Satellite image of Arctic at point of maximal Arctic melting. Increasing warmth in the Arctic is influencing the polar vortex causing icy cold to spill southward to North America.
The disconnect between much of the media (and public) and ongoing global warming has never been more evident than the past week or so as we witnessed a Russian ship trapped by ice in the Antarctic and bone -chilling frigid air in the Midwest today. But as I will show, none of these events - strange as they may seem (i.e. Chicago being colder than Siberia this morning) controvert global warming.
SF Chronicle conservo writer Debra Saunders thought she was being facetious when she wrote the following:
"To recap, when the Aussie expedition on the Russian ship got stuck, the Chinese Xue Long tried to icebreak its way to the stranded ship. But there was too much thick ice and the Xue Long could not reach the Shokalskiy. Then the Australian Aurora Australis tried to come to the rescue, but couldn’t get to the Russian ship either. Ditto a French icebreaker. There was too much thick ice to reach the global-warming research team.
More irony: The AAE was supposed to follow in the footsteps of the 1912 Mawson expedition – which is the last trek I would want to recreate. The idea was to allow modern scientists to collect data to compare with the Mawson data in order to do improve climate models for global warming. But then there was too much ice, and now the party’s over."
Mayhap for the Aussie team, but that doesn't mean global warming is over. Indeed, what happened to the Shokalskiy can actually be said to have reinforced the theory of global warming. That is, it's been found (Nature Geoscience, March 31) that melting ice shelves actually spur the growth of sea ice - the form that trapped the Russian ship. While Arctic sea ice has dwindled, Antarctic sea ice has expanded nearly two percent per decade since 1985.
As oceans have warmed over the same period, their currents have carried heat to the deep waters surrounding
This deflected warmth melts the base of ice shelves, i.e. sections of the
Antarctic ice sheet that float over the ocean. The melting then floods the ocean with cold fresh water that
remains on the surface and easily freezes. Hence, the trapping of the Shokalskiy.
Regarding the record breaking bone –chilling cold in the
Midwest today, this can also be traced to global warming
– as originally proposed in a theory by Gunther Weller, more than 25 years ago.
That is, something called “the polar
vortex” is normally stable and circulating around the Arctic, like a massive
cyclone. (Weller called it a stable polar cyclone) However, with increased warming in the Arctic
(especially more than anyplace else on Earth) the circulation in the vortex is weakened
and the vortex’s cold spills southward – discharging energy and creating the record
breaking cold we’re now seeing in places like Minnesota.
As a weather specialist noted this morning (CBS), it is unwise to just cherry pick the frigid cold experienced in some parts today and laugh at global warming – since every place else is seeing a warming trend. Also, warming begins much earlier than it had incepting natural changes in flora and fauna to respond to it. (For example, the dandelions in my yard now begin flowering in early to mid March as opposed to late April. Meanwhile, the maple syrup in
adversely affected by too early warmth which is also now too enduring – into
the fall). Vermont
Worse, the unabated general warming trend, such as here in the Rocky Mountain West, has meant the spread of the Mountain Pine Beetle - now destroying forests by the hundreds of thousands of acres each year. The beetle basically turns trees into tinder for which the slightest spark - say from a randomly tossed cigarette- can cause a densely forested area to explode into a wildfire. This is what happened with the Black Forest fire last year, and the Waldo Canyon fire the year before that.
Only a dunderhead or nitwit would in any way use the bone chilling cold, snow or even ice storms to try to deny global warming. But don't worry, many idiots will still try!