Another Climate Prediction Gone off the Rails

Winter started early this year. The first blizzard of the season in Montana broke a snow record with 30 inches during the first week of October, barely a few weeks into fall. In my state of Colorado too, with 11 inches of snow in Grand Mesa. Prompting the local CBS affiliate to proclaim, “The snow season is off to a big start in western Colorado!”

Town and Country magazine, which caters to one percenters in predominantly blue Northeastern enclaves, had their own forecast. Warning readers, “Prepare to Bundle Up: Winter 2017 & 2018 Is Going to Be Unusually Cold.” Predicting for the enlightened #NeverTrump residents of New York and Boston, “an above average amount of snowfall” and “a colder winter than last year.”

I wonder how many members of the New York Times editorial board or management team have a copy of Town and Country sitting on the coffee table of their fashionable Upper East Side coop? Or their Hamptons weekend getaway, strategically placed alongside the New Yorker or the Atlantic? Not to read, but to project an entitled sense of sophistication and savoir faire, so common among liberal elites.

Do the smart set at the NY Times find any irony or contradiction in the Town and Country story about more snow and their own 2014 article titled, “The End of Snow?” Ski mountains predicted to be brown rather than white. Calamity for the Winter Olympics, not having a sufficiently snowy venue to hold the games, instead having to move them to a small town on the northern coast of Hudson Bay.

Quite certain is the NY Times asserting, “The facts are straightforward: The planet is getting hotter.” The writer was nostalgic for a family ski trip to Copper Mountain in Colorado in 1980, enjoying his first powder run. Don’t worry, Copper still gets plenty of snow. Since 2009, winter snowfall has ranged from 181 to 406 inches, depending the year, with an average in the mid-200s. Most years their largest snowfall for the season was at least a foot, plenty for a good powder run. Hardly the predicted “end of snow”.

Such claims are not new. In 2000, the Independent asserted, “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” Confidently asserting, “snow is starting to disappear from our lives” due to what else but global warming, “now accepted as a reality by the international community.” By that I assume the writer means Al Gore, Leo DiCaprio and Jimmy Kimmel.

Seventeen years later, the same paper wrote this past January of the resurrection of snow in the UK, “Blizzard conditions bring ‘real taste of winter’ nationwide.” How could that be if snowfalls are a thing of the past? And that was only January. Fast forward a month to February and the UK got hit with another reminder that snowfalls may not quite be a historic relic. The Express, a sister paper, published, “Britain braced for blizzards and gales as temperatures plunge to -10C.”

Interestingly, the Independent removed their original “Snowfalls are just a thing of the past” article from their website. As Al Gore would say, it was an inconvenient truth. But in the internet age, nothing can be removed from the web. Rather than just removing the article, the proper approach would have been a followup article explaining why the original piece was incorrect.

That’s the scientific method. Climatology is science, or at least is should be, rather than political advocacy. Observations are made, a hypothesis is proposed to explain the observations, then further observations are made to determine whether the hypothesis is correct. If future predictions turn out to be true, this bolsters the hypothesis, in this case man-made global warming. If future observations are not what was expected, it’s back to the hypothesis to rethink and revise.

That’s how it’s done. Not with a big “never mind” by deep-sixing the original article. And not by revising the original data, as NOAA did to erase the 15-year pause in global warming.

Science is allowed to get it wrong. The high-carb, low-fat diets of the 1970s lead to an epidemic in type 2 diabetes. Current dietary recommendations have been revised accordingly. Same with coffee, butter, margarine, and a host of other foods. Once thought to be bad, now thought to be good, or at least not deadly. Or vice versa. How much of what we eat or do today will be laughed at in a few decades when new information comes to light?

Climate change science has exempted itself from such scientific scrutiny. It has become politicized and monetized to the point that its devotees cannot back down or question the global warming dogma. Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges, “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

That’s not an excuse to not study the climate and try to understand it better. Perhaps someday it will be understood and predictable. How much of modern science was once viewed as magic, witchcraft, or the whims of Greek gods?

Yet the predictions continue, doubling down on the last round of failed prognostications. Anyone who dares to dissent should be thrown in jail, says Bill Nye the science guy, now a self-proclaimed judge, jury, and executioner. The execution can be left to Monty Python’s Eric Idle who wants climate change deniers to be “put down gently.” How sporting of him. One flesh wound at a time.

Enough with the wild climate predictions. And death or imprisonment to those who dare question the church of global warming. Climatistas are starting to sound like radical Islamists preaching death to nonbelievers, winning converts by threats and coercion, not by science or common sense.  

Brian C. Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter. 

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