“What global warming?”
If you live in the United States, you probably heard this sarcastic phrase last winter, uttered by people who noticed that in the United States, this winter was pretty cold:
“As I write this entry, it is 1 degree Fahrenheit in Morton Grove, Illinois, below zero in much of the Upper Midwest, and a blizzard is pummeling the Northeast. Back to where I live: Earlier this month two feet of snow fell across the Chicago area and we suffered from the coldest temperatures in twenty years. What is your favorite memory of the Global Warming Winter of 2014?”
“Global Warming? Lake Superior Will Freeze Over this Winter”
“What global warming? 2014 is the U.S.’s coldest year ever so far”
“WOW, Can you believe this Global Warming that is happening? It has been snowing here in Tennessee on April 15th 2014.
Yes, of course they (UN) want to charge us another tax for all the global warming we are creating.
Of course if you deny there is Global Warming you are considered a psychologically deranged person by the government and UN.”
While the United States had a winter that was indeed quite a bit cooler than the the winters of recent years, across the years of 1895-2014 in the U.S. temperature record NOAA ranked winter U.S. temperatures as “near average” — 46th coldest out of 119 years. Our last winter just felt especially cold to us because we’ve become used to really warm winters lately.
Of course, as you and I know, global warming is called “global warming” because it describes a tendency around the globe, not just the United States. The above pundits each make the mistake of assuming that what happens in the United States happens everywhere. But that’s not true. The United States got “extra cold” (from the 21st century perspective, but fairly average for the 20th century) this winter because the Jet Stream shut down. The Jet Stream is an air current that keeps cold polar air from reaching the United States most of the time. This year, the Jet Stream didn’t do what it usually does, so the U.S. received repeated blasts of relatively frigid polar air.
Around the globe, however, the story was different. It doesn’t matter whether you use NOAA’s calculation for January – April or NASA’s calculation for December – February — by either calculation global temperatures this past winter were really warm (either the 6th warmest on record or 7th warmest on record, respectively).
And what about the spring? Turns out that this March and April were either the second highest on record (NASA calculations) or the 4th and 1st highest on record (NOAA calculation) since recordkeeping began in 1880. The United States was an anomaly in an otherwise warmer-than-average world:
When have the other warmest winter periods been? All of them have been recent. When have the really coldest winter periods been? All of them have been long ago:
That’s global warming.