I’m dreaming of a white Halloween

On my way to work Thursday morning, I was greeted with a light dust of snow on my car. That’s Thursday morning like Thursday, October 12. I realize that I live in Minnesota now, but come on.

A few fast-melting flakes in Minneapolis were a little out of place for October, but nothing compared to the record-busting blizzard in Buffalo, NY on Thursday and Friday — over 22 and a half inches. The NYT headline: Snowstorm Blankets Buffalo, Killing at Least 3. Now that’s some serious snow.

Trying to read all about it, my quick google search led me down a dark path of anger and hate: right-wing Web journals and blogs.

The Wide Awakes Web site (tagline: “Your Right Wing Back-Up”) reports:

10.9 inches in Buffalo the next day.

Earliest snowfall in recorded history there.

Depew, NY: 24 inches of snow.

But we’re supposed to spend billions of dollars to “stop” global warming.

And then, over on The Right Angle blog, the Buffalo snowstorm was reported with this grain of salt:

Maybe it’s time for the liberal hysterical media to change their tune again on climate change.

This stuff is strewn about the Web; lots of jokes about Al Gore and a lot of, “Hey, snow in October? Global warming’s a joke!”

Ha ha. As counterintuitive as it might seem, a study from Colgate University in 2003 directly links heavier snowfalls around the Great Lakes (like Buffalo) to global warming:

Records of air temperature, water temperature, and lake ice suggest that the observed lake-effect snow increase during the twentieth century may be the result of warmer Great Lakes surface waters and decreased ice cover, both of which are consistent with the historic upward trend in Northern Hemispheric temperature due to global warming.

Climate and weather patterns are not as simple as the hot and cold faucets on your sink; Buffalo’s blizzard on Friday was caused by “lake-effect” or “lake-enhanced” snow; when cold air passes over warm water, picking up a bunch of moisture and dumping it off-shore. The hotter the lake, the more the snow piles up in your driveway.

The lake wasn’t particularly warm or anything, was it? From weather.com:

THE INSTABILITY PARAMETERS ARE ALMOST HISTORIC WITH SUCH A SITUATION WITH A 62 DEGREE LAKE INVOLVED MAKE THIS ALMOST UNPRECEDENTED.

Oh, right. But where did all the cold air come from this early in Autumn? Apparently, global warming fueled disasterous weather in Alsaka last week pushed it down through Canada. From Sto Ostro, Senior Meteorologist at the Weather Channel:

I have written on the impacts of climate change upon day-to-day weather patterns in these pages during the past year . . . For now, suffice it to say that I think the occurrence of this event in Alaska was not an “accident.” . . . By the way, there’s a connection betwen that system and the chilly blast about to enter the lower 48 from Canada.

When you get over 20 inches of snow in mid-October — thundersnow, with frequent lightning — don’t be so quick to discount patterns of global, catastrophic climate change when they rear their ugly heads, just because they didn’t manifest in a heat wave like you thought they might.

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