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
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 »
HAD BEEN A CAREER EMPLOYEE THERE
DoD IG Probing Shanahan for Bias in Favor of Boeing
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Department of Defense’s Inspector General confirmed Wednesday that it has launched an investigation into allegations that Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan violated ethics rules by promoting his former employer, Boeing, during his time at the DoD."

Source:
SAYS NO MORE HIKES THIS YEAR
Fed Holds Tight on Rates
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to hold interest rates steady and indicated that no more hikes will be coming this year. In a unanimous move that coincides with market expectations and demands, the central bank’s policymaking Federal Open Market Committee took a sharp dovish turn from policy projections just three months earlier. After the announcement, 10-year Treasury yields fell to their lowest level in a year."

Source:
NO INDICTMENTS SINCE JANUARY
Mueller's Team Down to 10 Lawyers
16 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Mueller’s team, once filled with 17 lawyers, will soon be down to 10. The special counsel’s office confirmed in recent days that Zainab Ahmad’s detail has ended, and Andrew Weissmann will soon be leaving for the private sector. No one has been charged by the special counsel since longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone was indicted in January for allegedly lying to Congress."

Source:
HE PLANNED TO LEAVE MID-MARCH
Rosenstein Not Leaving DOJ Yet
1 days ago
THE LATEST
MANAFORT STEERED HIM WORK IN UKRAINE
Prosecutors Weighing Whether to Charge Greg Craig
2 days ago
THE LATEST

A long-running federal investigation into former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig "is reaching a critical stage, presenting the Justice Department with a decision about whether to charge a prominent Democrat as part of a more aggressive crackdown on illegal foreign lobbying." Federal prosecutors in New York have transferred the case to Washington. ... The investigation centers on whether Mr. Craig should have disclosed work he did in 2012 — while he was a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — on behalf of the Russia-aligned government of Viktor F. Yanukovych, then the president of Ukraine. The work was steered to Mr. Craig by Paul Manafort."

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