My daughter, enjoying the recent global warming in Tennessee.  (Her hands arent actually that big.)

My daughter, enjoying the recent global warming in Tennessee. (Her hands aren't actually that big.)



“Climate Research Unit, Phil Jones speaking.”

“Hi, Professor Jones.  Tom Naughton here, calling from Tennessee.”

“Uh … do I know you?”

“No, no, no.  I just need a prediction about the weather, and since you’re quoted in the media all the time, I thought you seemed like the go-to guy.”

“Well … yes, there are several places online where you can read about my work.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.  Thing is, none of that stuff is what I’m looking for.  I need to know if it’s going to keep snowing around here.”

“Pardon me?”

“Snow.  The white stuff.  When we moved here in August, the neighbors said we’d get maybe one light snow all winter.  Now here it is, the middle of February, and we’ve already had four snowstorms.  My daughter’s school used up all their snow days, and we have a family vacation planned in June, so if they have to extend the school year, we’ll have to–”

“Wait, wait, wait!  I’m sorry, but … are you actually asking me for a weather forecast?”

“I thought that’s what you did.”

“No, Mr. Norton.  I’m a climate researcher.”

“It’s Naughton.  I’m not British, so I usually pronounce my R’s.”

“Good for you, deah boy.  My point is, I don’t predict the weather.”

“Sure you do.  You’re the guy who’s been telling everybody exactly how warm the world’s going to be.”

“That’s in the future, Mr. Norton.  I can’t predict what’s going to happen this year.”

“I see.  You can tell me what the temperature will be in 2040, but not in March.”


“So, like, thirty years out, you’re pretty accurate.”

“Exactly.  Our computer models take into account–”

“Then I’m guessing back in 1980, you predicted we’d be having record-cold winters all over the northern hemisphere right around now?  Damn, I must’ve missed that one.”

“Well … no.  You see, there are natural forces at work that we can’t always predict.”

“So you don’t actually know how warm it’s going to be in 2040.  Or in March.”

“No!  Yes!  I mean, we know the world is going to get warmer overall because of the increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere.”

“But it hasn’t gotten any warmer since 1995.  You said so yourself.”

“I said it’s not statistically significant.”

“Nothing we can accurately measure, then.  So it’s not getting warmer. ”

“Yes it is!  And stop pasting hyperlinks into my dialog!  I @#$%ing hate that!”

“Sorry, just wanted to make sure I wasn’t misquoting you.”

“And the past 15 years are meaningless!  That’s why I said it’s a blipDamnit!  Stop with the hy–”

“–hyperlinks.  Yeah, yeah, okay.  Just to make sure I understand, though:  20 years is a long-term trend, but 15 years is a blip?”


“So the blip cutoff point must be, what … 17 years?”

“It’s whatever I say it is!  How’s that?”

“Okay, fine.  Anyway, about the snow:  is it going to keep snowing, or is the planet actually getting warmer?  I need to know.”

“Look, Mister Smarty Pants, you’re obviously not familiar with the science.  It so happens that all those record snowfalls in your part of the world were caused by global warming.”

“Global warming makes it snow more?”

“Yes!  The warmer temperatures cause more water to be absorbed into the atmosphere, so when the winter comes and the temperature drops, there’s more water to squeeze out in the form of snow.”

“Ahhhhh, okay!  You know, when I was growing up, I always wondered why we got so much more snow in southern Illinois than they did in Minnesota!  No wait, that’s not right …”

“You are misinterpreting what I–”

“Well, what about those pictures of Mount Kilimanjaro in Al Gore’s movie?  You know, the snow disappearing and all that?  What happened there?”

“The snow is melting on Mount Kilimanjaro because of the global warming.  And it isn’t snow, it’s ice.”

“Ice, right.  But I read the ice is actually going away because there’s less precipitation in the area.”

“Yes, that’s true.  Global warming caused the area to dry out, so there’s not as much snow.”

“I better write this down … global warming causes less precipitation so there’s not as much snow in the area.  Got it.  Then global warming isn’t happening around here, because it’s been snowing like crazy.  That’s a relief.”

“I already explained this!  You’re getting more snow because the planet is too warm.”

“It was 12 degrees outside last night. ”

“That doesn’t mean it’s a long-term–”

 “Did I mention I live in Tennessee?”

“Once again, you are simply not familiar with the science, Mr. Norton.  What we’ve actually been saying is that the high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing extreme temperatures.”

“Because carbon dioxide traps heat and produces a greenhouse effect.”


“And then all that trapped heat makes it colder.”


“But even when it’s colder, it’s actually warmer too, and that makes more water evaporate.”


“Okay, let me make sure I’ve got this straight:  global warming causes more snow because it sucks more water into the atmosphere, and it also causes less snow because it dries out the atmosphere.  It hasn’t gotten any warmer for 15 years because of the blip, but before that a lot of water got sucked up into the atmosphere and then it just sort of hung around up there, waiting for the weather to get colder again.  We started having record-cold winters and record-cool summers three years ago, but that wasn’t enough to squeeze out all that stored water in the atmosphere.  We had a record-cold autumn this year, but that also wasn’t enough to squeeze out all the stored water.  The water didn’t get squeezed out until a few weeks ago, when the carbon dioxide finally trapped so much heat, it got really crazy-ass cold, even here in Tennessee, and that’s why we had so much snow.”

“Yes.  That’s pretty much what happened.”

“I see.  So … can we plan on that family vacation, or should we wait until 2040?”


9 Responses to “Warming Up To Another Record-Cold Winter”
  1. paleofriend says:

    hilarious! :LOL:


  2. Tony K says:

    Nice Tom. Maybe you should call your next documentary ColdHead…

    Or ColdAndHotHead.

  3. Amy Dungan says:

    Wow… it’s all so clear now. It’s hot and it’s cold. Pure genius! Excuse me while I put on my bathing suit and roll around in the snow that continues to fall.

    If the temperature around the world locks in on 70 degrees and stays there for 10 years, they’ll say global warming caused it.

  4. Wait, Tom…I’m confused…

    I think we all are.

  5. Jan says:

    I’d also heard that global warming was the cause of all this snow; we’ve gotten 3 feet in the last two weeks and live in an area that averages less than 3 feet a winter (we’re too far south for lake effect and too far north and east for the snow belt). I’m so glad you clarified that for me – I was rather confused. But now I’m confused because this guy says we haven’t had any significant increase in the global temps for 15 years, but I’ve also heard we’ve had the hottest decade in recorded history.

    I wish these guys would get their feces together.

    I believe his position is that we ticked up to a hot decade but haven’t gone down. But that explain 12 degrees in Tennessee.

  6. Auntie M says:

    I think my head just exploded. No, hold on. It’s just snow from my roof that fell on me. Never mind.

    One of my friends, complaining about people denying global warming due to our huge snowfall in Virginia this winter, posted that “weather isn’t climate”. I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea that weather and climate are apparently unconnected. And it exploded for real.

    I wish I had the time to go back through the past 30 years and gather up all their predictions, then compare them to reality. I did read that in the early 1980s, one of the alarmists said on “This Week With David Brinkley” that if we didn’t reduce emissions within the next 20 years, it would be too late; we’d be in a runaway warming cycle with no way to stop it. So I guess we can quit trying now … it’s already too late.

  7. Kate says:

    Ahh! Finally! The weather cooperated today in southern Indiana. It was a beautiful 60 degrees outside. See? Global warming IS real!! Look! 60 degrees in Feb! We’re gonna drown from the rising Gulf of Mexico any day now…

    It was 62 degrees here today as well. The park where the girls like to play was jammed. What a week … 12 degrees and snow on Monday, 62 on Sunday. I guess that’s climate change for you.

  8. Sonya - from NZ says:

    I’ve just finished reading Ian Wisharts “Air Con” – a must read for climate change believers as well as skeptics. I’ve well and truely jumped into the skeptic/disbeliever boat.

    I’ll check that out. Thanks.

  9. Tracy says:

    Please, beg Gary Taubes to make climate science the subject of his next book. PLEASE. I’ve read so much from both sides that I think I now know less than I did before I started.

    Someone asked Gary in an interview if he believes in man-made global warming, and he replied, as best I can recall the quote, “Most of the time, but I understand why the skeptics have doubts.” I just finished Air Con by Ian Wishart, who used to believe in the idea but now disputes it. Very readable. At the very least, you’ll know that the notion that this is settled science is hogwash. You will also get a clear idea of how many organizations — including the UN — have a strong financial interest in the theory being accepted. Follow the money.

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