Let’s start this sorry tale with a quote from Dr James Overland of the NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, on why global warming means colder and snowier winters in Europe and North America:
“While the emerging impact of greenhouse gases is an important factor in the changing Arctic, what was not fully recognised until now is that a combination of an unusual warm period due to natural variability, loss of sea ice reflectivity, ocean heat storage and changing wind patterns working together has disrupted the memory and stability of the Arctic climate system, resulting in greater ice loss than earlier climate models predicted,” says Dr Overland.
“The exceptional cold and snowy winter of 2009-2010 in Europe, eastern Asia and eastern North America is connected to unique physical processes in the Arctic,” he says.
That’s the official climate science line in 2010. Changes in the atmospheric circulation above the Arctic lead to colder and snowier winters, thanks to global warming. All clear? Good. Now, let’s rewind eleven years . . .
Back in the balmy, El Nino days of 1999, a study from NASA GISS’s Gavin Schmidt, Drew Schindell and Ron Miller told a very different story. Back then, when winters were mild and largely snow-free, climate science was coming to the opposite conclusion:
Why are winters warming up so much faster over Northern Hemisphere continents than over the rest of the globe? A new study by NASA researchers in the June 3 issue of the journal Nature is the first to link the well-documented large degree of North America and Eurasia winter warming and the associated wind changes to rising greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.
According to this climate study, warmer winters were caused by . . . changes in atmospheric circulation over the Arctic!
Shindell found a probable reason for warming Northern Hemisphere winters by studying the polar vortex in his climate model. Over the North Pole, there is a polar vortex created in the stratosphere, the part of the atmosphere that starts more than six miles above the Earth’s surface. The vortex arises because the North Pole is completely dark and extremely cold in the winter, creating a large temperature difference between the polar region and the mid-latitudes.
Shindell’s model predicts that if greenhouse gases continue to increase, winter in the Northern Hemisphere will continue to warm. “In our model, we’re seeing a very large signal of global warming and it’s not a naturally occurring thing. It’s most likely linked to greenhouse gases,” he said.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed ‘science’ journal, Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v399/n6735/abs/399452a0.html
Schmidt and others also published commentary on their study here: http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/shindell_04/
Although inexplicably, for such a momentous study, published in one of the world’s leading scientific journals, there was one person with a keen interest in climate science who didn’t spot it:
With the help of the severe weather analyst John Mason and the Climate Science Rapid Response Team(1), I’ve been through as much of the scientific literature as I can lay hands on.
That’s right – George Monbiot and the “Climate Science Rapid Response Team,” in their exhaustive search concerning atmospheric circulation, global warming and the effect they have on winter in the northern hemisphere, apparently missed both this major study in a leading science journal AND the press releases on NASA’s own website.
What’s particularly comical about this is that the “Climate Science Rapid Response Team” claims to have scientists from NASA working for them, which means that an a team of climate scientists, some of them from NASA, apparently can’t find a relevant study on climate change in a leading scientific journal. http://www.climaterapidresponse.org/about.php
So what do have? One agency of the US government says global warming will lead to warmer winters due to alteration of atmospheric circulation over the Arctic. Another agency says the opposite. Meanwhile, one of the most prominent pro-AGW journalists can’t even seem to find clearly relevant studies in a major science journal, even with the help of a “Climate Science Rapid Response Team”.
All of which leads one to ask the obvious question: Who’s running this circus?