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Speaking of predictions

26 Jun 2019 | Science Notes

The Weather Channel has updated its summer forecast for Canada. Why? Because for some reason the year that should be hotter than the hottest thing ever given the simple linear relationship between atmospheric CO2 and temperature delivered a cool spring and “Summer weather has been unusually slow to arrive across most of the country this year.” Now we know weather forecasting is tricky. And if they’re willing to show a little humility we’ll show a little charity. But don’t keep beating the warming gong even while admitting that in June virtually the whole country saw lower than normal temperatures. Including snow in Alberta.

B.C. also had snow in June. And you can bet if it had a killer heat wave we’d be told see, global warming is coming for us. When it’s unusually cold, we’re told, well, you have a choice. Either you’re a clod who can’t tell weather from climate (the former is when it’s cold, the latter when it’s hot) or catastrophic warming pushes Arctic air south producing extreme cold. As too often, either might be true. But if both are used when they seem most likely to confirm the theory, and they contradict one another, it makes a mockery of science.

So, back to the weather forecast. It will rain unless it doesn’t. And according to the Weather Network, BC will be hot and dry this summer with a risk of wildfires. But no cherry-picking. If it turns out to be true, don’t call it proof of global warming and ignore or dismiss what’s happening in central Canada. We’re not debating provincial warming here or the fact that weather varies. We’re trying to establish, or reject, the existence of an ominous trend.

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