Snow and "Global Warming"

February 10, 2010

Snow House

Massive snowfall always leads to three things. Nationwide cancellation of air travel, spontaneous snow ball fighting, and inevitably, the drudging up of the old question: "whatever happened to global warming?"

Climate change deniers love snow. It's like Christmas in February. Because it gives them a chance to take the "global warming" misnomer literally, and put the onus on scientists to explain the fluffy white flakes out of existence. Luckily for scientists, such an onus is unnecessary. Because despite what the wingnuts may believe, increased snowfall is exactly what is to be expected if climate change is really taking effect... At least for a while.

Because aside from the fact that no single weather event can be blamed solely on climate change, extreme weather on either end of the spectrum is only going to get more frequent as our planet warms. This is because warmer global temperatures overall result in higher ocean temperatures. Hotter oceans lead to increased evaporation. And more evaporation leads to higher levels of moisture in the air, which lead to—you guessed it—increased precipitation.

And until the planet has heated to the point that it never drops below zero degrees Celsius—at which point snow will become a distant memory—these events can all be expected to cause extremely heavy snowfall in the winter.

The scientists are explaining all of this, of course. And patiently too, I might add. But that won't stop them from having to do it again the next time it snows in New York. Which will probably be in about five minutes.



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