To think Maclean’s in March 2012 announced “The Year that Winter Died”, not as shameless clickbait but because “Coast to coast, we’ve had the warmest temperatures with the least snow in 65 years. Why we may never have a real Canadian winter again.” In fact Ottawa has had its longest January run with lows under -20°C in 40 years, and its fourth-longest since 1872. Meanwhile in Athens it was snowing on the Acropolis and on nearby beaches while “Passengers stranded at Istanbul Airport stage a protest” due not to climate change but to “inclement weather”. Actually Reuters conceded that “Heavy snowfall is rare in Athens but the city has now been hit by snowstorms for a second consecutive year”. But the only mention of climate in that story was a quotation from “Greece’s climate crisis and civil protection minister” that “It will be a difficult night” because trains and buses weren’t running in Athens, while “State services, schools, non-essential shops and banks in those two areas [greater Athens and nearly Evia island] and on many Greek islands, including Crete, will also be shut on Tuesday as the cold spell was expected to persist until Wednesday.” Still, children will not know what snow is. Or possibly what a “climate crisis minister” is.
The Washington Post tried to shovel the snow into the neighbour’s driveway or something, saying “An intense winter storm blanketed Athens and several Greek islands in snow Monday – places where such wintry weather is highly unusual. Parts of Turkey, including Istanbul, also endured snowy conditions.” In a story that again only mentioned climate twice, once the title of the hapless minister and once in a banner ad “Get 2022’s biggest stories — from covid to climate and all that’s ahead.” The snow is just weather.
Mind you, we seem to be getting a lot of it lately, including at the home of the Post, as the northeastern United States had its first blizzard warning in four years. Some hottest year ever 2022 is shaping up to be. For instance, NBC warned on Jan. 27, “Tens of millions under winter storm watches ahead of weekend nor’easter”. Not quite the end of winter as we know it, then. But does that story even contain the word climate? Heck no. Just weather, and lots of it. Including two and a half feet of some white stuff kids can’t remember the name of in Massachusetts, where they do at least still know what a foot is. And it knocks out power and threatens lives. When’s the last time a heat wave cancelled thousands of flights, or trapped motorists overnight on an impassable road?
Here in Ottawa, where we benefit from a tireless online weather enthusiast and we invite you to check your own local records as well, we were forecast to have our coldest Jan 26 since 1930 and our coldest day of any sort since 1996. Apparently we didn’t quite get there. But we did have our coldest January overall since 2004. If it were the hottest, you know what they’d say. Instead they say nothing. Including about the fact that the previous long January cold spells were mostly a century ago, proof not of man-made warming but of a natural trend from long before human GHGs were sufficient to make any measurable difference. Especially since the coldest individual January temperatures are mostly from, um, the last two decades.
As for that ice-free Arctic, well, the Canadian government might paint the land red. But it admits the ice is, um, robust and growing.
Of course nowadays cold weather, snow and so forth are also global warming including the New England storm. As Roy Spencer observes, Bloomberg specifically linked it to warming. But he also points out that barely three weeks earlier, USA Today was blaming Boston’s snowless streak on… warming. He asks “When science produces contradictory claims, is it really science?” But of course it is. Scientists say.