White House Strikes Back at Climate Skeptics Over ‘Polar Vortex’

The Polar Vortex is a whirling and persistent large area of low pressure, found typically over both north and south poles.
National Journal
Ben Geman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Ben Geman
Jan. 8, 2014, 1:04 p.m.

White House sci­ence ad­viser John Hold­ren is push­ing back against con­ser­vat­ives who claim the U.S. cold snap shows that glob­al warm­ing isn’t real.

“If you have been hear­ing that ex­treme cold spells, like the one that we are hav­ing in the United States now, dis­prove glob­al warm­ing, don’t be­lieve it,” Hold­ren said in a video the White House cir­cu­lated Wed­nes­day.

In fact, he notes, “a grow­ing body of evid­ence” sug­gests that the type of ex­treme cold the U.S. is ex­per­i­en­cing could be­come more fre­quent as glob­al warm­ing con­tin­ues.

The former Har­vard Uni­versity pro­fess­or’s short video ar­rives as con­ser­vat­ives who deny hu­man-in­duced cli­mate change are seiz­ing on the cold snap.

Rush Limbaugh claimed this week that the “po­lar vor­tex” — the Arc­tic cold-air mass that’s in­vaded the U.S. — is a left-wing and me­dia in­ven­tion to link the cold snap to the “glob­al warm­ing agenda.”

And on the Sen­ate floor this week, Sen. James In­hofe, R-Okla., cited the cold weath­er to sup­port his claims that glob­al warm­ing is a hoax.

In­hofe’s views are counter to the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of sci­ent­ists who say hu­man activ­it­ies are a driv­ing force be­hind rising glob­al tem­per­at­ures.

Hold­ren said, “No single weath­er epis­ode can either prove or dis­prove glob­al cli­mate change.”

But Hold­ren offered a brief les­son on how glob­al warm­ing could be fuel­ing this week’s fri­gid tem­per­at­ures by af­fect­ing the po­lar vor­tex, which he noted is the swirl­ing mass of cold air that hov­ers around the North Pole.

He said the Arc­tic is warm­ing roughly twice as fast as mid-lat­it­ude areas like the U.S., so the tem­per­at­ure dif­fer­ence between the re­gions is shrink­ing. That’s weak­en­ing the vor­tex and mak­ing it “wavi­er.”

“The wavi­ness means that there can be in­creased, lar­ger ex­cur­sions of cold air south­ward, that is, in­to the mid-lat­it­udes, and in the oth­er phase of the wave, in­creased ex­cur­sions of re­l­at­ively warm­er, mid-lat­it­ude air in­to the north,” Hold­ren said.

The White House is also host­ing an on­line event Fri­day with cli­mate sci­ent­ists and oth­er ex­perts about the cold snap, ex­treme weath­er, and cli­mate change.

What We're Following See More »
EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1
DEA Head Rosenberg Resigning
25 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"Chuck Rosenberg, the acting head of the Drug Enforcement Agency who has found himself and his agency at odds with the Trump administration in recent months, told staff members Tuesday that he is planning to step down from his post." The Obama administration holdover will step down on October 1.

Source:
HAD BEGUN TO PUBLICLY CRITICIZE TRUMP
Sen. Corker to Retire
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Another Republican member of Congress is showing himself out the door. After much thought, consideration and family discussion over the past year, Elizabeth and I have decided that I will leave the United States Senate when my term expires at the end of 2018,” said Sen. Bob Corker in a statement. The Tennessean has served since 2006.

Source:
NOT ILLEGAL, BUT MUST BE FORWARDED TO WORK ACCOUNTS
At Least 6 WH Advisors Used Private Email Accounts
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Jared Kushner, Stephen Bannon, Reince Priebus, Gary Cohn, Stephen Miller, and Ivanka Trump sent or received some emails on personal accounts that related to White House business. "Officials are supposed to use government emails for their official duties so their conversations are available to the public and those conducting oversight. But it is not illegal for White House officials to use private email accounts as long as they forward work-related messages to their work accounts so they can be preserved."

Source:
SAYS CONTACTS WERE “BENIGN”
Stone Releases Correspondence with Guccifer 2.0
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Roger Stone, a longtime friend and adviser to Donald Trump, released correspondence Tuesday" with the online hacker known as Guccifer 2.0 , which "U.S. intelligence agencies said was used by Russian government-linked entities to distribute embarrassing information about Democrats during the 2016 election. The disclosures came in a 47-page opening statement made available to reporters in advance of Mr. Stone’s Tuesday appearance in front of the House Intelligence Committee." Stone called his contacts with Guccifer "limited" and "benign."

Source:
PRIEBUS, SPICER, HICKS, MCGAHAN
Mueller Could Start Interviewing White House Figures This Week
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Special counsel investigators could start interviewing current and former White House staff as soon as later this week regarding the Russian probe, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. One source cautioned it is still being worked out with Robert Mueller's office and said it might be delayed until next week." Among those who could have a sit-down with the special prosecutor: former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former press secretary Sean Spicer, communications director Hope Hicks, White House counsel Don McGahn, communications adviser Josh Raffel and associate counsel James Burnham.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login