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How Weather Influences Global Warming Opinions 517

Posted by samzenpus
from the cold-is-the-new-hot dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with this story about how people's belief in climate change shifts with the temperature. "Last week's polar vortex weather event wasn't only hard on fingers, toes and heating bills. It also overpowered the ability of most people to make sound judgments about climate change, in the same way that heat waves do, according to a new study published in the Jan. 11 issue of the journal Nature Climate Change. Researchers have known for some time that the acceptance of climate change depends on the day most people are asked. During unusually hot weather, people tend to accept global warming, and they swing against it during cold events."
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How Weather Influences Global Warming Opinions

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  • Egocentrism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:13AM (#45938267)

    It's all the same

    "There's no global warming because I'm cold."
    "There's no poverty because I'm rich."
    "There's no racism because I'm white."

    • by Kythe (4779)
      It's analogous to claiming every night after ~7pm that there is no sun because it's dark out.
    • Re:Egocentrism (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:32AM (#45938395)

      "I don't live in a totalitarian police state because I've never been detained without charge or sentenced without trial or deprived of property without warrant."

    • Re:Egocentrism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:35AM (#45938417)

      "I'm not sexist because I'm female."

    • Re:Egocentrism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TWiTfan (2887093) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:42AM (#45938483)

      It would probably help if every time there's a hurricane like Sandy, Katrina, et. al. there wasn't some global warming advocate on TV arguing that this was evidence of global warming. You can't taut every weather event that supports warming as evidence and then turn around and dismiss every weather event that doesn't jibe with the narrative.

      Nor do I find the argument that EVERY weather event (extreme, mild, or otherwise) somehow supports warming. You can't just set up a hypothesis and then say that there is no evidence that can ever possibly contradict it. That's religion, not science.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by haruchai (17472)

          If you're referring to the polar vortex, it actually does "jibe with the narrative" or doesn't contradict it.
        And for quite a long time, every time there's been a cold snap, there's someone on Fox News making snide remarks about "we could use some global warming right now".

        • Re:Egocentrism (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TWiTfan (2887093) on Monday January 13, 2014 @10:04AM (#45938687)

          If you're referring to the polar vortex, it actually does "jibe with the narrative"

          See the second paragraph. If you're going to claim that *every* extreme weather events supports your warming narrative, you're already on shaky ground. If you combine that with the fact that you refuse to accept mild weather as contradictory evidence, now you're moving into a faith-based, rather than scientific, realm. You've set up a scenario where there is no possible evidence that can ever contradict your hypothesis.

          If you're going to cite weather as evidence of global warming, then you have to be willing to accept contradictory weather evidence as well (or at least accept that such evidence COULD exist). Personally, I agree with the GP that citing individual weather events for evidence of global warming is VERY ill-advised and scientifically suspect. But if you *must*, then you can't have it both ways.

          • Re:Egocentrism (Score:5, Insightful)

            by haruchai (17472) on Monday January 13, 2014 @11:25AM (#45939515)

            Climate scientists do NOT make those claims and have been explicitly stating that no single weather event can conclusively be linked to AGW.

            Also, the "G" in AGW stands for GLOBAL, which seems to be a difficult concept for some North Americans to grasp.

            While the polar vortex was wreaking havoc in America, much of Scandinavia was having an unusually warm winter, with flowering plants & bears coming out of hibernation.

            http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/10/polar-vortex-us-mild-weather-scandinavia [theguardian.com]

            So whose narrative does that jibe with?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Well, you need to haul back your slobbering, drooling politicians and CNN. I have a file of fraudulent rhetoric that is shameful and manipulative.

              The capstone was a CNN article that screamed in the headline, " Global warming will be like the tsunami!", this being right after the Indian ocean one, with all the horriffic videon. About 2/3 the way down, they pointed out they meant up to a 30-foot sea rise ovet 100-300 years, not a sudden catastrophe.

              By the way, we can **less** imagine the science in 100 year

              • by bunratty (545641)
                The media will always be sensationalist, as long as it gets them more eyeballs and clicks. Don't disagree with the science just because of the way the media presents it.
              • Re:Egocentrism (Score:4, Informative)

                by haruchai (17472) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:01PM (#45942473)

                There are plenty of mouth-breathers on both sides and Fox is probably worse than CNN.
                If you're interested in the SCIENCE, follow the SCIENTISTS or the people who actually spend time with them or do more than a superficial analysis.

                RealClimate.org may be too difficult for most laymen; SkepticalScience.com is easier to digest. Greenman3610's videos on YouTube are both entertaining & informative but Potholer54's work is probably a better example of science journalism as he's been doing it for 30 years.

      • by Jawnn (445279)

        It would probably help if every time there's a hurricane like Sandy, Katrina, et. al. there wasn't some global warming advocate on TV arguing that this was evidence of global warming. You can't taut every weather event that supports warming as evidence and then turn around and dismiss every weather event that doesn't jibe with the narrative.

        If you are suggesting that the unusual extremes we're seeing in winter weather patterns are not an indicator of global warming, you have more to learn.

        • Re:Egocentrism (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TWiTfan (2887093) on Monday January 13, 2014 @10:35AM (#45938977)

          Since you seem to think that these weather extremes are evidence for global warming, is mild weather contradictory evidence (if we have a mild winter or summer, for example)? And if not, then can *any* weather evidence *possibly* ever exist to contradict your argument? If the answer is "No," then that's not science. It's religion.

          • Re:Egocentrism (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Chalnoth (1334923) on Monday January 13, 2014 @11:23AM (#45939479)

            Or it's that you're not understanding the science. Certainly there is no claim whatsoever that global warming causes all weather to become extreme. The claim is rather that the number of extreme events is increased by global warming, and furthermore that some events are so extreme that it is highly unlikely that they would have happened without global warming. Sandy was one of those events. Sandy could have happened without global warming, it's just unlikely (most likely the warmer ocean allowed the hurricane to both travel further north and remain stronger as it traveled).

            • I think the question here is whether you understand that a hypothesis needs to be falsifiable for it to be science. Do you?
              • by Chalnoth (1334923)
                Sure. The claim that extreme weather events are increasing due to climate change is falsifiable. What's your point?
          • "mild" and "severe" are simply not the proper metrics here. What you should be looking for is the deviation from the norm (as established by past observations). AGW predicts that such deviations will be both bigger and more common. So if you see mild winters where they were heretofore unusual, and severe winters where they were also unusual, then that is both evidence in favor of the theory. Evidence to the contrary would be lack of such deviations, or a downward trend in their quantity or capacity.

    • Re:Egocentrism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:52AM (#45938573)

      "There's no God because I haven't seen him"
      "There are no unicorns because I haven't ridden one."
      "The Loch Ness Monster doesn't exist because no one has ever videotaped it."

      It's NOT "all the same." Sometimes the skeptics are right.

    • "There is no energy crisis because I can generate my own"

      Right-wing, radical freedom and independence, states rights, end-of-the-world survavalists should be embracing generation of their own energy, if they are serious about independence from corporations, monopolies, etc. It's nearly impossible to create your own gas, but electricity is comparatively easy to generate.

      The military is quite right-wing, but they are just practical when it comes to generating power.

      https://www.google.com.br/search?q=solar+wi [google.com.br]

      • by JWW (79176)

        It's nearly impossible to create your own gas

        According to the last episode of Mythbusters, not so much.

    • Re:Egocentrism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Charcharodon (611187) on Monday January 13, 2014 @10:10AM (#45938739)
      Just as you can say

      "There's global warming because it's hot."
      "I'm poor because someone else is richer than me."
      "I can't be racist because I'm black."

      • And while people do say all those things, none of them are the official position of a major political party in the U.S.

        • And while people do say all those things, none of them are the official position of a major political party in the U.S.

          "I was told by voting section management that cases are not going to be brought against black defendants on [behalf] of white victims."

          --J. Christian Adams, US Department of Justice under Eric Holder (link [latimes.com])

  • Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rmdingler (1955220) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:15AM (#45938285)
    But only for people who confuse weather with climate.

    The very same logic is used to fashion correlation from coincidence the World over.

    • Re:Sure (Score:4, Funny)

      by The Rizz (1319) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:28AM (#45938369)

      Obligatory Armstrong & Miller [youtube.com] link.

    • Re:Sure (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Racemaniac (1099281) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:58AM (#45938627)

      isn't it just that people react emotionally to such things? the real discussion is far above the understanding of 99.99(don't know how many more nines until i only keep the real experts)% of the people, so when asked an opinion, they react more emotionally than logically. So on depending on the current weather it's logical those emotions are different.

      I also hate discussions about topics like this, because it's just emotional shouting at eachother with facts only used to confirm what you feel is right. Even when people on this site would love to claim how intellectual they are, both sides are more about emotions and personal viewpoints than real science, we might now some good facts, read some interesting articles, but do we really know anything about climate science, all the subtle things, ... everything that can't be easily found in popular science magazines or the few popular arguments from both sides that people keep repeating to prove their own feelings are the best.

      • by xelah (176252)
        Indeed. People are more likely to buy stuff priced at x.99, despite knowing it's a trick, they care more about the opinions of attractive people, they spend more if they go round a US supermarket anti-clockwise, they guess higher numbers for the proportion of UN countries which are African if you spin a wheel of fortune which gives a high number first and generally behave in lots of damn stupid ways. (And, by the way, all this still works even once you know about it). Assuming it's all because of stupidity
  • by ghack (454608) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:16AM (#45938289)

    Global warming is exactly that- a global trend, not a local one. Locally, the effects have been most pronounced near the north pole [wikimedia.org], which is not exactly a place where many people live.

    Global climate change seems to have resulted recently in a "warming" trend, but as we know from Al Gore's movie, if the North Atlantic current gets shut off we are in for a polar vortex on a much longer time scale.

    I am not sure who coined the phrase "global warming"; is it a PR failure by the scientists involved or a reporting failure by the news media? To quote a well known meme: "why not both?"

    • by rvw (755107)

      I am not sure who coined the phrase "global warming"; is it a PR failure by the scientists involved or a reporting failure by the news media? To quote a well known meme: "why not both?"

      Global warming - I don't know if this is a good phrase of not. I've heard that if the Gulf Stream to Europe gets redirected because of the global warming, Europe will have a cold future. My experience for the past five years here in Europe is that winters have much more snow, and we have more storms than normal. We keep breaking weather records, warmest October, warmest 5 januari, coldest May - whatever. Although you don't know if this a temporary change for like five to fifty or five hundred years, it seem

      • by Teun (17872)
        And right now Europe is experiencing the warmest December and January ever...

        That's local and not Global, just like the (short) cold spell in the US

      • by u38cg (607297)
        On records, part of the explanation is that there are so many potential records to break that even with a fairly small chance of breaking any one of them in a month or year there's a steady stream of records being broken...
    • "Global warming" was a technically correct term. So is "climate change," even if it's not as specific, and it's actually an older term than "global warming" but wasn't known outside of scientific circles. The public saw "global warming" first and then when they saw "climate change" they thought it was a cop out, since everywhere wasn't getting hotter and they don't understand how averages work.

      A term that would be both technically correct and colloquially descriptive might be something like "climate energy

  • by mi (197448)

    Global warming propagandists would take any support — whether it comes from a heatwave-induced swing or real understanding of their theories.

    Meanwhile, the inconvenient truth that those theories aren't really explaining the available facts [economist.com], is explained only by lack of funding and failure to communicate [motherjones.com]...

  • local weather (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thorfinn.au (1140205) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:21AM (#45938311)
    so just as N.America has its lowest temperatures for decades
    Australia is doing some of its hottest with a rounded 50C for the first time last week
    Monday -> 27C and the rest of the week's forecast is
    Tuesday -> 43C
    Wednesday -> 39C
    Thursday -> 41C
    Friday -> 40C
    its all about extra energy making things more variable, but no single weather event can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change
  • by sjbe (173966) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:23AM (#45938323)

    During unusually hot weather, people tend to accept global warming, and they swing against it during cold events."

    Of course they do because many people (most maybe) do not understand the difference between climate and weather. They have either a poor understanding or perhaps no concept at all that short term temperature fluctuations are merely data points in a longer term trend. It is just like how people overreact to a few worse than usual days in the stock market even though the long term trend for the overall market for the last 100 years has been upwards.

    Weather = what is happening today
    Climate = average weather over time

  • by rossdee (243626) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:27AM (#45938361)

    For a large area of the US, it was colder than normal in December
    People turned up the heat (burning more natural gas and using more electricity
    people drove their SUV's to work (instead of using a more efficient car, or walking

  • by taiwanjohn (103839) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:31AM (#45938385)

    This guy has the most informative debunking of BS on both sides of of the issue. His series of YouTube videos [youtube.com] should be required viewing for policy makers and "armchair experts" alike.

  • Yes, facts and opinion can be manipulated. Nothing new. For example, auto, coal, and oil companies can create disinformation campaigns about traffic, pollution, accidents, and global warming.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExxonMobil#Funding_of_global_warming_disinformation_and_denial [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_conspiracy [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_activities_of_the_Koch_brothers#Fossil_fuel_and_chemical_industry_lobbying [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I noticed you quoted Wikipedia for all of your references. You provide some quotes from an organisation that has been found to manipulate and edit information in an attempt to make it accepted. Below are some examples of how easy it is to manipulate Wikipedia for your own gain

      http://dailycaller.com/2013/01/06/hoax-article-detailing-fake-war-stayed-up-on-wikipedia-for-five-years/
      http://www.pcworld.com/article/2023647/fake-wikipedia-entry-on-bicholim-conflict-finally-deleted-after-five-years.html
      http://www.t

  • A bit hypocritical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sideslash (1865434) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:49AM (#45938531)

    I find this ironic since the political AWG alarmism lobby deserves a lot of the blame for this. Remember the use of Hurricane Katrina splashed on Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" movie cover. And pretty much whenever there's a natural disaster you have AGW alarmists (not just trolling internet comments, but also occupying high places in government) stirring the pot some more.

    Researchers have known for some time that the acceptance of climate change depends on the day most people are asked.

    I don't doubt that this is true. I also don't doubt that the enthusiasm of researchers to jump on bandwagons follows the "weather patterns" of public funding availability. That's how Richard Lindzen of MIT describes it, and it seems to fit.

    • by itsdapead (734413) on Monday January 13, 2014 @11:06AM (#45939259)

      I find this ironic since the political AWG alarmism lobby deserves a lot of the blame for this

      and the AWG denial lobby deserves a lot of the blame for the AWG alarmism body.

      Unfortunately, when you have a well-funded denial campaign telling people what they want to hear (no problem here, ignore the commie academics, relax and enjoy your SUV) a lobby that doesn't resort to alarmism is a lobby that doesn't get listened to.

      A bone fide climatologist would have made a more accurate documentary than Al Gore - which would then have been seen by an audience of, oh dozens of people who watch PBS at midnight.

      Or, just wait 50-100 years until there's enough data to decide for sure whether Katrina or the polar vortex were just statistical blips or part of the AGW-predicted increase in extreme weather - if the latter then good luck building a time-machine to go back and fix the problem (hint: don't use the traditional DeLorian because if we go on using oil as if there is an infinite supply then, AGW or not, you won't be able to afford enough gas to get it up to 88 mph, and Mr Fusion is about as technically plausible as the flux capacitor) .

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by sideslash (1865434)

        whether Katrina or the polar vortex were just statistical blips or part of the AGW-predicted increase in extreme weather

        What AGW-predicted increase in extreme weather? You mean the prediction that warming of the oceans would lead to more hurricanes? The claim that was later largely dismissed because it doesn't fit the evidence? In fact, if there is a general pattern of AGW predictions, it's that they turn out to be wrong. This should surprise exactly nobody, because you can't extrapolate an empirically derived model of a complex, chaotic system.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:55AM (#45938595)

    And yet we are to believe things like Katrina and Sandy are evidence FOR Global Warming? Aren't those things just as much "weather" as the national cold streak (which, btw, I've heard Global Warming advocates cite as evidence FOR Global Warming)?

    It seems that every "weather" event is trotted out as evidence FOR Global Warming by someone. According to the advocates, there appears to be no piece of evidence that can possibly be used against Global Warming, but it can all be used as evidence it is happening. Actions like this make the whole AGW movement seem more like a religion than science.

    • by hey! (33014)

      I've *NEVER* heard a scientist claim that Katrina or Sandy were "caused" by climate change. What they say is that such events are more common in a warmer globe. The same applies to the "polar vortex" event last week; its a kind of event predicted to be more common by climate models.

      You do know that the cold streak was actually composed of anomalously warm air? The key is that "anomalously warm" for the arctic winter can still be very, very cold by continental US standards. As the arctic air masses moved

  • I wish the general public would learn that global warming isn't just about the temperature getting warmer as time goes on, such that "Winter will become a perpetual Fall season." Its about the increase of energy in the entire system which we call "global weather." This leads to more extreme and bizarre weather conditions.
  • It also overpowered the ability of most people to make sound judgments about climate change

    Pretty sure Al Gore did that many years ago.

  • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:47PM (#45946609) Homepage Journal
    The sad fact of the matter (irrespective of whether you're convinced for or against) is that the argument boils down to:

    - Proponents argue that we should do a bunch of ecologically sound things because "for the good of the planet"
    - Opponents argue that will cost large amounts of money

    In the end, rampant greed puts us all in a world of hurt.

    This is NOT a fight over science,
    this is NOT a fight over modelling planetary weather/ecosystems/etc,
    this IS a fight over "but I should be able to rake in literally trillions of dollars now, and FUCK THE CONSEQUENCES".

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