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What's Up In Climate Change? Following a Senate appearance on Thursday, James Inhofe's latest prop in his fight against the reality of climate change took on a life of its own.

What's Up In Climate Change? U.S. Senator uses snowball prop to support climate change 'hoax'


Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Friday, February 27, 2015, 11:56 AM - It was a strange day on the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday, as James Inhofe, the Republican senator from Oklahoma, brought a snowball onto the floor. His reasoning was that the unseasonable temperatures and snowfall in Washington D.C., in February, proves that global warming and climate change are hoaxes.

"Do you know what this is? It's a snowball," Senator Inhofe said, according to the National Journal, specifically to Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), but also for the benefit of the rest of the room. "It's just from outside here, so it's very, very cold out, ... very unseasonable."

Winter temperatures in the United States and Canada can reach well below freezing - certainly cold enough to produce snow - even at the end of February.

It's been said before, that in the next 50 to 100 years, the warming from greenhouse gases will gradually make winters shorter, on average, concentrating their snowfall into fewer, but more powerful storms. The 2oC rise that countries have been tasked to avoid, to keep climate change within a reasonable limit, still won't cause winter snow to completely vanish. Neither will the most extreme projections. What will change is when we see the snow, and how often (and how much we get in each snowfall).

In fact, the 'unseasonable' conditions that Senator Inhofe is mentioning could, very well, be as a direct result of climate change, due to the effect the warming Arctic is having on the 'waviness' of the jet stream.


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Another point the senior Senator supports is that what's happening right where he is (or we are) is the only thing that matters. Meaning: The cold weather being experienced in the eastern half of the United States is the scope of reference for change. What's happening in the rest of the globe is important to results, including elevated sea surface temperatures, warmer than normal conditions across Europe and record heat in the Arctic and across eastern Asia that produced the second warmest January on record for the globe, continuing the record-setting heat from 2014.


January 2015 US Divisional Temperature Rankings. Credit: NCDC/NOAA

Senator Inhofe made his point; although the NOAA map above depicts a much different set of climate concerns across the U.S., with California and most of the west coast in the midst of an above average spell. Perhaps the truth or a common ground can be found in the 'partner' Inhofe brought on the senate floor Thursday, the snowball, which was quick to sign up and launch its own Twitter account, @InhofesSnowball.

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Sources: National JournalTwitter | NOAA | Scripps Institution of Oceanography

CLICK BELOW TO WATCH: Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) provides a rebuttal to Senator Inhofe and Inhofe's Snowball.

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