This Argument Must Die

I swear, the next person who says “hey look, it’s cold outside so global warming must be false” needs to be metaphorically beaten with the 2×4 of rationality. The Worldnetdaily is the latest to pass on this absolutely moronic argument:

It’s been a bad week for global warming.

Cairo saw its first snow in 100 years. Oregon, like several other states, reached its coldest temperature in 40 years. Chicago saw its coldest days ever, and – as if to add finality to the trend – Antarctica reached the coldest temperature ever recorded anywhere on earth.

Seriously, kill it. Kill it with fire. Global warming doesn’t mean that it’s going to be warmer everywhere at all times. In fact, it’s going to be colder in some places at some times than it was before. The warming is the warming of the oceans, will can have a significant impact on global weather patterns — including sometimes making our weather even colder under some circumstances. You can see a detailed explanation for all this here.

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  • Stacey C.

    Seriously. For one thing, I just saw on the news this morning that this November was the warmest on record since 1880 thus making their basic argument wrong. But more importantly the weather vs. climate thing makes me want to smack people. And the Antarctica low temperature is simply that they’ve *measured it* for the first time! ARGH!

  • colnago80

    Every time Phil Plait posts something on global climate change, he gets hundreds of comments from shills for the Koch brothers containing fabrications obtained from denialist web sites. The global warming deniers are much like the creationists. No evidence will ever persuade them that they might be seriously in error. This blog’s Koch brothers’ shill, Sir Lancelot, is a textbook example of denialism in action.

    Actually, the flooding situation in the Gaza Strip is a forerunner of what can be expected as the level of the Mediterranean Sea rises. It is almost entirely barely above sea level as it is and will become uninhabitable if global temperatures continue to rise and melt glaciers and Antarctic snow and ice cover.

  • raven

    The recent cold spell on the west coast was pretty strange.

    While it was unusually cold down as far as the bay area, it was 32 degrees F in Anchorage and 27 degrees F in Pt. Barrow on the arctic ocean.

    WTH, it was much warmer in Alaska than in Oregon.

    1. This is a prediction of some global warming models. The arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the planet. So that cold has to being going somewhere. It looks like it is going south because it isn’t bottled up in the north any more.

    2. If that is the case, colder winters and hotter summers will become more common.

    3. While this is plausible, I don’t know enough about climate models to say if it is realistic or not.

  • http://Reallyawakeguy.blogspot.com somnus

    How has it failed to reach the public consciousness of the climate debate that as warming progresses the extremes will be more pronounced, but the average will climb? It seems like such an easy idea to get across.

  • Abby Normal

    The worst I saw was our local TV weather forecaster. We were having an unseasonably warm September. The guy was giving the forecast and said something like, “We’ll have near record breaking temperatures this weekend. The last time this happened was 1934. So for you global warmers out there, this has happened before.”

    Arrrgh, you’re a meteorologist! You should know the difference between weather and climate you moronic hack.

  • robertfaber

    One of my climate youtubers (can’t remember which one) put those kind of comments in perspective:

    Imagine it’s 62 degrees on May 2nd. Then it’s 63 degrees on May 3rd. Then, it’s 53 degrees on May 4th. Oops, I guess we’re not going to have a summer! It’s getting colder outside!

  • raven

    East Coast Sea Level Rise Tied to Slowing of Gulf Stream

    By Tom Yulsman | February 14, 2013 9:09 pm discoverblogs . com

    Sea level rise has been accelerating along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States, and now, a paper published in the February issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans confirms the cause: the Gulf Stream is slowing.

    One effect is definitely going to make eastern North America and Europe colder in the winter.

    1. The gulf stream is slowing down and moving farther out to sea.

    2. Maybe. I looked at the data on this and there isn’t much. It’s just hard to measure something like the gulf stream, the database isn’t too deep into the past, and there isn’t much effort to measure it. I found it suggestive but not definitive.

    3. The models say it will slow down but we don’t know by how much. But it probably won’t stop. Which is good, the last time that happened was a minor Ice Age.

  • Chiroptera

    I swear, the next person who says “hey look, it’s cold outside so global warming must be false” needs to be metaphorically beaten with the 2×4 of rationality.

    And yet, in response to two record breaking summers in a row, this same clown responds “ah, that’s just weather. Sometimes you get hotter than normal summers.”

  • Chiroptera

    My last comment: I was referring to 2011, 2012 in TX and OK.

  • barry21

    There are no songs about both rocks and dinner rolls. All you “rock & roll” fans better seriously reevaluate genre’s supposed existence.

    While I’m on the subject, those four fellows are musicians, not a flight-challenged dirigible. Led Zeppelin is a liberal hoax.

  • dmcclean

    #2 wrote:

    Actually, the flooding situation in the Gaza Strip is a forerunner of what can be expected as the level of the Mediterranean Sea rises. It is almost entirely barely above sea level as it is and will become uninhabitable if global temperatures continue to rise and melt glaciers and Antarctic snow and ice cover.

    AIUI the dominant driver in the near term (century scale) is projected to be thermal expansion, followed by deglaciation. The sign of the contribution from Antarctica wasn’t nailed down in the last update I read, because there was a lot of uncertainty as to what will happen with inland precipitation.

    But certainly this is even more reason for concern, because even the kookiest of denialists don’t tend to deny that thermal expansion is a real thing.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/accidental-historian/ Geds

    Chicago saw its coldest days ever

    Bullshit. Yeah, it dipped into the negatives here in Chicago, but it’s done that many, many times in my three decades of living in Chicagoland. The lowest recorded temperature in Chicago was -27 F in 1985. That’s about 25 degrees colder than the low of the previous week. If these idiots can’t get something so basic right why would anyone trust them about anything else?

    Oh, right. They don’t expect their audience to do anything so complicated as Googling “chicago record cold.”

  • raven

    While Most of U.S. Froze, Parts of Alaska Set Record Highs | Climate …

    www. climatecentral. org/…/while-most-of-u.s.-froze-parts-of-alas…‎

    by Andrew Freedman – in 1,139 Google+ circlesPublished: December 10th, 2013 , Last Updated: December 10th, 2013 … While the continental U.S. has been shivering from coast-to-coast with … including notes showing the unusually warm air over Alaska (red area) and cold air from …

    This is what I was referring to in #3.

    It looks like warm air from the south traded places with cold air from the north.

  • http://en.gravatar.com/mrupright Mr. Upright

    Abby,

    One of my local meteorologists, James Spann (who is otherwise very good) is a nut who signed the Cornwall Alliance’s “Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming” which states, in part:

    We believe Earth and its ecosystems—created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence —are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth’s climate system is no exception. Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history.

    When one of your arguments is “God won’t let it happen,” you’ve lost the argument.

  • http://conservativenewswire.wordpress.com/ Conservative Newswire

    Complexity isn’t the anti-science crowd’s strongest suit. Who would have thought?

  • petrefax

    The argument is to physics what “why are there still monkeys?” is to biology.

  • dingojack

    Mr. Upright – My counter argument to Mr Spann:

    ‘Really? And what was Europe like 14,000 years ago? Optimal for human flourishing? You want to go back and live in London then and see how much you ‘flourish’, numbnuts?’

    Dingo

  • zmidponk

    Chiroptera:

    And yet, in response to two record breaking summers in a row, this same clown responds “ah, that’s just weather. Sometimes you get hotter than normal summers.”

    That’s one thing that really make me laugh at them. The whole claim about local weather conditions being an absolute like-for-like indicator of overall global climate conditions is so utterly, insanely flawed, it’s unreal, yet, even within the framework of their own badly flawed argument, the denialists have to blatantly use double standards to dismiss problems for themselves.

  • gshelley

    It no longer even surprises me that these people don’t even stop to think “hmm, what would global warming actually predict”. Some of these lower temperatures would actually be expected consequences of increased temperature elsewhere

  • Randomfactor

    Anyone who makes this argument has never pushed a kid on a swing. Doesn’t matter how hard you push forwards, it’s going to swing wildly back nearly as hard part of the time. We’re encouraging wild climate swings until the baby falls out of the seat, or we do something do dampen the effect.

  • monochromeeye

    This was one of the biggest PR mistakes in science! If they had gone with “Climate Change” instead. We all would save a lot of time dealing with this issue.

  • raven

    Mr. Upright – My counter argument to Mr Spann:

    I would just call him an ignorant idiot.

    Most of the earth is unfavorable for humans, a tropical evolved creature.

    70% of it it is salt water ocean. We can’t use salt water for much of anything. Much of the rest is desert, arctic, or antarctic. There are large numbers of pathogens such as smallpox, bubonic plague, malaria, TB, etc.. that can and will kill us by the millions. It is too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer many places.

    For most of human history, the human population was numbered in the millions. What has allowed us to flourish is our….brains. With technology and science, even places like Michigan are habitable.

  • Michael Heath

    Stacey C. writes:

    I just saw on the news this morning that this November was the warmest on record since 1880 thus making their basic argument wrong. But more importantly the weather vs. climate thing makes me want to smack people.

    Then please smack yourself. I suggest using Ann Lander’s weapon of choice – a wet noodle.

  • Thumper: Token Breeder

    *headdesk**headdesk**headdesk*

    Pay attention, denialist morons: Weather Climate!

    I have lost count of the amount of times I have to explain this to dickheads who think that “Oooh! It’s a bit nippy outside!” constitutes an argument against climate change.

  • Thumper: Token Breeder

    Huh. Note to self, do not use a “does not equal” sign that the computer interprets as an empty html tag.

    *clears throat*

    Weather =/= Climate!

  • Michael Heath

    Ed’s lede:

    I swear, the next person who says “hey look, it’s cold outside so global warming must be false” needs to be metaphorically beaten with the 2×4 of rationality.

    I scan the Drudge Report almost daily. He’s a master headliner driving this false narrative. His sources are the usual suspects.

    Mr. Drudge will occasionally link to a credible story on climate change that’s inconvenient relative to the false denialist narrative, I assume to falsely claim plausible deniability. That reminds of me of the last congressional hearing. The Republicans had three experts, one was a denialist (John Christy), the other a semi-denialist/confusionist (Pielke, Jr.), and another was someone I didn’t know. Sounds representative for the GOP but of course not to what scientists conclude.

  • Michael Heath

    Thumper:

    Weather =/= Climate!

    That’s not true either. There is a causal relationship between weather and climate.

    What’s missing in the false narrative is that there’s expected variability with a range of expected outcomes within a very complex system. Contemporaneous weather outcomes will overlap prior outcomes. Many future weather outcomes will also overlap with our current set of weather outcomes. I.e., we’re shifting a frequency distribution curve of weather outcomes to the right (more heat) and in some places, also changing the shape of that curve.

    Re changing the shape of the curve: I’ve yet to see a frequency distribution curve where the midpoint heat result goes up while there’s also more extreme cold events for that given locale, but I wouldn’t be shocked if that happened. We of course are seeing not only more heat records broken, we’re also seeing the ratio of heat to cold records increase. However I wonder if this is true when we drill down to a locality, you’d think some areas could see an increase in both heat and cold records given changes in the jet stream or ocean currents.

  • jnorris

    Dingo, #17

    Really? And what was Europe like 14,000 years ago?

    Really? The Evangelical Nutjobz believe the world didn’t even exist then. The planet is only a little over 6,000 years old!

  • Doug Little

    When one of your arguments is “God won’t let it happen,” you’ve lost the argument.

    As well as your mind and rationality.

  • Doug Little

    This was one of the biggest PR mistakes in science! If they had gone with “Climate Change” instead. We all would save a lot of time dealing with this issue.

    It has been climate change at least since 1988 when the IPCC was formed.

  • Pingback: Snow in Egypt | Cryptic Philosopher()

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    This November was the third warmest in the global temperature record (only 2010 and 2012 were hotter). We don’t have data yet for December for the obvious reason that it’s only half over. But needless to say, global temperatures being near-record highs means a bit more than, “Gosh, it sure was cold out last week.”

  • stubby

    Here’s a few gems from the comments section.

    – “Machiavelli was so right when he said, “…For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are. I wonder what Machiavelli meant by “appearances?” In the case of the global-warming crowd, it’s not even appearances that they treat as reality, but outright lies. If they ever once looked upon empirical data for what it is, their whole argument would vaporize into the ether. Of course, they would likely say that that was contributing to global-warming as well. These people have lost the ability to think logically, coherently.”

    – “Simply being a Liberal Democrat means you are a mental-defective, willful or otherwise. The American Democrat can’t think, can’t rationally process anything, nor ever had a thought in his head that wasn’t first someone else’s thought first. They will enjoy their gulags when the time comes to dispose of them–just call it ‘Utopia’ and they’ll believe it.”

  • caseloweraz

    Abby Normal: The guy was giving the forecast and said something like, “We’ll have near record breaking temperatures this weekend. The last time this happened was 1934. So for you global warmers out there, this has happened before.”

    So 1934 set a new high-temp record, and 2013 broke that record. So no need to worry about rising temperatures, says the meteorologist with the mental low-pressure area.

  • robinjohnson

    There is a harvest of highly original newspaper cartoons presenting this sound argument at http://ifglobalwarmingisrealthenwhyisitcold.blogspot.co.uk/ .

    (Parenthetically, why is no cartoonist able to draw Al Gore without resorting to having him wear a badge that says AL GORE?)

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    The Bad Astronomer has a good take down of this here :

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/12/16/global_warming_new_study_shows_pause_doesn_t_exist.html

    (Or /& the related its not happening now” rubbish.)

    too in case it helps. Hopefully it does.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    @21. monochromeeye :

    This was one of the biggest PR mistakes in science! If they had gone with “Climate Change” instead. We all would save a lot of time dealing with this issue.

    Well they’d just say that climate is always changing then wouldn’t they?

    Personally I prefer using Human-Induced Rapid Global Overheating (HIRGO) myself because its the most straightforward plain and clear descriptive way of putting it – we’re causing it, its unusually rapid and our world not just getting warm (a word with generally positive connotations) but is getting too hot – overheating climate-~wise.

  • colnago80

    Re StevoR @ #35

    One should peruse the comments on the Plait link for textbook examples of shills for the Koch brothers posting denialism. As I stated previously, this sort of crap happens every time he posts something on climate change.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    @21:

    It makes no difference to the reaction of the Koch brothers and their fellow slimetrailers what you call it. They don’t give a fuck about the truth or accuracy in labeling. All they care about is their bottom line and AGW or Climate Change is not the issue, cutting back on fossil fuel consumption is the issue.

  • sailor1031

    It’s apparent that few, if any, of you have seen the IPCC AR5/WG1 report.

  • Doug Little

    It’s apparent that few, if any, of you have seen the IPCC AR5/WG1 report.

    I have, what of it?

  • Michael Heath

    sailor1031:

    It’s apparent that few, if any, of you have seen the IPCC AR5/WG1 report.

    It’s bad form to fail to quote that which you critique. It’s even worse to then accuse the group of this supposed behavior prior to establishing the unvalidated asserted behavior is representative of the group.

  • freehand

    When I hear “It’s cold today, therefore no global warming” I respond with “Bill Gates is rich today, therefore no global recession”. They will not acknowledge the error implicit in their statement, but sometimes they are actually smart enough to get the point, and either change the subject, shut up, or leave.

    The difference between Creationism shills and AGW denialists is that AGW denialism has lots of money behind it. Plus all of the endearing features of creationism: tribalism, hostility to science, Dunning-Kruger syndrome, hatred for hippies/liberals/eggheads, etc.

  • freehand

    sailor1031: It’s apparent that few, if any, of you have seen the IPCC AR5/WG1 report.

    All 14 chapters plus of it? Neither have you. So don’t hold us in suspense, repeat or link to the misrepresenting balderdash you read in an anti-science blog which purports to find some fatal flaw in the methodology of all these papers.

    For anyone interested:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/#.UrMZo-LuY34

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    It’s apparent that few, if any, of you have seen the IPCC AR5/WG1 report.

    What is the point of this comment? Do you really think that the report somehow supports the skeptic/denialist point of view? You don’t have to read very far to see that it doesn’t.

    And at any rate, climate change skeptics/deniers refuse to believe anything that the IPCC says. Or anything that any body of scientific experts has had to say about the subject. So the report’s findings by their own reasoning cannot possibly help their cause. Not that I’m accusing them of consistency, mind you.

  • Michael Heath

    freehand writes:

    The difference between Creationism shills and AGW denialists is that AGW denialism has lots of money behind it.

    That’s true, but I don’t think it was the money that caused conservative Christians to suddenly make denialism of AGW a core litmus test for them soon after the Bush Administration took office. From the mid-1990s even into the period where President Bush was nominating his cabinet, we saw rapid progress of conservative Christians and their political leaders conceding we needed to confront the horrific threat of AGW.

    The mid-1990s was a pivotal juncture since that was when reports were coming out at the biggest oil companies’ own climate experts, e.g., Exxon and Shell, were conceding that the scientific consensus was accurate. So the fight emerging wasn’t whether to ignore the threat, but instead how to address it and who would pay.

    Here’s what I observed happen: After the 2000 election, religious-political leaders were on the verge of enjoying unprecedented power given the near-complete migration of conservative Christians into the Republican party. They were able to easily lead their delusional childish flock via the abortion debate, and increasingly, conservative Christian hatred of gay people. Not only were all conservative Christians in one political party, but that same party believed they were also on the verge of a, “permanent majority”.

    Given the importance of the AGW threat, it was reasonable for these religious leaders to think they’d lose some of their flock to Democrats in spite how easy it was to get conservative Christians who vote against their interests with incompetent Republicans. That was long as the Republican candidate was a fierce anti-abortion rights advocate and expressed bigotry towards gays in fealty to conservative religious leaders. That some conservative Christians would favor Democratic policies and think AGW was more important than the further erosion of abortion rights protections was a credible concern, but not now, conservative Christians are now committed to their denialism (that may change in the future, but I think it’ll take years).

    Since conservative Christians are eager to deny reality when their social dominators tell them to deny reality, it was fairly easy to make denialism of AGW an important topic in order to keep the flock within the GOP stronghold. Yes the money amplified the success of this tactic, especially once newly elected VP Cheney picked up the banner and President Bush pivoted early in his first term. But the money followed the religious movement, Falwell and Dobson led the effort and the Koch Brothers and similar entities exploited this new opportunity, not the other way around.