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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Leaving the Polar Vortex and the Climate Change 'Skepticism' Cult Behind

Somewhere between 11 AM to 2 PM today, I can expect to leave the dreaded polar vortex. We expect a balmy high temperature of 18 degrees Fahrenheit today. This would still seem frigid on any other day, but given the previous few days, it's a heat wave. What follows will be a more actual heat wave --  a January thaw, with above freezing temperatures through the weekend. Believe it or not, this is also dangerous weather, as melting ice and snow freeze at night and into the morning, creating hazardous driving conditions. A lot of salt is going to be sold to keep people's sidewalks clear of ice.

Meanwhile, the vortex drifts east. Meaning that Washington will still be very cold while Wisconsin is very warm. And the people up here in the normally frozen wastes will be treated to DC loudmouths saying that cold weather in the nation's capital means global warming is a hoax -- meanwhile, we'll be watching the snow melt off our roofs in the dead of January. The contrast will be stunning and the climate change deniers will once again look like morons. DC is not the entire world. The "global" in global warming means something; it's not a synonym for "local."

And of course, once the vortex moves on from DC, we won't hear a peep about how the current weather proves global warming wrong, since the east coast gets our weather systems eventually. The weather will seem very much like what you'd expect from global warming, at which point the moron chorus of deniers will fall silent -- just as they do during summer droughts and heat waves. For them, a cold few days proves global warming is a hoax, but a decades-long warming trend is just natural variation in global temperature that real scientists (i.e., Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly) are smart enough to ignore and "fake" scientists (AKA actual scientists) attach way too much significance to.


The White House video above explains the polar vortex and its connection to climate change. But we can't expect it to change deniers' minds. At this point, climate "skepticism" is religion, entirely divorced from any scientific method. If it wasn't, then they'd apply the same logic to summer heat waves that they do to winter cold snaps -- hot weather proves global warming and cold weather disproves it. It's still bad science and it would have them rushing back and forth from totally convinced in the summer to totally unconvinced in the winter. But at least it would represent a consistent approach to the evidence.

The fact that they don't approach all evidence the same way pretty much proves how insincere and unserious the deniers are. The trolling-based reasoning of conservative politics has bled over into science -- that is, if liberals believe it, it must be wrong. That's the basis of their denial and all this weather-based idiocy is merely rationalization and window dressing. If it had been George HW Bush with the An Inconvenient Truth presentation, rather than Al Gore, global warming might be a cornerstone of conservative thought. Teabaggers would be driving around using their Sacred Second Amendment Freedoms to shoot out inefficient lightbulbs and save America.

But that is not the case. It was Al Gore who made climate change an important issue, so it must be some sort of communist plot.

So we midwesterners need to make sure that while Republicans in Washington use their cold snap to "disprove" global warming, we're talking about how unseasonably warm it is, while pointing and laughing at the jerks spouting nonsense.

Global means global, not "only what I can see in front of me." When idiots say cold weather disproves global warming, those of us living where it's not cold need to speak up.


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