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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Does cold weather disprove global warming?

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate

A local cold day has nothing to do with the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures.

Climate Myth...

It's freaking cold!

"Austria is today seeing its earliest snowfall in history with 30 to 40 centimetres already predicted in the mountains. Such dramatic falls in temperatures provide superficial evidence for those who doubt that the world is threatened by climate change." (Mail Online)

It's easy to confuse current weather events with long-term climate trends, and hard to understand the difference between weather and climate. It's a bit like being at the beach, trying to figure out if the tide is rising or falling just by watching individual waves roll in and out. The slow change of the tide is masked by the constant churning of the waves.

In a similar way, the normal ups and downs of weather make it hard to see slow changes in climate. To find climate trends you need to look at how weather is changing over a longer time span. Looking at high and low temperature data from recent decades shows that new record highs occur nearly twice as often as new record lows.


New records for cold weather will continue to be set, but global warming's gradual influence will make them increasingly rare.

Basic rebuttal written by Jim Meador

Update July 2015:

Here are related lecture-videos from Denial101x - Making Sense of Climate Science Denial


This rebuttal was updated by Judith Matz in September 2021 to replace broken links. The updates are a result of our call for help published in May 2021.

Last updated on 9 July 2015 by pattimer. View Archives

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Further viewing

Climate Denial Crock of the Week - "It's cold. So there's no Climate Change" (January 2009)

ClimateAdam (aka Dr. Adam Levy) has his own way to explaine why this claim is nonsensical:

Further reading

NASA explore this subject in more depth in What's the Difference Between Weather and Climate?

Myth Deconstruction

Related resource: Myth Deconstruction as animated GIF

MD Cold

Please check the related blog post for background information about this graphics resource.


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Comments 101 to 110 out of 110:

  1. Tom, 98. In looking back into the numbers (121K ago), they look like they were referring to what amounts to the last half of the interglacial as the "terminal phase." That said, this fell at the midpoint (the high point) of the interglacial. [I was confused because "terminal phase" is a term commonly used for the abrupt and extreme warming which marks the very beginning of an interglacial, but the end of a glacial period.] But the period discussed in the article was still seven thousand years before the earth had descended into the next glacial period. The melt was not the cause of the coming glacial, nor was it even a sign of an impending descent into a glacial period. It merely came at the point of peak temperatures, which also marks the beginning of the decline (which is triggered by changes in the earth's orbit, axial tilt, etc.), so the person quoted described it as a terminal period. You're interpretation of what was said is still incorrect. Melting Arctic ice is neither a cause nor a sign of impending cooling.
  2. Sphaerica, thank you for at least partially admitting your error. I do wonder though at the idea that 121,000 years ago was " seven thousand years before the earth had descended into the next glacial period." Without referencing, that appears to contradict what I recall the quite well established record suggests.
  3. The Eemian interglacial period began about 130K ago and ended 114K ago. 121K is almost dead smack in the middle of that. The article was about sea level rise. If you go find the paper, I'm sure that you'll find it was about sea level rise. You are choosing to infer some correlation between ice melt, sea level rise and the onset of a glacial period. No such correlation is stated by either the article or the study in question, so it fails to support your position that the earth is going to start cooling.
  4. Tom Loeber, as already noted, your link (and the actual paper) does not back-up your interpretation. As Sphaerica writes, the melting mentioned in the paper is not stated as causing a rapid cooling, therefore your statement that "recent evidence that melting of the caps immediately preceeded major swings of the climate into major ice age conditions is another thing suggesting that warming leads to cooling" is not true. Not only is the "evidence" not recent (the paper being nearly two years old), it merely shows that ice-sheets melt when temperatures rise, leading to a rise in sea-level. And you don't need to read the paper to know that glaciations follow inter-glacials at regular intervals.
  5. Check out this video of Joe Bastardi to see how "accurate" he is. In it he criticizes the NSIDC for inaccurate graphs of the sea ice, compared to several other graphs. The actual issue is that Bastardi cannot read the graphs and is completely wrong. Bastardi also calls the ice area "close to average" when in fact it is close to the record lowest level. The NSIDC corrected him and he apologized. Anyone who cites Bastardi as a reliable source needs to learn how to read graphs.
  6. Let's also not forget Bastardi's inability to recognize a temperature anomaly map early last year. Typing from an iPad, so I'll have to link the hard way:
  7. Sorry my link has been deleted. Apparently Accuweather does not like it when they are transparently stupid. Today Bastardi is showing a temperature chart of January over the USA and claiming that it shows the globe has cooled.
  8. Thanks for linking to the paper JMurphy. I just read it "Our discovery of an ecologically sudden demise and back-stepping signature in reef-crest deposits from the Yucatan is therefore compelling evidence for a sea-level jump with a similar rise rate during the late stages of the last interglacial. This jump implies that an episode of ice-sheet instability, characterized by rapid ice loss, occurred late during an interglaciation that was warmer than present." Wanted to see that video, Michael. Perhaps you could just post a direct link to it? I don't know. Watched that video Truevoice and I don't see how your and the article's conclusions match the evidence.
  9. Well, Tom Loeber, I hope you now realise that it doesn't state what you thought it did ? More about Joe Bastardi from ClimateProgress.
  10. Interesting, JMurphy. I read that article but have yet to look at the video. I find comments 15 and the last, 36, to be most cognizant without relying on character assassination which seems to make up the gamut of the rest of the comments. Appears the reason why he is still employed as he is relies on a reputation for largely having been correct in his analyses and predictions. Should we totally discount him for some mistakes when he has largely been proven correct? Regarding that last comment, #36, I use B99 in my truck and my Mercedes that is made from waste vegetable oil. I also ride my bike as much as possible for any short commutes. I am developing a wind mill that I think will bring the cost down as well as increase the areas that are feasible for reaping electricity from the wind. After all is said and done, me thinks actions speak louder than words. I have found that many cater to the idea that words speak louder than actions, incredible as it may seem.
    Response: [muoncounter] Further off-topic excursions will be deleted.

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