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Is that airlifted snow on your Olympic ski mountain, or is your enormous helicopter just happy to see me?

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"Is that airlifted snow on your Olympic ski mountain, or is your enormous helicopter just happy to see me?"

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“Hopefully, winter will come back,” says Tim Gayda, a leader of the Olympic organizing committee.

WARNING:  This post contains the following brain-busting quote from a Vancouver Olympic official –  “We really shattered the all-time [temperature] record,” he said. “It’s El Ni±o, and there’s something else that nobody understands at this point. It’s El Ni±o Plus.”

In one of the greatest coincidences in human history, Vancouver just blew out its monthly temperature records a mere three years after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said warming in the climate system is unequivocal:

January temperatures were the warmest on record and the trend is continuing this month, says Environment Canada meteorologist Matt McDonald, one of 30 forecasters working the Winter Games.

This year, the average temperature in January was 44.9 degrees, besting the previous warm record of 43.3 in 2006 and well above the historic average of 37.9 degrees, according to Environment Canada weather data.

McDonald says the mild temperatures are expected to continue, and rain “” not snow “” is expected for much of the week.

A Canadian Air-Crane helicopter lifts snow to the Cypress Mountain snowboarding venue. The company is the largest helicopter logger and heavy-lift helicopter business in Canada.This is the first time in history that Erickson Air-Crane’s “specially fitted Sikorsky S-64 has been hired to make it snow,” USA Today reported this week.  [The website Jalopnik is the source of the top picture and the headline.]

But no, we’re not going to calculate the carbon footprint of this effort.  Why should we?  It’s just a coincidence that it’s been so damn warm, right?

Everyone knows you can’t make a direct connection between carbon emissions and this January in Vancouver which is so damn warm it crushed the record set so long ago that toddlers can’t even remember it.  It’s just a coincidence that we are now in the warmest winter globally in the satellite record.

It’s just like that chain-smoking guy who got lung cancer.  The fact that he smoked two packs a day is a coincidence.  You can’t prove it — so keep smoking, already.  Sure the statistics show the warming footprint — Record high temperatures far outpace record lows across U.S. — but individual events are just coincidence.  I’m telling you.

BUT this type of purely coincidental extremely warm weather is completely consistent with the predictions of climate science.  Indeed climate science says we are likely to see far, far worse, far, far more often.  So that means those crazy folks in other countries who don’t believe it’s all just a coincidence feel obliged to maybe, possibly do some thinking about what it all means for the Winter Olympics, as AFP reports:

Global warming is starting to worry the International Olympic Committee, with concern mounting over how it might affect future Games.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said it was an issue discussed in meetings on Monday ahead of the Winter Olympics here, with the issue of Cypress Mountain, just outside of Vancouver, highlighting the problem.

The mountain is the site for the freestyle and snowboard events but has been plagued by a drastic lack of snow caused by the warm temperatures which have seen Vancouver enjoying unseasonal highs of around 10C (50F).

Lorry loads of snow have been carted in to the venue and media banned from visiting in an effort to get it ready in time.

“Global warming of course is a worry, it is a worry for the entire world,” Rogge said.

“It might affect, in the long-term, the staging of Winter Games but I can tell you that today in the evaluation committee meeting we asked for statistics….

Rogge said global warming would be a key issue examined in awarding any future Winter Olympics.

“Global warming is definitely a factor that must be taken into account in Olympic preparations,” he said.

“In awarding the event to a host city, we must look at the climate and snow conditions and geography, as well as ways to alleviate any lack of snow.”

Asking for statistics?  Who the heck do they think they are?  Next thing you know, they’ll be asking for … models, and we all know how unreliable those are!

Now the anti-science crowd goes supernova over anyone who even mentions the possibility that global warming could have anything whatsoever to do with record-smashing temperatures while at the same time injecting extra moisture into the atmosphere somewhere else that happens to be cold enough for that extreme precipitation to come down as snow.  Who could believe all that sciency talk that getting lots of snow requires two things simultaneously — temperatures cold enough for snow and lots of moisture in the atmosphere — and that climate change could affect those factors differently in different parts of the world?

So I won’t say it.  Not I.  It’s a coincidence, much like the fact that I was born on my birthday.

Interestingly, though, USA Today does feel obliged to offer some sort of sciency explanation for the warmth:

For the past week, the giant helicopter and a convoy of dump trucks have been shuttling tons of snow from higher elevations in a frenzied effort to salvage two Olympic events from the grip of El Nino.

The persistent warm weather pattern, which draws warm, humid air from the Pacific Ocean, has prematurely coaxed daffodils into bloom, produced veils of pink and purple on confused ornamental trees throughout the city and on Saturday brought families to sun themselves on the scenic waterfront concourses.

How interesting.  So one well-documented weather pattern is reported to be the sole cause of this record warmth — even though this was not even close to the strongest El Ni±o in recent memory.  And yet there’s no mention at all of the well-document, unequivocal warming of the climate that human emissions are very likely to be a large cause of — even though it clearly boosts the temperature baseline from which this rather moderate El Ni±o warms up a given region.

Now that doesn’t seem quite fair.  Why isn’t the fact that there is an El Ni±o just a coincidence, too?

After all, the January temperature record Vancouver just beat was set in 2006, which not only wasn’t an El Ni±o, it came close to being a La Ni±a (see page 26 of this NOAA report).  Why doesn’t USA Today say this warming is “consistent with” with what you expect from an El Ni±o, rather than simply directly attributing it.  I mean if an El Ni±o is called “persistent” after only several months, what the heck the you call global warming, which has been around for decades — a juggernaut?

I’ve put this post under humor because I just don’t know where else to file it.

head.jpgUPDATE — [warning please put your head in a vise before reading]:  I just saw the Washington Post piece, “Amid all the warm weather, the forecast calls for hauling in snow at the Vancouver Olympics,” and the quote from Tim Gayda, the vice president of sport for the Vancouver organizing committee, simply defies sarcasm:

Warm, wet El Ni±o winds from Hawaii that occasionally bring unseasonably warm weather around the region are known locally as the “pineapple express,” but the effects rarely last more than a few days.

January, however, was the warmest in Vancouver since record-keeping began in 1937, with a mean temperature (the average of the high and low daily) of 45 degrees, more than seven degrees above the norm (38 degrees) as well as five degrees above the previous high.

“We really shattered the all-time record,” he said. “It’s El Ni±o, and there’s something else that nobody understands at this point. It’s El Ni±o Plus.”

[Pause to clean up gray matter now shattered and scattered all over the vise.]

There’s something else that nobody understands at this point.  There’s something else that nobody understands at this point.  What could that something else be that adds warmth to El Ni±o?  Nobody understands….

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48 Responses to Is that airlifted snow on your Olympic ski mountain, or is your enormous helicopter just happy to see me?

  1. ChicagoMike says:

    I think we’ve also just seen a record high for sustained sarcasm in a blog post. Maybe someone needs to build Joe an igloo on the national mall where he can cool off for a while ;)

    But seriously, I would find all this funny if it wasn’t making me more depressed about our chances at maintaining a livable climate.

  2. mike roddy says:

    Chicago Mike, I find the deniers a rich and neglected source for humor. Since you can’t argue with them, this may be a good way to communicate the message (duh!- it’s getting warmer). I like Joe’s humor, including when he gets sarcastic.

    For example, a comedy TV show on the Anthony Watts “Temperature station project”- complete with his followers running around the country with their phone cameras and thermometers- would crack up most Americans, both when the real results came in (the stations actually had a cool bias) and when Watts tried to talk his way out of it (actually, global warming is a hoax because of Pachouri).

  3. MarkB says:

    Let’s look at the facts.

    Global mean temperature is at or beyond record levels, part of the long-term global warming trend from human-induced greenhouse gases and helped along by el Nino. We’re in brand new territory for (at the very least) modern human civilization.

    Global warming is projected to lead to more frequent extreme precipitation events, and that has been observed as well over the long-term.

    So taking these facts into consideration, is the extreme recent weather all that surprising? This includes:

    - record warmth in Vancouver, pushing snow levels higher and resulting in rain at elevations that usually see snow

    - even more extraordinary record warmth in Greenland, with temperatures running 30 degrees F above average in parts, brought on by both a strong negative AO and record atmospheric temperatures

    - record snow on parts of the east coast, while temperatures are only modestly below average (temperatures influenced by the same negative AO)

    None of this should surprise anyone.

  4. MarkB says:

    That said, while it’s entirely accurate to cite global warming as one cause for Vancouver’s lack of snow (since it’s related directly to Vancouver’s record warmth), such attribution can be easily spun by the denial crowd by pointing to record snow in DC. “Tell that to DC residents in a deep (literally waist deep) freeze!” they will proclaim. The complex scientific factors involved are easily trumped by such talking points among the average layperson. This highlights the challenge of communicating both effectively AND accurately the science. Aim for the dumbed down talking points and the message might be marginally more accurate than the deniers’ message. Aim for accuracy, which often requires a more detailed often nuanced explanation, and audiences tune out. In an ideal world, everyone is scientifically literate and are critical thinkers, which solves the problem. Is it too much to ask for society to reach this level?

  5. cbp says:

    Ouch watch out with the sarcasm there – it tends to be another thing that we need to waste time explaining to people who just don’t get it: http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/he_admitted_it/

  6. Marc Anderson says:

    Loved the line about toddlers. Keep up the great work, Joe!

  7. Steve Bloom says:

    I believe the next Winter Olympics is scheduled for a location with the potential for a repeat of this problem.

  8. Ben Lieberman says:

    The population of Washington, Baltimore, and Maryland is just a tad higher than that of Greenland hence the “deep freeze.”

  9. Michael T. says:

    I appreciate Joe’s sense of humor on this subject.

    As expected, the data show that Seattle had it’s warmest January on record too. Seattle recorded an average of 47 degrees.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/z7.html

  10. Easy prediction: Winter Olympics held completely indoors.
    Rio again, or Tokyo or Singapore anyone?

  11. ChicagoMike says:

    Mike Roddy: I actually do enjoy Joe’s humor as well, and I totally share his frustration with the disinformers and those in the MSM who repeat their claims.

  12. ChicagoMike says:

    “Easy prediction: Winter Olympics held completely indoors.
    Rio again, or Tokyo or Singapore anyone?”

    Or how about Dubai? I hear they have some good skiing:
    http://www.skidubai.com/

  13. Craig Clarke says:

    I am appalled at the coverage of this issue in the mainstream media & appreciate your gallows humor.

    According to the Vancouver newspapers, the trucks were transporting snow from Manning Park in the Cascade Mountain range, about 150 miles away!

  14. Will says:

    You really nailed it this time Joe! Nice work, and very funny!

  15. MarkA says:

    Adjacent to the BC coast range in Washington and Oregon we have seen an increase in snowpack over the past 33 years back to 1976 as seen here for a composite of 83 snotel/survey sites in the Cascade Mtns as measured on 1 April of each year:

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/marka/swe.waor_west.1976-2008.gif

  16. evnow says:

    We had the warmest Jan too in Seattle. We had the hottest day in too in summer. The record snows of last winter is distant memory – not a flake this time.

    http://www.komonews.com/news/local/51988007.html

  17. Barry says:

    Sounds like a real snowtastrophe for the Olympic organizers

  18. Charles says:

    Joe, it’s an amusing post, but most of this phenomenon *can* be explained by El Nino, which is sending Pineapple Expresses up here, one after the other. As I write this, there are two more lined up to slam into our coast in the next few days. BTW, the carbon footprint of all the snow hauling has been calculated by various folks, including VANOC and the Suzuki Foundation. A couple of other tidbits: At Whistler, just two hours north of here, their problem is too much snow (one of the biggest snow seasons in Whistler ski history), and the groomers are exhausted from trying to keep the downhill course in shape (and all the fog ain’t helping, either). And quite a few winter Olympics have had the same problems with lack of snow; it’s nothing new.

    Having said all this, there is no denying that AGW spells big trouble in the future for ski resorts and winter Olympics (among other things).

    [JR: So why is this a blow-out all time record in Vancouver? And why was the previous record in 2006 set in a non-El-Nino? It's all just coincidence, I guess.]

  19. JasonW says:

    Tempting though it is to nail the lack of snow in Vancouver to GW – and it most likely contributes, but I understand it was a risky decision right from the start to host the Winter Olympics in Vancouver – as im comparison to most of the rest of Canada, winter snow is not a must.

  20. Esop says:

    We just saw Fox News proclaim that snow in DC in the middle of winter for a while disproved GW. Knowing that they are “Fair and Balanced” they will probably come around any day now, announcing that the lack of snow and record setting warmth at the Olympic sites proves that GW once again is a reality.

  21. Georgio Smero says:

    Record 11 inches of snow down south in Dallas. Record and not even forcasted by Masters 2 weeks ago.

  22. Lore says:

    “We really shattered the all-time record,” he said. “It’s El Niño, and there’s something else that nobody understands at this point. It’s El Niño Plus.”

    And here I thought this was just a moderate El Nino event? It’s not like we haven’t had this phenomenon occur before, yet we are seeing record breaking high temps. Logic would dictate that something else is being added to the equation.

  23. Eve says:

    Well, we had relatively cold, rainy week (typical winter) here in Jerusalem and I thought (finally) winter was beginning, so we orderd
    kerosene for our heating stove and I climbed up to our storage space to
    take down heavy sweaters. The cold weather ended and yesterday was
    20 degrees Celsius, well above the February norm here. The forecast
    is for several days of high temps with no rain in sight. Is my luck so
    bad that when I buy heating fuel it stops being cold or might this just have something to do with global climate change?

  24. mark says:

    I grew up in Vancouver B.C. in the fifties.

    Returning there last summer, I was startled to see many area farmers with permanently installed crop irrigation systems.

    It’s just an observation, but there would have been no need for such a thing in the days of my youth. It was rain, fog, rain, and then more rain.

    I have been hoping this would happen at the Vancouver Olympics.

  25. David Smith says:

    Joe;

    Idea – when you post on a topic or article, add bio information of the referenced experts on both sides of the issue and possibly rank on a scale of 1 – 10 of their expertise relative to the subject at hand. This might provide useful information in the debate. Maybe it would be enough just to indicate areas of expertise, but it would have to be neutral without and editorial commenting.

    My apologies for being off topic.

  26. George says:

    The Oil Kingdom Goes Green
    Saudi Arabia is the world’s richest oil producer — the desert kingdom pumps out nearly 10 million barrels a day of crude. So when Saudi Arabia turns to the sun to solve its energy problems, you should sit up and take notice.

    In fact, I think it’s another signpost indicating that we are entering the “Golden Age of Green Energy.” And there are plenty of profits to be made, even for Mom-and-Pop investors.

    So what are the Saudis up to? The “Central Bank of Oil” is turning to solar power to run its desalination plants. The Saudis produce more than 18% of the world’s desalinated water.

    And the kingdom recently started construction of a desalination plant able to produce enough water for 100,000 people, along with a solar farm with a capacity of 10 megawatts to power it. With costs coming down, the Saudis think electricity from the plant will cost just 8.7 cents per kilowatt hour.

    This is just the beginning. There are more than 28 desalination plants scattered around the kingdom. About 1.5 million barrels a day of fuel oil are required to power the equipment used to extract salt and other minerals from sea water.
    Saudi Arabio oil consumption (JODI)

    But why would the Saudis do this? They’re supposed to be swimming in oil, right? Actually, Saudi DOMESTIC oil demand has been zig-zagging its way higher for years. It’s to be expected in a country where government subsidies recently pegged the price of gasoline at 61 cents a gallon.

    In fact, the Saudis are so keen on going green that they recently joined the International Renewable Energy Agency. Saudi Arabia has invested $12.5 billion in the sustainability-oriented King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and is pouring money into manufacturing materials for solar power.

    The Saudi oil minister says the kingdom’s goal is to become the largest exporter of clean energy and the most important center for solar energy research within 30 to 50 years.
    http://www.uncommonwisdomdaily.com/the-oil-kingdom-goes-green-6-8359

  27. Rob says:

    Never mind that most of the ski areas in the world are having excellent seasons, including other Olympic venues like Whistler – which has already received over 1,000 cm of snow this winter. Arizona Snowbowl has received 238 inches of snow this winter! You read that correctly – Arizona.

    Squaw Valley, California (site of the 1960 Winter Olympics) is reporting at least 10 feet of snow on the ground. Ski conditions around Salt Lake City (site of the 2002 Olympics) are excellent. Wolf Creek, Colorado is reporting close to ten feet on the ground. European ski areas are reporting excellent snow. Pajarito Mountain, New Mexico is reporting one of their best ski seasons ever. North Carolina ski areas are reporting some of their best conditions ever. Scotland is reporting the best ski conditions in 50 years. Washington DC is shut down due to snow.

    Most of the ski areas in British Columbia have excellent snow.

    [JR: Ironic, ain't it. Again, we expect more snow in the North, except when it is just too damn warm.]

  28. Leif says:

    Water invented man so it could go up hill.

  29. Steve L says:

    Up high in the article we have:
    “This year, the average temperature in January was 44.9 degrees, besting the previous warm record of 43.3 in 2006 and well above the historic average of 37.9 degrees”
    Down lower we have:
    “45 degrees, more than seven degrees above the norm (38 degrees) as well as five degrees above the previous high.”
    Looks like the previous high, in the second quotation, is far too low.

    I’m off to see the Olympic flame this morning as it passes my office. Best wishes.

  30. From Peru says:

    The Arctic Oscillation is again at record lows:
    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao_index.html

    Could the origin of this *specific* event be El Niño + Record low Arctic Oscillation?

    Could recent ice melt triggered severe ups and downs in the AO?

  31. Edward Bax says:

    Roger Pielke says you shouldn’t be using the phrase “is consistent with climate change”:

    “Further, it is professionally irresponsible for scientists to claim that some observed weather is “consistent with” long-term predictions of climate change. Any and all weather fits this criteria. Similarly, any and all weather is also “consistent with” failing predictions of long-term climate change. The “consistent with” canard is purposely misleading.”

    rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/weather-is-not-climate.html

    [JR: Oh, no, the most prominent non-climate-scientist and scientist-attacker in the country is declaring yet another phrase outside of the bounds of his form of political (science) correctness. What a shock! Yes, no climate scientist is allowed to use any phrase that might be construed as a policy measure to address global warming -- or else Pielke will declare that they have politicized science. Now Pielke has forbidden anyone from talking about how extreme weather events predicted by climate science are consistent with climate science. Pielke is a one-man Orwellian "Ministry of Truth."]

  32. Joseph says:

    Expect 2011′s or 2012′s hurricane season to be a major one. I’ve noticed in the data that unusually busy seasons often occur a year or two after an El Nino year, with some exceptions, like 2005. Of course, not all seasons after El Nino years are busy ones, so I could be wrong on that prediction.

  33. A Siegel says:

    Note that the Washington Post article is only online and didn’t, for example, show up on the front page.

    [JR: It was in Thursday's paper -- yes, front page!]

    My write-up yesterday: “Climate Disruption: Airlifting snow from Washington, DC, to Vancouver, British Columbia” http://getenergysmartnow.com/2010/02/11/climate-disruption-airlifting-snow-from-washington-dc-to-vancouver-british-columbia/ Have now added link to your discussion.

  34. Mark S. says:

    It’s not too much to ask for, but it is too much to expect.

  35. MarkB says:

    Rob asserts:

    “Never mind that most of the ski areas in the world are having excellent seasons,”

    “…Wolf Creek, Colorado is reporting close to ten feet on the ground.”

    That’s odd. Most Snotel sites I checked in Colorado are running well below average (See Snow Water Equivalent Daily Graph)

    http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snotel/Colorado/colorado.html

    including this ski area…

    http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/cgibin/wygraph-multi.pl?state=CO&wateryear=2010&stationidname=06k24s-COPPER%20MOUNTAIN

    Methinks you’re cherry-picking.

  36. Mark S. says:

    Hmmm…something disappeared into the aether. OK, let’s try this again…

    “MarkB says: Is it too much to ask for society to reach this level?”

    It’s not too much to ask for, but it is too much to expect.

  37. MarkB says:

    “It’s El Niño Plus.”

    Perhaps deniers now have a new term to describe global warming or climate change.

    As for Pielke Jr., this is consistent with long-term climate predictions:

    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/images/cei/dk-step4.01-12.gif

    A single weather event, such as the record precipitation on parts of the east coast, is a small part of this data and an EXAMPLE of what’s been both predicted AND observed.

  38. Adrian says:

    It’s especially ironic as these ski hills opened very early because of all the snow, the third earliest opening in history: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/11/13/bc-vancouver-ski-hills-el-nino-olympic-snow.html

    The problem is that weather has been so warm that we’re getting rain in the mountains instead of snow. And yeah, tulips and rhododendrons are blooming and most trees are putting on leaves even though it’s generally the coldest time of the year. It’s nice to run in shorts and see the flowers but this is winter in Canada and even if we are Coastal it’s disturbing as hell.

  39. From Peru says:

    I guess it’s El Niño PLUS Arctic Oscillation.

    That is, the probable *specific* cause for this *specific* winter heatwave, precisely the same process that give origin to the “snowapocalyspes” in the South.

    Someones could argue that the combination:

    Moderate El Niño + Extreme negative AO + Winter season

    Is statistically rare, and so it have not happened in recent past.

    I think there is still the warming trend behind the ups and downs of Climate Oscillations(ENSO,AO,PDO, etc). After all, these are oscillations. They alone could not explain a centuries-long broken record.

    Finally, Arctic ice melt could be behind the recent record low AO index values(it went up and down in a matter of weeks, maybe such variability is itself a record)

    By the way, how long into the past Vancouver temperatures are recorded(decades,centuries)?

  40. Eddie V says:

    Kind of seems like some folks on both side of this argument are a little too anxious to score points about climate change by citing weather events. The point and counter point weather anecdotes get old pretty quickly, and don’t really seem to add much to our real knowledge of what is going on….

    [JR: Me, I just report the coincidences. Pay no attention to the warming behind the screen....]

  41. Barry says:

    Sorry Eddie V (#40) I have to disagree. Extremes of weather are our primary interface with “climate” and the only one most people ever experience.

    That is why it is a battleground. The delayers and deniers have targetted extreme weather event relentlessly because they know that is where people actually have their main opportunity to “experience” climate change.

    CO2 is invisible to humans. The climate shifts are less than weather noise. The only time the climate signal appears above the weather noise for vast majority of people is when it pushes the extremes to new highs and lows.

    The work that Joe and others are doing to highlight that these extreme weather events are exactly the kind of thing that climate science has predicted is critical to the battle for a stable climate.

    These extremes are “postcards from the future” showing people just what climate science has said will likely happen. Previews of the new normal.

    When climate science shows a multi-decade trend line and the models predict this trendline to continue…it is crucial that people are told this when the early examples of that kind of future weather appear.

    Joe’s got it right. This is a critical area to engage and educate people of what the climate data is showing.

  42. Charles says:

    [JR: So why is this a blow-out all time record in Vancouver? And why was the previous record in 2006 set in a non-El-Nino? It's all just coincidence, I guess.]

    Joe, the warmest previous *winter* was, wait for it: 1998. I skied at Cypress that year. I got exactly two runs in on one day for the entire season. The run I skied on was about 25 yards wide; the snow path on the run was about 6 feet wide. This was in January, and they closed the mountain shortly after that.

    Again, there is no doubt the climate here is warming, Joe. I was a professional gardener for 30 years and I saw Vancouver go from a USDA zone 7B to an 8A in about 20 years. But this warm weather here right now is just that: weather.

    [JR: Again, the warmest previous "January" was 2006, not an El Nino. But your position is logically inconsistent. If there is no doubt the climate here is warming -- and it is unequivocal -- than there is as much certainty that the warming contributes to record temps as does El Nino.]

  43. ToddToronto says:

    Why are you politicizing this quote from that Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee member, as if he’s Glenn Beck? Would it be better if he had said “this is unequivocally the effect of climate change”? Well, you probably would, but since he’s not a climatologist, he probably shouldn’t be making statements like that.

    I do believe in climate change, but I also think it’s a tad silly to isolate one specific weather event in one part of the world as proof that something is happening (see also, snow in Washington, DC).

    Sustained warm weather wreaked havoc with the first few days of the Calgary Olympics in 1988 as well.

  44. Fran says:

    Did you see the story about the leaked email message showing scandal in the figure skating judging? Really this is quite conclusive evidence that figure skating does not exist.

  45. Kevin says:

    Apparently none you have heard that Florida has record low temps for over a month and the last time I looked on the map that is a far more pronounced deviation in temp extremes! But hey got to keep Al Gore making that $100 million a year right?

  46. Michael T. says:

    #45 Kevin: The state of Florida has not had record cold. Record lows and record highs will continue, except with record highs outpacing record lows.

    January 2003 was much colder than last month. Jan. ’03 was the 6th coldest on record while Jan. ’10 was the 10th coldest on record.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2010/jan/currentmonth.html

    Combine El Nino with -ve Arctic Oscillation, we should expect cold temperatures in Florida this winter.

  47. Martie says:

    As much as we can admire the naive ideal of the olympics being used to bring people together, we must also realize that shooting ourselves in the foot with HST and denied healthcare benefits for the residents of B.C. is completely unjustified. Consider how the immense amount of money that is being spent in this futile attempt to save a couple of events could have been better spent to help our neighbors in other countries. Civil,humanitarian and other business projects could be much better supported with money used to transport melting snow. Once the snow gets there it will melt anyways. So perhaps, consider how this money could have been more effectively used to help our fellow earthlings instead of our olympic egos.

  48. JimS says:

    As a Utah skier I can tell you conditions on the Wasatch are not great. All Utah basins except the most southern are around 70% of normal.

    The only portion of the western U.S. that seems to have normal or above snowpack at this point is Arizona, extreme southern Utah, and southwestern New Mexico.

    Conditions as of Feb 17, 2010 compared to the 1971-2000 normal are mapped at:
    ftp://ftp.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/data/water/wcs/gis/maps/WestwideSWEPercent.pdf