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« Hulme on BEST and peer review | Main | Curry on BEST »
Monday
Oct312011

Snow in New England

Heavy snow in New England has brought chaos, with trees still in full leaf leading to branches being brought down across roads and power lines. This is apparently the first time the region has had heavy snow in October since 1869.

You can guess what has caused it.

Michael Mann, director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center, last February linked monster snowstorms with climate change, "This is what the models project," he said, "that we see more of these very large snowfalls."

I can't help but be a little surprised that global warming is going to lead to earlier and heavier snowfalls.

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Reader Comments (174)

No surprise there. The nice mild weather we woke up to today has the same cause. It never happened before we started burning coal.

Oct 31, 2011 at 7:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Snow this time of year in North East USA is not unusual. I remember, as a child, very big snow storms this time of year. I remember as an adult very big snow storms this time of year.

(Warm snow, laden with moisture, will bring down hanging power lines. What's different now is that we have more people, more power lines, more downed power lines, less effective power-line-repair infrastructure, etc. leading to more disruption to people's lives. In the past, we had snow and we just got on with it.)

Oct 31, 2011 at 7:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob Schneider

The Union of Concerned Scientists told us, in this paper published in 2007:

Since 1970 the [U.S.] Northeast has been warming at a rate of nearly 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) per decade. Winter temperatures have risen even faster, at a rate of 1.3°F per decade from 1970 to 2000. This warming has been correlated with many other climate-related changes across the region, including… Less winter precipitation falling as snow and more as rain… All of these observed changes are consistent with those expected to be caused by global warming.

Brenda Ekwurzel, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, then told us, in this TV interview in 2011:

...our temperatures are increasing faster during the winter season than during the summer season. So that creates a situation when you have more moist conditions – it’s still below freezing – you can create very heavy snowfall. If you have very extreme cold, cold, cold conditions, you tend to have a little bit less precipitation in the form of snow. So ironically, we get a little more snow as we’re warming up the planet.

Behold the quite amazing versatility of global warming.

Oct 31, 2011 at 7:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlex Cull

I thought that by now snow was supposed to be something to tell our children about.

Oct 31, 2011 at 7:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrederick Bloggsworth

I don't know if the squirrels in my part of the world read the Met Office forecasts, but they're currently devastating my lawn putting food aside for the winter.

While it's true that global warming will cause an increase in precipitation it clearly hasn't, or if it has it has done so with remarkably precise choices of location. Hence snow in the winter, but no snow in the Himalayas, Andes etc. With resultant recession of the glaciers.

I went to a Catholic school and remember when studying the Apocolypse one of the Brothers telling us that if you want make an accurate prediction you foretell the commonplace as the future, like flood, famine, pestilence and war etc. and when it happens you simply point to it and say we forecast that. So now winter snow is a sign of global warming, but that begs the question what was it a sign of before global warming?

Oct 31, 2011 at 7:47 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Any chance of a copy of the E-Mails and research data used by Mann to make that observation?

Oct 31, 2011 at 7:50 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Is there any weather pattern that would falsify Mann's belief?

Thought not.

Oct 31, 2011 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

"This is apparently the first time the region has had heavy snow in October since 1869"

I didn't know CAGW was in evidence in 1869.

Oct 31, 2011 at 8:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterHuhneMustGo

You must know by now there Global Warming meme attributes everything now. Starlings flying due west at sunset, the gizzards of white doves traling blood to the east, clouds in the shape of .. well, clouds. A bunch of raven bones tossed over a mat of human skin, scored with runic markings. All caused by global warming. Repent, repent and ye shall be saved.

Oct 31, 2011 at 8:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

"I can't help but be a little surprised that global warming is going to lead to earlier and heavier snowfalls."
Andrew Montford

Then what on Earth are you doing running a climate blog? This is really basic stuff, how can you claim your book and blog have any validity, if you don't understand how this is consistent with Global Warming.

Oct 31, 2011 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

To be fair this quote referred to snow last winter, NOT this October snow. I think it is a bit unfair to suggest that Mann has leaped out and proclaimed this event is due to AGW when he has not.

Oct 31, 2011 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterTubbs

No warmist can ever say what weather denotes no global warming, until they can there utterances are just bunkum.

Oct 31, 2011 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Whale

"This is apparently the first time the region has had heavy snow in October since 1869" I didn't know CAGW was in evidence in 1869.

There are plenty of points to score without making ones with no point. Be he right or wrong, Mann is saying "This is what the models project ... that we see more of these very large snowfalls.". More is the operative word.

Oct 31, 2011 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlleagra

Mikey


'"This is what the models project," he said, "that we see more of these very large snowfalls."

Show me where the models do this.

Which models?

When?

How many did predict it, how many didn't?

Where were these predictions written up?

What else did the same model(s) predict? Were they right or wrong?

What physical mechanism do you propose to explain this phenomenon?

How do you reconcile this with the Met Office guy who said the exact opposite?

Should be the work of only a few moments to produce the evidence for all of those questions.
'

Oct 31, 2011 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Climate model === horoscope

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

Zed

"This is really basic stuff"

That you won't have any trouble explaining, then?

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Re: ZDB

> This is really basic stuff

Then please point me to the peer reviewed paper that states that increasing CO2 will lead to earlier and heavier snowfall.

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterTeryrS

Come on Bish. Even idiots know that the only manifestation of climate change which could possibly refute the AGW theory and its increasingly sophisticated manifestations is a sustained, continuous, and prolonged rise in temperature exactly in line with increasing CO2.
It's just what we predicted. Warming causes cooling.

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid C

@ZDB

'This is really basic stuff'

OK. And you can demonstrate how basic it is:

Show me where the models do this.

Which models?

When?

How many did predict it, how many didn't?

Where were these predictions written up?

What else did the same model(s) predict? Were they right or wrong?

What physical mechanism do you propose to explain this phenomenon?

How do you reconcile this with the Met Office guy who said the exact opposite?

Should be the work of only a few moments to produce the evidence for all of those questions. Since it so basic, you will have it easily to hand

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

zed: your wildly incoherent:

Then what on Earth are you doing running a climate blog? This is really basic stuff, how can you claim your book and blog have any validity, if you don't understand how this is consistent with Global Warming.

Please explain how this is consistent with global warming, using sources prior to 2008. In other words, show us any source that predicted global warming would cause more snow and colder winters prior to the snow and cold showing up.

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

Then what on Earth are you doing running a climate blog? This is really basic stuff, how can you claim your book and blog have any validity, if you don't understand how this is consistent with Global Warming.
Oct 31, 2011 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

Yet another thought provoking post full of information and scientific information. You were asked a question yesterday and did your usual disappearing act. How about providing the answer now?

Anyway, lets help you to remember.....
"According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia , “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,”

David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes – or eventually “feel” virtual cold.

Professor Jarich Oosten, an anthropologist at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, says that even if we no longer see snow, it will remain culturally important.
"We don't really have wolves in Europe any more, but they are still an important part of our culture and everyone knows what they look like," he said. (The good Prof know sod all about wolves in Europe either!)

Good old Robert F. Kennedy Jr tried to get in on the "No more snow" act as well.

Even Mount Kilimanjaro is trumping the AGW cards! Back in 2000 (yep, it was that long ago!) you had those guys above saying "No more snow". Tweek the model till it squeaks and you have Mann etc saying "Loads of snow". No wonder the sceptics are on the continual up!

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

The claim that AGW is consistent with heavier snowfalls wasn't mainstream until it needed to be true.

Funny that.

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

From the newspeak dictionary:

blackwhite- The ability to accept whatever "truth" the party puts out, no matter how absurd it may be. Orwell described it as "...loyal willingness to say black is white when party discipline demands this. It also means the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know black is white, and forget that one has ever believed the contrary."

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid C

Well blow me! Zeds run away again! Better nip over to the D.M. to see who she is having a pop at there!

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

It is not just the heavy snowfalls that have been so striking the last few winters, but the long periods of extremely cold temperatures that have accompanied the snowfalls. These too, I am sure, will turn out to be due to AGW, but it would have been nice to have learned about this prediction of the theory before the phenomena made it necessary.

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Zeds Dead Breath disappeared again eh?

Surprise surprise!

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

We appear to have found the best Wolfsbane for expelling Zed - just ask the imp a question.

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

What Zed said.
Perhaps the Bishop should read Time Magazine's useful primer on how GW brings heavy snow
Strange I don't recall Bishop Hill noting the heatwave in the first week of October topped 30degrees and broke records.

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterHengist

Hengist, I think the sceptics were looking for something from the peer-reviewed literature, and preferably something written before the events that needed to be reconciled with AGW

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Tubbs said I think it is a bit unfair to suggest that Mann has leaped out and proclaimed this event is due to AGW when he has not.

"This is what the models project," he (Michael Mann) said, "that we see more of these very large snowfalls."

I don't see any suggestion that Michael Mann leapt in any direction - neither out, nor in, nor up, nor down.

A year ago he said we are going to see more very large snowfalls - and now another has occurred. I think it is entirely fair to point out what he said, after heavy snowfalls last year lead many people to question the Hockey Team's pronouncements that we were undergoing unprecedented global warming.

Oct 31, 2011 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Don't get me wrong - I am no fan of Mann (oops that rhymes...) My comment is only that the way this post is written leads the reader down the line that Mann has commented on THIS event, rather than his rather specious claims from earlier in the year. I'm not sure that this was the Bishop's intention, I just think this post is poorly phrased.

Oct 31, 2011 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterTubbs

A hypothesis that attributes all events including absence of said events to particular invisible hobgoblins is indeed un-falsifiable. So we're all doomed and no evidence of being doomed clearly proves that we are, or something likes that...

Oct 31, 2011 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

So less snow or no snow at all, is consistent with GW, and so is more snow and earlier.

I think I've got it now.

In Old England, under GW, snow disappears forever - unless it happens to be colder and more snow is dumped, than was happening about 10 years ago.

But here we're taking about NEW England - so, since last year, it means more-and-earlier snow is consistent with GW.

Have I got it right, Mann-wise ?

Oct 31, 2011 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered Commentercorporate sponsor

Oh, I forgot...The more snow and earlier is true but you cannot just pick any single year in some specific place. It's about trends More snow and earlier is consistent with GW unless it snows less in every single place for 17 years or more > that would be natural variability, then.

Oct 31, 2011 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered Commentercorporate sponsor

Hengist: your rather revisionist:

Perhaps the Bishop should read Time Magazine's useful primer on how GW brings heavy snow

Perhaps you could point out any source, repeat, any source, that predicted heavier snowfall and colder winters were caused by global warming, BEFORE these events occured. That is, prior to 2008.

I would love to see the section in the AR4 that states this. After all, that is the definitive word on the science, right?

Oct 31, 2011 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

"This is apparently the first time the region has had heavy snow in October since 1869."

Gott mit uns!

Punktmann

Oct 31, 2011 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterpointman

Hengist: your

Strange I don't recall Bishop Hill noting the heatwave in the first week of October topped 30degrees and broke records.

Perhaps because people were not COMPLAINING of the warmth. It is hard to make a case AGAINST something that people enjoy. Which is what you are trying to do.

To the contrary, it is also hard to make people see the sense in trying to get the climate to a state they do not enjoy; ie ; the cold. Which you are trying to do.

Good luck selling this.

Oct 31, 2011 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

Guys, take it easy on Zed don't you recognise skeptic irony when you see it?

Oct 31, 2011 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered Commentersandy

Hengist,
suggest you get hold of a copy of Philip Eden's article in Saturday's printed version of the Daily Telegraph, unfortunately mine is now being re-cycled. Interestingly 1921 (I think he said) was also a record breakingly warm October, the warmest until recently. I guess influence by the heavy CO2 and soot production in WW1

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered Commentersandy

ZBD-

I know this has turned into a pile on.
But perhaps you have forgotten the UNs prediction of 50 million climate refugees by 2010? It came and went with positive population growth in low lying, mostly island nations. But the online evidence of this embarrassment was removed and "history" corrected.

You might remember the Population Explosion that was predicted but failed. The last time peak oil was predicted, oh, last year, which was only recycled from 1990, after such "knowledge" was revived from the 1970s....

Which only goes to prove old P. T. Barnum* - the great circus promoter - correct: there's a sucker born every minute.
(*Actually, his competitor said it - but it lives on in American lore http://www.historybuff.com/library/refbarnum.html)

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterOrson

I am with Rob Schneider. One of the delights of Halloween when I was little was that you never knew just what the weather would be; it seemed to change right on that day -- one year, the first snow of the season (keen! sliding down the street), the next just enough rain to make a fine dismal backdrop, with plenty of swirling dead leaves suddenly on the ground, to a proper "horror film" atmosphere. The weather was the finishing touch to a perfect holiday, whatever it turned out to be.

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

Not since 1869? What caused it back then? Was it natural variability? Why is it we're responsible for it today? Has natural variability ceased or been reduced?

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

I think you have misquoted Prof Mann.

He didn't say:
"This is what the models project, that we see more of these very large snowfalls."

What he actually said was:
"This is what the models project, that we see more of these very large snowjobs."

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

Ive found an article by the great George Monbiot which I'm sure you're all itching to read. I draw your attention to paragraph six beginning "So why wasn’t this predicted by climate scientists? Actually it was, and we missed it." There are plenty of footnoted references to papers for the geeks too. Enjoy.

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterHengist

Not much in WGII about snow precipitation per se. There is this though which mentions the Eastern US

"The North American snowmobiling industry (valued at US$27 billion) (ISMA, 2006) is more vulnerable to climate change because it relies on natural snowfall. By the 2050s, a reliable snowmobile season disappears from most regions of eastern North America that currently have developed trail networks (based on the CGCM1 and HadCM3 GCMs with IS92a emissions, the PCM GCM with B2 emissions and the CCSR GCM with A1 emissions) (Scott, 2006; Scott and Jones, 2006)."

From here: http://ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg2/en/ch14s14-4-7.html

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

Dr Michael Mann says?

So when did he start saying these things? O course tafter the event.

Better that when he states anything that you bring a melody to mind?

"Simple Simon says put your hands on your head"

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Hengist

The Bishop lives in Scotland, there was no heatwave up here in the first week of October or at any other time this year, except for a pleasant week in April.

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Is it too much to ask my fellow commenters to stop piling up against the usual suspects?

ZBD, hengist, BBD I mean.

They do say strange stuff, and chances are somebody else has already told them as much, so no need to keep posting comments that are variations on "Silly you!".

Otherwise this blog becomes centered exactly around the people that don't contribute much meaning.

I know I was guilty myself with BBD a few weeks back but once or twice should be enough for each one of us.

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio Morabito

Hengist: I did enjoy those references of Monbiots, thank you. But you did not read them, did you?

Note all the papers Georrge cited were published post 2008. (except the reference to the 1914 paper cited by Budokova).

In other words, there was no prediction of colder winters and more snow fall until after they started.

Prediction after the fact is usually pretty accurate, don't you think?

Also a bit strange that absolutely none of the science cited in Budokova review was in the AR4 SFP, don't you think? In fact, the AR4 predicted shorter, milder winters, with reduced snow cover.

And was not the AR4 supposd to the synthesis of climate knowledge?

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

Orson
If I remember correctly (and I can't find the reference at the moment) the first pessimistic forecast about when oil would run out was made in the 1890s or thereabouts and has been a matter of concern ever since especially for those with a vested interest either in keeping the price up or trying to flog an alternative source of energy or with weird ideas about humanity and the planet.

Oct 31, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

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