Global warming is real, but conservatives ~ who are always the last to grasp any new or advanced thought ~ once again do not accept reality. Their claim that a few record-low temperatures and heavy snowfall disprove global-warming findings doesn't hold up to basic scientific fact and balanced reasoning.
The web site Center for American Progress devoted a February newsletter to this controversy. It said:
"Earlier this month (February), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that confirmed and refined what scientists already knew: The recent global warming trend is real, it is caused primarily by human activities, and we can expect further dangerous warming of a few degrees if we don't reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. Despite the very high level of confidence that the IPCC placed on this assertion, climate skeptics refuse to allow themselves to be convinced by the facts. Global warming deniers ~ desperate for any information that might contravene the science ~ have latched onto this month's colder-than-normal temperatures that have gripped much of the United States, particularly the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. In a recent headline, the Drudge Report joked, 'Hearing on 'warming of planet' canceled because of ice storm.' Many on the right have cited the joke as actual proof that climate change isn't occurring. The right-wing publication Newsmax.com referenced the headline to claim global warming is part of the 'current media fed hysteria'."
To understanding global warming without being confused by hard-to-understand scientific jargon, thinking is required. And we will look at global warming with only a little scientific background getting in the way, and using knowledge gleaned by the experience of working in electronic intelligence, where instruction in electronic-communication transmission is part of standard training.
It's obvious to knowledgeable people that colder temperatures and heavier snowfall PROVE global warming is real. That concept is impossible for a conservative mind to understand, but it is so.
To understand that proof one needs to know why a radio signal can be received several miles farther from the transmission site than can a TV signal.
The ionosphere is the cause. The ionosphere is a duo-layered crust of particles several miles thick holding the atmosphere in place. Without it, our atmosphere could drift into space to be replaced by absolute-zero temperatures. The ionosphere is why meteorites or spent space ships are burned to a crisp by friction when they enter earth's atmosphere.
The reason that a radio signal travels much farther than a TV signal is that the radio signal is much weaker than the TV signal.
The logic of the TV-radio conundrum is: The strong TV signal will penetrate the ionosphere at all angles and head off into space, so can only be received on TV sets on a line-of-sight basis. The weaker radio signal will penetrate the ionosphere when it hits head on but be deflected back to earth when it hits at an angle and can be received many miles farther away than the TV signal. It is deflected back to earth because it is too weak to penetrate the ionosphere at an angle. The process is like a rock skipping off the surface of a pond when thrown at a low point to create a severe angle away from perpendicular.
Now think of those signals as coming from the sun. Light is like the powerful TV signal and will penetrate the ionosphere everywhere with no problem other than a slight refraction in northern and southern locales. Heat from the sun is like the weak radio signal and most will be deflected by the ionosphere when it hits at a sharp angle, such as in winter.
As we put more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the rigidity of the ionosphere is increased so that it deflects more heat than previously when heat hits at a sharp angle, resulting in colder temperatures, while allowing all heat into the atmosphere when coming head on, then trapping the heat beneath the strengthened upper atmosphere and ionosphere. Between the two extremes will be a gradual change in the amounts of heat allowed past the ionosphere. Because cold air is heavier than warm air, warmth is blocked from moving into cold areas. And the coldest air will sit at ground level, where temperatures are recorded, and won't pass over higher ground to invade warm area.
The same phenomena occur during winter in temperate regions, when a high-pressure system increases rigidity at, and just below, the ionosphere so that it deflects more heat-carrying rays; thus on bright sunny days in January the temperature is colder than it is during overcast low-pressure weather and why no one ever gets a suntan or sunburn in the dead of winter. When the high pressure dissipates, more heat is allowed to enter the atmosphere. High-pressure systems do not greatly affect heat entering the atmosphere during the summer since the rays carrying heat mainly hit the ionosphere head on.
Higher average temperatures will increase evaporation, making a more-humid atmosphere year round, and that added moisture is available for snowstorms; thus heavier snowfall is definitely caused by global warming just as are colder short-term winter temperatures. The heavier air resulting from the higher moisture content of the atmosphere also makes wind storms more destructive.
That is how global warming contributes to colder winter temperatures and heavier snowfall. It's completely logical because it's real, but so difficult for conservative "minds" to grasp that they get the conclusion totally backward.
We can now return to the Center for American Progress report, that uses scientific reasoning and language. It follows below:
"In fact, the temperature patterns we are currently experiencing are exactly what increasing greenhouse gas emissions predicts: climate destabilization. Still, many wonder why is it so cold if there's global warming? Today's Progress Report tells you what you need to know to counter the skeptics.
"DISTINCTION BETWEEN WEATHER AND CLIMATE: To understand why the current cold snap across the United States is occurring during a global warming trend, one must first understand the distinction between climate and weather. Climate is the 'composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region, as temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, cloudiness, and winds, throughout the year, averaged over a series of years.' In other words, climate refers to recorded history. Weather, on the hand, is current events; it refers to the 'state of the atmosphere at a given time and place.' Weather is a snapshot of the climate at any one instant. Although the two are related, their relationship is indirect. 'The chaotic nature of weather means that no conclusion about climate can ever be drawn from a single data point, hot or cold. The temperature of one place at one time...says nothing about climate, much less climate change, much less global climate change.'
"WHY ALL THE SNOW?: Scientists have said 'snowfall is often predicted to increase in many regions in response to anthropogenic [human-induced] climate change, since warmer air, all other things being equal, holds more moisture, and therefore, the potential for greater amounts of precipitation whatever form that precipitation takes.' Based on computer models, a recent study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) found, 'As Earth gets warmer, large regions will experience heavier rain and snowfall as weather becomes generally more intense.' The reason for the increase in storm intensity is that as the planet warms, 'the temperatures of the atmosphere and of the ocean surface go up as well, leading to increased evaporation and an increased capacity for the air to hold moisture. As this soggy air moves from ocean to land, the storms that form are heavier with rain or snow.' The NCAR climate models have predicted that heavier rains and/or snow would most likely affect regions where large masses of air converge, including northwestern and northeastern North America. Take for instance the record snowfall that has hit upstate New York. This event would be predicted by the climate models because the 'lake effect' snowfalls are greatly influenced by the warm waters of Lake Ontario. As cold Arctic air moves over the warm waters, the water evaporates and cools, it condenses to form clouds, and the clouds ultimately produce snowfall. The warmer the lake waters, the more snow that will be produced. True to form, the waters on Lake Ontario this year were warmer than usual. 'This winter, there's no way the lake will freeze.' Therefore, a cold snap heightens the chance of heavy snow.
"A CLEAR WARMING TREND: The long-term trends present clear evidence that climate change is 'real and serious.' The IPCC report noted that the 'the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1300 years.' Of the 12 hottest years on record, 11 have occurred since 1995. The 2006 average annual temperature for the contiguous United States was the warmest on record and nearly identical to the record set in 1998, according to scientists at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center. In 2006, five states had their warmest December on record (Minnesota, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire) and no state was colder than average. The Japan Meteorological Agency reported that January 2007 was the world's hottest January on record, with temperatures across the planet registering 0.45 degrees Celsius (0.8 degrees Fahrenheit) above average. Residents of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area have this week been hit by a 'gusty wintry wallop' and are experiencing below-average temperatures for this month. Yet, the deviation below the average temperature for February is still less than the above-average deviation that D.C. residents experienced during the month of January. While the climate change trend is clear, the weather patterns at different moments in time will be hard to predict.
"Data Center, the world's land areas were on average 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer last month than a normal January, a major increase since 'such records are often broken by hundredths of a degree at a time.' With the help of El Nino, which the scientists assert was only partial, traditionally frigid areas of the world witnessed huge temperature spikes, such as Siberia, where January temperatures were recorded as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. While global warming skeptics have cited the colder February air as evidence against global warming, climate scientist David Easterling said the patterns witnessed last month are indicative of man-made climate change. Larger increases in temperature farther north, compared to mid-latitudes, is 'sort of the global warming signal,' Easterling countered. The scientists warn that such records could become commonplace as the Earth continues to warm."