Monday, December 27, 2010

Didn't Happen Here

When something doesn't happen it can be very nice indeed! That is a stock snow image, not one outside my house. Unfortunately it did happen to a lot of people all over the Eastern seaboard. Somehow I seem to be living in a warm bubble. Lots of wind, sometime there's been white stuff in it but we had no accumulation at all. That is definitely not a complaint.

I read, and perhaps not everyone else did, so I'll repeat it, that this very cold and snowy winter in the northern US and northern Europe is actually a global warming effect. That sounds counter-intuitive. But only a few people have the education and tools to take a truly big picture view of what's happening. This cold winter is an effect of the high altitude winds and what happens as they make a kind of wave effect flowing over the giant mountains in central Asia having gathered more moisture than would have formerly been the case. But now, due to the warming of the Arctic during the summer that moisture has kind of been waiting to come dumping down as blizzards throughout the usually more temperate part of the northern hemisphere.

As you can tell this is a murky layman's way of explaining something infinitely more complex. I am sorry for people stranded on highways and in airports and others at home without electricity and the many other problems these blizzards cause. Just now I am counting my lucky stars and am well aware that the winter has only begun. That picture could become a reality outside my window too.


jennyk said...

I think "global warming" is an unfortunate public label to have been attached to the phenomenon, as it encourages oversimplification. "Climate change" is a better term. People say these cold winters (the coldest December here in the UK since records began in 1910) disprove global warming, but as you wrote, more extreme conditions are also a predictable consequence.

In the UK, our winters are much milder than in continental Europe because of the Gulf Stream, but climate change is likely to disrupt that, and if it does, "global warming" will make our UK winters much colder.

June Calender said...

You're very right, Jenny, about global warming being the wrong words -- climate change is accurate if less specific.