Blizzard Hits East Coast But Climate Change Not Blamed

A noteworthy departure from media orthodoxy

In the wake of a major East Coast blizzard in late January, it was inevitable that articles about blizzards would appear in newspapers big and small. One published on Jan. 24 by USA Today is typical of the breed, starting with its headline, "Researcher: Number of Blizzards doubled in past 20 years."

As might be expected, the USA Today article included quotes from various experts, including Jill Coleman, who specializes in climatology at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.

According to Coleman’s research, since 1995, the U.S. has experienced an average of 19 blizzards per year. That, she says, is more than twice the rate of the of 1960 to 1994. The article went on to define what distinguishes a blizzard from a regular snowstorm: heavy or blowing snow, sustained winds of 35 mph and visibility of one-quarter mile or less, with all three of these conditions lasting at least three hours.

Readers expecting to see the words “man-made climate change” or “global warming” were in for a surprise. They never appeared in this article.

Relatively low sunspot activity was mentioned as one factor that may have contributed to the increase in blizzards. So too, the possibility that reporting methods have improved, leading to more diagnoses if not more actual occurrences.

A second expert quoted in the article was Brad Anderson, a Nebraska meteorologist. He said the occurence of blizzards is linked to large-scale climate patterns in the ocean and the atmosphere. But he also said that blizzards appear to go in cycles, noting there were many in the 1970s and fewer in the 1980s.

For whatever reason, the article bypassed the usual climate-crisis orthodoxy. It did not label the East Coast blizzard a product of man-made climate change. These days, that’s worth noticing.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.