The killer snowstorms socking much of the country are providing pundits on the right all the ammunition they need to mow down poor ol'Al Gore
Mr. Inconvenient Truth was called out last week by Bill O'Reilly, who wanted to know, if global warming exists, "Why has southern New York turned into the tundra?" Matt Drudge linked to Gore's answer--that "increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with . . . man-made global warming"--promptly crashing Gore's site Tuesday.
What a maroon, the conservatives cackled at Albert.
The thing is, Gore's answer is completely consistent with . . . something I'd heard about global warming before his famous documentary--hell, even before he won the 2000 presidential election overGeorge W. Bush
. (Talk about inconvenient truths!)
In fact, then as now, longtime climate-change denier Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Bulkhead) would point to every drop of rain as proof the planet is not warming. Then as now, no one listened to Rohrabacher. (Just kidding, teabaggers.)
Those who dared listen to climate experts back at the turn of the millennium heard that global warming would bring longer, drier summers and shorter but more intense winters. Do you know how I know? Because I was there when they said it at a gathering of some of the planet's leading climate and environmental scientists at UC Irvine. I even wrote about it in a story titled, "It's the End of the World As You Know It, and I Don't Feel Fine."
Publication date: April 20, 2000.
William J. Merrell, then the president of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, presented during "Global Climate Change and Public Policy: What Are the Implications for You?" what global warming will have wrought for Southern California by 2050.
Annual rainfall totals won't change much, but 40 percent more rain will drop in winter--pounding rain that will bring floodwaters, mudslides, the works. There will be little if any precipitation the rest of the year, so longer dry spells--coupled with our usual Santa Ana winds--will increase fire dangers dramatically.
One thing that won't rise is snowfall in the mountains (it'll be too warm), so we'll have to make do with less drinking water from the annual snowmelt. Deserts and wetlands--which play vital ecological roles in SoCal--are expected to disappear completely. Rising sea levels will swallow up more coastline, representing $500 million in lost real estate annually. We will be forced to decide whether to tear down houses so that we can still have beaches or create bulkheads to stop encroaching water.
One thing that was stressed early in the presentation, which featured other experts trotting out even-more-dire consequences for other parts of the world, particularly Africa, was that their projections were based on very conservative analyses of computer modeling in 2000.
Good thing Orange County has so far escaped the pounding rain that will bring floodwaters, mudslides, the works during this period of global warm-- . . . uh, check that:
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
For more fun reading, here's Gore's full answer to Papa Bear:
Last week on his show, Bill O'Reilly asked, and then said he had a call into me. I appreciate the question.
As it turns out, the scientific community has been addressing this particular question for some time now, and they say that increased heavy snowfalls are completely consistent with what they have been predicting as a consequence of man-made global warming:
"In fact, scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air. When temperatures dip below freezing, a lot of moisture creates a lot of snow.
"A rise in global temperature can create all sorts of havoc, ranging from hotter dry spells to colder winters, along with increasingly violent storms, flooding, forest fires and loss of endangered species."
Oh, shut up, Job Killer!