Al-Sicle

Frozen Gore

Ha! Well, I appreciate the artistic effort that was put into this meme, and… that’s about it.

Okay, global warming deniers (I refuse to call you skeptics), I know this has been explained to you before but I’ll say it again. Look at me so I know you’re listening. Repeat after me: Climate is not the same as weather. Weather is all about day-to-day variations in temperature and precipitation, but climate is more of a big-picture concept. When you talk about climate, you’re talking about average temperature and precipitation patterns for a region as measured over a long period of time. Climate certainly impacts weather, but a single day’s weather (or even a single season’s weather) does not automatically inform you about the entire climate or what changes might be happening to it.

So please…please…stop embarrassing yourselves by insisting that every flake of snow is another nail in the coffin of global warming. Be aware that global warming models predict a wide range of consequences, not just hellish summers and super-hurricanes. In fact, some models predict – wait for it – devastating arctic blasts. I’m not saying this particular arctic weather system is a direct consequence of global warming; I’m just saying that climate scientists are definitely not advising you to throw away your parka.

Also…do we really need to delve into another debate about what Al Gore did or didn’t say? I’ve seen numerous references to Gore’s alleged prediction that the arctic would be ice-free by 2014 (and not just in stupid memes), but very few of these references actually provide the context. In the few that do, we see that Gore was talking about a study by Wieslaw Maslowski at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California. Maslowski’s study warned that ice levels in autumn (not all year) could reach dangerously low levels between 2011 and 2016. Somebody misinterpreted Maslowski’s conclusions (through deliberate malice or simple scientific illiteracy – we may never know) and put them into Gore’s mouth. Why? Because global warming deniers hate Al Gore almost as much as they hate learning about climate science.

Regardless of whether Al Gore made such a specific claim, we must keep in mind that Gore is at best a science popularizer, not an actual scientist. If Gore recants everything he’s ever said about global warming tomorrow, or if he says that global warming is caused by invisible leprechauns from the Eighteenth Dimension, that doesn’t diminish the very real body of evidence showing that global warming is real, and human activity is the cause.

I’ll tell you this much: I sure am glad the author concluded his badly-informed meme with a confusing and unrelated jab at Obama. I might have had a hard time determining the author’s political convictions if he hadn’t made them so painfully obvious.

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