Never mind that blizzards aren't usually accompanied by especially cold weather and that winter storms, like all storms, are driven by heat energy. Let's all laugh and laugh and laugh. And let's look out for stories like this one, so we can proudly parade our scientific ignorance around.
Telegraph: There has been a 60 per cent increase in the amount of ocean covered with ice compared to this time last year, they equivalent of almost a million square miles.
In a rebound from 2012's record low an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia's northern shores, days before the annual re-freeze is even set to begin.
The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year, forcing some ships to change their routes.
A leaked report to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seen by the Mail on Sunday, has led some scientists to claim that the world is heading for a period of cooling that will not end until the middle of this century.
According to climate-deniers, decades of data showing a warming planet can be safely ignored, but one season of ice recovery proves beyond all doubt that the planet isn't warming, but cooling. Because that's how rightwing science woks -- you cherrypick the data that seems to back up your argument and ignore the mountains of evidence that don't. And even that cherrypicked data is presented dishonestly.
The Guardian: When it comes to climate science reporting, the Mail on Sunday and Telegraph are only reliable in the sense that you can rely on them to usually get the science wrong. This weekend's Arctic sea ice articles from David Rose of the Mail and Hayley Dixon at the Telegraph unfortunately fit that pattern.
Both articles claimed that Arctic sea ice extent grew 60 percent in August 2013 as compared to August 2012. While this factoid is technically true, it's also largely irrelevant. For one thing, the annual Arctic sea ice minimum occurs in September – we're not there yet. And while this year's minimum extent will certainly be higher than last year's, that's not the least bit surprising...
The piece goes on to explain that the growth in ice extent can be explained by "a principle in statistics known as 'regression toward the mean'." This is a pretty straightforward and easy to understand principle. Basically, we lost so much ice last year that any ice recovery this year will look pretty impressive. But that's only in comparison to last year. Think of it this way -- say you're a farmer who had a big drought last year and a fairly normal year this year. Compared to last year, your yields would be huge. But the fact is that they're really unremarkable. And if the trend is toward more and more meager harvests, it wouldn't actually mean you had a good year at all.
And the trend toward less sea ice is unmistakable. If you compare each year to the previous year, it looks like it fluctuates wildly up and down. But if you look at it as a mean, the trend is undeniably downward. We are not gaining ice in the long run, we're losing it. It's completely undeniable.
There's a reason why the words "Republican scientist" are becoming an oxymoron. "Scientists used to be well represented among the nearly half of Americans who voted Republican," reported the Salt Lake Tribune last month. "But that’s changed over the years, and one poll found that just 6 percent of scientists call themselves part of the GOP now." And scientists aren't bolting the party because Republicans are so unbearably right about global warming. Republicans have become the anti-knowledge party -- and not just scientific knowledge, but historical knowledge. They use this sort of cherrypicking of factoids not just to misrepresent climate science, but to portray the party of Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond as the anti-racist party and to portray the Nazi Party was a leftwing movement. Maybe it's all a leftover from their creationist phase, who knows? But they've gotten very good at twisting facts and cherrypicking numbers.
So no, we aren't heading into a period of global cooling. No, Thomas Jefferson didn't spend his life crawling around on his knees in constant prayer. No, people never saddled dinosaurs and rode them around. No, Hitler formed the Nazi Party to oppose the left, not to join it. No, the things that talk radio and rightwing tabloids and wingnut blogs tell you aren't facts, they're lies. The Earth is not flat.
We're losing ice because the climate is warming. You may not like that fact, but guess what? Neither do I. But believing whatever you want to believe is not fixing the problem, it's just ignoring it. You can collect all the BS you want, but reality doesn't care and it doesn't change the facts.
All it does is make you a fool.
[image via Wikimedia Commons]