Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Frozen In Place

While the Senate appeared almost frozen in place at times on Monday, at least they showed up and did some work, voting to make Janet Yellin the first female head of the Fed. Many other places across the nation were already in a state of closure on Monday, like the city of Indianapolis, which made it illegal to drive anywhere unless it was an emergency. JetBlue airlines grounded flights for 17 hours at four of the busiest airports in America on Monday, and firefighters lost a battle with a house fire in Iowa after their hoses froze.

In short, thanks to a phenomenon known as a 'polar vortex,' much of America became frozen in place yesterday and today as the temperatures across most of the United States are colder right now than any of us have seen in several decades - and that isn't even counting the brutal wind chills.

Not surprisingly, the Fightin' 101st Keyboard Kommandos of the Climate Change Denier Brigades scurried to their 'battle posts' online, throughout the right-wing corporate-controlled media, to denounce and poke fun at both scientists and reality. By their "reasoning" (for lack of a better term), the fact that much of North America is bitterly cold right now negates the possibility that the overall temperature of the planet has been on a constant warming trend for decades. Their oversimplified view of the world also conveniently ignores that while North Americans are freezing our backsides off, Australia is experiencing a record summer heat wave. In other words, local weather and worldwide climate aren't the same thing.

As many science-savvy members of the media - including Jason Samenow of the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang - reminded the nation Monday, the polar vortex in no way disproves climate change. In fact, as Eric Holthaus covered in both Quartz and The Daily Beast on Monday, global climate change can actually make both cold snaps and heat waves even worse.

As the world's overall average temperature rises, areas that were once cooler will become warmer - and when they do, their warmer-than-usual temperature will cause the jet stream to slow down. That slowing down is like an area rug bunching up at the edge of a threshold - higher peaks of heat and moisture are pushed closer together with deep valleys of cold dry air. This leads to peaks of unusually warm weather, followed by crashes into valleys of unusually cold weather - just as much of the country  has been experiencing right now.

Whether or not you or anyone believes in the science of climate change, the great - and also horrible - thing about science is that it doesn't care what your personal beliefs are, or what deity you worship. Science is exactly the same for everyone, animals and humans alike, and the facts that science support don't change that.

We might tell you to pass that simple fact on to a climate change denier you know - but we have a feeling the simple of truth of that statement might freeze up their willfully ignorant little minds.

Stay warm and safe, whatever you believe. Frostbite, like both polar bears and science, doesn't care what you believe in either.

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