Anonymous
Anonymous asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 1 decade ago

Can individual weather events, like the recent cold weather, be linked to global warming?

Do record snow storms, cold spells etc mean the earth is getting cooler and do record heatwaves and droughts mean the earth is getting warmer?

I thought that they were separate things (i.e. weather and climate) but apparently a lead author of the IPCC said, following the heatwave of 2003, that: [QUOTE]

"I think there are very good reasons to believe that the current U.S. heat wave is at least partly caused by global warming," Kevin Trenberth, one of the nation's top global-warming computer modelers, wrote in an e-mail.

The same article quotes the climatologist, Michael Mann as saying ""As we see more and more such record-breaking extremes," Mann said, "we can increasingly implicate climate change for the shift. This holds for heat waves, droughts and intense tropical storms"

And a third climate researcher adds ""What is worrisome," said Claudia Tebaldi, a climate statistician who works at the Boulder research center, "is that climate models all agree on the intensification of heat waves in the future."

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Okay, please help, i am *genuinely* confused here. Can individual weather events be ascribed to global warming / climate change or not?

source for quotes was the San Francisco Chronicle. Link:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/...

13 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    No!

    ... unless you can show that the type of event is increasing or decreasing, in frequency or intensity, when compared to the historical average, then you could say that the climate is changing. and climate changes are a predicted consequence of global warming.

    The only way to measure global warming is to measure average GLOBAL temperatures over a decade or so (in order to average out the El Nino/La Nina cycle) and compare to the historical trend.

    So, in short, a changing trend in weather events, probably, but individual weather events, no.

    ================

    What might be worth asking is 'have there been more record warm events than record cold events in the last decade? I would expect the answer would be 'warm events' but I don't really know. Is anyone counting?

  • Mary
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    was she being sarcastic? Global warming is a global thing, there will be variations in temperatures, and the whole thing is "only" a couple degrees we are talking about. the thing it may do, is change weather patterns, so while it may not seem to be warmer in a certain place you will end up with much more moisture in the air when you shouldnt have it, so we get 15 feet of snow in places, and in some other place they never get rain again. Global warming at this stage doesnt mean that the earth is gonna turn into a planet like venus next year, or even mars, but there will be many changes that could be very destructive.

  • 1 decade ago

    No, individual weather events should not be attributed to global warming. Global warming may change the frequency, intensity and distribution of such events, on average--but no single short-term weather event should be blamed on global warming or used as proof against it. As the Earth warms, though, we will see more record breaking warm events and fewer record breaking cold events (this is already being seen). But an individual event, such as Hurricane Katrina, should definitely NOT be blamed on global warming, and it was irresponsible of some people to do that. I don't think any atmospheric scientist did that.

    I don't want to interpret Kevin Trenberth's stolen email--people could email him and ask him if they're really interested. I would second that he is a very smart guy. If people don't believe that, take a look at his paper on the quasigeostrophic omega equation and see if you can follow the Jacobian algebra, I get lost every time (it might be time to try again).

    http://marrella.meteor.wisc.edu/Trenberth.pdf

  • 1 decade ago

    Individual events mean very little, on their own. What you have to consider is the average temperatures all around the world, not just what happens in one place for one specific period of time. In the Northeast of the United States we are seeing less intense Winters AND Summers, but the Springs start a little later each year, and the Falls are staying more temperate, even into December. The carbon dioxide issue is simply a matter of (exceeding) capacity. In 1950 there were a little more than 2 billion people in the world, and the majority of them still lived in simple, rural, agrarian communities. 60 years later there are 6.2 Billion people in the world, and the majority of them live more sophisticated lives in urban and suburban communities. In 1950, in the US, most families had a single car, if they had a car at all. Today, the average US family has 2.5 cars and the consume many more highly produced goods. Couple all this increase with the sharp reduction of the tropical rain forests and old growth forests. The forests that are still around can only convert just so much CO2 into oxygen and water vapor. The rest is going unprocessed, and stays in the atmosphere conducting more and more heat.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Unfortunately the usual suspect liberals never took sufficient science to comprehend that the sun both warms and cools the earth. When it is in a high sunspot mode as it was from the end of the Maunder minimum in about 1710 the planets that orbit it warm up depending on the output level of the sun. And when the sun goes into a low output solar minimum the planets that orbit it cool down. But apparently this which any moderate or conservative mind easily accepts is just to complicated for the average or even exceptional liberal mind to comprehend. Really it is very easy, sun warms up planets warm up, sun cools down planets cool down. It really is so extremely simple and easy to comprehend and I learned this in 6th grade when I was only about 11 years old, why do liberal minds have so much difficulty grasping such simple basic science.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:0Master_Past_200...

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/global_warming.h...

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data....

    http://reasonmclucus.tripod.com/CO2myth.html

    http://mc-computing.com/qs/Global_Warming/Atmosphe...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation

    Where the heat came from and why it was abnormally cold previously

    http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~dbunny/research/global/215....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_minimum

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum

  • JimZ
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    http://climatesanity.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/kevi...

    One of the hacked Climate Research Unit (CRU) emails that is raising a few eyebrows is from October 12th of this year, from Kevin Trenberth to Micheal Mann (the original shamed author of the Hockey Stick). Trenberth is talking about the cold weather the world has seen lately, and in particular, the cold weather being experienced where he and NCAR reside, in Boulder, Colorado. He says it is a “travesty” that this “lack of warming at the moment” can’t be accounted for.

    Here is a man that isn't interested in the truth. He is merely dissapointed that he can't find the evidence to support his preconceived idiocy. I would take what they say with a grain of salt. They are not to be trusted. They have an agenda and science isn't included. Increased greenhouse gases should lower the temperature gradient not increase it. They know this. They simply lie about it.

  • 1 decade ago

    What these scientist are saying is that single events are not necessarily an indicator of any sort of climate change, but that as the Earth warms extreme weather is one of the predictions.

    The current storms are almost entirely due to a strong El Nino event, the last of which we had in 1997-1998. These events are well documented, in fact the large El Nino of 1942-43 was responsible for the extreme winter conditions that halted Hilter's conquest of Russian.

    The trend is what is important not individual events.

  • 1 decade ago

    "Can individual weather events, like the recent cold weather, be linked to global warming?"

    No.

    "Do record snow storms, cold spells etc mean the earth is getting cooler and do record heatwaves and droughts mean the earth is getting warmer?"

    No. You have to look at the frequency of these events over time. If the frequency of record heat increases and the frequency of record cold decreases (as has happened over the past several decades), it's an indicator that the planet is warming.

    Or you could just look at the global temperature record.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lr...

    Note that even the Bush Administration's science advisor and energy secretary signed off on a report which concluded

    "Heavy precipitation events averaged over North America have increased over the past 50 years, consistent with the observed increases in atmospheric water vapor, which have been associated with human-induced increases in greenhouse gases."

    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap3-3/f...

    This is not a controversial claim. They're talking about increases in frequency and intensity over a span of decades, not individual events.

    Trenberth: "I think there are very good reasons to believe that the current U.S. heat wave is at least partly caused by global warming,"

    I can't comment on this without knowing what good reasons he has in mind. Trenberth is a very smart guy so I don't want to dismiss this statement witout knowing what he's talking about. Note that he's choosing his words carefully - "very good reasons to believe...partially caused". He's not saying "this heat wave was caused by global warming!!".

    Mann: "As we see more and more such record-breaking extremes we can increasingly implicate climate change for the shift. This holds for heat waves, droughts and intense tropical storms"

    Correct. Note he's talking about increasing frequency, not about individual events.

    Tebaldi: "What is worrisome is that climate models all agree on the intensification of heat waves in the future."

    Correct. Again we're talking about more frequent and more intense heat waves on average, not talking about any single individual heat wave.

    *edit* jim z is not surprisingly misrepresenting what Trenberth's email to Mann was talking about. See Myth #14 here:

    http://www.ecohuddle.com/wiki/global-warming-myths

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No They tried to Blame Global Warming on Katrina . It is a big Hoax and scam .

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes O-Zone Al has become worried about his big hoax, so know he changed it to climate change.

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