Climate experts have pointed out that Nemo, the very bad nor’easter that just hit the Northeastern US and Maritimes, is partly an effect of global warming. Some meteorologists have responded with an incorrect response, a recitation of a now tired and useless mumbling retort that I’m afraid may even have it origin among scientists who should know better, and at the very least was kept alive by them for far too long: “Well, you can’t really attribute any given weather event to climate change.” Some regular people who are not climate scientists have repeated that faleshood as well. Then there are people making the claim that a bad winter storm is proof that climate change is not real or reversing or some other such thing. This of course is wrong at so many levels that if a scientist (even a non-climate scientist, just anyone who values critical thinking) said it they would be fired and sent off the humanities in a second. I will also mention this, because it helps us to get at a causal mechanism for what is going on here: Many people have stated, quite clearly on TV and Facebook and all those other good places, that “The Upper Midwest” or more particularly “Minnesota” gets more snow than Massachusetts or the Northeastern US. This is incorrect. Plain, simply, untrue. But that people believe this tell us something about people’s beliefs about the weather and helps explain some things. By the way, I’ve lived in New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota and I can tell you that people who live in the Northeast think Minnesota gets more snow, and people in Minnesota think Minnesota gets more snow. So everybody is wrong and in the same way. This isn’t just a mater of each region thinking they get the most snow.
And yes, as I’ve implied, all these things are connected and I’ll show how. The conclusion of this essay, though, will be the following points: Continue reading Finding Nemo