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The end of winter 2.0

20 Feb 2019 | Science Notes

With much of the northern hemisphere buried in record snow, a new study yet again touts the end of winter as we know it. Except this time it will be in 2080 and winter won’t end. Welcome to the End of Winter 2.0. Distant, untestable, weird (world warms 1.5 C but your city warms 6 C… no matter where you live) and AN URGENT CRISIS because otherwise your home town will be like… Illinois. Noooooooooooo!

Back in 2012 Macleans announced, tabloid style, “THE YEAR THAT WINTER DIED” with a subhed “Why we may never have a real Canadian winter again”. Winter having revived, the crisis has been reframed and pushed off beyond the event horizon so we need to take action without waiting for evidence.

Such as it is. Because according to the new study, if nothing is done, in 60 years Ottawa’s winters will resemble those of… gasp… South Shore, Illinois. Wherever that is, it’s a far cry from Al Gore’s deserts, wildfires and “nature hike through the Book of Revelation”. In fact it’s part of Chicago. And while it’s in “Cook” County, that county was named for a person not for any resemblance to an oven. Indeed on Feb. 15, the day the National Post ran this semi-end-of-winter story, South Shore’s high was 3C. Whereas in Ottawa it was… 3C. With rain. Oops.

In the less drastic scenario where we do reduce emissions, Ottawa’s weather would supposedly turn into that of Chatham, Ontario, which may not be everyone’s ideal ski vacation spot but is not exactly the Sahara either. In fact on Feb. 15 its high was 2C, slightly chillier than Ottawa. One fears the quality of climate scare stories is declining, perhaps due to the same global warming generally blamed for making everything worse from crop yields to mental health to pest control. Indeed, the study also predicts that “Toronto could morph into Secaucus, N.J.” which may trade on New Jersey’s unfortunate reputation but is not likely to start a panic.

To get all technical, another problem with this study is that it looks as though we are getting more information. But we’re not. We’re just getting more garbage out in smaller pieces, refining the models so they generate predictions that are more granular without being any more accurate. Or less political. One author admits he was prompted to undertake the study by his revulsion at a book by Ann Coulter claiming it wouldn’t matter if the Earth got a bit warmer, and a desire to convince the public to put pressure on politicians who, he may not know, are already mostly in the alarmist camp.

Meanwhile Toronto schools are closed by heavy snow while Ottawa weather remains terrible, with massive snowfalls, hazardous conditions, frostbite and police warnings to drive as though the roads were icy despite the sunbeams being extracted from computer models.

One comment on “The end of winter 2.0”

  1. What causes the polar vortex to sink so low into North America or Eurasia, when it does, is that it splits and one half shifts south. There's no evidence that the polar vortex is splitting more frequently now than in decades past when the Arctic was supposedly cooler. Another conjecture for why global warming means colder and snowier winters debunked....

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