There's a serious disconnect in how we Americans think about weather. On the one hand, we love crazy weather stories and the intense, irrational panic they cause. On the other hand, we're absolutely unwilling to consider that those extreme weather patterns are a result of our own stupid behavior (i.e., global warming).
But global warming may partially explain the recent frigid weather we've been having in Florida. Here's the logic, according to Sunday's New York Times opinion piece from NASA researcher Judah Cohen: This is one of the hottest years on record, which has caused polar ice caps to melt. This means more water in the atmosphere that's available to make snow. So more snow fell all across Siberia, which acts like a giant cooling element for the Northern Hemisphere.
This caused the polar jet stream, which usually goes eastward across America, to "wander north and south" instead of just eastward. This means that Southern states like Florida get hit with the frigid air.
I know, right? Judah Cohen is clearly a communist Jewish Hitler, and he's probably also president of the U.N. Then the South Florida Business Journal's Kevin Gale (now that's a weatherman name) picked up on the idea. Could the growers whose crops are being devastated ever buy the explanation that what happens in Siberia has some kind of real, physical connection to our local weather?
Clearly our beloved right-wing pundits are capable of no such intellectual feats. Every time a flake of snow fell this winter, the American talkocracy leapt to herald it as proof that global warming is a sham, a fluke, a scheme, and that Al Gore must be sobbing into his massage table somewhere about how his crusade to stop the largest man-made crisis in history was nothing more than a little post-hanging-chad restlessness.
Meanwhile, the South Florida iguana population still hasn't recovered from last year's cold weather, which caused the lizards to become comatose and fall out of trees.
Is Florida destined to become a winter wonderland? The Juice put calls out to local climate scientists, who might call us back when they're done packing their bags for the sunny beaches of Newfoundland.