World of Snow and Ice

Daily Mail: At first glance it looks like a graphic from a Discovery Channel programme about a distant ice age. But this astonishing picture shows the world as it is today – with half the Northern Hemisphere covered with snow and ice.

The image was released by the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Association (NOAA) on the day half of North America was in the grip of a severe winter storm.


Addendum: It's a cool picture, that is all.


Didn't realize this blog was on board with the Daily Mail's "hey look, snow! ergo, global warming is false" bandwagon. Disappointing.

Yes, I agree that "us people" (?) tend to mix metaphors ("on board," "bandwagon"). Apologies.

(addendum, alex's addendum came at the same time and I assume independently as my comment: "Lastly, Alex posted a cool picture." See how concilliatory he is? Personally, my addendum would have rhymed with uck off.)

Or, more constructively, in the immortal words of that great objectivist Ricky Bobby, "That just happened."

Didn't see the addendum when I commented.


Chill out. Not everything has to be "issue-related". Put your fists back in your holster and just admire the picture for it is: Cool.

One thing you'll note from the map is that snow cover in East Asia extends to more southerly latitudes than in North America. Seoul is at the same latitude as Richmond, Virginia but has a far more wintry climate. Snowfall is completely unexceptional at locations in China at the latitude of Miami.

Two words: Mercator Projection

There is a lot of white and brown and blue on that thing. Look how little green there is. Wouldn't the 'greenest' objective literally be to replace all those to the extent possible with green? Vegetation is also the only feasible way to increase the volume of water not in oceans. White is great, it reflects sunlight, but green would be better because it captures the energy for carbon sequestration.

VERY cool pic. Is there a higher resolution version anywhere?

"Second, here is the extent of the commentary on the article."

Perhaps in isolation it may be true that this article is reasonable, but if you go and look at how the Daily Mail generally reports on climate change you'll see that this is part of a broader campaign of ignorance - - the pictures are cool (particularly the one of the Japanese ski resort), but in context this is a slightly more sophisticated version of a Fox News reporter joking about Al Gore during a snowstorm or running with the headline America Crushed by the Snow and Ice of Global Warming. Oh wait, that's actually a reprint from the Daily Mail at

That may be, but assuming too much all the damn time is the problem with climate alarmists. It's old.

All I ever ask of reporters is that they hide their bias effectively.

Snowfall is completely unexceptional at locations in China at the latitude of Miami.

Really? Taipei is about the same latitude as Miami. I think snow would be pretty darn exceptional, other than on mountaintops and similar elevated areas.

On the mainland, Xiamen is about a degree and a half south of Miami, and apparently it last snowed there in 1893. Fuzhou would match the latitude more closely, but no info. It's an apples-to-apples comparison with Miami (seacoast cities).

Hong Kong (a few degrees further south) got snow on four occasions between 1967 and 1975, but never since.

Al Gore is the Paul Krugman of climate change, like it or not. They asked the guy, then for counterpoint they talked to Bill O'Reilly. The Daily Mail didn't invent that nonsensical journalistic convention.

"Wow, it isn't often the witness impeaches their own credibility that easily or with so little prompting."

I'm not exactly sure what you mean. I think, though I cannot confirm, that the addendum had not been added when I left my comment. Then Brad asked "Was the addendum 'It's a cool picture, that is all.' added after you made your comment? Or did you choose to ignore it?" So I answered. I agree that it's a cool picture, and I wouldn't have left my initial comment if I'd seen this addendum. My objection was to the Daily Mail's credulous climate change coverage, and the addendum makes it clear that Alex wasn't endorsing that.

Weather in China is, in general, more extreme than in the US or Europe. Their summers are hotter and their winters are colder. Wuhan is at about the same latitude as Houston and has a very similar climate in general, being one of China's "Three Great Furnaces". Snow in winter is extremely rare in Houston, but happens almost every year, albeit in small quantities, in Wuhan.

A 'climate alarmist' is someone who can't look at a fact without feeling that their tribe is threatened and feeling the need to lash out before all the evidence is in.

This goes along with my theme that in 'supporting science' as a political football, people are actually attacking it.

I ain't mad at'cha. Humans haven't been at this for very long.

Is it just a coincidence that all of this happened in the ~100 years humans have spent extracting and burning fossil fuels at an incredible pace?

Zach: If I stipulate that to be true only for the sake of argument:

Have you correlated these conditions to volcanic or solar activity, or some other factor that remains inobvious or inconspicuous such as nuclear activity

-or do you just reach for the thing you've been programmed to imbibe.

This is primarily an economics blog. Lesson 1: Don't confuse correlation with causation. We know theres ALWAYS been climate change, almmost all of it prior to our arrival. Do you realize what a blink of an eye that 100 years is, geologically speaking?

Then again, if this was the crisis the AGW crowd claimed it was-they's park their Priuses and walk and get off their computers-and your lead dog ALGORE, would give up the mansions and private jets. Lead by example, its more effective than preaching. As it is, its a cult, with scientistic overtones.

"Do you realize what a blink of an eye that 100 years is, geologically speaking?"

That's the point; it's instantaneous in geological terms (or climactic ones) yet we've seen a change in temperature that, by our best-informed estimates, has never happened in fewer than thousands of years. Is it sound science to assume something so unlikely is a coincidence? What other prehistoric facts that are widely accepted by scientists in all relevant fields and vetted by every national academy and international scientific organization do you hold up to impossible standards of evidence? Is there a single premise (that's not a tautology) in economics that's as well-supported as the fact that the planet's in a period of unprecedented warming? Or that greenhouse gasses warm the planet? Or that human activity is responsible for driving greenhouse gas concentrations above the level they were at when the continents had yet to completely separate?

I don't think the most reasonable response to the evidence at hand is that we shouldn't act based on what seems most likely because there may be a hidden variable that happens to coincide precisely with humans beginning to burn fossil fuels on a massive scale. Lastly, what in the world do you mean by nuclear activity?

As far as giving up Priuses or whatever, it'd be an empty gesture in light of the magnitude of changes required to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases enough to make a difference. Unlike Gore et al, I don't like to beat around the bush and pretend that we can turn down the AC and buy CO2 offsets and change anything, or that curbing CO2 would lead to a wonderland of green jobs. That sort of rhetoric will inevitably lead to half-measures at best, which have many of the costs of actually mitigating climate change without preventing changes that are effectively irreversible for about a millennium (reversible at an energetic and economic cost that dwarfs whatever it'd take not to emit greenhouse gases in the first place).


"mitigating climate change"? Why would I want to mitigate it? I'm inland and well above sea-level. Change is the only constant, my man. Banzai!

Any climate change implications or non-implications aside, the picture just doesn't look very unusual to me. It's hard to tell from a low-resolution image, but the snow-covered areas in this photo look to me like places that either: a) always have snow cover all winter every year - all of Canada apart from coastal BC, the "northern tier" of the US, Scandinavia, North-Central and Alpine Europe, Russia and Central Asia, Northern China, Northern Japan and Korea; or b) routinely have periodic snow cover every season - e.g. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Southern New York states.

Is this picture supposed to convey anything less banal than: "Hey, it's January in the Northern Hemisphere, and there is snow!"?

from ago,,i know if snow will always look beautiful but after look this picture,,i feel frighten with this condition

"unprecedented in anything we know of natural history?"

I nominate 6200-6300BC, or 8,000 BP, or 1250-1350 AD. You may say that it is silly to extrapolate from those cataclysmic ocean events a worldwide climate change. You might say that climate history is not so precisely mapped that we can create 100 year slices on Excel and click Data Sort to find the most dramatic century change. And you would be right, its a silly exercise.

Climate history is currently mapped by referring to a handful of proxies, plucked from a few select sites and fed into elaborate extrapolations. This process does not replicate the climate for periods with actual measurements (hence, "hide the decline"), but its all we have now and work continues (with the normal orthodox bias you see in academic journals).

Imagine measuring the climate of North America over 100,000 years by looking at tree rings cut from 6 different areas, extrapolating over the rest of the continent, and over long centuries. Do you think the process works so precisely that you can definitively cite global climate to within a 3 degree margin of error?

Be agnostic on infant sciences, at least wait a generation.

Sweet Image! I'm going to show this to my grand kids one day - you know - when Florida is under water. :)

Comments for this post are closed