B12 Solipsism

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Topsy-Turvy Weather

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Painted On Smile

Regional weather aberrations like the snow fall in New York make for good copy, but the earth is bigger than just the Eastern Seaboard of the US:

For two winters running, an Arctic chill has descended on Europe, burying that continent in snow and ice. Last year in the United States, historic blizzards afflicted the mid-Atlantic region. This winter the Deep South has endured unusual snowstorms and severe cold, and a frigid Northeast is bracing for what could shape into another major snowstorm this week.

Yet while people in Atlanta learn to shovel snow, the weather 2,000 miles to the north has been freakishly warm the past two winters. Throughout northeastern Canada and Greenland, temperatures in December ran as much as 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Bays and lakes have been slow to freeze; ice fishing, hunting and trade routes have been disrupted.

Iqaluit, the capital of the remote Canadian territory of Nunavut, had to cancel its New Year’s snowmobile parade. David Ell, the deputy mayor, said that people in the region had been looking with envy at snowbound American and European cities. “People are saying, ‘That’s where all our snow is going!’ ” he said.

The immediate cause of the topsy-turvy weather is clear enough. A pattern of atmospheric circulation that tends to keep frigid air penned in the Arctic has weakened during the last two winters, allowing big tongues of cold air to descend far to the south, while masses of warmer air have moved north.

The deeper issue is whether this pattern is linked to the rapid changes that global warming is causing in the Arctic, particularly the drastic loss of sea ice. At least two prominent climate scientists have offered theories suggesting that it is.

(click to continue reading Topsy-Turvy Weather – U.S. Is Frigid, and Arctic Warmer Than Usual – NYTimes.com.)

and because the Climate Change Deniers are so vocal and well funded by various business interests, they get a special shout-out

Bloggers who specialize in raising doubts about climate science have gleefully pointed to the recent winters in the United States and Europe as evidence that climatologists must be mistaken about a warming trend. These commentators have not been as eager to write about the strange warmth in parts of the Arctic, a region that scientists have long predicted will warm more rapidly than the planet as a whole.

(click to continue reading Topsy-Turvy Weather – U.S. Is Frigid, and Arctic Warmer Than Usual – NYTimes.com.)

Written by Seth Anderson

January 25th, 2011 at 8:48 am

Posted in environment

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