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Menopausal Mother Nature

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The Pitfalls Of Politicizing Climate With Weather

ocasio-cortez bernie sanders

ocasio-cortez bernie sanders

The old adage “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get” is telling of the reality of weather extremes in the context of “normal” conditions. But in today’s world, this maxim seems to have been turned on its head with political spin.

As an atmospheric scientist with 40 years of experience, my job has always been to look at weather and climate situations objectively. This means observing the dynamics of the atmosphere and evaluating long-term trends in an unbiased manner.

When politics enters the mix of analyzing the atmosphere, weather and climate become hopelessly confused — perhaps purposely.

Politicians apparently are driven by a different force than what typically drives scientists. Ideally, scientists look to understand natural phenomena and ultimately discover the truth about what they observe. Politicians too often seem to seek power over the people they are ostensibly elected to serve.

This point, of course, was not missed on the late popular science writer Michael Crichton, a Harvard educated physician.

In his 2004 bestselling fiction, “State of Fear,” which addressed the climate change issue, Mr. Crichton’s skeptical climate science character, Professor Norman Hoffman, said: “I study the ecology of thought and how it has led to a State of Fear.”

The professor went on to explain that the government practices “social control [which is] best managed through fear.”

Some politicos will likely continue to capitalize on the fear generated by the recent tragic tornado events. Yet, as climatologist Roy Spencer noted in his 2018 book, “Global Warming Skepticism for Busy People”:

“The public remains largely skeptical of apocalyptic scenarios. The reason is that people do not actually see the effects of climate change in their lives. Yes, they see hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, wildfires, and snowstorms, but these events have always happened and always will. Satellite data over the last 40 years suggest that global warming of the atmosphere has progressed at a snail’s pace, +0.13 C per decade, with no attendant increase in severe weather events.”

James Delingpole of the Daily Telegraph, The Spectator and other publications observed in his 2013 book, “The Little Green Book of Eco-Fascism,” that the difference between “Weather” and “Climate” is quite simple.

“If it’s cold when the greenies say it should be warming, it’s weather. If, on the other hand, it’s doing anything that bears any correlation with their computer models’ predictions of environmental doom, then it definitely counts as climate.”

The book authors’ remarks seem spot-on when it comes to the impact of political “science” on atmospheric science. Politicians grab whatever promotes their cause and all too often their cause is self-promotion.

Areas of the Northeast United States measured record-breaking precipitation in 2018, leading some politicians to profit by confusing weather with climate. They took advantage of the historic weather anomaly to push their government-intrusion agenda.

Yet, climatic “norms” are determined from 30-year average conditions, so even several years in a row of extreme weather does not necessarily indicate a drastic change in the climate.

When pure science is combined with politics — a combination that is sometimes necessary from a practical standpoint — there are obvious pitfalls that scientists should watch out for and carefully avoid.

The science profession certainly must not allow itself to be held captive by any political philosophy, party or agenda.

Highly opinionated and domineering personalities, pretentious viewpoints and even malevolent politics can enter the mix. Science can then become arrogated for political gain but with societal loss.

My personal, professional and academic experience tells me that there is much more to be learned about day-to-day dynamics of the atmosphere and the hugely complex climate system.

Simplistic politically- or ideologically- motivated declarations of weather and climate “facts” and “solutions” to uncertain challenges will only distract us from getting a more complete understanding of the atmosphere and the extent to which humanity can or cannot interfere with its natural operation.

Whether it’s “climate denier” name-calling, “climate disaster” exaggeration, or the hyperbolic language of the “Green New Deal,” ultimately, the insertion of politics and partisan propaganda into atmospheric research, results, and application can be described with a new straightforward adage.

In politics, “deception is what we expect, deception is what we get.”

Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and author of “In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail” (Stairway Press, 2016).

Read more at Washington Times

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