Call this “Part Deux” to “Will We Ever See a Normal Winter Again?”…or Part Dix…
We get a LOT of daily emails from you guys and I read them all. For the most part, skiers and snowboarders are “glass half full” kind of people who prefer to stay hopeful when it comes to prolonged thaws and rain like we’ve seen over the last ten days. There are always a few who prefer to share negativity AND for the most part I ignore them. We’re all human, so I will admit to o-c-c-a-s-i-o-n-a-l-l-y allowing one to get under my skin. Such was the case earlier in the week when I received this beauty. (Name withheld.)
What do you guys plan to do at SkiSoutheast when there aren’t any slopes to ski on? I know you’ve written that you don’t believe in climate change. How about now!? You’re obviously an idiot if you don’t see that things are warming up at an alarming rate. Get your head out of your XXX and wake up as you’re one of the few who continue to believe the way you seem to. We’re seeing less snow than ever and this season sucks! – Chicken Little
Okay, I added the “chicken little” part. There are several errors in this fellow’s question and comment. I’m pretty certain I’m not an idiot, although I play one here sometimes. My head has never been in my XXX or anyone else’s and I’m so not flexible enough to get it even close. Additionally, I don’t think I’m one of the FEW who believe as I do about “SCIENCE” and “CLIMATE CHANGE”.
As I said – I get tons of emails and the few that seem to want to argue that I’m an idiot use SCIENCE and DATA as their argument. They also seem to be stuck on an opinion that I am willing to ignore that data.
I was speaking with Kenny Griffin yesterday and he and those close to me know and understand my opinions on these subjects. He suggested that I might want to post a follow-up that attempts to clarify my take – not that MY opinion is worth any more than any of you reading this. However, I DO think MY opinion is much more of a majority opinion than some of you might believe. So I going to attempt to offer some logic on behalf of the masses that may or may not take some of the “venom” out of those who oppose.
First, let’s address the argument that SCIENCE says I’m am idiot.
Those who use “SCIENCE” as an argument that SUPPORTS Climate Change as some define it – don’t understand the word “science”.
Science is constantly changing and evolving. … Science is both a body of knowledge and a process for finding new knowledge, sometimes to replace the old knowledge.
Some of you seem to think that science is a bunch of SETTLED FACTS. Some schools even teach that. It isn’t. It was SCIENCE that claimed the world was flat just 528 years ago. For millenniums prior to that we were worried about sailing off the edge of the planet. We probably should have had the government look into how we broke things and how we could prevent fall offs from happening.
In 1687 a really smart guy by the name of Sir Isaac Newton came along to offer the law of universal gravitation. Then 218 years later in 1905 Einstein came along and his theory technically replaced Newton’s.
I have a feeling if some of you were around back then you would have screamed that Einstein was an idiot because SCIENCE said Newton’s ideas were the only way to go. With Einstein’s theories, scientists KNOW that time can be bent and therefore that time travel should be possible. However, they can’t do it just yet. So right NOW the science would suggest that time travel is bogus.
Give it another 218 years and those around at that time will share a DIFFERENCE science.
So to use the argument that SCIENCE dictates that the world is heating up at alarming rates is inaccurate and disingenuous and perhaps even self-serving to those who are bent on screaming it at the top of their lungs.
Now Let’s Talk Data…
I have often shared the old phrases of:
“statistics lie and liars use statistics” AND… “Lies, damned lies and Statistics”…
Both are attributed to Einstein, Mark Twain, Benjamin Disraeli and others. Regardless, two people can look at the very same data and come up with arguments to support their opinion on any subject. I’ve seen all the data that supports that our planet has warmed up by 1-2° over a “short” period of 40 years and that if we stay on the current course we are on, we will all be living in the desert in the not-too-distant future.
However, I have also seen that a lot of that data has MANY holes in it and that it has only been in the last 30 years or so that the data is dependable. So any ideas of comparing data of today with data of even 30 years ago is (again) disingenuous and self-serving those who wish to believe we are killing our planet. So I say…
Relax, the Climate IS Changing. But it’s Really Okay…
In another five years SCIENCE may tell us that we ARE destined to burn up, but if that IS the reality, what the heck do you think can be done to prevent it? I will stick to my guns and invite any and all of you to join me for some turns on the slopes of the Southeast in another 30 years if I’m blessed and healthy enough to do it. However, assuming that we ARE destined to burn…it isn’t like we can do anything to prevent it. We’re not going to stop 44,000+ jets from flying every day – pouring hot carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Logic tells me that those 16,000,000 plus flights a year hurt our atmosphere more than the 1.4 billion cattle passing gas daily. I mean one jet farts out 53 pounds of CO2 per mile…and after all cattle have been around since the beginning of time…and I’m only guessing here…but I’m pretty certain farting cattle is nothing new.
Turning to the lighter side…we are not killing our planet. There IS no science or data that supports that. Science teaches us that you cannot take a SMALL sample size of data and get an accurate depiction for the future. Yet, for some reason there are those who want to walk around feeling guilty and attempting to make others feel the same about how we are all doomed unless we change our ways.
“Our ways” could use some changing…but we’re REALLY OKAY.
MOST BELIEVE IN CLIMATE CHANGE (as do I), BUT JUST NOT THE SAME AS THE GLOOMERS AND DOOMERS…
I was talking with various people this week as I received numerous email responses to my comments this past week about climate change. If you like, you can read that post here> Will We Ever See a Normal Winter Again?
Every time that I post ANYTHING closely related to climate change, I hear from a few (honestly, usually only 2-3 people) who seem to want to blast me for my narrow-minded beliefs. I also hear from (usually dozens) those of you who agree with what is presumed to be my take on the subject.
Let me add that I don’t think MY opinion is all that important, however, I suppose because we do run a ski website AND because we have to address the weather often AND because I will always receive commentaries of varying opinions…I should take a moment to further clarify my own opinions. Not so much to convince any reader either way, but in an effort to let those of you who THINK I’m an idiot know for certain either that I AM or maybe not so much.
First, I have my head in weather, meta data all the time. Not as much as Meteorologist Brad Panovich or Kenny Griffin…but a lot AND for a long time (24+ years). I think SkiSoutheast.com is THE ONLY source where you could look back at years worth of articles and SEE the temperatures on any given day AND see how much snow has fallen at every ski resort in the region. I have always dug into weather content. I subscribe to WeatherBell and a few other resources and I read all of the content that is shared about global warming and climate change.
So I SEE the content that alludes to the fact that the temperatures HAVE trended a bit warmer over the last 40 years. As late as yesterday I was chatting with Kenny Griffin about how to use a link that was shared with him (see: http://xmacis.rcc-acis.org/ ) where you can input variables and gain insight about temperatures and snowfall as far back as 1977. When you pull up temp and snow data for the last 40 years there IS a trend that suggests that we are (on average) about 1.5° to 2° milder these days. Ditto for snowfall, where you can see clearly that we’ve had less 5″+ snowfalls over the last ten years compared to 40 years ago.
So I am not blind to that. However, there is an important side note to all of this data. Data only goes back to the mid-to-late 70s with the kind of accuracy needed to extrapolate that the planet is heating up “in alarming ways”.
First off – it ISN’T.
However, even IF the data is to be accepted as perfect – Minimum temps at mountain locations (as well as locations around the globe) have (MAYBE) shown a 1-2° mild up over those 40 years. HOWEVER, every single station reporting over those 40 years shows MANY MISSING days of data and often as many as 50-60 each winter where those days COULD have been 5° days or 65° days. If we were to add in all of those missing days, we might see that average temps have NOT changed much or at all. So the scientific data is not accurate…so how can the results be fully trusted?
Don’t take my word for it – use the tool link above and when you look at various NWS reporting stations you’ll most often see where days and even weeks of daily observations are missing from the data all the way back to the early 70s and prior to that things were worse. Additionally, resources were MUCH more scarce than they are now in terms of getting daily observations from reliable sources that NOW dot the globe. We didn’t HAVE those resources more than 40 years ago.
Don’t misunderstand me – I KNOW that we have been tracking weather temps since the 1850s, but MY TAKE has more to do with those who are claiming that we are melting and that there won’t be ski resorts in America in the not-to-distant-future. They are basing those forecasts on data that have MANY holes in it and also incomplete data in the sense that methodical thermometer-based records only began SPORADICALLY in the 1850s. Even as late as the 1970s and 1980s we still had a lot missing daily observations and not even 10% of the reporting stations that we have now. So comparisons cannot be accurately assessed.
Many of those observations 40-150 years ago were of the HUMAN kind and all you have to do to dispel those reports is to look at how some ski areas report natural snowfall TODAY! It just wasn’t that accurate.
My claim is that the climate is ALWAYS changing. My claim is that it is also cyclical. Sure, we are unquestionably dumping way too much in the way of carbon emissions and more into the atmosphere. We should do something about that. While we are at it we should teach volcanoes not to erupt and spew their harmful crap into our atmosphere as well.
However, most people logically believe that weather is cyclical. However, right now – as bad as the start to this winter has been – there are those who will jump all in on the fact that Climate Change or Global Warming as the cause and effect of what we are experiencing. We MAY be in store for a less than awesome winter. We’ll see. So far, only a few resorts have missed ANY days of offering skiing and snowboarding this season. We may be in for another prolonged thaw and rain…but I suggest that it isn’t a result of global warming but more to do with air flow and patterns that will change at some point.
The chart below can be ENLARGED but it shows the number of days where the minimum temperatures were 30° or colder each year since 1978 to 2019. Note the cycle. It is up and down and up and down. It ALWAYS has been and always will be.
WISDOM FROM OUR READERS…
I heard from numerous readers this week who shared our opinions, including three who run their own weather websites. However, Jeremy Regester shared the following comment AND a great read.
thanks for all you guys do. Skisoutheast articles/First Trax are a welcome 5 minute escape from the days stresses, especially for those of us who don’t do social media or news sites (since they just add to the stress anyway). I liked your article and thought you might be interested in this gem I found from way back about Snowshoe’s early financial struggles. Turns out that ski resorts have struggled with warm periods since the 70’s and 80’s. Go figure… Anyway, keep up the good work promoting one of our favorite sports.
In the story above you will hear from the Snowshoe investors about how BAD the winters were in terms of lost days with no snow and no snowmaking in the 70s and 80s. This is nothing new. One of those 70s years was where Snowshoe lost the entire month of December and the Holiday week, costing them millions.
I used the tool shared above and pulled up how many days where Snowshoe and other resorts were able to MAKE SNOW each season back to 1975 and even with MANY days missing temperature observations, the number of non-snowmaking days have fluctuated anywhere from 30-60 days in various years. It has ALWAYS been that way.
There is nothing new to ski areas fighting to make snow and stay open. The GOOD NEWS is that snowmaking tech and millions of dollars in investments have made it such that we can make more snow in a short window of time, ensuring the best possible conditions even when the climate isn’t cooperating.
So keep your head up. THINK COLD! THINK SNOW….and look me up in 30 years if you want to make some turns here in the Southeast…and any day along the way.
Email me at [email protected]