The One Video to Shut Down All of the Climate-Change Deniers

Weather experts explain why you’re freezing in the polar vortex — and what it means for global warming.

National Journal
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Reena Flores
Jan. 30, 2014, 8:34 a.m.

Somewhere in Michigan, a lake is frozen.

And Dr. Jeff Masters, the Weather Underground‘s king of climate nerds, stands atop the ice trying to explain to climate deniers: Yes, it’s cold this winter. No, that doesn’t mean global warming is a liberal conspiracy.

“If There’s Global Warming “¦ Why Is It So Cold?” is a video for the Yale Forum‘s “This Is Not Cool” series, and it does an excellent job breaking down why what may seem like an average cold snap might actually be an alarming symptom of global warming.

In fact, explains Masters to his YouTube audience, there’s a lot more to the freezing temperatures than your phone’s weather app might be able to tell you.

Arctic air doesn’t usually travel in a loop, experts say, but in an unusual phenomenon this year, the freezing jet stream spilled southward in a spiral out of Canada. The result? Pockets of extemely cold air in places like Michigan, and unseasonably warm temperatures in states like Washington.

But the media isn’t always so keen on elaborate scientific explanations or analyses of global air-flow patterns.

According to Peter Sinclair, the independent videographer in charge of producing the monthly Yale video series, news networks are irresponsible in their weather coverage.

“Whenever we have one of these cold snaps, we hear: ‘Oh my god! It’s cold. How can there be climate change?’ Sinclair says.

The video includes a few outrageous clips from broadcast news, including Rush Limbaugh’s accusation that the media created the polar vortex to “attach it to the global-warming agenda.”

It’s a mainstream narrative that disregards the reality faced by several states, including California’s extreme drought this winter.

Says Sinclair: “It’s easy for dis-informers and misinformers to hoodwink the unwary, and this video is supposed to be a remedy for that.”


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