First some basic facts about the past few weeks in Boston. (From the NWS)
1. The overall temperature since January 26 (The first Blizzard) have been well below normal. In fact roughly 10F below normal.
2. The liquid (melted) equivalent of precipitation that has fallen in Boston since Jan 26 is around 3.64"
Meteorologists often use a snow ratio to predict snowfall. Commonly this ratio is 1:10 - for every 1 inch of liquid precipitation approximately, 10 inches of snow will fall. This ratio is great for when the air temperature is around 30F. If so, we would have seen snowfall in Boston be 36.4" since January 26.
This ratio increases though as temperature decreases. So if the temperature of the air is around 20F, which it has been in most of our snow cases this ratio increases to 1:20. Now with this basic science and math we would get 72.8" of snow. If you have noticed, the snow is lighter and fluffier. Now we can agree that the temperature has not been constantly 20F, but it has been below the normal of 38/24F.
So right here, we have basically proven that because the air temperature in Boston has on average been 10F below normal our snowfall rate has increased to almost 2x what should be expected. Most climate change articles do not point this out.
|The colder the air temperature is in Boston the more snow will fall|
Next.. in a recent article, a statement "ocean temperatures off the East Coast are exceptionally warm, some 21 degrees warmer than normal in some areas" . This comes directly from Penn State Climate scientist, Michael Mann. This statement was just gasoline being poured on any climate change argument, and was picked up by so many other climate change scientists who made simple statements to grab attention. But the fact is, Dr. Mann's (11C heat) was a pixel of warmth detected in the ever flowing and changing Gulf Stream placed on a 30 year normal smoothed map of the Gulf Stream and picked to be a major heat burst. Anyone can take a piece or fragment of data and manipulate it to fit your theory. In fact, many meteorologists have scrutinized this number and can only come up with a 5C temperature anomaly in the ocean at the given point.
(It must be pointed out that unlike a hurricane, the eye or center relies heavily on the surface water temperature directly under it for strength - a winter storm relies on temperature differences across thousands of miles both on land and sea)
So lets look at this a bit closer. First with an analogy.
Everyday, many commute into Boston - lets say its by car down I93. You leave your house, you get on the side road, you stop at a stop sign or red light, traffic is flowing you reach 65mph. You hit stop and go traffic until you get into the city. You park. If you were to average out your entire commute you may come up with an average (normal)of 30mph. Is this to say that you constantly drove 30mph. Absolutely not. You went 65mph at one point, you went 5mph at one point well above and below your average. So I cannot say to you, you drove 35mph above average the entire time if I somehow pinpointed your speed at 65mph on a map.
The same applies to climate and in the Gulf Stream. Eddies in the Gulf Stream are constantly moving, some are warm, some are cold. When you place these temperature differences on an averaged map, you will get an anomaly for certain. Tomorrow, that 21F above normal eddy could be 10F colder than average on that spot, because the Gulf Stream is always moving.
Next, we need to be level headed about our science as well. The ocean temperature in Boston Harbor is around 34F right now. Off the coast, about 43F. If what was published was a true statement, then Boston Harbor should be 55F and off the coast should be 64F right now in temperature. We would be lucky to even see this in the heat of summer for our latitude. BUT since our temperature readings indicate the current temps of 34 and 43, Dr. Manns assertion that the temperatures are 21 degrees above normal mean that Boston Harbor water temperature in Febuary is 13F and off the coast 22F. Ocean water freezes at around 27F. Simply his statement cannot be held up to phyisics.
Where I will concede is that all temperature data over the Atlantic Ocean is running about 2F above normal. The oceans go through cylces of warm and cold and this warm cycle is expected to last another few years. So this leads to the question of moisture in the atmosphere. The articles specifically stated that a warmer ocean will increase moisture in the atmosphere, increasing the amount of precipitable water to fall out, therefore increasing snowfall rates. Or - because the air is SO much colder and the water is so much warmer the evaporation rate is much greater and you will get greater amounts of snow to fall. I have yet to see or hear that precipitation is well above normal. Single storms in any season can produce over 1 inch of rainfall. So you need to ask yourself. If it rained on Sunday (8th) 0.37" and Monday (9th) 0.88" (which is the liquid equiv of what fell) would you be screaming climate change caused this to happen?
Boston is a coastal weather community, influenced by the ocean, by the continental airmasses from the Arctic, and by plumes of moisture from the tropics and by wind blowing in off of the ocean.
This year it was Bostons turn for snow. Just as in 2010 it was Washington DC, Remember that? Or how about the Blizzard of 78, or think about the snows that fell to depths of 24"
inches in the south in 1973. Or Wilmington, NC in 1989. Every area of the country sees a winter weather outbreak at some point. But why not NYC, just 180 miles away, or even Western Massachusetts, they have been immune to heavy snows this year. Does Climate Change pick a city and say, lets target Buffalo and Boston this year, but leave NYC alone?
Is climate change real, yes it is. Climate change is something that has been happening for millennia. We have had ice ages, we have had warming spells. There are cycles in the earth and in space that we have yet to uncover of fully understand, but if we look back at our own human history here in New England to 1630. We can find events that are similar, or even much worse than what are experiencing now. This is why I doubt the cries of the climate change activist. Not because I don't care about the planet or environment, it is because this has happened before and will happen again.
I must also inform you the reader, that I am not getting paid to write to article. However, many of the climate scientists writing these scare terms are getting $$$ of funding to support them and make the relevant. If my livelihood and professional occupation were solely based on grants and funding that expected me to prove a point, I would definitely make the data say what I needed it to say. Or just tweet "Climate change responsible for Boston snow - 11C above normal water to blame". Today, that gives you an edge and makes you relevant to be put into national publications, invited onto talk shows in major markets and when my employer sees this or a big grant giving foundation sees this, I get more money. I am not a die hard right wing conservative either. My own professional research has allowed me to question what is being told.
I hope this writing gives you a sense of reality of the overall scheme of what has been happening weatherwise in Boston. You may choose to not accept it, or your political affiliation may place you against it. That is fine with me. I offer you my opinion based on the facts presented.