Friday, February 12, 2010

One day of snow does not a climate change

Who knew that James M. Inhofe, Republican senator from Oklahoma, was a climatologist?

Oh. That's right. He's not.

Anyone who selects a particular storm to prove or disprove climate change just does not understand weather or climate, or what the difference is between the two. So, just because it snows way more than average in the usually milder parts of the U.S., does not mean the climate is changing or getting cooler.

Inhofe, the same guy who openly disdains the theory of evolution, was delighted with this week's mid-Atlantic blizzard because "snow" is the opposite of "warming." Or something like that. No one knows how his mind works.

Why argue that the atmosphere's average temperature is not increasing, when careful measurements show that it has over the past century? Heaven forbid that the federal government has to do something to slow the rate of carbon dioxide emissions. That's bad for business.

Oh. Wait a second. That's right. Developing and building alternative energy sources is good for business. That might mean most of the cars in the U.S. would have to be replaced, which would benefit the auto industry.

Some people might have to be put to work building and erecting windmill power turbines, or building nuclear power plants.

That's why China is is becoming the world's supplier of wind turbine blades.

And, incidentally, the horrible explosion at the under-construction power plant in Middletown this week created more casualties than any nuclear power plant accident in the U.S., ever. Three Mile Island? No one injured, no one dead.

As for the climate, consider this: warmer oceans put more water vapor in the air. If that extra water vapor happens to collide with cold air, you get lots of snow. If it gets wound into a hurricane, the result is a stronger hurricane. This is a gross over simplification, but the point is that virtually all climatologists predict that global warming would create exactly this kind of weather extreme.

A warmer planet, incidentally, does not mean that every place on Earth is like Miami. The global temperature is an average. Climate change could leave some parts of the world parched and hot, while other areas become cold and snowy.

Places like Oklahoma might experience more frequent and stronger tornadoes.

Does Inhofe believe in tornadoes?