It's getting rather predictable, isn't it? Any severe weather event occurs anywhere in the world, and American media will blame it on global warming.
Such was certainly the case on the "CBS Evening News" Monday night when correspondent Elizabeth Palmer, doing a report on the greatest floods in England since 1947, stated:
And Britain is going to have to get used to it. Research published today suggests human activity is warming the planet and changing rainfall patterns.
Isn't that special? After all, at roughly the same time on a competing network, NBC's Martin Savidge was telling "Nightly News" viewers the real reason for England's heavy rains:
This May and June were the wettest on record, experts say because of the jetstream that has moved too far south, delivering storm after storm.
Savidge should feel comfortable in the knowledge that British meteorologists agree with his assessment.
For instance, this from Britain's Daily Mail Sunday in an article marvelously entitled "Global Warming? No, Just an Old-style British Summer" (emphasis added throughout):
To many, the black skies and fierce rains must have seemed an ominous portent of things to come: symptomatic of the environmental ravages of global warming.
But, however extreme the weather we have experienced over the past few days, its significance in meteorological terms is likely to be more prosaic.
This year's apparently extraordinary weather is no more sinister than a typical British summer of old and a reminder of why Mediterranean holidays first became so attractive to us more than 40 years ago.
Ah. Sanity. Isn't it refreshing?
While central Europe feels the heat from the East, we have always been influenced by weather systems generated over the Atlantic, picking up energy from this huge pool of water.
We also feel the power of the strong ribbon of winds known as the Gulf Stream - a highly energetic jet, fluctuating several miles above our heads and hugely important in determining our weather.
As the summer evolves, the jetstream and rainbands above us are normally gradually pushed to the north-west of Scotland by a third weather system, a milder pocket of high pressure blowing up from the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores. Ultimately, this more friendly system plants itself across the rest of the country.
But this year that modifying weather pattern has yet to arrive. So the cold of the West has collided with the intense heat of the East. The result is flash floods and torrential downpours.
Sadly, CBS News didn't feel the need to share such facts with its viewers, and, instead, blamed man for the floods in England.
Of course, a true believer in anthropogenic global warming might speciously suggest that this bogeyman can alter the jet stream. The folks at NASA beg to differ:
NASA-funded Earth Science researchers have discovered that during periods of increased solar activity much of the United States becomes cloudier, possibly because the jet stream in the troposphere moves northward causing changes to regional climate patterns.
What a minute? Solar activity can impact climate patterns? That's not what Al Gore says. But I digress:
Previous studies have shown that during the solar maximum, the jet stream in the Northern Hemisphere moves northward. The jet stream guides storms and plays an important role in cloudiness, precipitation and storm formation in the United States.
Dr. Petra Udelhofen, a NASA-funded researcher at the Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, is the lead author of a paper that discusses this topic, appearing in the July 1 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.
"Based on these results and because the location of the jet stream influences cloudiness," said Udelhofen, "we suggest that the jet stream plays an important role in linking solar variability and cloud cover."
I guess it would have been too much to ask the CBS Evening News to at least offer this position as a possible reason for the floods in England as opposed to just man's supposed warming of the planet.
Or, would that be just too much like journalism?