Research purports to bolster theories that man-made warming is leading to colder U.S. and European winters, but buried in the paper is an admission undercutting its findings.
The study, published in a “Nature Communications” January 2018 issue, claimed historical data showed an East Coast cold snap is two to four times more likely when the Arctic is abnormally warmer than when the pole is colder. It’s not a widely accepted theory among climate scientists, but the study’s made the rounds in the media, touted as more evidence man-made warming is making U.S. winters colder.
The study “basically” confirmed “the story I’ve been telling for a couple of years now,” the study’s co-author, Rutgers University scientist Jennifer Francis, said. “This is no coincidence” and that “it’s becoming very difficult to believe they are unrelated,” Francis, who’s regularly cited in the media during intense cold snaps, added.
That theory resurfaced this winter during a prolonged cold snap in the eastern U.S., which lasted from around Christmas 2017 to mid-January. Cold and snow pummeled the northeast, and former Vice President Al Gore claimed it was the product of man-made warming. Francis’s new study confirms that theory, she said.
Buried in the study, however, is a section on limitations undercutting the mainline findings. JunkScience.com publisher Steve Milloy pointed out the admissions on Twitter.
Boom… Nature study admissions undercut almost all climate studies:
— Steve Milloy (@JunkScience) March 14, 2018
NOW WATCH why global warming is overblown:
“The most obvious is common to all observational analysis, i.e., correlation does not mean causation,” the authors wrote in their study, adding “even though elevated heights and warmer temperatures in the Arctic are positively correlated with more frequent severe winter weather in the mid-latitudes, we cannot conclude that the warmer Arctic is responsible.”
More importantly, the authors “have not offered mechanistic explanations for these relationships” but instead try and argue “our findings are consistent with previous studies linking a warming Arctic with extreme winter weather in NH mid-latitudes,” they admit.
The authors basically admit they are not testing any hypothesis; they are just running the numbers and looking for some sort of correlation between Arctic warmth and cold snaps in the northeastern U.S. and Europe.
Francis has been arguing for years that melting sea ice and a warming Arctic is weakening the jet stream and leading to more frequent and persistent cold snaps in the U.S. and Europe. But as she admitted in the study, scientists have no idea how this could be happening.
“Five of the past six winters have brought persistent cold to the eastern US and warm, dry conditions to the West, while the Arctic has been off-the-charts warm,” Francis said.
“Exactly how much the Arctic contributed to the severity or persistence of the pattern is still hard to pin down, but it’s becoming very difficult to believe they are unrelated,” she added.
Her study comes as the third nor’easter this winter bears down on the northeastern U.S. The storm follows the “Beast from the East” storm that brought temperatures to record lows across much of Europe while the Arctic went through record warmth.
Many scientists don’t think there’s enough evidence to say for sure what’s driven recent cold snaps. Studies have also found cold snaps have become less common in the last 50 years.
“This study highlights the difficulty in disentangling the cause-and-effect between Arctic warming and middle latitude extreme events,” Weather.us meteorologist and Cato Institute scholar Ryan Maue told CNN.
“While no firm scientific consensus exists in the climate community on these Arctic interactions, this research communication will help direct future research and spur timely debate on a high impact climate change problem,” Maue added.