February 11, 2010

We know that folks on the East Coast -- especially in New York and D.C. -- tend to think the world revolves around them, but this is ridiculous.

The Fox News anchors were having a field day yesterday, promoting their coverage of the East Coast snowstorms, mostly as a way of springboarding into their claim that the storms somehow prove that global warming is not happening -- a fixture in the Fox narrative.

Because, of course, the only part of the world that actually counts is the East Coast. Nevermind that for the planet as a whole, temperatures in 2009 were the second-warmest on record, nor that scientists are anticipating more records in the immediate years ahead.

The theme on Fox: Because it's colder in New York and D.C., it must be colder all around the rest of the world!

Eric Bolling taunted Al Gore, as did Glenn Beck, who then went on to laugh at the reports noting that in fact this is evidence of global-warming theory, claiming that we were now using an upside-down thermometer, then darkly proclaimed that this was all about the "progressive agenda", which has no use for "the truth." And on Hannity's show, he trotted out the "blizzards debunk global warming" line, and Greg Gutfeld proclaimed that this meant the demise of the "global warming industry."

Of course, we could just as easily proclaim that the record warm temperatures we're getting in Seattle are proof that global warming is real.

But here in Seattle, we understand that what happens to us locally doesn't mean the same thing is happening globally. We're not only more honest about it, we're more reality-based.

And the reality, as the New York Times explained this morning, is that the heavy snowstorms on the East Coast in fact perfectly fit into the model of climate change being predicated by scientists:

Jeff Masters, a meteorologist who writes on the Weather Underground blog, said that the recent snows do not, by themselves, demonstrate anything about the long-term trajectory of the planet. Climate is, by definition, a measure of decades and centuries, not months or years.

But Dr. Masters also said that government and academic studies had consistently predicted an increasing frequency of just these kinds of record-setting storms, because warmer air carries more moisture.

“Of course,” he wrote on his blog Wednesday as new snows produced white-out conditions in much of the Eastern half of the country, “both climate-change contrarians and climate-change scientists agree that no single weather event can be blamed on climate change.

“However,” he continued, “one can ‘load the dice’ in favor of events that used to be rare — or unheard of — if the climate is changing to a new state.”

A federal government report issued last year, intended to be the authoritative statement of known climate trends in the United States, pointed to the likelihood of more frequent snowstorms in the Northeast and less frequent snow in the South and Southeast as a result of long-term temperature and precipitation patterns. The Climate Impacts report, from the multiagency United States Global Change Research Program, also projected more intense drought in the Southwest and more powerful Gulf Coast hurricanes because of warming.

In other words, if the government scientists are correct, look for more snow.

Fox's Jane Skinner featured a report this morning discussing this Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists, who laid out in more detail how the heavier snows are likely a product of the heavier amounts of moisture in the atmosphere from global warming.

Want to bet that this bit of reportage goes completely ignored by the "opinion" anchors?

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