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Alarmists Wheel Out “Record Cold Due To Global Warming” Argument Again

January 4, 2018

By Paul Homewood



Whenever we get a warm summer, it’s a sign of climate change. And when we get a cold winter, it’s climate change as well!

According to Breitbart:



Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist at the University of Michigan, claimed that the recent record-cold weather is not only happening despite global warming, but, indeed, “at least in part” because of it.

Overpeck’s theory is that a loss of Arctic ice has allowed more heat to transfer from the ocean to the atmosphere, causing a weakening of the polar vortex winds over the Arctic. As a result, more freezing Arctic air is swooping further south, he proposes.

“That is due to the warming of the Arctic, which in turn is due to human emissions of greenhouse gases and primarily burning of fossil fuels,” Overpeck declared.


The NYT takes things further:

As bitter cold continues to grip much of North America and helps spawn the fierce storm along the East Coast, the question arises: What’s the influence of climate change?

Some scientists studying the connection between climate change and cold spells, which occur when cold Arctic air dips south, say that they may be related. But the importance of the relationship is not fully clear yet.

The Arctic is not as cold as it used to be — the region is warming faster than any other — and studies suggest that this warming is weakening the jet stream, which ordinarily acts like a giant lasso, corralling cold air around the pole.

“There’s a lot of agreement that the Arctic plays a role, it’s just not known exactly how much,” said Marlene Kretschmer, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. “It’s a very complex system.”

Much of the Northern Hemisphere is cold this time of year (it’s winter, after all). Cold snaps have occurred throughout history — certainly long before industrialization resulted in large emissions of greenhouse gases. And as with any single weather event, it’s difficult to directly attribute the influence of climate change to a particular cold spell.

But scientists have been puzzled by data that at first seems counterintuitive: Despite an undeniable overall year-round warming trend, winters in North America and Europe have trended cooler over the past quarter-century.

“We’re trying to understand these dynamic processes that lead to cold winters,” Ms. Kretschmer said.

She is the lead author of a study published last fall that looked at four decades of climate data and concluded that the jet stream — usually referred to as the polar vortex this time of year — is weakening more frequently and staying weaker for longer periods of time. That allows cold air to escape the Arctic and move to lower latitudes. But the study focused on Europe and Russia.

“The changes in very persistent weak states actually contributed to cold outbreaks in Eurasia,” Ms. Kretschmer said. “The bigger question is how this is related to climate change.

Timo Vihma, head of the polar meteorology and climatology group at the Finnish Meteorological Institute, explained that warmer air in the Arctic reduces the temperature difference between it and lower latitudes and weakens the polar vortex.

“When we have a weak temperature gradient between the Arctic and mid-latitudes, the result is weaker winds,” he said.

Ordinarily the jet stream is straight, blowing from west to east. When it becomes weaker, Dr. Vihma said, it can become wavy, “more like a big snake around the Northern Hemisphere.”

The weaker winds are more susceptible to disturbances, such as a zone of high pressure that can force colder air southward. These “blocking” high-pressure zones are often what creates a severe cold spell that lingers for several days or longer.


This is all a rehash of the junk science originally promoted by Jennifer Francis in 2014:



The rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice caused by climate change may be to blame for more frequent prolonged spells of extreme weather in Europe, Asia and North America, such as heat waves, freezing temperatures or storms.

These are relatively short-term periods of bizarre weather, like the cold snap that paralysed North America earlier this year, rather than longer-term rises in temperature.

They are related to "stuck" weather patterns, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, told a conference on Arctic sea ice reduction in London on 23 September. "Is it global warming? I think it’s safe to answer yes," she told the meeting.

Francis said a growing number of studies, including her own, suggest that the melting Arctic is having knock-on effects on the jet stream, the river of air that snakes around the northern hemisphere at an altitude of around 5 to 6 kilometres, and which has a profound impact on the world’s weather….

Francis thinks that, as the cool air of the Arctic becomes warmer, the jet stream is slowing down, almost to the point of stopping trapping weather systems in one place for prolonged periods. Instead of swirling round the world, winds reverberate back and forth in the same place, creating what she calls "extreme waves".


There is one slight problem with all of this junk science – we had just the same weather patterns in the 1960s and 70s, which proper scientists attributed to the Arctic getting colder.

For instance, HH Lamb wrote this in 1982:

Such world-wide surveys as have been attempted seem to confirm the increase of variability of temperature and rainfall [since the middle of the 20thC].

In Europe, as has been noted by Prof Flohn and by Dr Schuurmans of the Netherlands meteorological service, there is a curious change in the pattern of variability: from some time between 1940 & 1960 onwards, the occurrence of extreme seasons – both as regards temperature and rainfall- has notably increased.

A worldwide list of the extreme seasons reported since 1960 makes impressive reading. Among the items are:



These variations, perhaps more than any underlying trend to a warmer or colder climate, create difficulties for the planning age in which we live. They may be associated with the increased meridionality of the general wind circulation, the greater frequency of blocking, of stationary high and low pressure systems, giving prolonged northerly winds in one longitude and southerly winds in another longitude sector in middle latitudes.

Over both hemispheres there has been more blocking in these years… The most remarkable feature seems to be the an intensification of the cyclonic activity in high latitudes near 70-90N, all around the northern polar region. And this presumably has to do with the almost equally remarkable cooling of the Arctic since the 1950’s, which has meant an increase in the thermal gradient between high and middle latitudes.

Climate, History and the Modern World – pp267-269



And it was not only Lamb. CC Wallen,  Head of the Special Environmental Applications Division of the World Meteorological Organization, had this to say about the consequences of the cooling trend since 1940:

The principal weather change likely to accompany the cooling trend is increased variability-alternating extremes of temperature and precipitation in any given area-which would almost certainly lower average crop yields.

During cooler climatic periods the high-altitude winds are broken up into irregular cells by weaker and more plentiful pressure centers, causing formation of a "meridional circulation" pattern. These small, weak cells may stagnate over vast areas for many months, bringing unseasonably cold weather on one side and unseasonably warm weather on the other. Droughts and floods become more frequent and may alternate season to season, as they did last year in India. Thus, while the hemisphere as a whole is cooler, individual areas may alternately break temperature and precipitation records at both extremes. 




And he even gave us these diagrams.




Now scientists in the 1970s may have been wrong about the causes of this meridional circulation. But what cannot be denied is that such changes occurred.

  1. Broadlands permalink
    January 4, 2018 2:19 pm

    It seems that the record cold is all our fault? And so is record heat? How can we possibly win against such powerful and “settled” science? Blow that snow off of the solar panels while we wait for record heat.

  2. Adrian permalink
    January 4, 2018 2:21 pm

    I won’t believe it till I hear it from honest science PhD educated BBC staff. Shouldn’t take them long.

  3. Ian permalink
    January 4, 2018 2:26 pm

    OT, but I reported on an earlier report that I was waiting for HMG to explain where the domestic energy consumer could make £290/year savings to offset the £140-180 green levy costs. I’ve not had a reply and, as expected, it’s all smoke and mirrors, just begging for a response, which I’m working on.

    Basically, IF you buy a new house, to the latest insulation standards, fitted with new, A+-rated appliances and energy-saving light bulbs, then you could be this much better off than if you didn’t move. What about the other 90%+ of households where this can’t apply, but where the energy levies do?

    I don’t have an email address for Paul to pass on the details, but see from the letter that the information should be available in this handy 119 page PDF:

    Click to access Energy-Prices-and-Bills-Committee-on-Climate-Change-March-2017.pdf

    • Ian permalink
      January 4, 2018 2:27 pm

      I should have said I’ve NOW had a reply.

    • January 4, 2018 5:01 pm

      And what they don’t tell you is how much extra your new house will cost with all of these energy saving devices

  4. Coeur de Lion permalink
    January 4, 2018 2:34 pm

    Overpeck is notorious as a Climategate conspirator who is believed to be the author of the “We must get rid of the Medieval Warming Period “ email. He should hang his head on shame

    • January 4, 2018 2:54 pm

      You have to be human to feel shame. Show me the proof.

  5. January 4, 2018 2:54 pm

    Heat wave. Mann-Made Global Warming.
    Cold snap. Mann-Made Global Warming
    Wet spell: Mann-Made Global Warming
    Drought: Mann-Made Global Warming

    I have a renewed respect for the CO2 molecule. There’s simply nothing it can’t do.

  6. Jack Broughton permalink
    January 4, 2018 2:59 pm

    In climate science HH Lamb was a trailblazer and well aware of the vast history of observations, as you frequently show. It seems that modern “climate scientists” believe any computer model without referring to previous experience / data. Mathematical models are great tools but those of us who have developed models know that they are subject to many errors: human errors and scientific approximations are common and very difficult to find.

    Thus, complex models are normally subjected to a variety of tests to validate them. The lack of any means of validation is at the heart of the failures of modern climate science.

    The faults in the theory start with the fundamental theory of radiative forcing functions: unproven theories about the increased heat flux and “feedback” decided by panel of scientists rather than scientific method. These unprovable heat fluxes range from 2 to 8.5 W/m2 while the underlying theory would give a value of 0 +/- 2.5 W/m2, depending upon the weighting given to the component fluxes, and it is this small range that probably drives the long term variability (and the 11 year famine cycle) that Lamb deals with so well. Any value above 2.5 W/m2 is science fiction or forcing from a major volcano.

  7. January 4, 2018 3:33 pm

    Climate change is all settled science. It’s been settled for at least 10 years – the BBC has said so. If you don’t believe the science was settled at least 10 years ago then you are:
    a) a science denier or
    b) a climate denier or
    c) a climate change denier or
    d) all three of the above.

    Take your pick.

    • Adrian permalink
      January 4, 2018 5:18 pm

      Can I add ‘scientist’ to your list please? Living in Scotland means I find it hard to deny climate.

    • bob nielsen permalink
      January 5, 2018 1:23 am

      e) a realist

  8. RAH permalink
    January 4, 2018 3:45 pm

    I was called in to work off of vacation because of global warming.
    I am an on-call driver. They pay me a salary to have me available when drivers call off or other reasons result in a load having to be delivered and they need a driver on short notice.
    They call and I come in a go. Early Tuesday morning they called because they had 14 regular drivers call off due to global warming. The excuses ran from furnaces that failed, to frozen pipes, to personal transportation that would not start due to global warming.

    When I got in and turned the key on the 2015 Freightliner the temperature gauge read -15 F. and that was due to global warming. The truck would start but would not continue to run because the diesel fuel had gelled and that was due to global warming. The shoes of the rear brakes were frozen to the drums and that was due to global warming. The techs were busy taking care of other trucks that had the same problems and didn’t have my truck thawed until nearly 3 hours later, and that was due to global warming. On my way to and from my destination I saw a larger number of vehicles on the shoulder due to mechanical problems and I’m sure that was due to global warming. Along my route I passed through Lafayette, IN (Home of Purdue University) and they were talking about electrical lines humming due the heavy load during the cold and that was due to global warming. When I got back to the yard after the run I was told to leave the truck idle due to the extreme cold and that was due to global warming.

    I could go on and on and on but you have the idea.

    • January 5, 2018 1:08 pm

      Well put. Glad to hear that West Virginia is not the only cold state.

      On the morning news ca. 6, they insisted on giving wind-chill temperatures. Anything to scare people. It was about 7 above here and schools in West Virginia are cancelled because of the wind-chill. Just give the actual temperature without the accompanying hysterics.

      I live and own where I grew up which was sort of rural until WVU started gobbling it up in the 1960’s, and went to the local Flatts Grade School several blocks away. Most of us walked to that school. The only time I experienced a school closing, including junior high, high school and WVU, was for the great snow of Thanksgiving 1950 when we got 4 feet.

      Now the so-called news media keeps the burgeoning snowflake population in a constant state of terror over the somewhat routine weather.

  9. Athelstan permalink
    January 4, 2018 4:16 pm

    From a post on NTZ:

    “From Joe Bastardi

    Check this out if you dont think this whole global warming game is agenda driven ( by the way I like my forecast idea for you up there for the rest of the winter, looking better everytime I look at it.

    New York Times in 2000: ‘But it does not take a scientist to size up the effects of snowless winters on the children too young to remember the record-setting blizzards of 1996. For them, the pleasures of sledding and snowball fights are as out-of-date as hoop-rolling, and the delight of a snow day off from school is unknown.’

    Since the NYT made this statement, New York City has averaged 31.7 inches of snow The normal is 27.0 inches in the last 8 years, the average is 34.5 inches.

    So you see dear reader, it is obvious this stuff is coordinated.

    I never cease to be amazed by all this. Just who are the real deniers here? Just like the push to say there was never an ice age scare back in the 70s.”

    Link here

    Mental gymnastics and the global warming loonies run hither and thither and will eventually end up, up their own fundament – from above link “Rahsmstorf backpedals”:

    Its quite possible that this month’s extreme snowfall is just a coincidence of the weather. But on the other hand there are indications that the boundary conditions in the Arctic have changed due to the ice melt over the years that could significantly change the weather statistic in Europe. Whether this December remains an outlier or whether more of this will occur in the future cannot be said. It’s an open research question.”

    Stay PIK -ing your nose mate, it makes more sense.

  10. Frank permalink
    January 4, 2018 4:22 pm

    !980’s United States, this happened quite often where much of Alaska was warmer than the Lower 48. 1983 and 1986 bring special memories concerning that. That wasn’t rock candy hanging off the space shuttle there in Cape Canaveral, Florida It was the day they learned a lesson for certain that “Hey, rubber DOES shrink in freezing weather!” It was major ice.

  11. John F. Hultquist permalink
    January 4, 2018 5:33 pm

    Years ago we had a car that didn’t run quite right.
    Someone said it “had sticky pistons.”
    Maybe CO2 caused that.
    Can one of you English chaps run that by Jon and Jennifer and let me know if that might be true?

  12. Chris Lynch permalink
    January 4, 2018 5:48 pm

    That’s some theory that CAGW theory! No matter what happens the weather or the climate you can claim to be right – forever. No wonder so many charlatans rush to embrace it!

  13. January 4, 2018 6:34 pm

    It’s the ‘All roads lead to Rome’ theory i.e. no theory at all. More FUD here…

    Is Arctic warming influencing the UK’s extreme weather?

    Define ‘extreme’. But if they need to ask they obviously don’t know.

    • bob nielsen permalink
      January 5, 2018 1:27 am

      Last extreme weather in UK was 2012 when we had the coldest winter for 100yrs. Other than that its just been rather colder than usual over the last 10yrs.

  14. tom0mason permalink
    January 4, 2018 6:59 pm

    The ‘climate change™’ advocates simplified ‘sciency’ explanation —

    As GLOBAL WARM proceeds the cold period ensue that clear the moisture from the atmosphere and this allows the sunshine to activate more CO2 molecules to warm the planet.
    This warming then allows the polar vortex to expand causing more freezing in the temperate regions of the world causing more loss of moisture, and increase the warming effects of the atmospheric CO2 molecules. Eventually the little liquid water that is left on the planet is at the equator and boils away, refreezing later over Western industrialized nations, while the desiccating atmosphere sublimates all the ice at the poles to nothing.


  15. Soren Nielsen permalink
    January 4, 2018 8:12 pm

    As a Dane I can confirm that “Cold Snaps has occurred throughout history”. It occurred again last Christmas in copious amounts during Christmas lunch along with pickled herring on rye bread.

  16. gofigure560 permalink
    January 4, 2018 10:03 pm

    The alarmists also DENY that the Medieval Warming Period was a global event, and that it was likely warmer then than it is now. (Mann’s hockey-stick graph comes to mind). The reason for their DENIAL is that they cannot explain the MWP because rising co2 is the only force the computer models deal with. co2 did not begin rising until the 1800s, long after the MWP. This, of course, also implies that there would have been no water vapor feedback. (Water vapor feedback is the actual culprit, causing 2 to 3 times the temperature increase as brought on by co2 increase.)

    The only conclusive way for the alarmists to provide evidence to support their DENIAL would have involved invoking temperature studies around the globe. But wait… that has been done by others. There are 6,000 bore holes around the globe, so not restricted to areas where ice cores are the only option. The boreholes temperature data show conclusively that the MWP trend was global. An enlightening discussion of the borehole data can be found at Joanne Nova’s website. Her spouse, Dr David Evans, is well acquainted with climate models.

    Google the Greenland Temperature study (gisp2). That study demonstrates, among other things, that Greenland (distant from Europe) was warmer than now during the MWP.

    The Mendenhall glacier in Alaska recently receded sufficiently to expose a shattered 1,000 year-old forest still standing in its original position. (A similar situation has recently been exposed in the Alps, but that forest has been dated 4,000 years old.) In both cases no trees have grown at those latitudes anywhere near those sites since then. Alaska is remote from both Greenland and Europe.

    There are also ancient vineyards which have been found at latitudes where grapes cannot be grown today. Ancient burial sites have been found beneath the perma-frost. The evidence indicates that it was warmer during the MWP than now, and that there were also similar earlier warmings.

    There are hundreds of peer-reviewed MWP studies, performed by researchers and science organizations around the globe. A subset of these studies specifically address temperatures (rather than other subjects such as rainfall, droughts, etc.) Almost every MWP study has been cataloged by and information on those studies are also accessible at that site by region. I’ll leave it to the readers to go there, select half a dozen regions (don’t forget the southern hemisphere) and choose in each a temperature based study (if one exists). You will find that the studies you selected also show those sites to have neem at least as warm, likely warmer, than it is now.

    I have demonstrated via this meta-study, that there is an overwhelming amount of straight-forward evidence, all of it conflicting with the alarmists’ DENIAL that the MWP was a global event and likely warmer than now. While ongoing MWP studies confirming the earlier studies continue to arrive, keep in mind that a number of these studies were performed decades ago, before there was any controversy, and at that time the IPCC acknowledged in those earlier reports that the MWP was global and warmer than now. For some reason there was little alarmist interest in asking questions about this conflict when Mann came up with his dubious “hockey stick” graph. Phil Jones, an active alarmist player back in the day, stated publicly that if the MWP was global, then that’s a whole new ballgame.

    While none of this proves that the current warming (such as it is) is due to normal climate variation, it certainly introduces that possibility, but it also proves that the alarmist “scientists” have NO credibility!

  17. January 4, 2018 10:43 pm

    The most cursory examination of the climate record will reveal that climate change is very much a winter phenomenon. Peak months for variability in the northern hemisphere are January, February.and March. Summer temperatures vary little. It is in the higher latitudes that the greatest variation occurs. The variation in winter is very much related to the direction in which the air moves. Nothing to do with trace gas constituents.

    The failure of climate science is a failure to observe, an essential first step in problem solving.

  18. bob nielsen permalink
    January 5, 2018 1:46 am

    From my basic meteo training (im a pilot). Climate is governed by the interaction of the warm equatorial highs and the cold polar highs. they meet at the ITCZs (intertropical convergence zones) The pressure differences at the ITCZs produce the jetstream and alot of cloud and precipitation. The positioning (north/south) of the ITCZs is based on the heat (solar radiation) in the equatorial highs (polar highs simply being areas of absence of heat). Thus in the north atlantic the azores high expands with more solar heating (summer) and pushes the jetstream north. In winter with less north hemisphere heating from the sun the azores high shrinks south. Note the polar high doesnt ‘push’ south, rather it descends to fill the area where heating has retreated. Cold is the norm for the planet where there is little solar heating (north n south poles). Solar heating (also stored in oceans and its currents) intrudes into those cold areas. Cold air masses moving closer to the equator are a result of less solar heating (direct and ocean stored) at the lower latitudes. all made sense when taught in 1980s and still makes sense to me.

  19. January 5, 2018 2:14 pm

    May I presume they would not be thrilled with the Younger Dryas Period either? (Dryas, a small Arctic–alpine flowering plant in the family Rosaceae, is a prostrate evergreen subshrub forming large colonies. Now confined to Arctic regions, it was much farther south in front of the ice sheets. Now found in the Alaskan tundra) The glacial melt had been humming along with temperatures rapidly rising at the end of the last glacial episode. Then within a few years, it came to a screeching halt and we were plunged into another glacial episode which began about 12,900 years ago and lasted some 1350 years to about 11,550. Clovis points have been found on the peninsula in Virginia prior to this occurrence, but signs of habitation abruptly end with the rapid onset of the new “ice age”.

    The cause of this phenomenon is the shutdown of the North Atlantic “Conveyer” (Gulf Stream) which circulates warm tropical waters northwards. The shutdown likely occurred with the sudden draining of meltwater Lake Agassiz into the Atlantic. The sudden influx of fresh water messed with the circulation. The Gulf Stream is why the Scilly Isles, off the coast of Cornwall, has subtropical climate and vegetation today.

  20. George Let permalink
    January 5, 2018 2:19 pm

    So Indoctrinated! Their starting point is always that man-made climate change is a given.

  21. January 5, 2018 5:58 pm

    I have noticed that it gets dark a lot earlier these days. Could this be attributed to Climate Change, or is my watch just broken?

  22. AngryScot permalink
    January 5, 2018 6:51 pm

    Hey Bob – did I teach you to fly the Jag?

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