‘Weather is what you see outside your window, climate is what you see from a satellite.’ – Scott Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences at Suffolk County Community College, New York.
‘Looking at sea ice and not total ice is like your high school football team winning their game, but your NFL team loses the Super Bowl.’ — Ted Scambos, Glaciologist at University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The faster Arctic ice melts and the more open sea is revealed, the more heat that becomes available to melt the remaining ice and heat up the sea. It's a tipping point of sorts. That's why your glass of Cinzano and lemonade stays cool until the last slivers of ice melt and then the temperature rises rapidly.
What happens in the Arctic, doesn't stay in the Arctic. The rapid disappearance of sea ice cover can have consequences that are felt all over the Northern Hemisphere, due to the effects it has on atmospheric patterns.
(With climate change) “we will see a shorter snow season, but more intense individual snowfall events. – Dr. Michael Mann, Climatologist at Penn State University
Saying a cold winter disproves long-term global warming is like the guy who wins two hands of poker and thinks he's figured out how to 'beat the house.' Time to double down on his bets, right?
Does a winter cold snap disprove global warming? That's like saying in April, "Don't tell me the days are getting longer. Look how dark it is tonight!"Wide short-term fluctuations can mask a slow, long-term trend. Global warming won't eliminate winter, any more than long summer days eliminate nighttime.
"People across the northern hemisphere are facing the fact that a warming planet doesn't get rid of winter ... now is a good time to remind ourselves that weather, like death and taxes, will always be with us." — Robert Henson, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
As the Arctic warms, so the northern continents at higher latitudes experience cold winters with heavy snow falls. It's rather like the fridge door being left open: warm air goes in at the top as cold air falls out into the room.