And the icy cold fronts, snow and blizzards just keep coming, stranding motorists and airline travelers throughout the Northern Hemisphere, as these headline stories indicate:
Freezing weather claims 26 lives (Central Europe)
Cold weather expected to return early next week after brief warmup (South Florida)
Freezing Weather: UK Shivers In The Big Chill (Britain)
European freeze haunts Christmas for airlines, shops (Europe)
Atlanta, Georgia: First white Christmas since 1882 (United States)
And the harsh cold weather is having an economic impact, as this headline about German woes indicates:
More snow forecast, cold snap to dent German growth
The December 22 Reuters story referenced above reports on the brutal wintry assault on Europe in general, and Germany in particular:
Fresh snow forecasts threatened to prolong chaos caused by a cold snap that could also dent German growth, and airlines and rail networks struggled to restore normal services in parts of Europe on Wednesday. Disruptions to flights and high-speed train travel in continental Europe and Britain, have created travel chaos for tens of thousands of travelers in the busy Christmas period following heavy weekend snowfalls.
Cold weather was likely to clip fourth quarter growth in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, Volker Treier, chief economist at Germany's DIHK chamber of industry and commerce, told Reuters.
Australian Summer: Freezing Down Under
While the frigid temps across the northern sphere are frostier than normal for this early in the winter season, even Australia — which is just starting its summer — is feeling the big chill. The French news agency AFP reported on December 20 (Australia swaps summer for Christmas snow):
Snow fell in Australia on Monday, as the usual hot and summery December weather was replaced in parts by icy gusts sweeping up from the Southern Ocean, giving the country a taste of a white Christmas.
Snow has fallen in parts of east coast states New South Wales and Victoria, leaving ski resorts -- some of which are usually snow-free at this time of year -- with dumps of up to 10 centimetres (four inches).
The Weather vs. Climate Meme
But all of this has no effect on the global warming true believers, who are convinced that the earth is in the grip of a deadly, man-made fever that can only be cured through massive social re-engineering on a planetary scale. Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel of the left-wing Union of Concerned Scientists, in a December 21 column for the Huffington Post, tries to provide talking points to a reader who writes under the pseudonym "Cold in Winter" and asks: "What can I say to people who pooh-pooh global warming?"
"Cold in Winter" expresses a complaint common among the warmists who are at a loss as to how to explain several icy winters in a row on a supposedly roasting planet:
I admit that sometimes, when my ears are freezing as I walk to the subway, I grumble to myself, "Where's global warming when you need it!" When it's cold, I just don't know how to explain to people that Earth has a fever.
Ekwurzel suggests to "Cold in Winter":
You may want to remind your friends that weather is different from climate. The day-to-day weather — even a cold snap or a heat wave — doesn't prove or disprove climate change. Climate is the prevailing condition — temperature, precipitation, humidity, and atmospheric pressure — of a region over a long period of time.... Just say, Hey, it's winter, snow happens, and a cold snap doesn't prove anything one way or another.
It is interesting (and completely predictable, since it happens so regularly) that the alarmists who treat every weather event — a heat wave, a hurricane, seasonal ice melting, rain, floods, droughts, hail, tornadoes, dogs barking, cats meowing, frogs failing to croak — as proof of "climate change" (a more nebulous term that they have conveniently adopted to replace "global warming") are quick to insist that weather events which contradict their computer climate models are "merely weather, not climate."
Dr. Benny Peiser at Global Warming Policy Foundation, a realist website that regularly challenges the hysterical scenarios of the alarmists, has a posting for December 22 with amusing quotes from the BBC's Richard Hollingham and Dr. Ekwurzel from the BBC's 2007 "One Planet" program on warmer winters:
Richard Hollingham: Those of us who grew up with very cold winters, who tell our children that winter's not what it used to be, we're right aren't we?
Brenda Ekwurzel (Climate Scientist, Union of Concerned Scientists): Yes. Absolutely. It has changed.
Hollingham: Sitting here at the BBC, leafing through my old photos, I can't help feeling nostalgic for proper winters. This year we had just one day of snow in southern Britain. Mind you it still brought the roads, railways and airports to a standstill and shut the schools, but as most people in London, Moscow, Washington, Beijing or Oslo will testify, a cold crisp winter's day with snow on the ground is infinitely preferable to the mild damp miserable winters many of us are having to get used to. It seems the winters of our youth are unlikely to return.
"It seems the winters of our youth are unlikely to return." That is a theme that was replayed many times in the first part of this decade — before Mother Nature changed course and began sending ferocious winters to the nostalgic. Here is another amusing media "climate" prediction of vanishing winter snow, this one from The Independent, one of the UK's major daily newspapers, on March 20, 2000:
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.
Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain's culture, as warmer winters — which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries....
The chances are certainly now stacked against the sort of heavy snowfall in cities that inspired Impressionist painters, such as Sisley, and the 19th century poet laureate Robert Bridges, who wrote in "London Snow" of it, "stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying".
Not any more, it seems.
Au contraire, as the recent and current stories above concretely demonstrate. However, in addition to this widespread anecdotal evidence, there is the satellite temperature evidence that also shows the earth has been in a cooling trend for more than a decade. That data can be accessed here, here, here, and here.
Apparently, Mother Nature (or Gaia, or Ixchel the bloodthirsty Mayan jaguar goddess to whom prayers were offered at the opening of the UN's Cancun summit) is coming to the rescue. Perhaps she heard the prayers of anguish and nostalgia. Or perhaps she has grown tired of all the hot air emissions from the global warming histrionics and is sending a message: Chill out!