Polar freeze: It's weather, not climate

Some scientists offer a scenario that climate change may have played a role in this week’s icy weather, though the jury remains out on that question. The website Climate Central laid out that case on Monday, writing that “Arctic warming is altering the heat balance between the North Pole and the equator,” which can affect the jet stream in ways that might cause unusual weather patterns like what we’re seeing now: “relatively mild conditions in the Arctic at the same time dangerously cold conditions exist in vast parts of the lower 48.”

Even many climate scientists are not convinced that the weather patterns in the Arctic are triggering extreme weather in other parts of the globe, and they say no definitive mechanism linking the two has been proven yet, Climate Central reported.

Michael Mann, the Penn State climatologist who has often been at the center of the fights over global warming, accused climate skeptics of using “discredited talking points” in hopes of “hijacking the serious conversation we need to have about how we are going to deal with the very real risks of climate change.”

Mann told POLITICO that much of the news media’s weather coverage has put the chill in the proper context — showing that record heat incidents are outpacing record cold temperatures by a 3-to-1 margin, and that this past November was the warmest on record for that month.