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Friday, February 17, 2012

It's Not Cold Because it's Warm; Judah Cohen is Wrong

Timothy Birdnow

Writing in Nasa Science News, Dauna Coulter gives a fairly good description of what is happening this winter; first the unseasonable warmth in Europe and America, and now the bitter cold in Europe.

It all has to do with the Arctic Oscillation.

From the article:

"NASA climatologist Bill Patzert of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains what happened: "A couple of weeks ago, Mother Nature did an about face. The tight polar vortex that had bottled up the cold arctic air in the beginning of winter suddenly weakened. Cold air swept out of Siberia and invaded Europe and the Far East."

The "tight polar vortex" is caused by the Arctic Oscillation (AO), a see-sawing pressure difference between the Arctic and lower latitudes. When the pressure difference is high, a whirlpool of air forms around the North Pole. That’s what happened earlier this winter: the whirlpool was more forceful, corralling the cold air and keeping it nearer the pole.

Now the vortex is weakening. With "the AO Index going negative," as an expert or weather-nerd might put it, cold air escapes from that whirlpool and heads southward, resulting in the killing extremes now plaguing the other half of the planet."

End excerpt.

Would Coulter have stopped there all would have been well. But no modern "science" story is complete without a political doomsday tweak:

"However, even the breakdown of the vortex cannot completely account for the severity of the winter Europe is suddenly experiencing. As strange as it sounds, some climatologists, among them Judah Cohen of Atmospheric and Environmental Research in Massachusetts, attribute the unusual cold to global warming. Cohen contends that since sea ice is being melted by warmer temperatures in the Arctic, more moisture is available for the atmosphere to pick up – and drop as snow. As a result, Siberian snow cover has increased, and this snow cover has a cooling effect which reaches East Asia and Europe.

"Cohen's research is cutting edge and could bring important improvements to forecasting climate and weather over North America and Europe," says Patzert. "Cohen and others are on the threshold of understanding of how climate change affects the behavior of the Arctic Oscillation1."

End excerpt.

I debunked Judah Cohen over a year ago at American Thinker, and my criticisms are still valid.

The Arctic has had periods of less or no ice before without the catastrophic winters that Cohen attributes to global warming. Also, while Cohen's argument centers on an increase in ice in Siberia, it stands to reason that there should be an increase in water vapor throughout the Arctic. As I recently pointed out, there is none.

Also, if warming is causing an increase in ice in Siberia, why is the Greenland glacier not growing? Look; the AO moves water vapor in a circular pattern around the Arctic, and while this could mean more snow in Siberia, it should equally mean more snow in Greenland, in Svalbard, on Novaya Zemla. Cohen's argument is that the Himalayan peaks create a pool where snow can be deposited, but Greenland forms a similar barrier. If Siberia is gaining ice then why isn't Greenland doing likewise?

If I may quote my American Thinker piece:

"Several points to ponder here; first, Arctic sea ice has melted in the past. For example, George Ifft, the American consul at Bergen, Norway, reported in 1922 the disappearance of icebergs, seals, and glaciers in general in both the sea and on land. Hunters and fishermen reported a dearth of ice as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes, and warm waters to a depth of 3,100 meters. Strangely, we did not witness this extra cold and snow that Cohen has predicted.

One must also question the assertion that Global Warming (alias Climate Change, alias Global Climate Disruption, alias Global Climate Flatulence) is responsible for melting Arctic ice. As Roger Pielke Sr. has pointed out, if carbon dioxide were driving Arctic melt we should see changes in the thaw and freeze dates -- earlier thaws and later freezes. We see nothing of the sort. And, despite claims to the contrary by James Hansen, we have seen no statistical warming since 1995 -- and that according to Phil Jones, he of the CRU scandal at that!

Furthermore, what do we mean by unusual weather events? We have had blizzards -- many of them -- in the past, and will continue to have them in the future. What is different is that now we are studying every patch of the globe intently, using satellites (and satellite data has only been available since the end of the '70's) and other high-tech gadgets. Are these really unusual weather patterns or simply things we are only now noticing? For example, Sioux Falls, SD received 21 inches of snow in the blizzard of 1909, and 20 inches in 1917. The snowiest year on their record was 1968, when they received 96 total inches.

You will notice that the year of drastic snow melt in the Arctic -- 1922 -- did not make honorable mention there. In fact, Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover Area (SCA) in winter did rise by the end of the 1920's, not during the melt of 1921, according to the IPCC and as of 2005 was down considerably. If Arctic ice melt is causing more snow, then we should see this happen when the Arctic is ice free. The IPCC's own work shows less snow in spring and summer, I might add."

End excerpt.

And here is a graph of Northern Hemisphere snowcover since 1967.

Please note that 1978 saw a spike in snow cover in Eurasia - during a cold period, not a warm period. It does show an increase in snowfall in recent years - to early 1970's levels. Mr. Cohen's theory is predicated on increased temperatures leading to more water vapor in the atmosphere to fall as snow. But it is the cold periods that show increased snowfall historically. Also, we have been in a period without rising temperatures, a break in global warming. Why is snowfall increasing now?

The reality is Cohen is just another theoretician using computer models that do not explain reality.

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