Experts : Cold Used To Be Caused By Cold, But Is Now Caused By Heat

By Eric Holthaus

The cold air pushing toward America’s heartland is of a duration and magnitude rarely seen since record-keeping began in the 1870s. In Minneapolis, forecasters warned that all-time wind chill records could be broken, with a stunning -65ºF predicted for Monday morning.

As the record-setting cold spreads across the US, brace yourself for this conversation:

In fact, despite the trolling of Donald Trump and other climate change deniers, global warming is probably contributing to the record cold, as counter-intuitive as that may seem. The key factor is a feedback mechanism of climate change known as Arctic amplification. Here’s how to explain the nuts and bolts of it to your under-informed family and friends:

Snow and ice are disappearing from the Arctic region at unprecedented rates, leaving behind relatively warmer open water, which is much less reflective to incoming sunlight than ice. That, among other factors, is causing the northern polar region of our planet to warm at a faster rate than the rest of the northern hemisphere. (And, just to state the obvious, global warming describes a global trend toward warmer temperatures, which doesn’t preclude occasional cold-weather extremes.)

How global warming can make cold snaps even worse – Quartz

How can anyone claim that a rapidly warming Arctic would produce record cold air? How can -65F Arctic air be melting ice? The assertions are ludicrous beyond comprehension.

Arctic ice extent is normal. Northern Hemisphere snow has been near record highs.

N_daily_extent (3)

N_daily_extent.png (420×500)

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66 Responses to Experts : Cold Used To Be Caused By Cold, But Is Now Caused By Heat

  1. Hugh K says:

    “….is PROBABLY contributing to the record cold ….”
    Not sure about ‘missing heat’ but we’ve definitely found missing science. Thanks Eric!

  2. D. Self says:

    Unfortunately we have a lot of dumb asses in this country that will believe this pile of crap. I just finished reading another stupid article on how the slowing of the jet stream from global warming is causing this record cold.

  3. chuck725 says:

    “Here’s how to explain the nuts and bolts of it to your under-informed family and friends:” LOL

  4. Marko says:

    Sarc on/
    I´ll tell you how -65F arctic air can melt ice. It must be because of friction. You see, cold air is heavier than warm air and therefore there is more friction where air and ice meets. More friction causes more warmth and melts ice. Sarc off

    • Bob Greene says:

      Well, isn’t friction how things falling from the frigid outer space into the frigid atmosphere heat up and burn? So, more air friction will heat things up, won’t it? I think you are on to something. :)

      • Jason Calley says:

        Please excuse me if this seems like nit-picking, but this is one of those fascinating factoids I have to pass along. Meteors and returning spacecraft heat up from friction, right? Well… not so much! While friction does, in fact contribute to the heating, most of the heat comes from compression. You know how an air pump heats up when the air is compressed, right? Same thing with meteors — the air in front of them can only get out of the way so fast, and it becomes compressed as the object shoves its way through the atmosphere. That compression — and not friction! — is the primary cause of the extreme heat generated.

        Gee, the next thing you know, they’ll be arguing about airplane wings and Bernoulli!

        (And since old age has taught me at least a little humility, someone please correct me if I am wrong on this compression thingy…)

        • Scott Scarborough says:

          If there was no friction between the Meteor and the air, the air would be able to get out of the way fast enough!

        • Bernd Palmer says:

          “If there was no friction between the Meteor and the air, the air would be able to get out of the way fast enough!”
          There is eve friction between air and air. In the air pump I use for the tires of my bike, there is no friction.

        • Andy Oz says:

          PV =nRT
          Forget about air friction. It’s about the ideal gas law.
          Same with the bicycle pump.
          P1V1 P2V2
          __ = ___
          T1 T2

        • Bob Greene says:

          You are correct. Thanks

  5. ChrisV says:

    The stupidity of these people is astounding! They will NEVER give up blaming global warming for everything. I truly believe that if the earth entered a full scale ice age these same people would say that global warming caused it. Judging by comments I see on other websites it finally seems (thankfully) that many ordinary people are finally catching on to the global warming hoax and are starting to doubt it. Steve, do you think that climate scientists who believe in global warming and after seeing failed attempts to navigate the Arctic because of cold and ice (Rowers) and Antarctic (stuck Ice breakers) with record ice extent levels, and now historic cold in the US, truly believe that global warming is actually happening? or do they know that it is complete bullshit and can’t stand to admit that they were wrong and suffer the humiliation (and probable loss of funding) and will have to take thier warming beliefs to the grave. What will it take for them to actually admit they were wrong?

    • Jeff Todd says:

      I think that they sh*t-scared to admit it. These people have libeled every energy user on the planet, loaded us with extra taxes, destroyed jobs and industries, devalued property, squandered billions on white elphants, etc etc. AGW will finally bite the dust when some lawyer type realises that there is gold in them thar hills and starts to sue WWF/Greenpeace/Gore/assorted alarmists for compensation.

      Governments across the world are frantically trying to back pedal out of this shambles, hopefully without anyone noticing; the EU has suddenly okayed fracking and announced that wind/solar are mature industries which do not need government subsidy, Germany is building coal-fired power stations. Some are more open; the Australians gave the greenies the finger by voting in Tony Abbott, the Poles were on the streets protesting against greenies during the latest climate jamboree. China gives a passing nod to the eco-dream and gets right back to building another couple of hundred coal-fired power stations.

      You can always tell when a politician on the slide; he suddenly discovers the “environment” and “global warming” to try and garner a few votes from the gullible.

      • NikFromNYC says:

        The ailing law profession and its professional bodies are deathly afraid of attacking liberal causes which is biting the hand that feeds them which politically staves off tort reform efforts of especially libertarian leaning Republicans. They are too invested in ambulance chasing in all its guises, especially suing doctors in ways that amplify health care costs.

        • rw says:

          There’s always state attorney generals and other people in similar offices. Maybe they could even put together a RICO charge. (I’ll bet some of them are thinking about this – half of them are Republican.)

      • rw says:

        It will be very interesting from here on out to see who ramps up on this, who starts adding qualifications (i.e. starts covering their rear ends), and who sidles away from it.

        Of course, since AGW is a chaotic phenomenon, there’s way to really predict.

    • Jason Calley says:

      “They will NEVER give up blaming global warming for everything. ”

      True. How about this… Did you know that man made CO2 causes CAGW cultism? Yes, it is true. Everyone knows that hypoxia causes a rapid lessening of mental functioning. The increase in CO2 has been so great that millions of people are suffering from lack of oxygen and can no longer tell their a$$ from a coal mine. They have embraced the hypothesis of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Crazy as it is, to them, it makes sense!

      Yup. The CO2 did it!

  6. Wow. Meanwhile, it’s just under 60* and raining in southern Massachusetts — after being near zero over the weekend!

  7. Lance says:

    I was looking in my oven last night for ice cubes, and believe it or not, I couldn’t find any? Go figure that one now!!!

  8. Jeff says:

    This never works with the public. The only thing these people had going for them was that they were seen as impartial scientists, but I think that feeling is definitely easing with all the hoops these so-called “scientists” are jumping through to explain away the cold. They definitely come across as partisan activists more than impartial. So by pursuing this type of stuff these people only hurt themselves, because they hurt their own credibility. The public won’t accept just any explanation. They’re more than willing to accept that the Earth warms and cools cyclically. The contradictions and bad forecasts hurt them already. If people begin to think that this is all just quack science, they’ll abandon this nonsense all together.

    I agree with ChrisV, the public is already becoming ever more skeptical. The only deniers now are the alarmists.

    • johnfornaro says:

      Just as an aside: I’ve been calling them “Scientificists”. I believe that it is a faith based system of belief.

      The fundamental belief of scientificism is that the universe was created from nothing at the instant of the big bang; that all of the various “constsnts” were set just so, in order for inanimate matter to immediately begin the evolutionary process which results in human beings.

      That fundamental belief supports the scientificist contention that human beings and other life forms are simply inanimate mechanisms, which give an appearance of intelligence and act as if to imply self consciousness, but that this is actually an illusion. These mechanisms merely move across the planet in an imitation of Browninan motion, and have no purpose whatsoever.

      As a Buddheo-Christian, I do not accept the scientificist religious premises at all, and am not overly concerned with their religion, but I am concerned with their stated intent to compel their religion on me.

      We still have a constitution which allows them to speak freely of their religion, but there seems to be a concerted effort to disable the first amendment, ostensibly to enforce their beliefs on others. The scientificists seem to be leading this effort.

      Fortunately, websites such as this one are raising people’s awareness of these issues, and more and more people are beginning to differentiate between science and scientificism.

  9. Tony B says:

    “The emperor is resplendent in those new clothes!”

  10. Elisheva Levin says:

    I like the hand waving “and other factors.” Fact is, most of us who grew up in the Midwest in the ’60’s and ’70’s experienced a week or so of this kind of weather every winter. This is only “record” in the limited sense of for this city or for this date.
    With regard to global climate, this whole series of ups and downs over a few decades looks a whole lot like the Little Ice Age. Perhaps it never ended?

  11. Cowpoke says:

    Pick of the day, Al Gore’s “Incovenient Truth” on clearence:

    http://weaselzippers.us/?p=166766

  12. Tony B says:

    Eric Holthaus is not alone. The Huffington Post has several stories today reasoning that the cold is caused by excess heat. And the comments are full of support and additional amateur explanation.The PR team for Global Warming is in full swing with explanations justifying continued belief. Climate Central and Skeptical Science have the Kool-Aid on hand should there be a potential for a trickle of disbelief leading to a mass exodus from the flock.

  13. BobW in NC says:

    And this quote, “Snow and ice are disappearing from the Arctic region at unprecedented rates,” is a FLAT OUT LIE!!! And “Polar Amplification”? Because of the energy it requires, the Polar Vortex now in place will likely ‘suck’ even more heat from that environment, right? The Arctic will get colder, not warm up.

    How do they get away with this stuff?

  14. ralphcramdo says:

    How’s the Arctic getting sunlight in the Winter when there’s no sunlight due to the Earth being tilted away from the sun? Alert Canada has 4½ months with the sun below the horizon, how does the Arctic circle get enough light to create heat?
    I find it hard to believe any intelligent person would publish something so STUPID.

  15. juergenuie says:

    The Huffington Post has an article with the headline

    “Cold as Hell: The Chilling Effect of Global Warming”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-dr-susan-brooks-thistlethwaite/christian-theology-climate-change_b_4545090.html

    Amazingly, this is a blog on the RELIGION page. LOL

    • Bea Ware says:

      Thanks for the link – a big belly laugh is a great way to start the day.

      “.. everybody knows the weather sure has gotten weird. Weird is threatening. Weird is scary. And you should be scared.”

      Never mind the weather, weird people like Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite are far more frightening.

  16. Eliza says:

    SG One of the most important/complete posts ever WUWT re Global temperatures

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/06/the-original-temperatures-project/

  17. Eliza says:

    Shows how BEST equals C##P!

  18. WJohn says:

    Its just like air conditioning, innit?
    The hot air in your room (North America) is reduced in temperature while the refrigerant coils outside the room (at the Poles) have ice form on them. It is the missing energy which drives this global process.
    Meanwhile can I intrest anyone in a perpetual motion machine?

  19. Bob Greene says:

    What’s so unprecedented about it being cold? Sometimes it’s colder or warmer than other times. Some of these may be records for the length of time temperatures have been measured or recorded at certain locations, but that certainly doesn’t cover all of history.
    I lived in SW Michigan for 20 years. Some winters were colder than others, some had more snow. I’m not sure that there has been lower temperatures or higher snowfalls in the 13 years since I moved. If so, so what?
    Now that we are naming winter storms, I suppose all weather needs to be unprecedented to sell advertising time and push an agenda.

  20. Bob Campbell says:

    “as counter-intuitive as that may seem”. He knew was at the end of the plank but boldly stepped off.

  21. ChrisV says:

    Just going off topic here for a minute, looking at the current Arctic ice extent http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/ I could have sworn this morning that this graph showed the current ice at least equal to last year at this time and heading up, and now for some reason last year has a higher extent than currently. Did someone suddenly increase last years extent or decrease this years? Something has definetly changed since this morning. Can anyone confirm?

    • ChrisV says:

      I think I see what they did, they are now comparing this year 2013-2014 to 2011-2012 instead of 2012-2013. By doing so it now looks like this year ice extent is running very low comparatively.

  22. The money quote: “Skeptical Science (the ‘Snopes’ of climate science)”

  23. Kepler says:

    Ah yes, this is the guy who weeped after reading IPCC AR5, vowed never to fly again, was considering a vasectomy to prevent future children from having to suffer the effects of climate change, and is perfectly happy going extinct. Sounds like a real scientist to me.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/27/eric-holthaus-twitter_n_4005003.html

  24. Another argument from incredulity.

    For those who are interested in ‘the rest of the story’ which SG hides from his audience try this:

    Monday, January 6, 2014
    Man it’s cold! What happened to global warming?

    http://whatsupwiththatwatts.blogspot.com/2014/01/man-its-cold-wheres-global-warming.html

  25. Ben says:

    There are several things wrong with this argument, but before I can explain what is wrong, it seems as though I have to explain the incredibly advanced concept of averages in order for you to understand the problem with your questions.

    I understand the concept of averages can be tricky and a little abstract, but let me see if I can help you “scientists” out with it. An average is defined as the sum of the numbers in a set divided by how many numbers are in the set. For example:

    Lets say you have three different sets of two numbers:
    Set A: {40, 60}
    Set B: (35, 65}
    Set C: {30, 70}

    Now, it might be tempting to say that Set C is less than Set A or Set B because the lowest number is in Set C is less than the lowest number in the other two sets. However, if you look at the entirety of Set C, you will see that the set also has the highest number. So, if you wanted to determine which Set was “less than” the other sets you need to compare the average of each set.

    If you want to make the argument that 2013 was so cold that it disproves GLOBAL warming, you need more data than the temperatures from a few cities in one country. You need to seek a global average. Instead of looking at the global average and comparing it to previous years, you are looking at certain specific data points that support your narrative. That is called cherry-picking.

    The second problem is that the site you referenced did explain how global warming could cause certain parts of the world to be colder: “When these exceptionally wavy jet stream patterns occur mid-winter, it’s a recipe for cold air to get sucked southwards. This week, that’s happening in spectacular fashion.” The article is basically saying that the cold that usually stays in the Arctic will be transferred to the regions south of the Arctic. Now, it is important to hold onto the concept of averages because here it is applicable. In order for this narrative told by the Quartz article to hold, the Mid-West would be colder than usual and the Arctic would be warmer than usual. We do in fact see the Mid-West as colder than usual. And most of the info that I could find on the Arctic shows that it was unseasonably warm in December. So, unless January has seen a significant drop in Arctic temps, I don’t see the discrepancy.

  26. geran says:

    So, if raising taxes and declaring CO2 a toxic gas fixes global warming, then lowering taxes and freeing CO2 from prison will warm the planet back up.

    Sounds good to me….

  27. Thom says:

    If a rapidly warming Artic led to the current extreme cooling of the Northern Hemisphere, then couldn’t we simply say that a warming Artic is a good thing, for it will stave off the “global warming” of half the world. Just think, in Summer as the North Pole melts, we will no longer need air conditioning in the 48 states which will lead to less fossil fuels being burned which will lead to less global warming, which will lead to a cooling polar region, which will…….oh never mind.

  28. D. Self says:

    Throw this one at the Global Warming nut jobs. Glacier in Alaska recedes and reveals tree trunks 2000 years old.

    http://juneauempire.com/outdoors/2013-09-13/ancient-trees-emerge-frozen-forest-tomb

  29. Rosco says:

    Don’t even engage these “evangelistic know it all types”.

    Simply point out their theory cannot explain 2 ice breakers stuck in record sea ice in SUMMER in Antarctica while Australia’s governmental warmists are crowing about record heat and record 2013.

    The old trick con artists have always used – distract the observer with implied intellectual superiority whilst changing the order of the cards in the deck – palm the pea from under the thimble – etc., etc..

    Record cold implied by record sea ice at both poles regardless of season is NOT due to the summer ice melt in the Arctic – only an idiot would try to make that one fly !

  30. He’s talking about open water in the Arctic Ocean, but the Arctic Ocean is completely frozen right now.

    I
    D
    I
    O
    T

  31. R says:

    Send him for a swim in the warm open waters of the Arctic. Oh Yeah, and let him take is goldfish with him.

  32. Ira says:

    model predict that… well, this afternoon I saw a picture of Kate Upton in a bikini, so

  33. lorne50 says:

    citizenschallenge says:
    January 6, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Another climate porn star ripping off a blog name to get a couple more hit’s loser!!!!

  34. Andy says:

    Northern Ice extent is quite a lot below normal

    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Obviously the increased ice in the southern hemisphere is more insteresting though currently, that is quite unusual.

    Andy

  35. I noticed Quartz is one of those “old media” sites that don’t accept comments .

  36. Robert Austin says:

    Andy says:
    January 7, 2014 at 7:35 am

    I guess it depends what you mean as “normal”. What is the evidence that average extent over the period 1979 to 2000 or 2010 say or the decadal average extents shown of the graph you referenced are “normal” over the Holocene? You might ask yourself why the “official” arctic ice extent record begins in 1979 rather than in 1973 at the beginning of satellite observations of Arctic ice extent.

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