Damn This Winter

Damn This WinterLast fall, I promised myself I'd bike through this winter. Sure, there'd be the odd deep freeze and snowfall in the way, but Toronto winters are typically pretty good for winter biking.

Not this winter. This winter has sucked. It's wave after relentless wave of polar vortex windchill warnings and snowfalls. As I type this, snowflakes the size of marbles are falling to the ground. It's another wrench in the winter biking plans.

Yes, I'm aware this is Canada, and Canadian winters can be both cold and snowy, but in my 40 winters in this city I can't recall a winter as shitty as this one. I can't remember a winter that toggled so consistently between deep freezes, ice storms and snowstorms.

Can you?


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markosaar

This winter doesn't seem ridiculous to me yet. Seems like the snow has regularly gone through March.

But I hear you on the biking plans. I gave up and bought metropasses for January and February. Made it through half of December.

February 5, 2014 @ 10:25 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@markosaar

It's possible I'm more weather-aware this year because I plan on biking every lunch hour... it just doesn't want to calm down for a week or two.

The only uninterrupted week of safe biking this winter has been Jan 13-17. Every other week has had a day or more of slushy snowy roads or temperatures so low they seize up my brake line.

Oh... and that ice storm before Christmas... lest we forget.

February 5, 2014 @ 10:29 AM

Argie

Between the frequent snow falls and freezing temps, this has been the worst winter EVER!

February 5, 2014 @ 10:40 AM

mrmojorisinca

I agree..the worst winter in recent memory!!! I'm finished with it..sadly it isn't finished with us..

February 5, 2014 @ 10:45 AM

Speysidephil

Agree can't remember a winter so relentless with snow and cold.
That's the big difference from past winters, it just doesn't want to give up, it's costing me a fortune this year to have the driveway clear and it's only February 5th.

February 5, 2014 @ 10:52 AM

Al Reda

Damn this winter! Damn this winter to hell!

February 5, 2014 @ 11:01 AM

Cheryl

I agree. It's a bad one. My personal trainer keeps saying it's Canada and it's winter and it's only weather. Well, true, but it's so cold. I did go skating yesterday, but there were lots of times it's just too cold to skate.

February 5, 2014 @ 11:09 AM

Broni

Yeah, it's the consistent minus-zero temperatures that have gotten tiresome.
The snow I love....but when it freezes before I have a chance to shovel it properly, thus making me worry that I'll get sued by someone when they slip on my walkway......no thanks!!

February 5, 2014 @ 11:23 AM

Corey

Yup. This winter definitely seems relentless. I've been wondering if it's just because we've been getting off so easily the past few years that now we've forgotten what real winter is. I took this pic last year on January 12, sitting on a patio in Kensington Market. It was 13 degrees. Look at all the bikes, Mike.

February 5, 2014 @ 11:25 AM

Digger

This winter has been especially tricky with a freeze-thaw-freeze cycle that has turned much snow into hidden ice.

February 5, 2014 @ 11:25 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Corey

Just listen to the opening of episode 23 of my podcast... 14 degrees in late January 2013!

http://www.torontomike.com/2013/01/toronto_miked_podcast_episode_23.html

February 5, 2014 @ 11:27 AM

Corey

Huh? The link got stripped out for some reason. Try this the lazy way. If it doesn't work, you'll just have to take my word for it.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/t1/543420_515569765140519_2075151329_n.jpg

February 5, 2014 @ 11:29 AM

4x4 Time

The only GOOD thing so far, is I have skated on an outdoor rink for the first time in about 20 years!...Other than that this winter sucks...

February 5, 2014 @ 12:14 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@4x4 Time

I skate outdoors with the kids every Thursday night, but I remember one Thursday that was just far too cold for even that. We'll be back out there tomorrow, though.

February 5, 2014 @ 12:16 PM

Argie

Is it possible Al Gore and David Kawasaki were wrong?

February 5, 2014 @ 12:43 PM

Nigel Trousershrapnel

@Argie,
Don't confuse weather with climate.
Rookie mistake.

February 5, 2014 @ 12:49 PM

Andrew

I can't comment on the validity of Al Gore or David Suzuki, but I think I can tell the difference between climate change and weather.

We, as humans, are in a warming period, whether or not that is human made, human assisted or natural phenomena - but I'm no rocket surgeon, so I'm just going to go with bitching about the cold in the winter and bitching about the heat in the summer because as a Canadian THAT'S MY RIGHT!! :)

However, if I hear anyone say "God, it's hot out today." I'm going to punch them right in the mouth!!

Cheers,
Andrew

February 5, 2014 @ 12:50 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Argie

What I love about science is that it just seeks the truth.

February 5, 2014 @ 1:02 PM

VegasGeoff

I know. It's awful! We are only going to get up to 12 degrees today. I'm sick of wearing long sleeves!

February 5, 2014 @ 1:24 PM

Argie

@Mike
I'm all for the truth. I don't just don't think Al or Dave know anything about the truth. Remember they're always saying "the debate is over, blah blah blah.." Nothing is settled.

February 5, 2014 @ 1:41 PM

Jason C

I grew up in Huntsville and we had some bad winters but I was young and thought nothing of it. But living my "adult life" in Toronto, I can't recall a winter as bad as this one.

February 5, 2014 @ 1:53 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Argie

Al's not a scientist, he merely collected data and analyses from scientists and presented them in a format the average joe could appreciate and understand.

And one scientist, like David Suzuki, does not a consensus make.

The fact is, 95% of scientists believe in climate change and global warming. That does in fact end the debate. As I've written many times, there is less certainty that smoking causes cancer.

February 5, 2014 @ 1:54 PM

Corey

@Mike -

All Al Gore accomplished was to strain the credibility of the findings, and is at least partially responsible for the current decline in people who take global warming seriously.

I don't think you ever acknowledged or responded to the fact that the "consensus" may not be on as solid ground as you seem to believe.

http://www.torontomike.com/2014/01/tuesday_open_mike_9.html#comment-251068

February 5, 2014 @ 2:18 PM

Sammi

Mike.

Firstly, you must be forgetting the winters as a kid. We are about the same age and this winter is very reminiscent of ones when I was a kid.

Second, I lean towards Argie on Global Warming. I do recycle and am very conscious about environmental issues, but there are just as many scientists and experts on the other side of the argument. A lot of Al Gore's theories have been disproven including that the Polar Ice Caps are increasing in size. Didn't he say they would all be melted by now??? I guess you don't want to listen to them.

February 5, 2014 @ 2:21 PM


markosaar

@Sammi, how is "so many scientists and experts on the other side of the argument" a rational reason for not believing in (human-caused) global warming? Assuming 95% of scientists and experts believe it to be the case, you're talking about a 19:1 ratio of supporters to sceptics.

Also I think you'll find when you start looking at the deniers' credentials, many have no right to call themselves experts. Of course there'll be those on the other side too, but the ratio is so lopsided they're a drop in the bucket.

February 5, 2014 @ 2:27 PM

markosaar

@Sammi, I apologise, I missed the "as" in your statement somehow. But even that statement is false. It's nowhere near 50-50.

February 5, 2014 @ 2:29 PM

Sammi

Where is this 95% number coming from? I do not see that anywhere.

In 1975 scientists were warning about an Ice Age coming. No one should dismiss the cyclical nature of climate.

February 5, 2014 @ 2:36 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Sammi

You're right, it's not 95%. It's 97%. http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

"Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities."

February 5, 2014 @ 2:39 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I wish we would stop talking about this... there is absolutely consensus in the scientific community. What are we going to debate next? Creationism vs. Evolution?

In an attempt to force the science deniers to another site where they can argue against science, here's what NASA has on the page I link to above.

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.


AMERICAN SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES
Statement on climate change from 18 scientific associations
"Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver." (2009)

American Association for the Advancement of Science
"The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society." (2006)

American Chemical Society
"Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem." (2004)

American Geophysical Union
"Human‐induced climate change requires urgent action. Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years. Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes." (Adopted 2003, revised and reaffirmed 2007, 2012, 2013)

American Medical Association
"Our AMA ... supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic contributions are significant." (2013)

American Meteorological Society
"It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide." (2012)

American Physical Society
"The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now." (2007)

The Geological Society of America
"The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse‐gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s." (2006; revised 2010)


SCIENCE ACADEMIES
International academies: Joint statement
"Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001)." (2005, 11 international science academies)

U.S. National Academy of Sciences
"The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify taking steps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere." (2005)


U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

U.S. Global Change Research Program
"The global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Human 'fingerprints' also have been identified in many other aspects of the climate system, including changes in ocean heat content, precipitation, atmospheric moisture, and Arctic sea ice." (2009, 13 U.S. government departments and agencies)


INTERGOVERNMENTAL BODIES

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.”

“Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely* due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

February 5, 2014 @ 2:43 PM

Argie

"Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities"
Very likely huh?

February 5, 2014 @ 2:48 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Argie

Humour me why explaining to me why you don't want to believe something that 97% of scientists believe?

Is this a religious thing?

February 5, 2014 @ 2:56 PM

Brian

As a backyard rink maker the last 5 years, I'm actually a fan of the cold now! So the cold this winter has been welcoming...the snow and ice not so much....in addition to the driveway, the ice rink requires shoveling and maintenance as well.....need cold winters without the snow!

February 5, 2014 @ 3:29 PM

Corey

I wish we could stop talking about this too, because I really don't care anymore. Sometimes I get fixated on details and end up arguing over semantics, which gets frustrating and boring. Markosaar, if you look at the link I posted, you will find that the American Meteorological Society published a peer reviewed paper recently which states 22% of their most expert members (not 22% of their 7000+ members, but 22% of their most expert members) dispute the idea that climate change is caused by human activity. There is indication that the scientific community in general is extremely hostile towards peers that don't toe the line, to the extent that it can be career damaging - that alone should raise some questions 22% is not a handful of incompetent nut-jobs. I have to assume that this isn't isolated to the AMA. The point is sort of moot, because no matter what, it seems clear that the vast majority of scientists believe it is man-made, but that doesn't seem good enough to some - it must be consensus!

February 5, 2014 @ 3:43 PM

Argie

@Mike
Yes, Mike its a religious thing. Jesus told me there is no global warming. I believe him.

February 5, 2014 @ 4:08 PM

McNulty

Mike,

Why argue with them? There won't be any proof to convince them. Ever.

God himself could come to Earth and say, "Yeah, is caused by humans" and they'd say maybe God got it wrong.

They'll use one report that was discredited to say everyone thought the ice age was coming. But facts don't matter.

You know it. I know it. They won't. They never will.

February 5, 2014 @ 4:10 PM

Corey

@Mike and McNulty -

Why does it bother you so much if people question what they're told? I've brought up rationale, plausible reasons why there might actually not be a consensus but that seems to make you almost angry. Why? If we all became unanimous and said, "Ok, we agree. Climate change is man-made." what will that change?

February 5, 2014 @ 4:51 PM

Speysidephil

What a load you know what.
Add me to the growing list of non-believers.
Gore has done more to discredit his findings than anyone else ever could.

February 5, 2014 @ 4:56 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Corey

It bothers me when laypeople think they know more about science than scientists.

February 5, 2014 @ 5:14 PM

Corey

@Mike -
I've certainly never claimed I know more than scientists.

February 5, 2014 @ 5:24 PM

Sammi

Polar Ice Caps growing. Ozone layer is closing. Over the last few years, temperatures have gone down. Why do these scientists push this stuff aside?

There were many discrepancies found in Al Gore's film.

All I am saying is, I believe that the evidence is inconclusive. And yes, I do my part for helping the environment...probably more than most people.

February 5, 2014 @ 5:30 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Sammi

I suspect nothing I point you to will convince you if you've decided to disagree with 97% of scientists.

It's like that debate yesterday between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. What was the point? No evidence in the world would convince Ken Ham he's wrong about evolution.

February 5, 2014 @ 5:37 PM

Mike from Lowville

This is for the people that STILL think the world is flat. Oh, did I write "think the world is flat"? I should have wrote "think there's no global warming"! Same bunch, different pig heads!

February 5, 2014 @ 6:07 PM

Corey

@Mike

Nothing I point you to will convince you that the 97% number is probably a fallacy. You cling to it like it's the only stat there is that makes man-made climate change true.

I've used this analogy before, but it still holds to me. You're adherence to the doctrine of "science" is almost as weird as a hardcore religious fundamentalist. You understand that scientists aren't altruistic idealists who operate on a different plane, right? They're schlubs like us that have to work to collect a paycheque and pay the mortgage...

February 5, 2014 @ 6:25 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Corey

My source is NASA, what's yours?

February 5, 2014 @ 6:43 PM

Corey

@ Mike.

I already cited my source, and extrapolated from there.

You either believe all scientists are 97% united, which would be absolutely astonishing for any group of people or discipline ever in the history of mankind, or you believe that like any other human beings on the planet, there is selfishness, ass-covering, people motivated by career advancement, people afraid to be ridiculed by their peers, and on and on. I know what I believe, and it isn't in demi-gods walking on clouds that aren't subject to the usual human foibles.

February 5, 2014 @ 6:55 PM

Charron

On Twitter, when Katie Simpson replied to that scumbag on Twitter, you told her not to feed the trolls.

Please follow your own advice. Stop replying to these people who go against the grain and choose not to believe in science.

February 5, 2014 @ 7:09 PM

dale

I'd rather have this weather 100% with snow & cold than high temps. with high humidity in the summer.

CANADA EH LOVE IT

February 5, 2014 @ 7:43 PM

this guest

the earth
is a sentient being
responding
to human
insanity

the ants
think
they have seized
control
of the ant
farm

February 5, 2014 @ 7:54 PM

James Edgar

Mike I'm with you on climate change. there's no debate.

Corey is correct in saying " there is selfishness, ass-covering, people motivated by career advancement, people afraid to be ridiculed by their peers, and on and on." scientists are human too after all.

Which in no way means that the 97% (whatever %) are wrong. the beauty of the Scientific method is that it's self correcting. People that publish papers are checked by others to make sure they are right. And when they are wrong it's pointed out.which is why the study that claimed we were entering an Ice age was discredited.As have so many others. Vaccines and autism for instance.

But not climate change.

BTW the Nye/Ham debate was funny if not particularly useful.

February 6, 2014 @ 8:58 AM

Argie

To me there are three main questions regarding this debate.

1. Are temps getting warmer?
2. Is this increased warming mostly man made?
3. What is the solution?

If 97% of the world's climatologists say "yes" to the first two questions, I suppose we have to trust them. Of course, even if it is 97% they could all be wrong. Its happened before.

The third question is really where the debate starts. Many experts claim that even if you eliminated all of the cars in the world (could never happen, of course), there still wouldn't be any noticeable change in stopping global warming or climate change.

Therefore, this is all really a stupid debate. To me people should be more concerned about starving people and global terror. In terms of environmental concerns, punish companies and people who pollute the our waterways and air.

February 6, 2014 @ 9:22 AM

Corey

Ok, this is my last word on the subject. Promise. Thank you James Edgar for at least providing a rational and measured response - that's refreshing. For anyone that still doesn't get it, and I'm not anti-science, I'm not a "denier". I only have a problem with weilding "97% of scientists agree, so you are wrong." as a club to stifle any discussion on the subject. It seems not only lazy, it makes me envision this sort of unblinking devotion that frankly creeps me out. Look at the reaction from some of the other commenters, including Mike. He'd like anyone who has questions to leave his site. Others are throwing out terms like "troll", "pig heads", the condescending "them", even though I never once questioned the science behind it. It's like you're automatically labelled a heretic if you dare to question, scientists are infallible, and peer reviews are gospel (they're not - there is bias, inconsistencies, deliberate attempts to sabotage or discredit).

The point I'm trying to make is when something is as big as this that goes beyond science into geopolitics and big industry, I can't believe that everyone involved is being motivated solely to produce good science, so the 97% consensus isn't a valid argument to end all debate.

February 6, 2014 @ 9:52 AM

markosaar

@Argie,

You're acting like it's futile, but just because the solution hasn't been discovered yet doesn't mean resources shouldn't go toward it. (I'm referring to research/study primarily though.)

Besides, rising sea-levels will directly lead to starving people and global terror.

February 6, 2014 @ 10:05 AM

Argie

@Charron
I think Katie Simpson and Ford would make a cute couple. Don't you?

February 6, 2014 @ 10:19 AM

this guest

D.Suzuki
said,
over 15 years ago,
we have 15 years,
assuming we begin
radical change now,
to turn this
around.

February 6, 2014 @ 11:44 AM

Adam

Rode my bike through the worst of it. This winter was hell and it looks like spring is on vacation as well. Normally Im pretty cool with our weather patterns this year I am just pissed off. I found your blog random searching "toronto weather sucks 2014"..

As for climate change, science is imperfect but thats what makes science work, if there is consensus in tune of 90% then you should pay attention. Also, never forget its science thats fundamentally built your computer, car, internet, medicine (the real stuff), harnessed electricity, etc.

April 25, 2014 @ 6:59 AM

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