Extreme Temperature Diary-Thursday December 5th, 2019/ Main Topic: Another U.S. Cold Shot Next Week/How to Respond to Skepticism When There Is an Arctic Blast

Thursday December 5th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

We are already into early winter with many folks across the northern tier of states dealing with cold, snowy weather this season. Honestly, for the United States the winter of 2019/2020 has gotten off to a fairly typical start with no real signs of climate change. In fact, another typical cold blast for early December will move through the Plains and Midwest into the Northeast early next week as indicated by the following GFS model panel:

We may see some records from Tuesday’s cold shot, but next week’s Arctic outbreak does not appear to be historically cold. Still, how should people discuss cold weather with skeptics, especially when there is a weather pattern with frequent Arctic blasts?

Yesterday we brought up the subject of air pollution, which is much better broached to convince people of more conservative stripes that green change is needed. Today I am reposting advice from a Climate Reality forum on how to convince skeptics that indeed you can have typical, if not record setting cold weather, in a warming world:


Glen Garner

Glen Garner Quote

Re: How to respond to skepticism about global “warming” when news shows “arctic blast”

Posted by Glen Garner on Nov 25, 2019 6:40 pm I would use the vortex discussion. I like to preempt the thought on the impacts of climate change and I bring up two things…. how WEATHER is responding to the CLIMATE crisis… use the vortex discussion to show how freaky this can be… pushing cold south whilst the North Pole overheats. Whilst those two things happened (greater cold in mid America’s and Europe) and hotter Arctic, the climate was in fact on average hotter that year – but two places changed their temperature (weather) profiles dramatically. Then I also like to address a 1.5C target and emphasise that 1.5C is more than 10% of the current average global temp (14C). To dramatise the impact what if we in Australia had a dozen days in Melbourne or Sydney over 40C and that weather changed that day 10% to 44C? And then emphasis that a 3C average climate change (that we can not tolerate) would be a 21% change to the average temp. At the high end of our scale then a 40C day could be 48C with a 20% change, if that mechanism followed both ends of the hot / cold scale. 1C average climate temp change is scary, 3C average change is catastrophic.  

Edward Ewert

Edward Ewert Quote

How to respond to skepticism about global “warming” when news shows “arctic blast”

Posted by Edward Ewert on Nov 11, 2019 9:46 am One thing emphasized in Climate Reality slideshows is the increasing heat worldwide, record high temperatures in so many places.  We’re even told of mid-winter heat waves in the Arctic.  Of course, I believe all of this because I respect and trust Mr. Gore and the scientists who provide this information.  Then, I see news stories such as one today that says the U.S. east coast is being hit by an arctic blast.  I expect that during an upcoming climate presentation someone will ask me how there can be such painfully cold weather events when our planet is warming. I hope that someone can provide a short but effective response that adequately explains to the average person how these frigid events are still consistent with global warming.     

I do recall Mr. Gore’s slideshow showing us a polar vortex getting split in two.  Is the explanation hidden in that?  I guess I should go back and look at it.  Meanwhile, if you have a short, effective response please share.  Thank you.

Ken Marsh

Ken Marsh

Re: How to respond to skepticism about global “warming” when news shows “arctic blast”

Posted by Ken Marsh on Nov 11, 2019 9:54 am The short answer is that climate (weather patterns over time) and weather are two very different things.  Arctic blast is weather.  The average temperature of earth is rising but obviously temperature is not the same around the planet – EVER!

Edward Ewert

Edward Ewert

Re: How to respond to skepticism about global “warming” when news shows “arctic blast”

Posted by Edward Ewert on Nov 11, 2019 12:24 pm Thank you, Ken.  
I guess the best approach is to keep it simple and straightforward.  I know the difference between climate and weather, but I was thinking that these (more frequent?) arctic blasts may be the result of global warming impacting the jet stream, making it more unstable and splitting the polar vortex and somehow making the descent of icy arctic masses more common.  Whether that is true I don’t know.   But, again, there is much to be said for keeping the response short and simple.   Thanks, again. 

Jeffrey Rogers

Jeffrey Rogers

Re: How to respond to skepticism about global “warming” when news shows “arctic blast”

Posted by Jeffrey Rogers on Nov 12, 2019 12:14 pm Edward,

You have pretty much nailed it with your second post.

The NE states of USA often get hit with extreme cold weather in winter. If a particular episode is more severe than usual, one should check what’s happening to the polar vortex. Some of the official Leader slide decks carry animations on this topic.

I remember when I attended the Atlanta training in March this year, there was a dramatic and long-lasting cold spell affecting central Canada and the neighboring United States.

Kind regards – Jeff


In short, discussions should lead to statistics and charts showing our warming trend, noting that short term weather is not the same as long term climate trends. I also frequently do show Northern Hemisphere vortex charts like the following for next Tuesday:

I do note increased Arctic warmth as represented by the red anomalies on the above chart, but for some skeptics this tact is not convincing since blue anomalies remain part of our climate system (and thankfully so).

My own record work showing long term extreme temperature trends is helpful. Over the last four decades we have seen less cold extremes and more warm across the United States:

If anyone has more advice on convincing skeptics that indeed global warming is happening despite Arctic outbreaks please that along, and I will post it here.

Here is more climate and weather news from Thursday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton- “The Climate Guy”

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