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Global climate change

12 February 2010

“Conservative” anti-intellectuals have started getting self-righteous about the fact that this is one of the snowiest winters in history and that this therefore allegedly proves that “global warming” does not exist. What they also forget is having the hottest summers in history in the same period of time, and the rainiest.

Global warming, as it is called, is part of a larger phenomenon called “global climate change”, which also includes “global cooling”, one could say. In depleting the ozone layer, the atmosphere loses its ability to regulate earth’s temperature. The atmosphere acts like a protective shield, redistributing solar radiation across the planet. When this layer thins, the extremes don’t get smoothed over. Instead, winters become colder and summers become hotter. There is no way to move the heat around.

The greenhouse effect, a gradual warming of the earth, still seems debatable to some people. But I urge you to consider that having feet of snow in places like Washington, DC and Boston is now rare. This should, in fact, be a yearly occurrence. The fact that we are hitting record snowfall amounts is irrelevant because these records have only been kept for the past 200 years. We don’t really know what the global climate was like before that point, which is well past the beginning of industrialization.

Far from disproving it, the fact that this is one of the snowiest winters in recorded history is proof that global climate change exists. People who don’t study science shouldn’t conjecture on it without knowing what they are talking about.

Rachel Maddow takes a different approach (same conclusion) ending with an interview with Bill Nye, the legendary scientist from my childhood:

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