On March 20, 2000, The Independent, a British newspaper, reported that “Snowfalls are just a thing of the past.” Global warming was simply making the UK too warm for heavy snowfalls. The column quotes Dr. David Viner of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia — yes, the epicenter of what would become the Climategate scandal — as saying that within a few years snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event.” Indeed, Viner opined, “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”
Similarly, David Parker, at the UK’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, said that eventually British children could have only “virtual” experience of snow via movies and the Internet.
Well, last week another British newspaper, the Daily Mail, reported “The Coldest December since records began as temperatures plummet to minus 10C bringing travel chaos across Britain.” Here’s a snippet from the article (also excerpted by Wesley J. Smith in First Things):
Swathes of Britain skidded to a halt today as the big freeze returned – grounding flights, closing rail links and leaving traffic at a standstill. And tonight the nation was braced for another 10 in of snow and yet more sub-zero temperatures – with no let-up in the bitterly cold weather for at least a month, forecasters have warned. The Arctic conditions are set to last through the Christmas and New Year bank holidays and beyond and as temperatures plummeted to -10c (14f) the Met Office said this December was ‘almost certain’ to become the coldest since records began in 1910.
Meanwhile, back in the USA, the lead item in Google News is a Bloomberg story, “Snow Blankets US East Coast, Stranding Travelers.” Bloomberg reports that, “New York City’s Central Park had 20 inches (51 centimeters) of snow by 8 a.m., the most for the month in 62 years.” This was “the most snow in the park for any December since 1948, the agency’s website showed.”
As in the UK, the record-breaking snowfall is disrupting transportation, keeping travelers snowbound and delaying Santa’s deliveries. It’s also downing power lines and turning off the Christmas lights. Some highlights:
- “More than 6,000 flights were canceled in the region since yesterday as airports closed.”
- “The day after Christmas is one of the five busiest shopping days of the year, and it may take retailers two weeks to capture sales lost yesterday,” an industry analyst told Bloomberg.
- “NJ Transit, which transports about 170,000 commuters to and from New York City daily, suspended bus service as of 8:30 p.m. yesterday, according to a statement.”
- “Four hundred subway passengers were aboard an A train that was stuck in Queens for more than six hours, until it could be pushed to a station by another train. The Coney Island area was without subway service.”
- “Consolidated Edison Inc. reported there were 6,167 customers in Queens, New York, and 1,811 in Westchester County without power. “
- “National Grid Plc, which provides electricity in New York and Massachusetts, was reporting power outages at 14 sites throughout New York and Massachusetts affecting about 29,727 homes and businesses. The largest was in Norfolk, Massachusetts, where 10,902 customers were without power.”
As my colleague Heritage Foundation economist David Kreutzer observed at a panel discussion, winter is the biggest climate-related threat to public health and welfare!
Britain has had three snowy winters in a row, and this year’s Snowmageddon USA follows last year’s Snowpocalypse. Despite global warming, it seems, our children may never enjoy either Florida’s balmy weather in New York and Boston or Mediterranean “liveability” in the British isles.