- Date published:
11:54 am, December 30th, 2017 - 39 comments
Categories: articles, climate change, Environment, global warming, International, Media, newspapers, science, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: climate change, global warming, priorities, reporting
Yes, Donald Trump’s an arse. But the headlines that are ridiculing him for his latest statements on global warming are a bit rich given those same publications seem to have “a thing” for reporting on weather and its effects while saying nothing worthwhile about what sits behind it.
The US is experiencing simultaneous high and low temperatures because the jet stream is meandering. That’s the story. That’s what we should be paying attention to – not whether sharks are freezing to death, and not wrapping ourselves up in superior guffawing because of some splab coming from a guy in a big white house.
We’ve warmed the atmosphere above the arctic. And so it’s expanded as warm things do. Meaning the differential or “the gradient” between the tropics and the pole – that determines or limits the pathway of the jet stream, is much less than it used to be. Think of it in terms of a river making its way down a slope. The greater the gradient, the less the river meanders. The jet stream is now meandering. Now throw in the fact that weather fronts ride behind the ridges and troughs of the jet stream. And factor in that since the jet stream is meandering, those weather fronts pass over slower than they would have. And sometimes become “stuck” when the jet stream falls into a “holding pattern”.
So colder air from the arctic can penetrate much further south than it used to, and warmer air from the tropics can penetrate much further north than it used to. And the whole thing moves east to west much slower than it used to and can also get “stuck”, leading to very prolonged periods of stable weather conditions (eg – conditions or drought or flood).
From across four supposedly serious news outlets – The Guardian, The Independent, The Washington Post and the New York Times – I found nine articles relating to current weather conditions in the US. All publications give headline space to Trump tweeting about “good old global warming” and run secondary stories from that premise. Across all nine pieces the term “jet stream” is used on only four occasions. (Twice in one article from the Washington Post) Neither the Guardian (US edition) nor the New York Times make any specific mention of what is sitting behind the extreme hot and cold in the US.
So here we are. There’s a man saying stupid things. And there’s extreme weather. End.
Comfortably, that means we don’t have to say anything or do anything about…well, anything.
Here are the articles if you want to bring yourself up to speed on the really important fact that someone is saying some stupid stuff about weather conditions that (apparently) are kind of “just happening” because of a “catch all and meaningless” phenomenon called “global warming”.
The Guardian. –
The Independent –
US weather: East coast freezes while California enjoys record winter temperatures (one mention of the jet stream)
The Washington Post –
After chilly forecast, Trump tweets U.S. ‘could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming’ (two references to the jet stream)
New York Times –