We’ve long seen the extent of the ignorance of the anti-science right, from believing creationism is a valid alternative to evolution to believing that experiencing a cold winter day means that global warming is a hoax. It now looks like they have absolutely no understanding of the concepts of either averages or the predictive value of science.
George Monbiot attempted to explain how the increased snow in the U.K. does not contradict the predictions made by climate scientists but actually has been predicted by them. The explanation went way over the heads of many right wing bloggers. They hear the terms “global warming” and they think that means the scientists are saying it will be warmer everywhere year round. What they are actually talking about is averages. Overall it is getting warmer. See the graph above (more here) and human action is responsible. The past decade has been the warmest decade on record. Last year was the second warmest year. This year from January through November has been the warmest so far. Climate scientists have tried to use the term “climate change’ to help with some of the confusion among right wingers. For several years climate scientists have also been predicting increased snow and colder weather during the winters in many areas.
One of the most ignorant denials of climate change because it is snowing came from John at PowerLine. He dug up a newspaper quote from a climate scientists predicting a future absence of snow in England and used this to deny the predictive value of climate science. This was from a decade ago, well before the consensus statements on climate change were issued. If he had bothered to look at the scientific journals of the time as opposed to resorting to cherry picking a newspaper article he would have found that the predictions of climate scientists have been coming true. The world is getting warmer. Predictions of climate scientists are coming true, from the polar ice caps receding to many areas suffering from drought around the world. The climate is even changing in the United States. Arnold Schwarzenegger has discussed the consequences in California.
If you judge science by its predictive value, climate science has had a very good record–but not perfect. Ten years ago climate scientists did not realize how climate change would increase snowfall in areas such as Great Britain. In more recent years they figured that out. Science advances over time. There have been a number of other errors over the years. Scientists cannot predict with certainty what the snow fall will be in a specific area during a specific year, but they have been correct far more often than wrong, and the overall pattern continues to show that the world is warming. Unfortunately, when the climate scientists have been wrong in their predictions, the reality has been that in some areas global warming has been progressing even more rapidly than they predicted.