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Author Topic: Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?  (Read 7420 times)

Offline Karsten

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In another post I responded to the claim that there is so much snow falling in unusual places that increased precipitation can be a result of warmer weather or a warmer climate rather than a cooler climate. Litespeed, I am sure you don't mind to be dragged into this:

I admit to a predilection for periodic hyperbally. So I will concede the temperature might not be dropping. However, this Winter's climate is setting cold records accross the globe

-- Winter Could Be Worst in 25 Years for USA...
-- PAPER: GAS SUPPLIES RUNNING OUT IN UK...
   Elderly burn books for warmth?
-- Vermont sets 'all-time record for one snowstorm'...
-- Iowa temps 'a solid 30 degrees below normal'...
-- Seoul buried in heaviest snowfall in 70 years...
-- Historic ice build-up shuts down NJ nuclear power plant...
-- Midwest Sees Near-Record Lows, Snow By The Foot...
-- Major roads in Beijing and Tianjin, as well as nearby provinces Hebei, Shanxi and
   Inner Mongolia, were forced to close due to the heavy snow.
-- Cold weather kills scores in India...

And of course, in October UK forcasters predicted a mild Winter. And before that they predicted a scorching Summer. Oh well. Never mind. Maybe they got too many interns from East Anglia. Who knows.....However, aren't you one of those who believes Global Warming would be a bad thing?


Gas supplies running out in the UK? Well, that could mean that they are running out of gas in the UK, not that it is unusually cold there. Precipitation (rain, ice rain, or snow) increase could be a sign of increased evaporation due to warming trends. The "worst winter in 25 years for USA" says nothing about the temperatures although it does look like we are getting more than our share of snow in many places. The winter storm here in VT was interesting and lengthy, but not as much snow as I have seen in my particular area before and it certainly was not particularly cold. This is some (now outdated) data I found posted by someone but I cannot show where he/she had it from:

Ten biggest snow storms of VT (some are multi-day events), all need to slide down one notch due to the storm last weekend:
SNOWFALL DATES MONTH/YEAR
1. 29.8" 25-28 DEC 1969
2. 25.7" 14-15 FEB 2007 (biggest one day event ever)
3. 24.7" 13-14 JAN 1934
4. 22.9" 5-6 MAR 2001
5. 22.4" 13-14 MAR 1993
6. 20.0" 25 NOV 1900
7. 19.7" 25-28 JAN 1986
8. 19.1" 16-17 MAR 1937
9. 18.8" 14-15 DEC 2003
10. 18.3" 6-7 DEC 2003

If increased precipitation is a result of warming, it seems to be getting warmer during the winters in my area. 5 of the biggest 11 in the last ten years. 7 of biggest 11 in the last 30 years. And all of this means little for annual precipitation. Or annual temperatures. Just don't equal more winter weather with colder winters or climate.



Of course, individual snow storms don't say much about total annual precipitation. And of course it seems that there is unusually cold weather in England and maybe in Northern Germany as well. Anyhow, can one reasonably claim that increased precipitation/snowfall may be a result of a warming trend rather than a cooling trend?


 

Offline litespeed

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #1 on: 10/01/2010 18:25:16 »
Hey Karsten! I LOVE being dragged into this sort of stuff.

You wrote: "... can one reasonably claim that increased precipitation/snowfall may be a result of a warming trend rather than a cooling trend?" Yes, there are. Mostly, it has to do with increased evaporation in a warmer climate. Its not unlike the Buffalo Snow Belt where Spring can deposit huge snow in April.

I am something of an expert in this area, since the largest snow forts we ever built as kids were in the Spring. The short story is that Lake Eyre ice cover melted in Spring, thus providing huge evaporation opportunities, followed by WAY dramatic snow fall.

Temperature is entirely a different matter. Lets face facts. 1) A single bad Winter does not an ice age make. 2) We are having one hell of a bad Winter:

Florida: Rare Snow, Sleet...
Arctic air has invaded the South...
Cold freezes thousands of fish in harbor...
Even Norway's buses can't take it...
Cold snap death toll rises across Europe...
Alabama off to coldest start since 1940...

However, I see a number of potentially perilous developments. First, GW seems to have stopped about ten years ago. Second, according to NASA, cosmic rays are at a 50 year high. In addition, sunspot cycle 24 is nowhere to be found. Also, cosmic ray studies I have seen [bookmarks not yet organized for citation] contend 2/3 of 20th century warming was due to increased solar activity and reduced cosmic rays, a trend that seems to have reversed.

Of course it is WAY to early to jump to any conclusions. However, I take a certain satanic satisfaction that my long time moto: "Warm is Good, Cold is Bad" is at this very moment being tested across much of the entire Northern Hemisphere.
« Last Edit: 10/01/2010 18:29:37 by litespeed »
 

Offline Make it Lady

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #2 on: 10/01/2010 20:18:59 »
Britain tends to have good weather because of the gulf stream. This cold snap was caused by the gulf stream being pushed to the west of Britain by pressure pockets. This could be to do with global warming but only time will tell. Lets watch this space for next winter. If we start to get weather patterns similar to Scandinavia then we know we're in trouble.
 

Offline Ho-ho-ho

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #3 on: 10/01/2010 20:44:29 »
Quote
Is increased snow fall a sign of climate cooling

Yes and no. Yes it's a sign of the climate cooling in the short term, days or weels. But No, it's not a sign of long term cooling...but it also could be. It's complicated.

What we can say with confidence it that it is not caused by Global Warming/CC. People may use this a sign that CC is or is not real, but either way it's too early to tell, 30 years too early. It could be simply a sign of cyclical cooling but that again will have to wait for 30 years (or so) for us to know.

The main problem is that in this 24 hour media age everything is blown up and there has to be spin because news is on the hour every hour with updates every 15 minutes. Headlines need to be big and bold and they dont always reflect the truth too well. Headlines and official figures are not always the whole story.  For Example:

From Philip Eden. Ex Vice President of the Royal Meteorological Society:

Quote
the summer floods of 2007, which turned Tewkesbury into an island. Much was made of the claim that May, June and July comprised the wettest such three-month period in 242 years of records. It was a key statistic in the Government's review of the official response to the floods.
Sounds truly exceptional, doesn't it? It allows ministers to use the U-word - "unprecedented". But it was only the wettest May-to-July period. If you look at all the three-month periods on record, May-July 2007 was merely the 42nd wettest; in other words, such a large total will recur once every six years, on average. In fact, higher rainfall totals occurred in the winter of 2002-03 and the autumn of 2000.
It is important to emphasise that it is not normally a whole season's rainfall that creates a flood. The flooding during the of summer 2007 was associated with individual downpours that each lasted 24 to 48 hours.
The seasonal rainfall total contributes to groundwater levels - during a wet summer, the saturated ground allows individual floods to develop more quickly and to become more extensive - but the great majority of summer floods in Britain in the past were caused by one- to two-day downpours during wet seasons.
In that respect, 2007 was not unusual and cannot be regarded as "unprecedented" even within a generation, far less the 240-odd years of reliable rainfall records.
do you remember the "drought" that preceded the downpours? The abiding memories of the drought of 2005-06 were the doom-laden warnings of the water industry Jeremiahs that never quite materialised, and the disgraceful manipulation of rainfall statistics by organisations that should have known better..
Rainfall records for a small area of Hampshire and Surrey, the driest part of the country, were presented as if they referred to Britain as a whole. In the final analysis, the 2005-06 drought did not even make the top 40 since comparable records began in 1766.
One water company spokesman described the spell at the end of June 2005 as "eight months of almost unprecedentedly dry weather". He could get away with it - just - because of that little word "almost", but he knew that everyone reading it would focus on the word "unprecedentedly".
Using his technique one might suggest that such a comment is almost a bare-faced lie. More to the point, how would we have coped if we had endured a real drought along the lines of, say, 1975-76?
What we are lacking these days in the reporting of severe weather events are proper historical and statistical contexts. Destructive summer floods such as those of 2007 have happened before: in 1986, in Wales and north-west England; in 1968, across the West Country and the Midlands in July and in London and the South East in September; in 1930 and 1931 in Yorkshire; and in 1912 in East Anglia.
Although the ongoing cold spell is breaking records in parts of the Northern Hemesphers, perhaps one quote from Philip Eden should be remembered:
Quote
Extreme weather is part and parcel of our climate and it is wrong to treat it as new every time it happens...Calling such events "unprecedented" provides an excuse for failure for those we pay to maintain the infrastructure.
Philip Eden:
newbielink:http://www.weather-uk.com/ [nonactive]

It is also wrong to say that this winter was not forecast. Back in June Accuweather's Cheif Meteorologist Joe Bastardi forecast that the coming winter would be colder than anyone else forecast. Forecasting a "very special winter" for America, Asia and Europe. His forcast being based on the El Nino and a cold PDO.
But what nobody could forsee was what was going to happen to the AO, Artic Oscillation. As Al Gore spoke in Copenhagen the AO went in to, and is still in a negative phase. This turned the weather on it's head. Forecasts based on statistics and averages went out the window and those like Joe's turned out to be cautious.
So it's really impossible to say what the consequences from one event are or will be in the grand scheme of things. But we need to know that a summer of record highs does not validate global warming and a winter of record lows does not dismiss global warming. Only the stats can do that, on then it depends on who's stats you read and what data may or may not be missing.








 

Offline litespeed

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #4 on: 10/01/2010 21:07:13 »
Ho - You wrote: "It is also wrong to say that this winter was not forecast. Back in June Accuweather's Cheif Meteorologist Joe Bastardi forecast that the coming winter would be colder than anyone else forecast."

Your point is well taken; the opperative clause is "... colder then anyone else forecast."  I am more then willing to attribute the British miscalculation on the employment of too many graduates of East Anglia.  None-the-less, you are entirely correct that individual Winters and Summers do not prove much of anything. Unless, as you point out, they are repeated.

Accordingly, the next several years will be fascinating, no matter what they do. As I am a betting sort of guy, I will predict the current cooling event will continue. This is actually an informed opinion based on the variables I listed in my previous post. In this guess I give even odds, no better.

What fun times we live in!
 

Offline litespeed

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #5 on: 10/01/2010 21:34:57 »
MIL - You wrote: "This [British] cold snap was caused by the gulf stream being pushed to the west of Britain by pressure pockets." I am all ears how these pressure pockets are freezing the hell out of the US, let alone South Korea. But I am willing to stipulate that is the case.

And you are prudent to stand-pat until this time next year for a re-evaluation.  However, I am willing to give even odds on actual measurable variables. First, Sunspot cycle 24 remains MIA. Second, cosmic ray intensity continues to increase. Three, algore will hire Mafia Hit-Men to get even with the increasing Polar Bear Populations.

How about a 'gentle person's' wager to be settled in Reykjavik next year? ;)

PS: I hold no grudge against algore. But you must understand he seems entirely oblivious to the satanic forces creeping up the inseam of his left pant leg.

« Last Edit: 10/01/2010 21:50:43 by litespeed »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #6 on: 11/01/2010 09:24:49 »
"It is also wrong to say that this winter was not forecast. Back in June Accuweather's Cheif Meteorologist Joe Bastardi forecast that the coming winter would be colder than anyone else forecast. Forecasting a "very special winter" for America, Asia and Europe. His forcast being based on the El Nino and a cold PDO."

With enough people involved in weatehr forecasting there's bound to be someone who gets it (at least nearly) right.

One bad Winter is weather, not climate. The answer to the thread's tile question is simply "No".
 

Offline Karsten

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #7 on: 12/01/2010 00:49:17 »
The answer to the thread's tile question is simply "No".


I love simple answers to such seemingly complicated issues.
 

Offline litespeed

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #8 on: 12/01/2010 19:50:26 »
Bored & Karsten

Bored - You wrote: "With enough people involved in weather forecasting there's bound to be someone who gets it (at least nearly) right."  ForeSooth! A broken clock is correct at least twice per day. Good shot!

Karsten - Bored is correct. The answer to this thread is no, increased snow fall in the Winter of 2009/2010 is NOT a sign of either global warming or cooling. However, I will commit a venial sin and pontificate beyond that very specific question.

Specifically, it has been cold as hell this Winter, and I do not see this as an isolated incident. I believe the climate has been building towards this for perhaps decades. Specifically, the earliest leading indicator is the highest level of cosmic rays in 50 years.

The current indicator is GW seems to have faltered about ten years ago. The trailing indicator is sunspot cycle 24 has gone MIA. Just for good measure, the heliosphere(?) has contracted by about 20% in recent decades. This simply means less protection from cosmic rays.

Put it another way. If this trend continues, Frost Fairs ON the Thames may become reality again after nearly two hundred years. Hands Up: 1) Who wants the climate to facilitate Frost Fairs: and 2) Who prefers the climate warming of the last two hundred years? NO PEAKING!
« Last Edit: 12/01/2010 19:54:30 by litespeed »
 

Offline Karsten

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #9 on: 12/01/2010 21:50:08 »
Just to clarify, it was not I who claimed (or implied) that increased snow fall this winter has anything to do with either global cooling or warming.
 

Offline litespeed

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #10 on: 16/01/2010 05:02:44 »
Karsten - You wrote: "Just to clarify, it was not I who claimed (or implied) that increased snow fall this winter has anything to do with either global cooling or warming."

I pointed out that warming could result in increased snow fall. I also simply pointed out it is also colder then hell. This is an independent variable. Cold weather causes all sorts of inconveniences. Having lived 13 years in Chicago, I believe this is indisputable.

My simple observation is this. When the weather gets excessively warm, people buy fans. When it gets excessively cold people become scared. The current situation is simply an anecdotal isolated experience. However, if this cooling episode encompasses both next Summers agricultural production as well as next Winters temperatures, we will need to prudently reconsider our positions on GW.

I also pointed out recent evidence seems to support a continuing cooling event. I don't claim thats what will happen, only that recent evidence seems to indicate the possibility. Specifically, GW seems to have stopped ten years ago. In addition, according to NASA of cosmic ray density is at a 50 year high, and the heliosphere seems reduced by 20%. Finally, sunspot cycle 24 is missing in action.

Nobody knows if these things are definitive, but they seem entirely independent of CO2 concentrations, and should be taken seriously. I believe the next couple of years will help clarify this issue. If things start to get hot again, then I will support research on how to reverse the trend, just in case is starts to show up to be a bad thing. I believe it would need to get quite a bit hotter to justify such deliberate action. But it surely would not hurt things to investigate such technology.
 

Offline Karsten

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #11 on: 16/01/2010 23:13:01 »
Litespeed:

You wrote:
"However, this Winter's climate is setting cold records accross the globe

-- Winter Could Be Worst in 25 Years for USA...
-- PAPER: GAS SUPPLIES RUNNING OUT IN UK...
   Elderly burn books for warmth?
-- Vermont sets 'all-time record for one snowstorm'...
-- Iowa temps 'a solid 30 degrees below normal'...
-- Seoul buried in heaviest snowfall in 70 years...
-- Historic ice build-up shuts down NJ nuclear power plant...
-- Midwest Sees Near-Record Lows, Snow By The Foot...
-- Major roads in Beijing and Tianjin, as well as nearby provinces Hebei, Shanxi and
   Inner Mongolia, were forced to close due to the heavy snow."
-- Cold weather kills scores in India...

And you also wrote:
"I pointed out that warming could result in increased snow fall."

Could you tell me which one you stick with? This winter's cold weather sets winter weather records or warming could result in increased snow fall?
 

Offline litespeed

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #12 on: 17/01/2010 23:22:28 »
Karsten -You wrote: "Could you tell me which one you stick with? This winter's cold weather sets winter weather records or warming could result in increased snow fall?

In all humility and respect, you are a confused adversary.  Snow is not an issue. Cold weather is an issue, but you seem in consternation. Specifically, cooling trends should causes you preternatural delight and relief, given the catastrophic consequences you seem to be associated with warming.

Well. Please. Tell us what temperature will satisfy your fickle frenetics: 1) The same as now; 2) cooler then now 3) warmer then now.  Do you have an additional option? In all humility, you need to choose one of the three or you are not much worth wasting time on.

 

Offline Karsten

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
« Reply #13 on: 18/01/2010 22:17:55 »
Litespeed:

You wrote:
"However, this Winter's climate is setting cold records accross the globe

-- Winter Could Be Worst in 25 Years for USA...
-- PAPER: GAS SUPPLIES RUNNING OUT IN UK...
   Elderly burn books for warmth?
-- Vermont sets 'all-time record for one snowstorm'...
-- Iowa temps 'a solid 30 degrees below normal'...
-- Seoul buried in heaviest snowfall in 70 years...
-- Historic ice build-up shuts down NJ nuclear power plant...
-- Midwest Sees Near-Record Lows, Snow By The Foot...
-- Major roads in Beijing and Tianjin, as well as nearby provinces Hebei, Shanxi and
   Inner Mongolia, were forced to close due to the heavy snow."
-- Cold weather kills scores in India...

Litespeed:

I think I am getting it. I need to ignore 5 of your initial 9 examples since they relate to snowfall/precipitation and seem to be put there by you to illustrate your point that a colder climate shows as increased snowfall/precipitation. I am OK if you are taking this back. I did not think so either. Just needs to be clear.

(...) Snow is not an issue. Cold weather is an issue, (...)

Now that you seem to have made up your mind, we can end this discussion. Thanks.
 

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Is increased snow fall a sign of a climate cooling trend?
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