Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

Moisture + Cold Air => Snow

with 19 comments

I just want to pre-empt the almost inevitable piece of journalistic garbage – by Christopher Booker, James Delingpole, Melanie Phillips, David Rose, or whoever – suggesting that the current snowy weather in the UK proves that global warming is not happening.

As any number of weather presenters have explained in recent days, the UK is experiencing record-breaking falls of snow this weekend because of disruption to our normal weather patterns.  Once again, this abnormal weather is the result of changes in the stratosphere; with the position of the Jet Stream blocking the weather systems we would normally have coming off the Atlantic; and allowing much colder air from the European continent to sweep over us instead.

Apart from that, it is simply the case that moisture + cold air => snow:  The Earth’s atmosphere today typically contains 4% more water vapour than it did 50 years ago.  More moisture in a body of warm air will result in heavy rainfall; in colder air it will result in heavy snowfall. End of story. Almost.

There are just a few more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that you might be missing:

—  It is now several decades since the Earth experienced a single month of weather that was cooler than the long-term monthly average;

—  Every decade since the 1970’s has been warmer than that which preceded it.

—  The ratio of heat records broken to cold records broken in 2o12 was 11 to 1.

I think even my 14-yr old daughter could identify the long-term trend in that data set.

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19 Responses

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  1. Well said, Martin. I think this is one of the most important denier memes for us to debunk. I’m in the middle of reading Joe Romm’s book Language Intelligence in which he emphasises the importance of repeating your message over and over. The deniers are certainly doing this, but we need to out-do them.

    Graham Coghill

    19 January 2013 at 02:27

    • Thanks Graham. I feel certain that the Sunday Telegraph (Booker) or Mail on Sunday (Rose) is bound to repeat this lie tomorrow (6 inches of snow in one day is simply too good an opportunity for them to miss).

      Martin Lack

      19 January 2013 at 10:10

      • Just out of interest: did they? (I don’t read those uninformed, uninformative rags myself).


        21 January 2013 at 20:11

        • After posting this, I discovered James Delingpole had posted another installment of his ‘climate change is a hoax’ meme a few days earlier; and someone called clive best attempted to make this argument on the Met Office blog on Saturday.

          Martin Lack

          21 January 2013 at 21:17

  2. Mr.Lack, take a page out of the Catholic Church’s book: repeat the liturgy day after day, at set times so that all will know when to listen. A large proportion of the population does not know; does not care for; and does not comprehend your argument. Being mostly literate, they are bombarded by a daily barrage of bullshit, advertising and journalistic platitudes, to such an extent that they cannot discern what is fact and what not. And this is the end result of 140 years of compulsory education.

    The literate tends to believe what he reads. How often does one hear, “I read it only yesterday”? Science has a bad name, in GB anyway, as you well know. Those who might concern themselves with such matters are often described as being “too clever by half”. And those who refuse to accept the facts as recorded by instruments have only to look out of their windows to see the snow and then they “know” that AGW is a fiction. Mankind is a creature of habit. I understand and sympathise with your frustration. Marine pollution is another fact. But, travel to Cyprus, lie on the swept beach and one can delude oneself that this too is all hot air.


    19 January 2013 at 10:27

  3. Those wanting to right price carbon to impede global warming can do so immediately – no need to wait for government to impose carbon taxes. By living a cycling lifestyle, I am offsetting the carbon footprint of highly paid urban automobile commuters. Thankfully, it was cold enough to snow during my homeward commute a few evenings ago. I like to think I helped make that possible by abandoning the automobile.


    20 January 2013 at 18:04

    • I admire your commitment to cycling. When I was working, I never felt better than when I used commute by bicycle. However, there can be no possible link between anyone reducing their carbon emissions and our current snowy weather. Quite the opposite in fact, as this post makes clear.

      Martin Lack

      20 January 2013 at 18:34

      • Thanks for your kind reply Martin. Indeed, I find cycling has many health benefits. I feel great, and my immune system is at full strength. All the best.


        20 January 2013 at 19:07

        • You too. Thanks for visiting (and commenting)!

          Martin Lack

          20 January 2013 at 19:15

  4. You must have missed this, Lack, courtesy of the Met Office too. [Wonderfully polite as usual – ML]

    Starting around 1998, what do you notice about that graph? Does it look to you as if it reflects the way that the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased – at an increasing rate, too – every year since that point?

    Of course, if the Met Office’s projection is correct, there is not only going to be little or no warming over the next 5 years, but that downtick at the end doesn’t bode well for your AGW fantasy either.

    And even Hansen has now admitted the natural variation has apparently been sufficient to overcome the CO2 forcing over the last decade, that’s not something that he would have admitted a year of two ago.
    [Hansen also notes that “the 10 warmest years in the record all occurred since 1998.” – ML]

    How many years of flat or even declining temperatures is it going to take to falsify the high sensitivity water vapour driven positive feedback AGW hypothesis, do you think? Bearing in mind that the latest NASA satellite water vapour measurements show no discernible trend this century, of course.

    Or are you going to accuse the Met Office and James Hansen of being ‘deniers’ too?


    20 January 2013 at 23:23

    • Thanks for visiting, catweazle. If you think anything you said proves that Carbon Dioxide is not the primary cause of ongoing warming, you clearly did not bother to read what I wrote here first. Indeed, you are still trying to go down the up escalator.

      P.S. I’ve just posted this on James Delingpole’s blog too, what’s the betting it gets moderated?

      P.P.S. Here’s something you missed from Hansen (emphasis mine):

      “The observational data show that the frequency of unusually warm anomalies has been increasing decade by decade over the past three decades. Perhaps the most important change is the emergence of extremely hot outliers, defined as anomalies exceeding 3 standard deviations. Such extreme summer heat anomalies occurred in 2010 over a large region in Eastern Europe including Moscow, in 2011 in Oklahoma, Texas and Northern Mexico, and in 2012 in the United States in part of the central Rockies and Great Plains.

      The location of these extreme anomalies is dependent upon variable meteorological patterns, but the decade-by-decade movement of the bell curve to the right, and the emergence of an increased number of extreme warm anomalies, is an expression of increasing global warming. Some seasons continue to be unusually cool even by the standard of average 1951-1980 climate, but the “climate dice” are now sufficiently loaded that an observant person should notice that unusually warm seasons are occurring much more frequently than they did a few decades earlier.”

      Martin Lack

      21 January 2013 at 14:04

      • It is interesting to note that, while there appears – in the minds of the Warmists – a “consensus” concerning the use of fossil fuels and their efect on the climate, there now appears to be a consensus amongst the leaders of the majority of the world’s industrial nations too – in entirely the opposite direction.

        The Kyoto agreement is now dead, buried and patted down flat. No major industrial nation pays more than lip service – if that – to the concept of carbon dioxide abatement legislation, and those that did are, it appears, in the course of rolling it back or sidelining it.

        The President of the COP18 environmentalist piss-up at Doha was enthusing over the stability engendered by the current estimate of 300 years’ worth of available shale gas – and if you seriously think we’re not going to go hell for leather to get it out of the ground and burn it, you are seriously deluded.

        Then there are currently 1,199 (last time I looked – there may be more now) coal fired power stations either under construction or approved and in the planning stage – and note that Germany has apparently dumped its green image because most of the ones building there are going to burn lignite – the dirtiest fuel of the lot. [This is what happens when you reject nuclear power for bogus reasons – ML]

        Now pre-eminent climate scientific individuals and organisations such as James Hansen the Met Office (and they are not the only ones by any means, as will become clear in the very near future) are preparing the ground for a strategic withdrawal. [Hansen and the Met Once are not in retreat about anything – ML]

        The Great AGW Hoax – since around the turn of the century entirely politically motivated – is in full retreat. You can protest all you want, that is what is happening. [In your head only – ML]

        Oh, and by the way, you know that methane that you appear to be ever so worried about? Seems there’s more of that locked up in the continental shelves that all the rest of the carbon-based fossil fuels put together, by at least an order of magnitude – possibly more. And guess what, research into utilising that is proceeding apace in a number of locations. We’ll burn it, too. [Burning everything just because we can is insane but burning methane is better than letting it escape into the atmosphere – ML]

        The Hansen and Met Office publications are just the tip of a rapidly emerging iceberg of papers retrenching on the last 20 years’ AGW alarmism, you can take that to the bank. [I have already refuted this b*ll*cks twice – ML]

        I’ll give you another prediction too, currently I’m about 60/40 of the opinion that within 5 (five) years, even the scientific theory of greenhouse gas science as it is currently understood will be in tatters, and at least one entirely new theory explaining the Earth’s surface temperature will be in vogue – probably involving adiabatic lapse heating.

        Judge by deeds, not words, Martin. The World is not going to renounce its love affair with fossil fuels, it may have appeared likely a few years ago, but now it’s not going to happen. [More fool us – ML]

        A final word of advice – if you have shares in ‘renewable” energy, sell them. [I have no shares in anything but all our pensions will be devalued by the socio-economic meltdown we are currently heading for – ML]


        21 January 2013 at 15:42

        • Since you are new here, catweazle, I will permit this. However, unlike your first comment, this one is now firmly into gish gallop territory; none of it supported by any evidence (presumably because you now know I will rebut it). Therefore, if you should repeat yourself, your future comments will be edited.

          Given that your assertions and beliefs are not supported by the evidence, I would suggest that you start be reading the Hansen paper you cited.

          Given the evidence Hansen reviews, I think it much more likely that climate change denial will be dead and buried within 5 years because:
          — extreme events will continue to become more extreme and more frequent;
          — more records for warmth than cold will continue to be broken;
          — those previously sceptical of scientists will continue to be persuaded by this evidence; and
          — any still in doubt will be persuaded by consequential rising food prices and insurance costs.

          Please don’t let your ideological adherence to a libertarian agenda and/or James ridiculous Watermelon hypothesis prevent you from looking at the data objectively: The Earth really does have a finite capacity to assimilate and/or recycle the waste products we produce (especially if we continue to slash and burn our forests and add fossilised carbon to the atmosphere in the form of CO2).

          Fossil fuels are 18th Century technology and they will soon be consigned to history; burning 300 million years worth of them in 300 years is making that more certain with every passing day: We must just hope that we find some way to out-live them.

          Martin Lack

          21 January 2013 at 16:28

  5. While I intuitively disagree with Cat’s arguments, I don’t see any cause for censoring future thoughts from him (assuming it is a ‘him’).

    You and I and the whole world need the truth. Beyond any question.

    Just my twopennies worth.


    Paul Handover

    22 January 2013 at 14:34

    • Thanks Paul. Catweazle is well-known to me from the Telegraph website. His first comment was impolite but mercifully short. His second was, by contrast, over-long and mainly comprised statements of opinions that are at odds with the bulk of available evidence. I have therefore warned him that his future comments will be edited (i.e. shortened) if he repeats himself. This does not represent censorship or the curtailment of “debate”.

      Martin Lack

      22 January 2013 at 15:32

      • Martin, thanks for that clarification. Does ‘catweazle’ have an identity?

        I would have thought that the recently released American National Climate Assessment, authored by 300 scientists, would be as close to a definitive statement of whether or not AGW is a fact as we are going to get for some time.

        Paul Handover

        22 January 2013 at 16:15

        • I am not sure what you are asking me, Paul. However, I think “he” has multiple identities (which is normally the result of breaking moderation rules and being blacklisted). On Delingole’s Telegraph blog, “he” seems to be using the identity BlueScreenOfDeath. Other than that, all I can tell you (without breaching confidentiality) is that “he” appears to work for a small IT company in North Yorkshire.

          Martin Lack

          22 January 2013 at 18:31

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