CLIMATE FICTION: Some Weather Writers Are Now In The Storytelling Business
All the sudden, extreme weather events like the ones the United States is enduring right now (which have occurred throughout recorded history) have become the result of humans living comfortably. A “bomb” cyclone, identified as such since at least 1980, and the “polar vortex,” part of the meteorological vocabulary, common since at least the 1950s, have now been turned into buzz words to hype human culpability to planetary destruction.
Development and broadcasting of the story about extreme weather from polluting people is predictable. First, track a serious, weather event. Next, figure out what is unique about the event. Decry that uniqueness results from human activity. Fire up activists, socialites, spin doctors, politicians, pundits, and pastors, to clamor your claim of man-made disaster. Then reap the fame and fortune that falls from the frenzy.
The category 4 and 5 hurricanes that hit during hurricane season last year–after a nearly 12-year quiescent period in the U.S.–and the droughts, wildfires, and floods were all essentially a product of human excesses, so the story goes.
Never mind the natural dynamics of the atmosphere that produces sometimes unfavorable storm paths.
Hurricane Harvey, for instance, dumped a Gulf-load of rain around eastern Texas because of its coast-hugging trek, not because Texans drive too many SUVs.
Floridians on the other hand were spared somewhat as Hurricane Irma stayed inland which limited wind and water damage. Puerto Ricans were not so lucky with Maria, being isolated with poor infrastructure in the hurricane-prone Atlantic.
The bomb cyclone that raced up the east coast earlier this month was kept offshore and limited in its extent by the competing influx of arctic air descending on and expanding across the nation. Of course, the extreme, prolonged cold from the arctic was also blamed on human activity.
Winter storms and cold spells, hurricanes, floods, and dryness are just part of what used to be called “weather.”
Yet, science writers and bloggers can spin up some incredible stories about weather. And, the tale they tell is often more fiction than fact.
Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and the author of “In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail” (Stairway Press, 2016).
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.