Did Global Warming Prevent a Record-Breaking D.C. Snowstorm?

We haven’t seen any media stories relating global warming to the Wednesday’s weather in D.C.

We are certain that this would not have been the case had more than 11.5 inches of snow accumulated at Reagan National Airport, as it would have set the District’s all-time daily March snowfall record. Exceeding 8.5 inches would have set the record daily March snowfall observed at DCA (an accumulation well within the forecast range) and would probably have generated some global warming comments (after all, they were already waiting in the wings).

Is it only us, or does it seem that postmortem analyses of weather events only include the “consistent with human-caused global warming” meme when the event caused harm and suffering?

If our pernicious industrial activity impacts “extreme” weather, doesn’t it impact the non-extreme as well?

Despite what the global warming alarmists would like you to believe, there are a lot more of the latter than the former!

So was Wednesday’s non-record-breaking non-extreme non-snowstorm in D.C. “consistent with global warming?”

The simple answer: sure!

The temperature was just a wee bit too high for the snow to stick. And human emissions of greenhouse gases have caused a wee bit of temperature rise. Voila! Consistency.

Of course, the picture is much more complicated than that, involving all sorts of complex atmospheric dynamics, surface temperature patterns, storm timing, cloud cover, moisture content, etc., any of which may have been affected by global warming. With so many conflicting and complementary processes involved, the net effect of any global warming influence would be virtually impossible to know or ascertain.

Such is the case with all weather events, extreme or otherwise.

That is why suggestions that global warming made any event worse are by and large scientifically unprovable and exist only to grab attention.

The same applies to suggestions that global warming makes weather events less worse, such as this post!

The best approach is to stick to the null hypothesis—that all events fall within their natural characteristics.

The null hypothesis is a tough one to overturn.

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Global Science Report is a weekly feature from the Center for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media. For broader and more technical perspectives, consult our monthly “Current Wisdom.”

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26 thoughts on “Did Global Warming Prevent a Record-Breaking D.C. Snowstorm?

  1. Sacrilege alert, use of logic, humour and suggesting warmer weather might be beneficial.
    This is now a “Hate ” crime in Canada, truth is no defence.
    Any chance we could sell you Americans some Supreme Court Judges?
    Guaranteed; Brains never been unpacked or used.

  2. I do wish the Thermogeddon Folks would see the simple truth: Reducing all this chaos to a gnat’s fart worth of Carbon Dioxide is just idiotic.

  3. It’s because they named the storm “Snowquester”. In spite of the hype, it had just as much impact as the sequester.

  4. “…We are certain that this would not have been the case had more than 11.5 inches of snow accumulated at Reagan National Airport, as it would have set the District’s all-time daily March snowfall record. Exceeding 8.5 inches would have set the record daily March snowfall observed at DCA (an accumulation well within the forecast range) and would probably have generated some global warming comments (after all, they were already waiting in the wings)…”

    Reagan National and DCA are the same airport. DCA is the airline three digit code for Reagan National. Perhaps the airline code is mistyped?

  5. “The null hypothesis is a tough one to overturn.” Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger and Patrick J. Michaels

    Struth

  6. that’s gold, also comment by Mike Bromley the Canucklehead
    the tax-payer funded Climate Clowns in Oz tell us to ‘expect more of this’ if there’s a drought or a flood, so surely we can expect more average days when the weather is average?

  7. No, it wasn’t the fault of global warming, nor that of the TV meteorologists. It was those damned computer “models” that have overtaken everyone’s minds that failed (you know, the ones that can’t predict tonight’s weather, but can tell us we’re all going to die in the next 25-50 years)!
    (Hey Anthony, when are you going to repost a picture of that can of “Whoop Ass?” Ever since it’s been framed and on prominent display in my wife’s shop, no one has argued with her about her prices–they laugh–but it works!) As to “natural characteristics,” and the “null hypothesis:” look at what TV10 in Philly is doing–Glen “Hurricane” Schwartz is now subordinate to “natural and null.”
    Of course, “natural and null” has a push-up bra, and could be compared to a computer “model?”

  8. “so surely we can expect more average days when the weather is average?”

    I might be wrong, but I think the point they are making is that in lots of places the average weather is changing. I read somewhere that 2/3 places are getting hotter on average. As the article said: If our pernicious industrial activity impacts “extreme” weather, doesn’t it impact the non-extreme as well? Which of course it would.

    (Since reading up more about climate on the internet, I have to say this does read like another pretty ordinary article. Not sure what point they are trying to make. For example, it’s a truism say that there are a lot more non-extreme days than extreme ones. If extreme days were normal they wouldn’t be extreme.)

  9. insanity on the other side of the world which will resonate in the US of A:

    8 March: UK Daily Mail: Christopher Booker: SATURDAY ESSAY: Eco madness and how our future is going up in smoke as we pay billions to switch from burning coal to wood chips at Britain’s biggest power station
    Every day, Drax burns 36,000 tons of coal, brought to its vast site by 140 coal trains every week — and it supplies seven per cent of all the electricity used in Britain. That’s enough to light up a good many of our major cities…
    But as a result of a change in Government policy, triggered by EU rules, Drax is about to undergo a major change that would have astonished those who built it in the Seventies and Eighties right next to Selby coalfield, which was then highly productive but has since closed.
    As from next month, Drax will embark on a £700 million switch away from burning coal for which it was designed, in order to convert its six colossal boilers to burn millions of tons a year of wood chips instead.
    Most of these chips will come from trees felled in forests covering a staggering 4,600 square miles in the USA, from where they will be shipped 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to Britain…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2290444/Madness-How-pay-billions-electricity-bills-Britains-biggest-power-station-switch-coal-wood-chips–wont-help-planet-jot.html

  10. In reply to Martin (@9:36 pm),
    In addition to reading more about the climate, environment, and the perilous issues at hand from this excellent website, read also junkscience.com (and Steve Milloy’s book “Green Hell”), climatedepot.com, cfact.org, epaabuse.com and cornwallalliance.org. These are the best sites to gain an unbiased, unfunded (from “big environmentalism” or “big oil”), understanding about what’s happening to America and the world in the name of “environmentalism.” And a big part of our environment is the weather, as wattsupwiththat demonstrates. And if you would like to learn more about the final outcome of government-controlled, “consensus-built” weather reporting and “environmental protection,” go to http://www.freedomadvocates.org., or, as a primer, read this article:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/un_agenda_21_coming_to_a_neigh.html

  11. pat says:
    March 8, 2013 at 10:13 pm
    “insanity on the other side of the world which will resonate in the US of A:’

    This is what happens to countries that have led the intellectual revolutions throughout the ages.
    They can’t perceive their own intellectual limitations, and go completely insane.

  12. Excellent post, thank you!

    john robertson says:
    March 8, 2013 at 7:15 pm
    Sacrilege alert, use of logic, humour and suggesting warmer weather might be beneficial.
    This is now a “Hate ” crime in Canada, truth is no defence.

    Well, use of logic, humor, and pointing to the obvious reality is the way to deal with superstitions. The inquisitions did not found it funny at the time, but reason prevailed in the long run.

    I. Lou Minotti says:
    March 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm
    No, it wasn’t the fault of global warming, nor that of the TV meteorologists. It was those damned computer “models” that have overtaken everyone’s minds that failed

    Models are only tools. The improper use of tools is not the tools fault.

  13. I’d say modern snow plowing did more to prevent a record snowfall than CO2 in DC. The weathermans handbook says subtract 5F from your forecast if there is snow cover. Assuming they do a good job snow plowing in around the DC area, I reckon they removed enough snow cover from the previous stowstorms for the weatherman to deduct only 4F rather than 5F … snowmageddon averted thanks to modern snow plowing.

    PS I’m not being sarcastic, I had a question regarding how snow cover affects local temperature, got my answer of 5F, I started poking around some more then I realized urban heat island definitions do not even take modern snow removal into account! Urban heat island contributors are all about the hot summer stuff. Well, isn’t removing a cooling effect via modern snowplowing (snow melts fast in the cities too due to salt and heat) the same thing as adding a heating effect? I think there may research project here for someone to calculate the bias modern snow removal has on temperature measurements around northern cities. After all, 100 years ago they didn’t remove snow as fast, if at all, in cities. Everthing else equal, except for snowplows, could add a degree or two to winter temperatures for northern cities.

  14. When I googled, I saw that the drifts were so big in Washington they covered the buildings.

    Oh, never mind. My mistake. I googled “Snow jobs.”

  15. As a sort of weather-weenie, it has been fun to frequent the weather-blogs and watch my fellow weather-weenies down in the Washington DC area anguish all winter. They actually deeply desire blizzards and escitement, but haven’t had a decent storm. Meanwhile up here in New England we’ve had enough, are waving a white flag, and yearn for spring.

    Even my snow blower has had enough, and refused to start. I wrote something called, “Digging Out,” describing the thoughts of a grumpy old man as he shovels, up in New Hampshire. It has a picture of how snowy it is up here.

    http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/digging-out/

  16. atheok (March 8, 2013 at 8:31 pm):

    Reagan National and DCA are indeed the same place. Reagan/DCA is now the “official” observing station for Washington DC. But it has only been observing since the 1940s, prior to then other observing stations served that role. So, it would take 11.5 inches at DCA to set the all-time Washington DC daily March snowfall record, but only 8.5 to set the record actually observed at the DCA location.

    Hopefully that makes sense, if not , for more info, follow the first link in my post.

    -Chip

  17. “Chip Knappenberger says: March 9, 2013 at 7:07 am

    atheok (March 8, 2013 at 8:31 pm):

    Reagan National and DCA are indeed the same place. Reagan/DCA is now the “official” observing station for Washington DC. But it has only been observing since the 1940s, prior to then other observing stations served that role. So, it would take 11.5 inches at DCA to set the all-time Washington DC daily March snowfall record, but only 8.5 to set the record actually observed at the DCA location.

    Hopefully that makes sense, if not , for more info, follow the first link in my post.

    -Chip

    Chip: Sort of…
    Reagan National did not become so till recently when Congress decided it was fitting to name. So the all time record would be DCA weather reporting station (11.5″) and Reagan National would be the holder of the shorter time frame record (8.5″)?

    Meaning, if I understand this, that the weather station technically changed location perhaps as it was moved from one part of the airport to another or even more simply underwent a name change?

    Good details for us non-meteorologists to know…

  18. Two weeks ago nine people perished on the Island of Hokkaido, Japan, during the biggest freeze and snow fall ever recorded. I read this in the Sydney Morning Herald, but this failed to appear in any of the main stream TV stations. All we get is ”its getting hotter” “more droughts” type TV coverage particularly from the ABC and SBS . I believe, Man Made Global Warming will go down as the greatest scam of the 21st century. There are government vehicles, here in Oz, with “Department of Climate Change” written on the doors and that’s where our carbon tax dollars are going.

  19. It is a well-known CAGW tenet that no CAGW related event ever causes anything benficial at all. That is why it is called CAGW. Only continued poverty, deprivation and self-flagellation will solved CAGW.

  20. In response to Caleb (6:08 am):
    Don’t wave the white flag! Snow is a harbinger of blessings from above. And thank you for your blog–more men like yourself are needed to guide children in the way of life. Lord bless.

  21. Lars P. says:
    March 9, 2013 at 4:34 am
    …..Models are only tools. The improper use of tools is not the tools fault.
    ————————————–
    It is if it’s a poorly designed tool.
    cn

  22. Caleb says:
    March 9, 2013 at 5:38 am
    When I googled, I saw that the drifts were so big in Washington they covered the buildings.

    Oh, never mind. My mistake. I googled “Snow jobs.”
    ——————
    Caleb, I’m late to the dance but that’s funny.
    cn

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