Study: Global Warming Causes Cold Winters

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts. By Luke Nadeau from U.S. (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research claims that global warming is the root cause of recent spate of cold winters in the Eastern United States. But don’t worry – as temperatures rise, the warming effect of global warming will overcome the cooling effect of global warming.

The abstract of the study;

Recent amplification of the North American winter temperature dipole

Deepti Singh,
Daniel L. Swain,
Justin S. Mankin,
Daniel E. Horton,
Leif N. Thomas,
Bala Rajaratnam,
Noah S. Diffenbaugh

During the winters of 2013–2014 and 2014–2015, anomalously warm temperatures in western North America and anomalously cool temperatures in eastern North America resulted in substantial human and environmental impacts. Motivated by the impacts of these concurrent temperature extremes and the intrinsic atmospheric linkage between weather conditions in the western and eastern United States, we investigate the occurrence of concurrent “warm-West/cool-East” surface temperature anomalies, which we call the “North American winter temperature dipole.” We find that, historically, warm-West/cool-East dipole conditions have been associated with anomalous mid-tropospheric ridging over western North America and downstream troughing over eastern North America. We also find that the occurrence and severity of warm-West/cool-East events have increased significantly between 1980 and 2015, driven largely by an increase in the frequency with which high-amplitude “ridge-trough” wave patterns result in simultaneous severe temperature conditions in both the West and East. Using a large single-model ensemble of climate simulations, we show that the observed positive trend in the warm-West/cool-East events is attributable to historical anthropogenic emissions including greenhouse gases, but that the co-occurrence of extreme western warmth and eastern cold will likely decrease in the future as winter temperatures warm dramatically across the continent, thereby reducing the occurrence of severely cold conditions in the East. Although our analysis is focused on one particular region, our analysis framework is generally transferable to the physical conditions shaping different types of extreme events around the globe.

Read more:

What can I say – climate models seem to be much better at “explaining” climate events which have occurred, than predicting climate events which will occur.


124 thoughts on “Study: Global Warming Causes Cold Winters

  1. Off piste-

    James Lovelock changing his tune.

    “Lovelock now believes that “CO2 is going up, but nowhere near as fast as they thought it would. The computer models just weren’t reliable. In fact,” he goes on breezily, “I’m not sure the whole thing isn’t crazy, this climate change. You’ve only got to look at Singapore. It’s two-and-a-half times higher than the worst-case scenario for climate change, and it’s one of the most desirable cities in the world to live in.”

    • richard October 2, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      You spotted an amazing turn-around. Lovelock, is one person who can change his mind when he sees that scientific observations prove him wrong. He has just changed his mind about his famous Gaia theories and I salute him for that. Not only that, but he now approves of fracking. I am further surprised by the fact that the Guardian does a fair and accurate report of this. We need more honest opinions from the global warming establishment.

      • Bernie, the ice age cycles are still in progress, but you are correct that man is not a key player.

      • Blasphemer!!! CO2 is the cause of EVERYTHING!!!
        Next time I get pulled over by a police officer, I will say “Sorry Officer- it was too much CO2 in the atmosphere that caused my car to go too fast.” Wonder how that will turn out.

      • Claiming trends and predicting the future based on 35 years of weather data (1980-2015) is like predicting next years’ stock-market movement based on two seconds’ worth of trading data.

    • Who’s been watching ‘The Day After Tomorrow’? It’s not surprising that they would blame a cooling climate on AGW. They can’t tax the Sun!

      • Global warming is causing the decline in sunspots, therefore a cooling of the atmosphere and a new ice age. Further effects like massive flooding, retreating glaciers in the Himalayas and the Alps, the reduction of the Arctic sea ice, sea level rise and Antarctic iceberg calving are on the increase and adding to the demise of harbors around the world.
        The population of various species (like polar bears) are on a decline and the North West Passage is now open to cruise ships year round ( as long as guided by Russian nuclear icebreakers). It is all being interconnected due to the immense rise of C02 , methane “bubbles” and the retreat of the tundra in the summer months.
        There you go all in a nutshell and you are free to add whatever you can think off. But I tell you it starts with C02 causing the decline in sunspots.

      • “Global Drought Causing World Wide Flooding ! ! !”

        Well, according to Tim Flannery, Man Made Global Warming has brought us a permanent drought here in Australia, and this drought seems to be causing a fair amount of flooding in recent years.

    • “Global Warming Causes Cold Winters”

      Seems odd, knowing that cold is the absence of warmth…

      • Next they’ll proclaim that the warming Earth is radiating extra heat to the Moon and causing flooding there.

      • …we show that the observed positive trend in the warm-West/cool-East events is attributable to historical anthropogenic emissions including greenhouse gases, but that the co-occurrence of extreme western warmth and eastern cold will likely decrease in the future as winter temperatures warm dramatically across the continent …

        So they attribute it human emissions but predict the opposite effect will happen in the near future …. as human emissions continue to rise.

        ie there’s always a positive correlation therefore it’s man made …. except for times when it’s negative. i

    • Everything. Even the chance of asteroid strikes has been predicted to increase due to global warming.

      • The etheric vibrations of the CO2 molecule resonate with the vibrations of asteroids and pull them towards the earth.

      • “Even the chance of asteroid strikes has been predicted to increase due to global warming”
        Could be true. All the trillions of $s spent on global warming could have been spent on a system of diverting the direction of a threatening asteroid/comet…

      • Actually, I believe the global warmists are increasing the risk of an asteroid strike. God is probably watching the lunacy and, instead of a flood, He might just send another asteroid like Chixulub. Didn’t He say something like, “Thou shalt have no other God before me,” and since the warmists now worship the God of CAGW, … Maybe this time the asteroid impact will allow dinosaurs to replace mammals and the warmists will rejoice that humans will no longer be causing global warming.

    • Your bad case of the hiccups was caused by CO2. Your dog stealing the steak from the dinner table was caused by CO2 global warming. Your kid failing his math test: CO2 strikes again!

  2. Then it is global warming that caused the Little Ice Age, the Dark Ages Cooling Period and even the recent ice ages. Since all this occurred before Mankind started using fossil fuels then global warming must be caused by something other than Mankind.

    • Not so. The teams-temporal vibrations of the CO2 molecule above a certain concentration resonate back through time to cause global cooling to balance the energy of the current and future global warming.
      Can I have a grant to study this?

  3. So , let me get this straight .

    It’s unusually hot on one side of the country , let’s call it +5 . And unusually cold on the other side , let’s call it -5 .

    So the mean is 0 . But that proves the average is increasing ?

  4. Meh, same shtick we’ve been hearing for years. CAGW causes more rain and less rain, more snow and less snow, more droughts and less droughts, higher temps and colder temps, etc… at least the CAGW faithful are sticking to the more intense storms meme despite the what, 11 year drought, in CAT3+ hurricanes making landfall in the US…which may, or may not, end soon. It’s been a crock of fecal matter from the beginning, it’s still a crock of fecal matter.

      • The goal posts are moved by high speed trains so they race up and down all over the place. You never know were the goal posts will appear next!

  5. But … but … CO2 doesn’t cause global warming and we are at the mercy of the oscillations.

  6. In the early days of Global Warming, I used to be able, at least, to follow the argument, but now in the days of ‘Climate Change’, the arguments are becoming so bizarre that I have to just ignore them. There is just so much “Hot is Cold, Dry is Wet, Freezing is Melting” that one can take.

  7. If this warm West, cold East US effect had been a prediction, then it might have some validity. As is, ex post facto, they are playing Texas Marksman.

  8. Make sense to me. I always suspected that the curse of the global warming will plunge the planet into a new ice age. Indeed, it is far worse than expected.

  9. There is modern climate science for you : first you determine what results you wish to achieve with your research – and then you work diligently to find facts which may (or may not, of course) bring about your intended result. Bravo to their ingenuity.

  10. In the past, the term – “study” – meant that there were some rational people involved that did actual science. No more. Now it’s a way to promote an ideology.

  11. It is generally accept seance that Co2 in the earth’s atmosphere causes dimming of the sun by suppressing its magnet activity. Such lower magnetic activity has been shown to decrease the TSI from the sun. It us urgent that all on earth suppress their emission of magnetic activity extinguishing gasses (MAEG) in order to restore the holy Ra to his chariot.

  12. We also know that sunspots cause people to vote on republicans…
    If you try really hard to look for something you will find it eventually.

    CO2 the most mysterious molecule in universe.

    Cold winters is a thing of the past due to CO2

    Winters will be colder due to CO2.

    • In Australia we still mark ballot papers and put them in a box for counting, so your comment about “voting on republicans” interested me.

      Once you’ve voted on your republicans, how do you get them into the ballot box?

  13. We’re heading into another cold winter here. Meridional lobes in the jet stream have warmed parts of Canada during September but significant snow fell in Fort St. John in BC (20cm) and in Grand Prairie Alberta and apparently the cold is going to sweep south and east across the country. Normally where I am we normally stave off the snow until a week or three after Halloween. It doesn’t look promising this year. I could have had the heat on in Ottawa a week ago but I held off on it. Apparently we get a break this week before the sweep from the west reaches us.

    • What does that even mean? “Ensemble” is a group of items, but “single-model” implies one. So what is a “single-model ensemble”? And why should we assume it has any validity? If you gather an ensemble of D students to take your final exam for you, should you expect to get an A on the exam?

  14. So how does this explain record low temperatures in NZ, Australia, South America, Vietnam, et al.
    I have an explanation. The Sun is the primary driver of climate. Notable scientists tell us that due to the activity of the Sun the planet is entering a cooling phase. On the observable evidence I accept that.
    AGW did not predict record low temperatures and has no rational explanation for them.

  15. We find that, historically, warm-West/cool-East dipole conditions have been associated with anomalous mid-tropospheric ridging over western North America and downstream troughing over eastern North America.

    The ridging is the result of anomalously high northern Pacific SST’s, AKA “The Blob”. Joe Bastardi over at WeatherBell has discussed this numerous times in the past few years. There is no explanation for The Blob but its effects are to inject increased Δt into the atmosphere above it, which results in a persistent high pressure dome that diverts the westerlies over the top of it and down into the eastern U.S.

    But never to let the possibility of more anthropogenic-derived calamity to enter the arena of academia, these fools have completely overlooked the obvious, the established, in favor of ridiculous hand-wringing headlines.

  16. Real science is not an immovable object when face with an ideological irresistible force. We are all doomed but not from Global Warming, doomed from totalitarian control.

  17. They are looking like Ptolemy trying to rationalize a geocentric solar system with all the observed celestial events. Deferent, epicycles, equant, etc., whatever was needed to keep the earth at the center. And, of course, it became ingrained in religion.

    It’s almost amusing to watch them torture their models until they match observations. Now, how will they blame future global cooling on manmade warming?

    • It would be funny if it weren’t costing me so much in taxes and utility bills.

      It’s amazing that they can get models to, after the fact, track unusual weather patterns. Before, though, the same models showed no such thing. Versatile models, heh?

  18. This kind of weather pattern also took place during the decade of the 1930’s when atmospheric CO2 was *not* an issue.

    Here are a few newspaper headlines from the time to illustrate:

    1935: “50 Dust Storms In 104 Days

    1935: ‘Black Dusters’ Strike Again In The Texas Dust Bowl {the U.S. and the NH had been under a severe heatwave for the entire decade of the 1930’s, up to this time.}

    1936: “Niagara Falls Freezes Into One Giant Icicle” {notice, East Coast}

    1936: February Was Coldest In U.S. History

    1936: Violent Tornadoes Pummel The {U.S.} South – 300 Dead

    1936: Dust, Snow & Wind Storm Hit Kansas Region In Same Day

    1936: 780 Canadians Die From Heat Wave

    1936: Iowa Heat Wave Has 12 Days of Temperatures Over 100 Degrees

    1936: Heat Wave Deaths In Just One Small U.S. City: 50 Die In
    Springfield, IL

    1936: Missouri Heat Wave: 118 Degrees & 311 Deaths

    1936: Ontario, Canada Suffers 106 Degree Temps During Heat Wave

    1936: Alaska’s 10-Day Heat Wave Tops Out At 108 Degrees

    As you can see, it can be extremely hot and extremely cold in the U.S. in the same time period.

    The reason this happens is a high pressure system is centered over the western third of the U.S., and this keeps the western and central parts of the U.S. super hot, but the jetstream is able to come down into the U.S. along the eastern edge of this high pressure system, bringing cold arctic air with it into the eastern U.S. So we have record hot and cold temperatures during the same period, the difference being one section of the country is underneath a high pressure system and another section is not.

    CO2 has nothing to do with it. This has been going on longer than human-caused atmospheric CO2.

    I saw a NOAA blurb not long ago that said a high pressure system had been sitting over California for the last five years. And California has experienced decades-long droughts in the past, which would be caused by high pressure systems, so California seems to attract this type of weather system.

    Is something like “The blob” the cause of persistent high pressure systems in this area? Something is causing them.

  19. “warm-West/cool-East dipole ”

    since this hypothesis was derived from North American temperature data 1980-2015 it cannot be verified by North American temperature data from 1980-2015 or any sub-sample therefrom. This kind of circular reasoning is surprisingly common in published research. Professor Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University has been waging a one-man war against this kind of scientific mischief for decades.

  20. If I turn on my oven and the kitchen gets warmer, does that mean the refrigerator will get colder?

  21. “we show that the observed positive trend in the warm-West/cool-East events is attributable to historical anthropogenic emissions”
    They HAD to say that or they never would have gotten published.

    • Western Australia presently has a hot North and cold South.
      Perth September minimum was coldest on record back to 1897. Ditto a half dozen more towns within about 150 miles. Some towns in the tropics have had hottest evah months in the hottest evah year. See JoNova blog for more.

      I would really love a scientific explanation of the mechanisms that create this somewhat unusual juxtaposition. And why people link it to “Climate Change”.

  22. All sounds very convincing…to a ethnic/gender studies or journalism major who have ensured themselves of no knowledge, but a great deal of another’s opinion.
    To anyone else it is logical idiocy to presume CO2 is hyper-sensitive to the axial tilt of the earth and at the same time is a reputed planetary blanket.

  23. They use virtually the same methodology used by Cattiaux et al.: define ad hoc criterias for surface temperature series, use 500mb pressure vague data, create some teleconnection so it is all linkable to CO2 rising and Britney Spears’ albums sales charts that can be correlated to other authors.
    JGR should be simply ashamed of themselves.
    Glaciations will soon become cases of extreme global warming…

  24. I will test this by putting a heater in my refrigerator. If all goes well according to the model, it will get colder. It’s what the consensus believes.

  25. As Dr. John Christy has said in his testimonies to Congress, the majority of broken temperature records have been the cold ones.

    And those winters on the east coast were far below zero. I recall temps in the neg 40’s during recent years. These are scary for people and animals who get stuck out on the roads and fields. You are not even safe in your home if the power winks out. I think during 2014 there were extreme low temps across much of the NE, and this was not getting much coverage. I had to drive google really hard to find out if all of the power was online in these states, and I did find one nuclear reactor that was shut down during this cold snap. I am sorry not to leave a ref, but I can find the info if needed by anyone here.

    And thanks for Eric Worrall’s attention to this abysmal bit of computer modeling. “We modeled how human emissions caused 40 below temps and we verified human emissions caused 40 below temps.”

    • [Broken] records is gamed by having short records. The longer the record, the harder it is to break the record min and max, therefore, saying so many records without knowing the record length or just throwing records of various lengths together, has no particular meaning.

      • Here are the numbers from John Christy’s testimony to Congress.

        “Another extreme metric is the all-time record high temperature for each state. The occurrence of the records by decade (Figure 1.1 below) makes it obvious that the 1930s were the most extreme decade and that since 1960, there have been more all-time cold records set than hot records in each decade. The clear evidence is that extreme high temperatures are not increasing in frequency. The recent claims about thousands of new record high temperatures were based on stations whose length-of-record could begin as recently as 1981, thus missing the many heat waves of the 20th century. So, any moderately hot day now will be publicized as setting records for these young stations because they were not operating in the 1930s.

        About 75 percent of the states recorded their hottest temperature prior to 1955, and, over 50 percent of the states experienced their record cold temperatures after 1940.”

      • John Christy on record lows, continued:

        Then, one might look at the more recent record of extremes and learn that no state has achieved a record high temperature in the last 15 years (though one state has tied Energy and Power Subcommittee 16 John R. Christy, 20 September 2012 theirs.) However, five states have observed their all-time record low temperature in these past 15 years plus one tie. This includes last year’s record low of 31°F below zero in Oklahoma, breaking their previous record by a rather remarkable 4°F. If one were so inclined, one could conclude that the weather that people worry about (extreme cold) is getting worse in the US. (Note: this lowering of absolute cold temperature records is nowhere forecast in climate model projections, nor is a significant drop in the occurrence of extreme high temperature records.)

        I am not using these statistics to prove the weather in the US is becoming less extreme and/or colder. My point is that extreme events are poor metrics to use for detecting climate change. Indeed, because of their rarity (by definition) using extreme events to bolster a claim about any type of climate change (warming or cooling) runs the risk of setting up the classic “non-falsifiable hypothesis.”

  26. In my opinion that east-west temperature see-saw is just an illusion. Many people were wondering not long ado what will happen when the 2016 El Nino is over. It had been preceded v by an approximately flat temperature platform that could be regarded as a hiatus. Ignored was the fact that this temperature platform was artificial in the sense that it was created from warn water left over by the 1998 super El Nino’s hasty departure. A step warming started in 1999 and piled up that warm water until global temperature was a third of a degree higher than before. It took only three years. It was an oceanic phenomenon but nevertheless Hansen declared it to be a product of greenhouse warming. You cannot turn greenhouse warming on and off like that But he saw that nine out of ten warmest years ever fell into the first decade of the twenty-first century and wanted to take advantage of this. This clutter of “warmest ever” years became hot stuff because there were more and more of them and they all sat on top of that platform. The warmth of the platform then started to gradually diminish. And eventually it was over-ridden by the El Nino of 2016. The peak of that El Nino took four years to form. In another four years it should be all finished and the post-El Nino temperature should go back to the temperature that existed in the nineties, before the Super El Nino of 1998 arrived. By which I mean the real temperature, not the fake warming that NOAA and its associates are showing there now.

    • It is entirely possible the West Coast rain drifted east. Just after those rains ended, there was flooding in central Texas. Then east Texas and Louisiana. Then the panhandle of Florida and East Coast. They could have all been essentially a monsoonal episode in succession.

  27. Of course Global Warming causes colder winters. It causes warmer winters as well. And colder summers and warmer summers. The theory fits everything, so it must be true, mustn’t it.

  28. I am working on a research paper to be published in Nature where I have discovered that up is actually down, fire is ice, land is ocean, and frick is frack. That is, what I construct of my universe to be true, I will manipulate with words to make it true. I cannot be proven wrong. That is why the paper is so fitting for Nature. This is similar to arguments I see from people about glacial melting. More sea ice extent and expanding glaciers is proof of warming because the glaciers are sliding to the sea faster due to bottom melt. Also, less sea ice extent and retreating glaciers is proof of warming, because they are melting throughout. In fact, all states of glaciers proves global warming is taking place.

  29. “winter temperature dipole”. Wonderful piece of Newspeak, a completely meaningless combination of words in the English language.

    Global warming causes colder winters? Then heat must start flowing from cold to less cold places. I wonder what the First Law of thermodynamics thinks of that.

    • I looked at that chart. And then I looked at charts at random across the 48 years they have been keeping track. Looks very much the same so not sure what you were getting at.

      • Whoops, 58 years. But any reasonable, thinking person will get the idea: Arctic temperatures very often spike like that across the entire recorded history.

      • The point I’m trying to make is that such things have happened before, but there is a difference that at this stage of cooling, the temperatures previously have at least dropped below the average as well as rising above it.
        This year it just seems to be high and staying high.
        It’s my feeling that the arctic is shrinking not because of accelerated melting, the summer temperature seem pretty average, but the winters are not as cold, so less ice forms. If things continue as they have started this year, less ice will again be formed leading to lower summer ice levels. I’m aware that the ice is refreezing reasonably quickly , but ‘m not sure that is a good indicator for the rest of the year.

  30. This pattern happens more often during global cooling and during La Nina’s. Some of the more extreme versions occurred in the 1970’s. A huge amplification of it can feature the polar vortex plunging very far south…….even into the Upper Midest or Northeast.

    This happened a few times in the recent very cold Winters.

    Not sure why they didn’t look at the actual reality of observations because these contradict much of what is stated.

  31. According to these idiots there’s nothing global warming can’t do.
    But one thing is beyond doubt: global warming makes people go mad. There’s no other explanation.

  32. Back at the time of the (in)famous Rio earth summit it was clearly stated that “Global Warming”( as it was then called ) was caused by winters becoming warmer and not by summers becoming hotter. The warming winter effect was called by nights, not days, becoming warmer. This meant that the average annual temperature would increase because the minimum temperatures – which occur during winter nights – were higher and not because the maximum temperatures in summer were increasing ( which they were not anyway). This allowed warming to occur without any rise in summer temperatures. Now we are expected to believe that high summer temperatures cause winter minima to fall so that the average annual temperature rises anyway!
    I think it was Goebbels who said “He who controls the past controls the future; he who controls the present controls the past”
    George Orwell got it exactly right.

  33. If climatologists keep this up, they’ll soon be mentioned in the same breath with economists. You know, the guys who are never wrong about anything, because they have an excuse for everything they get wrong.

  34. so GW causes colder winters until it causes warmer winters.
    and GW causes warmer summers and even more warmer summers…

  35. I have proof that the night causes the day. I have found the indisputable evidence: after the night, day immediately follows.

  36. I will read in more detail tomorrow, but it seems like they look at a relitively short time span, pick the last 3 years as prime example years, then explain the weather system setups, then overlay that against Co2 levels, see that it correlates, assume it is the cause, then make dire predictions.

    What I find facinating is they investigate all these climate drivers and then just blindly link it to a Co2 driver. Co2 drives all and there isn’t anything it can not do.

    Why did they not look back longer? Surely records exist to take this back to the 1900s…

    • John, such records exist. They show inescapably that climate varies significantly without CO2 driving it. A big problem for CAGW doctrine.

      • I frequent some weather forums and people often post weather charts from well before 1980. Obviously the temperature records exist as well…

        Did they state why they looked at the years they did?

  37. …we show that the observed positive trend in the warm-West/cool-East events is attributable to historical anthropogenic emissions including greenhouse gases, but that the co-occurrence of extreme western warmth and eastern cold will likely decrease in the future as winter temperatures warm dramatically across the continent …

    That Which Creates Can Also Destroy… WOW

    • Well, it effectively means they can’t be wrong. While cold winters remain, CO2. When they drop off, CO2.

      I do like the hypothesis, light on evidence and entirely on correlation, which isn’t causation, that can’t be proven wrong, as it is part of the hypothesis!

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