Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

February 9, 2014

ED VASICEK: Ice Age or global warming?

Theories are subject to wait-and-see test

My mind keeps play-ing back Dean Martin singing, “Oh the weather outside is frightful; inside, it’s so delightful ... Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” I love the cold weather and some snow, but my snow quota was met a few weeks back! Dean, you gotta stop singing that!

I am writing this article Monday evening; we are expecting another snow Tuesday. Earlier today, the Weather Channel predicted we would experience about 1 inch of snow. The National Weather Service said 1-3, while WISH-TV predicted 6 to 10 inches! I could not believe the discrepancies between these forecasters. Maybe we really do not know as much about weather as we think? Maybe this is true in the long term, as well. With this harsh winter, many folks are reconsidering their perspective on global warming.

Anomalies (rule breakers) can be hard to detect. Have the past few decades of warming been an anomaly within a longer cycle, or is this winter an anomaly within the context of long-term global warming? Personally, I think we should keep an open mind in both directions. The weather, I believe, is largely out of our hands.

When I was a teen, the conventional wisdom was that we were heading into another Ice Age. Maybe we should revisit that possibility? Let’s begin with the polar ice caps.

A few years ago, Al Gore predicted the polar ice caps could disappear by 2014; he was not alone in this gloomy viewpoint. This year, however, the opposite is happening. According to the Daily Mail (from the U.K.), “A chilly Arctic summer has left 533,000 more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year — an increase of 29 per cent.

“The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013. Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores.”

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