Annals of Global Warming: Polar vortex, explained in two minutes

As captioned in the Boston Globe:   Reuters  Frozen breath formed ice around the face of a Minneapolis resident on Wednesday.

As captioned in the Boston Globe: Reuters photo.  Frozen breath formed ice around the face of a Minneapolis resident on Wednesday.

2013 will probably rank as one of the top 10 hottest years in human history, and 2014 is on track to join 2013.

You wouldn’t know that from the denialists and those in thrall to them, who claim freak snow storms and historic cold show warming has stopped — though the snow and cold are caused by a breakdown in the jetstream and a slipping of the polar vortex, probably caused by global warming.

A two-minute explanation, from White House Science Advisor John Holdren:

White House description:

Published on Jan 8, 2014

President Obama’s Science and Technology Advisor, Dr. John Holdren, explains the polar vortex in 2 minutes—and why climate change makes extreme weather more likely going forward. Learn more at January 8, 2014.


14 Responses to Annals of Global Warming: Polar vortex, explained in two minutes

  1. Black Flag® says:

    Wouldn’t worry about Greenland melting, and humans have nothing to do with it if it should or should not.

    First, what little is melting is due to volcano activity under the sheet
    Second, there is nothing out of the ordinary about Arctic Ice growing and shrinking – been doing that for a few 100,000 years.

    Guess you don’t remember Eric the Red’s voyages, huh?


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Causing the Greenland ice sheet to melt and slip into the ocean is more than “spitting in the ocean.”

    Go look at that Sesame Street video again. Scale is important.


  3. Black Flag® says:

    Humans are irrelevant in nature, Ed.

    You are spitting in the ocean, arguing it raises the sea level.


  4. Ed Darrell says:

    We blame humans for what humans do. Slick sidewalk from the rain? Humans made the sidewalk, and humans can engineer the concrete not to be slick when wet.

    Global warming? Humans have dramatically increased the amount of greenhouse gases, dramatically increasing the greenhouse effect, and prompting warming above the 20th century average.

    We can fix that, too.

    Human causation of environmental disasters is not new, not even modern. The collapse of the irrigation systems around Babylon, the destruction of the farmlands around the Yellow River, the destruction of the forests of Lebanon, the salting of the orchards and fields of Carthage, the over-grazing of the Great Basin, the mismanagement of American forests leading to the fires of 1908 and 1910, the overplowing that led to the Great Dust Bowl, the diversion of water that doomed the Aral Sea — humans change the environment and thereby cause catastrophes way, way too often.

    Can we learn?

    “Experience keeps a dear school,” Ben Franklin said. “But some will learn in no other.”

    Too band for humans, eh?


  5. Black Flag® says:

    Ed, its you who fails the cause/effect calculation, not I

    You blame man, not nature.


  6. Ed Darrell says:

    You and your ilk live by your own self-generated truth that wet sidewalks cause rain.

    You can think that dry sidewalks will prevent rain; the Constitution gives you the right to believe any fool thing you wish, and to tell others about it.

    However, neither the Constitution nor any other law compels people to follow your contrary-to-nature or contrary-to-common-sense beliefs.

    And your denial that rain wets sidewalks doesn’t make it so.


  7. Ed Darrell says:

    John Quiggin chimes in, with shout-out to Al Roker:


  8. Black Flag® says:

    You and your ilk live by your own self-generated truth that wet sidewalks cause rain.


  9. Black Flag® says:

    Absolutely False!

    The Jet stream has not broken down.
    There is nothing “abnormal” about a polar vortex
    There is nothing “abnormal” about the North Pole having a different, even warmer, temperature than somewhere else.
    There is absolutely nothing abnormal about these conditions whatsoever.


  10. Ed Darrell says:

    “Lexington Libertarian” took issue with the video, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what reality might stand behind those views. Among other things, LexLib said this cold streak “plays havoc” with climate models — though without explaining how.

    So, over there, I responded (but LexLib has yet to approve the comment from moderation — will s/he ever?):

    This cold plays zero havoc with climate models, especially considering nearly all the rest of the world experiences record high temps right now, especially in the Northern Hemisphere.

    Pay attention to the video. The weather of the North Pole has slipped out of place; while it brings record cold to those spots under the vortex, it means record warm weather is at the North Pole — exactly what global warming warns us about.

    The jet stream broke down. That’s not normal.

    Polar weather slipped south. That’s not normal.

    Temperatures at the North Pole are what Seattle normally experiences. That’s not normal.

    On average, temperatures across the planet are warmer than usual — which means they must be astonishingly warm to cancel out the record cold we’ve seen in the U.S.

    And you claim this means climate is cooling and getting less extreme?

    You may be one of the first to drown in Denial.


  11. […] Annals of Global Warming: Polar vortex, explained in two minutes […]


  12. Black Flag® says:


    Nope, FACTUAL – but to your ilk of zealots, facts are dishonest!


  13. Ed Darrell says:

    Better to be brainless than dishonest. Sea cucumbers at least perform valuable filtering of water. Denialists, not so much.


  14. Black Flag® says:

    Yes, the Anthropogenic Causation of Climate zealots, no matter what happens, it human caused.

    “There is no snow!” – Man’s fault.
    “There is too much snow!” – Man’s fault
    “There is the same amount of snow” – Man’s fault.

    Your ilk is utterly brainless.


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