When 'Weather' turns to 'Climate'
The country is enduring yet another bout of brutal cold courtesy of the North Pole Express, AKA the polar vortex.
Warmists dismiss this as “weather”, which only begs the question as to when “weather” becomes “climate”. There’s certainly no red line dividing one from the other, nor could there be, the two being so interrelated.
With this in mind, there’s one factor generally overlooked by warmists, and by skeptics as well: the fact that this arctic cold does have climatic effects, resulting directly from day after day of freezing temperatures across continental distances, and that these effects are well understood.
Simply put, cold weather created by the polar vortex results in widespread and enduring snow cover and large-scale freezing, with both occurring over larger areas than normal. This results in buildups of ice and snow layers that increase the earth’s albedo – its reflectivity as involves incoming solar radiation. One example involves the Great Lakes, which have frozen over nearly completely for the past two winters. Lake Erie is now completely iced over, while Huron and Superior are nearly nine-tenths frozen. Ice and snow reflect sunlight back into space, which in turn creates colder temperatures, which bring about more ice and snow. For all practical purposes, this comprises a self-sustaining feedback loop.
Of course, spring eventually returns, and things go back to normal. Or do they? The past few years we have seen spring delayed, along with measurably cooler summers. And perhaps some of that snow and ice doesn’t quite vanish – in mountains and northern latitudes some of it remains. (Last year it took until summer for all the ice in Lake Superior to melt.)
According to one hypothesis, it’s exactly this kind of feedback loop that triggers the ice ages. After a few years or decades, the snow up north doesn’t melt at all, and the glaciers start marching south.
That’s one way that “weather” shifts into “climate”. And it’s happening right now. How long will this pattern continue? It’s impossible to say. But one thing for sure: whatever you want to call it, it ain’t warming. It does not fit into any warming model. Quite the contrary. And that’s something that the warmists -- who happily broadcast every last element, no matter how trivial or doubtful, that supports their thesis -- ought to be forced to explain repeatedly and often.