Icing The Hype
Jan 07, 2008
Ski Areas Nationwide Rejoice over Super Snow Conditions

Associated Press

"This is our best opening since 1977,” said Adriana Blake, marketing director for Taos. The resort couldn’t open for Thanksgiving but later got 68 inches in a week. “This is crazy. It never snows like this.”
Then the jet stream moved south, and the snow began to fall, and fall, and fall. Wolf Creek, Colo., which usually has the deepest base in the state, has suffered for the past two years. It debuted in late November with less than 10 inches. A week before Christmas, it had 115 inches.

“It is spectacular. For the first time in recent history, the industry is up and operating across the country,” said Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association.

Sugarbush was close to being 100 percent booked for Christmas, a record for the Vermont resort. Also in Vermont, Mad River Glen, which relies mostly on natural snow, reported 100 percent open. New England struggled last year. The Vermont Ski Areas Association said 59 percent of Vermont’s 1,242 trails were open as of Dec. 10, compared with 14 percent at the same time last year.

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New England ski resorts enjoyed the flurry of storms after last year’s lack of snow early in the season. In Maine, it provided a fresh layer on top of the roughly 6 feet that the state’s two biggest ski resorts, Sugarloaf USA and Sunday River, each got last month. “It’s been unbelievable,” Sugarloaf spokesman Bill Swain said. “It just keeps coming.”

The snow has been good from the start at Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, the busiest resort in North America.

Icecap Note: This weekend storm has dumped a ton more snow from the western mountains to Colorado. Although the warmth and rains at the back edge of the warm air will erode away some of the snow further east, more cold and more snow is on the way


Jan 06, 2008
Br-r-r! Where did global warming go?

By Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe Columnist

THE STARK headline appeared just over a year ago. “2007 to be ‘warmest on record,’ “ BBC News reported on Jan. 4, 2007. Citing experts in the British government’s Meteorological Office, the story announced that “the world is likely to experience the warmest year on record in 2007,” surpassing the all-time high reached in 1998. But a funny thing happened on the way to the planetary hot flash: Much of the planet grew bitterly cold.

In South America, for example, the start of winter last year was one of the coldest ever observed. According to Eugenio Hackbart, chief meteorologist of the MetSul Weather Center in Brazil, “a brutal cold wave brought record low temperatures, widespread frost, snow, and major energy disruption.” In Buenos Aires, it snowed for the first time in 89 years, while in Peru the cold was so intense that hundreds of people died and the government declared a state of emergency in 14 of the country’s 24 provinces. In August, Chile’s agriculture minister lamented “the toughest winter we have seen in the past 50 years,” which caused losses of at least $200 million in destroyed crops and livestock. Latin Americans weren’t the only ones shivering. University of Oklahoma geophysicist David Deming, a specialist in temperature and heat flow, notes in the Washington Times that “unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007.” Johannesburg experienced its first significant snowfall in a quarter-century. Australia had its coldest ever June. New Zealand’s vineyards lost much of their 2007 harvest when spring temperatures dropped to record lows.

Closer to home, 44.5 inches of snow fell in New Hampshire last month, breaking the previous record of 43 inches, set in 1876. And the Canadian government is forecasting the coldest winter in 15 years

Given the number of worldwide cold events, it is no surprise that 2007 didn’t turn out to be the warmest ever. In fact, 2007’s global temperature was essentially the same as that in 2006 - and 2005, and 2004, and every year back to 2001. The record set in 1998 has not been surpassed. For nearly a decade now, there has been no global warming. Even though atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to accumulate - it’s up about 4 percent since 1998 - the global mean temperature has remained flat. That raises some obvious questions about the theory that CO2 is the cause of climate change. Read more here.


Jan 05, 2008
Alarming Weather and Global Warming

By Andrew Revkin, New York Times DotEarth

Our provocative science columnist John Tierney endured a hailstorm of responses for a column and blog post this week on the tendency of some climate campaigners to focus on extreme weather as a selling point for cutting greenhouse gases. Today he’s posted an explanation and defense of his view, echoing a lot of what I’ve been writing over the past several years.

And, as I blogged recently, the media definitely have a tendency to get seduced by the “front page thought” when dealing with questions about climate and, say, hurricanes, and thus can miss the legitimate questions still surrounding the science that explores links of that sort.

John and I often disagree, and we definitely have different roles in the media landscape. But on this overarching theme there’s synchrony. Readv more here. See both Tierney columns below.


Jan 04, 2008
Weather Alarmism as a Noble Strategy

By John Tierney, New York Times

Amidst the denunciations of my column and post on weather alarmism, there was a calm question from one critic, Annie Jia: “What is your purpose in writing these articles, aside from making climate-change-is-a-problem advocates look bad, and making climate skeptics happy, and making yourself appear smart by debunking “popular wisdom”? Shouldn’t journalism be more responsible and purposeful than that, and be geared towards some positive end?”

I’ll spare you the usual lecture on journalism being a search for the pure truth no matter where it leads. Journalists, especially columnists, want to tell the truth while also performing some useful public service, and we’re inevitably selective in what we choose to write about. So why did I write about the weaknesses in some of the alarms being raised about global warming? Even if some availability entrepreneurs like Al Gore are mistakenly attributing isolated weather events to global warming, aren’t they serving a noble purpose by getting an otherwise apathetic public to take action against a real problem?

I hope we don’t spend the new few decades watching dueling entrepreneurs trying to turn every weather anomaly into an argument about what humans are doing to the climate. It would be nice to think that we, unlike the ancients who propitiated the gods with human sacrifices, could accept the fact that it’s natural for unusual weather to occur - that the weirdest year of all would be one in which no record was set anywhere. Indulging our superstitious impulses isn’t going to help us deal with the scientific uncertainties ahead. Read more here.


Jan 04, 2008
In 2008, a 100 Percent Chance of Alarm

By John Tierney, New York Times

I’d like to wish you a happy New Year, but I’m afraid I have a different sort of prediction. You’re in for very bad weather. In 2008, your television will bring you image after frightening image of natural havoc linked to global warming. You will be told that such bizarre weather must be a sign of dangerous climate change - and that these images are a mere preview of what’s in store unless we act quickly to cool the planet.

Unfortunately, I can’t be more specific. I don’t know if disaster will come by flood or drought, hurricane or blizzard, fire or ice. But there’s bound to be some weird weather somewhere, and we will react like the sailors in the Book of Jonah. When a storm hit their ship, they didn’t ascribe it to a seasonal weather pattern. They quickly identified the cause (Jonah’s sinfulness) and agreed to an appropriate policy response (throw Jonah overboard).

Today’s interpreters of the weather are what social scientists call availability entrepreneurs: the activists, journalists and publicity-savvy scientists who selectively monitor the globe looking for newsworthy evidence of a new form of sinfulness, burning fossil fuels.

A year ago, British meteorologists made headlines predicting that the buildup of greenhouse gases would help make 2007 the hottest year on record. At year’s end, even though the British scientists reported the global temperature average was not a new record - it was actually lower than any year since 2001 - the BBC confidently proclaimed, “2007 Data Confirms Warming Trend.” When the Arctic sea ice last year hit the lowest level ever recorded by satellites, it was big news and heralded as a sign that the whole planet was warming. When the Antarctic sea ice last year reached the highest level ever recorded by satellites, it was pretty much ignored. A large part of Antarctica has been cooling recently, but most coverage of that continent has focused on one small part that has warmed.  Read more here.

UPDATE: In a January 2, 2008 editorial in Investor’s Business Daily, The Times - They Are A-Changin’, they opine: “We hope Tierney’s piece signals the beginning of a fair and balanced debate on the Earth’s climate and man’s impact on it in the mainstream media, including all the inconvenient truths that are fit to print.”


Jan 02, 2008
Man-Made Global Warming ‘Bites the Dust’

By Bob Stuart, Planet News

Jackson Hole, Wyoming - With headlines blaring “Catastrophe is imminent,” many are convinced that anthropogenic (man-made) global warming is fact and a crisis. We’re told the debate is over, there’s a scientific consensus, and the few remaining skeptics are “deniers.” Unfortunately for Gore and his minions, those “few” skeptics number in the hundreds if not thousands. A U.S. Senate report released on Dec. 20 details the objections of over 400scientists who have disputed man-made global warming claims. They include Nobel Prize winners and many who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the UN IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and Al Gore. A progression of peer-reviewed studies appearing in publications like the Journal of Geophysical Research and the International Journal of Climatology prompted astronomer Dr. Ian Wilson to declare, “Anthropogenic global warming bites the dust.”

Denis G. Rancourt, professor of physics at the University of Ottawa opines: “I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels, backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth.” We must resist the politicization of science. A split has occurred between politically driven “official” science and science that is “determined by what is actually happening with the [climate] data,” says Dr. David Evans. It’s a dangerous time for science and politics, and while science historically wins these battles, grave harm occurs. We must learn to adapt to inevitable climate change, and reject the fear-mongering of power-driven elitists.  Read more here.


Jan 02, 2008
Editorial: Global Warming ‘Consensus’ a Fiction

An Orange County Register editorial

Global warming hype peaked in 2007 with calls for vast increases in government control to stifle industrial growth, eliminate fossil fuels and impose new carbon taxes. We were told desperate measures are needed because there’s a scientific “consensus” that man-made greenhouse gases are increasing dangerously. Former Vice President Al Gore claimed there’s no legitimate objection to the catastrophes he and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict. All this received much media coverage and support from politicians and government bureaucrats, who stand to gain control if we heed their warnings. The problem is, there’s noscientific consensus for doomsday claims, let alone that drastic remedies are needed.

Growing numbers of global warming science skeptics are making their opposition known. They include experts in climatology, oceanography, geology, biology, environmental sciences and physics, among others. They are affiliated with prestigious institutions worldwide, including Harvard, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, MIT, the International Arctic Research Center, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and many others. Many shared a portion of IPCC’s 2007 Nobel Peace Prize (co-won with Mr. Gore), and others have won previous Nobel Prizes for their research.

A U.S. Senate report accumulated more than 400 of their views to refute Mr. Gore’s claim of “consensus.” Read more of this editorial here.


Jan 01, 2008
Newsweek’s Prophetess of Doom Wonders ‘Why We Were So Stupid’

By Tim Graham, Newsbusters

Some journalists are so confident that we’re already cooked by global warming that they’re scolding ignorant Americans in advance for all the now-unpreventable doom that’s coming our way. Newsweek’s Sharon Begley rings in the new year by shaking her head at the Stupid, Soon to Be Overheated Majority and how we’ll have to adapt to being cooked: “As scientists and policy types figure out what changes will be necessary to cope with global warming, it’s obvious that massive sea walls will be required to hold back rising oceans, that enormous new reservoirs will be needed to cope with the alternating droughts and deluges that many regions will suffer and that a crash program to develop heat- and drought-resistant crops would be a good idea if people are to keep eating....”

I’d love to see Begley face the idea that news magazines and other scientific sages saw the opposite weather threat in the 1970s. As R. Warren Anderson and Dan Gainor laid out in the Business and Media Institute report Fire and Ice.

Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center


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