Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Casual Empiricism & Climate (3)

The winter storm that blew in from the American mid-west last night has people complaining about the cold. These are the same chicken littles and amateur climatologists who were detecting global warming four weeks ago. Environment Canada's Dave Phillips commented on the otherwise mild winter in today's Toronto Star (h/t, the Webber):

Only about 21 centimetres had fallen on Toronto this year as of last night. Normally, the total would have about 78 centimetres of snow at this point.

And until yesterday, Hamilton had also seen less snow, with just one-third of its normal snowfall this year. Further into southwest Ontario, London has had half its normal seasonal amount.

The reason?

"People say global warming, El Nino," Phillips said. But the fact of the matter is, he said, "sometimes the atmosphere isn't as active as it is at other times. Sometimes it's like nature is on steroids, and sometimes everything is just very quiet. That doesn't mean that next year will be another quiet year. It could be more active than this year."

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