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10 Things That Don’t Disprove Global Warming


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We're Experiencing Colder Winters
A view of the Niagara Falls frozen over due to the very cold weather in Ontario, Canada, January 9, 2014. Some people think this type of extreme cold disproves global warming. Seyit Aydogan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
A view of the Niagara Falls frozen over due to the very cold weather in Ontario, Canada, January 9, 2014. Some people think this type of extreme cold disproves global warming. Seyit Aydogan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Whenever the temperature plunges dramatically and there's heavier snowfall than usual in some states, people will cite the arctic weather as proof that global warming is a hoax. During the cold snap in early 2014, for example, businessman Donald Trump tweeted derisively, "This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bull---- has got to stop. Ourplanet is freezing, record low temps, and our GW scientists are stuck in ice" [source: Mooney].

That's not too surprising, actually, since psychological research has found that people's views about climate change tend to be influenced by the weather on the day that they are interviewed [source: Konnikova]. One flaw with this way of looking at things, as Columbia University atmospheric scientist Adam Sobel has pointed out, is that there's a big difference between the weather on a particular day and the climate, which is the pattern of what happens over a much longer time.

"In recent times, high-temperature records have been repeatedly broken much more often than low-temperature records," he wrote in an article for CNN.

Additionally, he noted, some scientists believe that global warming paradoxically might be causing harsher winter storms, by weakening the jet stream of fast-moving winds that normally block the frigid polar air mass from creeping southward and chilling the U.S. [source: Sobel].