"...Like leaving the 'fridge door open."
Bite notes: this analogy has been used several times by different scientists during different talks and on different websites (for instance here, by John Cook).
The exclamation by people in Northern Europe and North America that, "how can there be global warming when we're experiencing such cold and snowy winters?", is very common. The explanation is simple.
There's a given amount of heat in the weather system and when the Arctic warms up—due in part to the 'sea ice blanket' covering the sea gradually reducing, thus allowing heat to escape from the ocean—the cold air is pushed further South. It's made worse, of course, by the fact that a warmer planet has more water vapour in the atmosphere, more clouds, and when it's cold, water vapour falls as snow.
For another variation this bite, see "Warm arctic-cold continent, like an open refrigerator door"
January 28, 2012
Nice bite. I had not heard about this, and I appreciate the links for additional information.