Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why Climate Change Spurs Whining About Cold Snaps

Global warming has many good and bad effects, but one that is becoming especially clear is that it makes us all weenies when it comes to colder weather.

You might have noticed that this winter is cold. OK. But it's not nearly as nasty as, say, the late 1970s, which brought the three coldest consecutive U.S. winters in the entire record (which started in 1895). The last winter of any consequence was 2000-01, but that was only the 26th coldest. Where this one will wind up no one can say, but I would be surprised if it even gets to the bottom 20.
Blame global warming
So why all the bellyaching? Well, it turns out you can blame your current discomfort on global warming. Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane, warm up winters more than summers. In other words, since the second warming of the 20th century began more than 30 years ago, it's the coldest days of the winter that have warmed up more than any others — and our bodies adapted. So when a truly cold winter shows up, people are physiologically and psychologically shocked. Read more.

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