t seen an article such as this published during the summer, then you should perhaps write one. I’m sure if you’d actually look, you’d see plenty of material. This is a non-issue.

  2. Naa! I do not think that I am good enough or know enough to write some article. Why I ask Question.
    If it is wrong to point at the snow outside the Window during winter then it should also be wrong to point at dry Grass outside the same Window during summer.

    • You’re absolutely correct. Climate is not weather. The important thing to note in terms of climate change is the trend. No one weather event – be it a blizzard or a heat wave – should in itself be thought of as definitive proof of global warming.

  3. Well here it is 2010 and the winter weather just gets colder. Check out the headlines below:

    Temps Plunge to Record as Cold Snap Freezes North, East States
    Seoul buried in heaviest snowfall in 70 years
    Vermont sets ‘all-time record for one snowstorm’
    Iowa temps ‘a solid 30 degrees below normal’
    Power goes out at Reagan National outside DC
    Seoul buried in heaviest snowfall in 70 years
    Peru’s mountain people ‘face extinction because of cold conditions’…
    Beijing – coldest in 40 years
    World copes with Arctic weatherWinter Could Be Worst in 25 Years for USA
    Britain braced for heaviest snowfall in 50-years
    GAS SUPPLIES RUNNING OUT IN UK
    Miami shivers from coldest weather in decade
    Northern Sweden on the way to 50 degrees below zero

    source: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/06/the-frigid-hit-parade-over-1200-new-cold-and-snow-records-set-in-the-last-week-in-the-usa-more-in-progress/

    http://mapcenter.hamweather.com/records/7day/us.html?c=maxtemp,mintemp,lowmax,highmin,snow

    If this were the work of Global Warming, how come it is that this cold is occuring world-wide and why is this the now the 3rd or 4th winter in a row where heavy snow and large-scale record cold has occurred across not only North America but the areas of the Northern Hemisphere that have not seen it in decades? If all of your supposed temp data is accurate and your predictions of Global Warming gloom and doom are also accurate, why would the atmosphere over the Northern Hemisphere landmass areas possibly become this cold on a consistent basis in the wintertime. This is a trend. If rising global temperatures were melting the polar ice caps in the Arctic how would there be enough cold air available from the Arctic to drain down across the northern half of the globe and then be dispersed atmospherically like this? The depth and strength of it would not be present like this. The only reasonable, rational liklihood would have to be that this is not happening as you have all been advertising. It is one of the many prevailing theories about the effect of Global Warming, is it not, that warming across the Globe and the melting of polar ice caps would cause a dearth of polar air available during the winter so much so that many places experience dry, warm, snowless winters and most glaciers would completely melt away. And don’t tell me it’s not because I’ve heard it over and over again from people Al Gore to Phil Jackson to Micheal Mann to the headlines and scenerios painted on the Weather Channel and in newspapers all over the country.

    • I understand its cold. Thanks for the weather report. If there is a record heat wave next summer will that mean that suddenly global warming is “back on?” Nope. If there are record lows in the middle of winter does that mean global warming is bunk? Nope.
      Climate is not weather. Climate change, global warming, does not mean it will never get cold again – even really, really cold. We seem to go through this every year – though I don’t hear so much from the “watts up with that?” crowd during the heat waves.

  4. I get where you’re coming from Tom. Here’s my frustration. I am constantly hearing we as Americans need to do “everything” now to abandon our lifestyle and completely change everything about the way we live our day-to-day lives. reduce our standard of living, and give hundreds of billions to other developing countries in some guilt-driven carbon tax or else the entire planet is going to go up in a flaming ball of fire and crack in half or we’ll be under water or dry up. The IPCC continues to predict the Global average temperature likely going up 6.5C to 8 C before the end of the century. Well it better get going fast! I don’t know where you live but I live in Wisconsin and I’m sick of hearing this stuff day in and day out when I’m warming up my car every single day and traveling on ice-covered streets and some Beijing meteorologist in a UK Telegraph story blames all of this on “unusual Global Warming patterns”. It gets a little tiring. A 0.6 C to .75 C rise in Global temp per decade isn’t going to allow too many strings of very cold winters.

  5. “Jimmy Hogan of the Rational Environmentalist website”

    Did a little search on Jimmy and…assuming it is the same Jimmy.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/

    $$$ Funded by James Hogan (James Hoggan & Associates) and John Lefebvre (Former President of Netseller Group)

    So who is James Hoggan? He’s a public relations man, based in Vancouver. His firm, James Hoggan and Associates, is positioned as a feel-good local operation with clients in all the “right” public and private sectors. He also sits on the board of the David Suzuki Foundation.

    One of his side efforts is a blog operated out of Hoggan and Associates. Funded by retired Internet bubble king John Lefebvre, the blog has one full-time and three part-time staff. They spend their time tracking down and maliciously attacking all who have doubts about climate change and painting them as corporate pawns.

    There has been no mention on the blog,of James Hoggan’s client list. They include or have included the National Hydrogen Association, Fuel Cells Canada, hydrogen producer QuestAir, Naikun Wind Energy and Ballard Fuel Cells. Mr. Hoggan, in other words, benefits from regulatory policy based on climate change science.

    But it is as a climate commentator that Mr. Hoggan gets carried away. On The Denial Machine, Mr. Hoggan is allowed to go on at some length about how climate skeptics are not true scientists, are not qualified, or have no expertise.

    That takes some gall. Here’s a totally unqualified small-town PR guy making disparaging comments about scientists he says are unqualified while he lectures the rest of us on the science. “If you look in the scientific literature, there is no debate,” Mr. Hoggan has no expertise. It is also a little rich to have a member of the Suzuki Foundation board pronounce other scientists unfit and unqualified for climate assessments, while geneticist David Suzuki roams the world issuing barrages of climate change warnings at every opportunity.

    Multi-billion-dollar charges for B.C. man (The Vancouver Sun, Canada)
    QUOTE
    Lefebvre, 55, was arrested by FBI agents at his Malibu home and charged with conspiring to promote illegal gambling by transferring billions of dollars of cyberspace bets placed by U.S. citizens with offshore gaming companies.

    Blog Funder Guilty of Money-Laundering (Heartland Institute)
    QUOTE
    John Lefebvre, the top financial benefactor of the DeSmog Blog, is facing substantial prison time after pleading guilty to federal money-laundering charges. The DeSmog Blog is operated by a small group of public relations people who specialize in attempting to discredit respected scientists and policy analysts who disagree with alarmist global warming theory. Ironically, DeSmog Blog’s favorite tactic is to claim scientists and policy analysts who disagree with alarmist global warming theory are funded by “dirty money.” The revelation of the blog’s major source of funding as a convicted money launderer may undermine DeSmog’s attempts to smear the integrity of respected, law-abiding scientists who disagree with them.

    • http://johnlefebvre.info/main (in the interest of allowing another side of the story to be told)

      Regarding DeSmogBlog “They include or have included the National Hydrogen Association, Fuel Cells Canada, hydrogen producer QuestAir, Naikun Wind Energy and Ballard Fuel Cells. Mr. Hoggan, in other words, benefits from regulatory policy based on climate change science.” – It’s interesting that someone investing in or promoting renewable energy and a sustainable future is somehow seen as a bad thing.

      I have to laugh with this “maliciously” tracking people down bit in order to “attack” – I’ve had so many nut jobs comment on this blog full of ignorance and vitriol – and you think Hoogan is being malicious and alarmist? Sorry, I have no sympathy. If skeptics can’t take it, then they should look at their own tactics. This whole comment just smacks of hypocrisy (whether intended or not).

      I’ve said all along that I’ll have an open mind about any issue if others will, yet more often than not people aren’t interested in discussing- or thinking about – anything. They just want to hide behind the anonymity of a blog comment and blindly attack out of fear and ignorance.

      Anyway. Believe what you want. I really don’t care.

    • Scott – I can understand your frustration. I really can. But if the climate had gotten to the point where everywhere it is warm and everyday is warmer than the last, and there are no longer any winters or cold spells (even record-breaking cold spells), then the ecosystems that support us would have long ago collapsed and we wouldn’t be here to talk about it.

      The IPCC is projecting a range of possible average global temperature increases based on a range of possible scenarios of how humanity responds to it. The range your cite sounds to me like a worst case scenario. Holding average temperature increase to around 2 degrees C is the number considered “safe.” Average temps have increased about .8 degrees C since the start of industrialization, and would continue to rise even if all carbon emissions were to stop tomorrow.

      Certainly some carry their message about global warming in a much too heavy-handed way for the guy scrapping his windshield on a cold day in Wisconsin to really respond to. But this isn’t a monolithic “cult” as some accuse. People concerned about climate change are as diverse as any other group, and often it is not a message of “guilt” but simply one of sustainability. If the current energy path the world is on truly seems sustainable to people, well, I am not going to change anyone’s mind.

      The concern that some are only trying to “cash in” in AGW by aligning themselves with renewable energy innovation sound ludicrous when the subsidies and tax breaks given to fossil energy is considered. How much money do you figure we send to Saudi Arabia every year?

      Energy is the core issue. I’m not sure if this will sound like I’m trying to send a guilt-trip, but with privilege does come responsibility. And by taking responsibility, it seems to me America has an enormous opportunity to lead the world into a sustainable future.

      • @Thomas Schueneman: Thanks for your up-front and open reply Tom. Certainly there is a great deal of heavy-handed politics and catastrophization revolving around Global Warming at this current juncture. If Global Warming is about the problem of energy and pollution to you, then I do have an understanding of that. I realize that fossil fuels do cause pollution and are a dirty form of energy. The only problem with shifting away from them largely or permanently is that this will cause such a paradigm shift in our energy sources/costs that doing so would be a crushing shock to our economy if done very quickly or all at once. I mean, you do realize that fossil fuels, no matter what one thinks of them still happen to be the most economical, portable, affordable, and most widely available source of energy on the planet? There are so many products that come from one barrel of oil, I think 80 or more, from what I’ve researched, and those products are so ingrained in our quality of life as a society that to find replacements for all of those products via alternative sources would take much time, money, and experimentation that even we were to abandon some of the products produced by oil altogether, we’d still be scrambling for years to replace them. We can debate all we want about why or how it came to be like this, or who is responsible but the fact remains that it just is. Venture capitalism certainly can be key in developing these new source products but to make them cheap and plentiful for everybody, especially developing nations, is another story. Solar is very expensive and adds to the cost of housing, wind power is very large scale and somewhat unweildy, water is great if there is a water source. All of my electricity comes from a hydropower plant in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. But the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow, and electric cars all sound great but they are extremely expensive and the amount money that it would take for all developed nations to update the electrical grid to power these cars is very large and the average Joe can’t afford most of them, even the economy ones. I would not feel comfortable driving 2.5 American kids around in the typical Smart Car, for example. Also, I wouldn’t want to be driving around on snow-packed Wisconsin streets in a Prius with less than six inches of back tire for tread under the wheel well in order to fit the battery in the back. I agree with you about sending money to Saudi Arabia for example, that we shouldn’t be dependent upon foreign oil to any great extent. That is why I believe the best course for us to develop our own domestic oil and natural gas products, use clean-burning coal technology, and incentivize, rather than force, the auto industry to develop cars with greater emission standards and capabilities. See, I think if all of the things above were forced upon the average American, it would be unsuccessful in many ways and there would be and already is a huge backlash. While we further develop our own domestic energy sources, we use venture capitalism and University research to find the next plentiful/plentiful sources of energy to wean us off of them in the coming future. The frustration with this for me is that the same political gridlock that I referred to above will not bend to that kind of solution. If France can supply 80% of its energy through nuclear power and they’re not all dying from radiation poisoning, then why can’t the US? But as soon as one politician, voting group, or lobbying group even mentions nuclear power, the environmental lobby stomps all over it and labels it a diseaster-in-the-making. And I don’t agree with very many French ideas but that’s one of them.

  6. If it was … Tim Ball who had that background would you not question his integrity or motive behind his save the world venture? maybe that is the whole problem no one is suppose to question when it come the environment movement.
    I only posted what I thought you might not about Hoggan .
    .
    ” It’s interesting that someone investing in or promoting renewable energy and a sustainable future is somehow seen as a bad thing.”
    .
    Are business associations not the first thing demanded by the (Mr Hoggan) environmentalists,NASA,IPCC, etc.. as soon as a scientist or scientific paper is release contradicting the effect of the AGW Theory?
    My post had nothing to do with ” seen as a bad thing.” it is about business and “Vested interest.” .. You know the good old ” evil OIL” must be involved.
    I find it hard to believe in the “open mind” you mention after seeing your response.
    .
    ” They just want to hide behind the anonymity of a blog comment.”

    • Okay – fine Wilbert. i’m not sure why you left the comment in relation to this post in the first place. If you think people are getting rich at DesmogBlog, okay. As I said before, I don’t care what you believe. Incidentally, my open mind starts with letting your comment through so you can have your say. You really have no idea how many times I’ve tried to have a reasonable conversation, do you? Ah, but whatever…

      Tim Ball can start whatever blog he likes. As can anybody.

  7. ” You really have no idea how many times I’ve tried to have a reasonable conversation, do you?”
    and the same here.. Been trying to get a reasonable conversation for 30 years and I always get the same reaction and it is frustrating.
    Money was not my point and you know that.
    ” my open mind starts with letting your comment through so you can have your say”
    Why would you even consider not to let the comments through?

    • Wilbert – I really don’t know what your point is. How can you seriously say “and you know that” – I’ve said at least a couple times now I’m not sure what your point is.

      And yes, I would consider not letting your comment through. Do you publish a blog? Do you understand that I am in no obligation to publish anything? Even your comments? Do you have any idea at all of the mean, vindictive, hateful messages I get out of nowhere, for no reason (other than the fact that I publish this blog)? Yes, indeed, I have absolute control over this blog, and I have an absolute right to “refuse service to anyone.” That said, I rarely do block comments, but the notion that there is some obligation for me to publish every comment is naive.

      If you want to have a reasonable conversation, please tell me exactly what it is you’re trying to say (believe it or not, it isn’t clear), how it relates to the post here. Even if it doesn’t relate directly to the post, just tell me what your point is – is it about AGW in general, the money and motives of DeSmogBlog, what? If it is about DeSmogBlog, I suggest you take your comment right to them.

  8. I am the first one to admit that being “clear” sometimes do get some of my friends frustrated. It is not due to lack of thinking it is mostly trying to translate the french words from my brain to the keyboard ..and they do not sometime come out the right way because some English words I do interprets their meanings wrong. ” loss in translation ” cliche does apply here. I do agree about a pointless conversation and will gladly let it go. Yes I have a “Blog” … but it is more like a “file” were i keep information.

  9. On second though..if you do not like I to post on your blog and you find it frustrating then I have no problem not posting. Just ask and I will stay away. I do not believe in censoring anyone. I will respect a request.:-)

    • Wilbert – go ahead and post here if you’d like to. I know I can sound defensive, but I’d really like to discuss issues if that is your desire – or you can simply make comments. I know we may not agree on these issues, but it is not my intention to censure anyone just because I don’t agree with them.

    • @wilbert robichaud: I think what Wilbur is trying to say here is that to those of us who aren’t green-conscious, there seems to be a double-standard applied to bloggers who don’t believe that climate change is necessarily a man-made phenomenon. Certainly John Lefebvre may very well be in a great deal of trouble and committed money laundering crimes but that doesn’t mean that every blogger of that type or blogger sponsor is connected to an oil-rich cash flow or being paid off by lobbyists or a crook. Many are scientists who have Ph.d’s and sincerely believe in questioning the alarmist mentality of CO2 emissions and actually have a great deal of peer-reviewed data they use to back that up. The reason why many global-warming skeptics point to green-conscious individuals making money off of speeches or companies that are part of the Global Warming movement is because it seems to many of us that while the average person is being asked to practically reduce their quality of life below modern levels or face massive energy prices or taxation, some of these guys are getting quite wealthy off of some of these enterprises they are founding by pushing man-caused GW. It almost looks to many of us like there eventually going to end up being some kind of an elite class from all of this as we are supposed to “sacrifce” for the planet and they can fly around and make money off this potential or impending diseaster. The difference between that and oil companies making huge profits off of cheap energy is that oil companies don’t tell average Americans they need to change their lifestyles and reduce their standard of living. That’s where the double standard and hyprocrisy we see comes in. Obviously, not all people are like this. There are those who are sincere and aren’t doing this and are living the life they preach. While I may not necessarily want to live that life, I don’t lump those people in with them. But that’s where that double standard appears to us.

  10. I got a question Thomas. I saw somewhere that the aerosol propellants that were threatening the coming of the next ice age and were largely eliminated from consumer goods, actually could be offsetting the effects of CO2 and balancing the climate change problem. Maybe if we just didn’t try to “fix things” the earth would find its own balance. It is interesting how the earth heals itself from the abuses of humankind. We can work and work and spend billions to clean up after the Valdez disaster, but after our initial recovery…natural processes take care of the rest in time. Oh well…these are just the musings of a non-scientist thinking about common sense.

    • Greg, thanks for the comment. I’d actually be interested in reading the source of your question. Do you know if it is referring to the CFC’s that threatened the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere.
      Another issue is that of particulates from smog and common air pollution. It was at its worst in the 60’s and 70’s and it was discovered that less sunlight was actually reaching earth’s surface because of it.
      Not to add yet another term to the mix, but it has been referred to as “global dimming.” Despite the effects of this pollution, temps in the last half of the century have risen – leading some to speculate that the warming could have been even worse during that period, and leaving open what might happen as common air pollution continues to be reduced. I wrote an article about it awhile back: http://climate-change.suite101.com/article.cfm/global_dimming

      In any case I agree that nature will assert herself and find balance. For instance, I am very, very dubious of some proposals for “geo engineering” (which I’ve discussed here on this blog) to help counteract human-caused warming. That is just extending the ongoing grand experiment we are conducting on our atmosphere and climate.

      The problem is, however, is that it is too late to simply “leave nature alone” in my opinion (even if we could). We’ve already had too much impact and something must be done to help earth find it’s natural equilibrium. There is no doubt that climate cycles are a part of nature, but we have thrown a big, mighty wrench into that natural cycle. The best thing we can do, I think, is to change the basis of our energy economy and our land use patterns. Not an easy task. But I do think you are right. In the end, nature will find a balance based on the inputs it must deal with.

  11. Thomas – I left a comment back on 2/7 sorry to take so long to follow up. I think the source of my musing about CFC’s probably came from an article in Science Magazine a few years ago. I couldn’t find the reference though. Hey I have another question. If the worst case scenario for climate change causes sea levels to rise by a few feet, obviously that would have a devastating economic impact, which I figure is the main reason governments are working to avert such a disaster. HOWEVER, on balance, aren’t there benefits to warming? I’ve read (again can’t remember where) that many regions of the earth would be greatly enriched by climate change. Increased growing seasons, more rainfall, more habitable areas… Is it possible that a major reason for the alarm is that it will wreck the economy? If so, why not begin investing in areas that will be helped by this scenario and moving people away from the areas that will be ruined? And this will really blow your mind, but, maybe the earth’s climate is changing to accommodate the larger population of humans. Kind of the Anthropic Principle at work, I suppose.

    It is so hard to have a calm discussion about this issue. Too bad.

    • Hey greg,

      Thanks for the reply. First, yes, it is hard to have a calm discussion about this issue isn’t it? Very unfortunate. I appreciate that we seem to be having a calm discussion. Too bad, indeed, for all those other people.

      To your points:
      Well, rising sea levels is one of the possible consequences of global warming (along with an increasingly acidic ocean), but there are other impacts as well. A disrupted hydrological cycle, disappearing ice, species and habitat migration and/or destruction, etc.

      But yes, some areas could benefit from global warming. Where I think I’d take issue with your statement is when you say “on balance.” I’m not really convinced that the consequences of a worst case scenario will be beneficial on balance. And whatever we think of the science, it comes down to a problem of risk management, doesn’t it? There’s a guy on YouTube that explains this really well. If you’re interested, check him out at http://www.youtube.com/user/wonderingmind42

      I really wish there was the political will to start investing for the future in terms of transforming our energy economy and mitigation, but given the furor over a winter blizzard in DC and the east, I’m pessimistic.

      Finally – yep, you’ve blown my mind! An interesting proposal that earth’s climate is changing to accommodate the larger human population, but I’m not sure I’d bet the farm on that. It’s also possible (likely?) that earth is moving to a new balance, a new equilibrium, based on all us humans and our activity, and we are unprepared for the harsh consequences.

      Thanks for the comments, feel free to continue the discussion if you like. You can call me Tom

  12. Thanks Tom. I enjoyed the video on risk management…even forwarded it to a friend. I thought it was a good approach to the topic. One of the things that is most frustrating about the climate change discussion is the way people think of scientists. As in other controversial areas, scientists are assumed to have an agenda, whereas to my knowledge it seems that scientists are about the most dispassionate people I know.

    Oh, I forgot to ask if you had ever heard of the “Anthropic Principle.” It drives people like Richard Dawkins a little nuts, but the alternatives to it are even nuttier to me. I’m thinking of another question or two…I’ll write back in a while.

    Greg

  13. You guys are killing me. You use this quote (below) to dismiss recent record cold as being a trend or a spell….

    You can’t tell much about the climate or where it’s headed by focusing on a particularly frigid day, or season, or year, even,” writes Eoin O’Carroll of the Christian Science Monitor. “It’s all in the long-term trends,” concurs Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies

    but use one year ( in 2006 ) that lake Erie didn’t freeze due to warm temps for the first time in history….

    The flip side of the question, of course, is whether global warming is at least partly to blame for especially harsh winter weather. As we pointed out in a recent EarthTalk column, warmer temperatures in the winter of 2006 caused Lake Erie to not freeze for the first time in its history. This actually led to increased snowfalls because more evaporating water from the lake was available for precipitation.

    First of all it’s not accurate to say that 2006 was the “first time in history” that Erie, the smaller and most shallow of the great lakes, was not frozen. The northern part is more prone to icing but there has been many times through recent history prior to 2006 and since that Erie was not completely frozen.

    • Al,
      I think the main point of the quote you took from the EarthTalk column was that the lake not freezing led to increased snowfall that year. You don’t clearly state your case fully, but I assume that you’re taking issue with the larger question of whether increased intense winter weather trends can be associated with a changing climate (climate change, global warming, whatever) – irrespective of the cause of that change.
      Nonetheless, I’ll take your point regarding Lake Erie freezing or not freezing in winter and welcome any citations you might have to help inform our readers. I will add your citations to the post when you send them.
      In any case, nobody here is “killing” you.

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