Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Experts: cold snap doesn't disprove global warming

Beijing had its coldest morning in almost 40 years and its biggest snowfall since 1951. Britain is suffering through its longest cold snap since 1981. And freezing weather is gripping the Deep South, including Florida's orange groves and beaches.

Whatever happened to global warming?

Such weather doesn't seem to fit with warnings from scientists that the Earth is warming because of greenhouse gases. But experts say the cold snap doesn't disprove global warming at all — it's just a blip in the long-term heating trend.

"It's part of natural variability," said Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. With global warming, he said, "we'll still have record cold temperatures. We'll just have fewer of them."

Deke Arndt of the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., noted that 2009 will rank among the 10 warmest years for Earth since 1880.

Scientists say man-made climate change does have the potential to cause more frequent and more severe weather extremes, such as heat waves, storms, floods, droughts and even cold spells. But experts interviewed by The Associated Press did not connect the current frigid blast to climate change.

So what is going on?

The complete story from abcnews.com is here.

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