Not the Time

21Feb15

snow_piles021515
Normally, I give topics like Global Warming and Climate Change a good leaving alone. It’s a slippery slope that can quickly trigger an avalanche of supercilious lectures from the Reality-Based Community.

But in my reality I have eight feet of snow in my front yard and if the AccuWeather Boston forecast holds true, we’ll finish icicle021815February with 26 of 28 days below normal temperatures, most of them well below normal.

So I’m a little cold right now and a little tired from shoveling. (I don’t own one of those carbon-spewing snow blowers.) And when I’m cold and tired, I’m cranky.

In general, Climate Change and Global Warming tend to poll very low in terms of issues that Americans are most concerned about. That’s especially true when icicles stretch the height of three story buildings and two-foot thick ice dams are causing water to gush into people’s dining rooms and kitchens.

So right about now, a little Global Warming doesn’t sound like such a bad idea to a lot of people.

One year ago, on Feb. 7, 2014, the New York Times published a piece by Porter Fox entitled “The End of Snow?” It worried that in the northeastern United States “more than half of the 103 ski resorts may no longer be viable in 30 years because of warmer winters.” (I trust that Mr. Fox has had no difficulty locating an open ski resort this winter.)

icicles021815But never fear, there is also an explanation for the view you see outside your window today. It’s the warmer oceans. You see, the warmer ocean water evaporates into the atmosphere more easily and all that extra moisture ends up falling on us in the form of more frequent and more intense winter storms. (And yet somehow, despite all this evaporation, the seas still manage to rise!)

So let’s review. Lack of snow: Global Warming; Frequent, extreme winter storms: Global Warming. Heads they win, tails we all lose.

I know, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activity is causing the planet to warm. I’m pretty sure that 97 percent of scientists also once agreed that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.

electric_meterFurther adding to our collective foul mood, our electric rates jumped 30 percent this winter in large part because the anti-fossil fuel lobby has managed to block the construction of additional pipeline to bring in the natural gas desperately needed to fuel New England’s electric power generating plants. More demand and less supply mean higher prices. That’s called settled economics.

Never mind that natural gas is much cleaner for generating electricity than the coal-fired plants being phased out. That’s not good enough. We must eliminate all fossil fuels right this minute and go entirely with renewables like wind and solar. And if you point out that these technologies are a long way from being capable of supplying the region’s power needs, well you must be some kind of paid shill for the fossil fuel industry.

So a friendly tip to the enviro crowd. Now is not the time to be lecturing us about divestment from fossil fuels. We’ll be much more open to those sermons when all the snow is gone.

By the looks of it, that will be just in time for the July 4th Parade.

[This column originally appeared in the February 19, Wakefield Daily Item.]

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3 Responses to “Not the Time”

  1. 1 Roland

    The problem with your analysis is that you assume that weather for a month or two in the Northeast US is somehow indicative of what is happening around the world. Unfortunately, weather and climatology does not work that way. While we are dealing with cold air being pumped down from the Arctic, the Western US is suffering from a drought and abnormally warm temperatures.

    • 2 Mark Sardella

      Actually, I make no such assumptions, nor do I believe “that weather for a month or two in the Northeast US is somehow indicative of what is happening around the world.” Nowhere in my column did I say anything of the sort. My column is actually less about the science than it is about the manner in which the science is manipulated by activists. There’s the New York Times writer claiming that warming temperatures will cripple the New England ski industry within 30 years due to lack of snow. At the same time Michael Mann is quoted in the Washington post as saying that the warmer ocean water evaporating at a much greater rate will mean more frequent, more intense winter storms in the Northeast.
      I couldn’t count the number of times a single, regional weather event, like Hurricane Sandy, has been cited by climate activists as evidence of climate change. But when a skeptic points to a prolonged period of unusually cold temperatures, he is inevitably lectured that he doesn’t understand the difference between weather and climate.
      So while I do view with skepticism any claim that some are eager to declare as beyond question, that wasn’t what the column was about.

      • 3 Roland

        One of my good friends is Predident of one of New England’s premier ski resorts and I can tell you that he and his colleagues in the industry are concerned about the future of skiing. This is true, not just in the Northeast. There have been articles published in Ski magazine.

        I regularly ski in Europe and in the 30 plus years that I have been going there, I have seen the dwindling glaciers and the need to go higher to find snow.

        As far as hurricane Sandy is concerned, although the major impact was regional, it was not a regional storm as it and almost all hurricanes in the Atlantic are born off the coast of Africa and then feed on the warm ocean waters of the tropics as they move westward with the trade winds until they make their turn to the north.

        My father was a research meteorologist and a member of the American Meteorological Society and a past president of the Boston chapter. He was deeply concerned about the implications of climate change, both locally and globally. He was also an outdoorsman who loved the winter and hated the thought that New England would lose its skiing industry, but he was also a sober realist and he fully understood the implications of the science he was involved with.


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