Posted by: pyeager | April 1, 2009

Global Warming Nonsense

Blaming North Dakota’s current flooding on global warming is irresponsible.

It’s sad that I feel the need to make a statement about my political views before I continue; however, that’s the state that we’re in. Liberals believe that global warming is happening, and Conservatives don’t. We’ve made the debate about global warming that simple.

I’m not a political conservative, but I stand by my original statement. It’s irresponsible to blame North Dakota’s flooding on global warming.

I am a meteorologist, not a climate scientist, so I’m not claiming to have all the answers related to global warming; however, as someone who has studied the weather intensely for the past 25 years, I can tell you that extreme weather has always happened, and extreme weather will always happen. It’s the nature of weather.

The Red River flooded in 1897 (no, I haven’t been forecasting the weather for that long); there was no connection to global warming then. Why is there any connection to global warming now, as even our President, who I admire very much, has publicly stated (Obama cites North Dakota floods in call for climate change action).

(Note: President Obama did not, in any quotes that I saw, say that the flooding was caused by global warming–even though his quote has been taken out of context to say that. His statement seemed to indicate that flooding would be worse if it were warmer, so the North Dakota flooding is yet another reason for monitoring global warming. That statement is not logical, however, since a warmer winter this year would have meant less flooding since there would have been a less significant accumulation of snow and ice to lead into the river systems in spring. This is even to not mention that the current extreme cold in the region has prevented–or at least delayed–some of the threat of flooding.)

The flood is being caused by an extremely cold and snowy winter in the northern Plains, and for global warming to be responsible for the flood, it would need to be responsible for the cold and snowy winter. I’m not saying that global warming would mean that it would never be cold or snowy; there are some theories that global warming would lead to a more dramatic climate.

I am saying that someone needs to make a case for how global warming caused this winter to be colder and snowier than normal in the northern Plains for me to consider their claim; however, it has become popular to lay the blame for any and every extreme weather event at the feet of global warming–and that is irresponsible.

Extreme weather has always happened–and will always happen. What has occurred in the northern Plains this winter falls well within the realm of the typical range of possibilities for the weather.

I’m concerned about the possibility of global warming, which is precisely the reason that I want responsible discussion on the topic. I’m tired of hearing that a greater number hurricanes one year is because of global warming and a lower number of hurricanes the next year is because of global warming.  Every drought is caused by global warming, and so is every flood. Every major snow storm is caused by global warming, and so are snow-less winters.

The debate is not settled; we’ve merely picked sides and decided to mold the current weather into our belief system. It’s too important of a topic for that juvenile approach.

–Paul Yeager


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