Exactly how DOES global warming cause -50 deg F in Minnesota?

February 19th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I received the following question from a loyal, frozen reader:

Uff da, Dr. Roy! Exactly how does global warming cause 50 deg. below zero in Minnesota? – Lars Olsen

Excellent question, Lars! Let me climb down out of my ivory tower and I will attempt to explain it to you….

You see, right now there is a little bit of open water in the Arctic Ocean that isn’t frozen over. This is a bad thing, because Beluga whales are known to surface in these waters where they produce emissions of a potent greenhouse gas, methane.
These methane emissions then drift over land. This, in turn, causes herds of caribou (which have a keen sense of smell), to start moving in a clockwise direction (in the northern hemisphere), transferring anticyclonic vorticity from the Earth to the atmosphere.
As every meteorologist knows, anticyclonic vorticity causes atmospheric high pressure to form, which drags cold air down from the upper atmosphere (kind of like in the Al Gore docudrama, Day After Tomorrow).

In response to this Beluga-Caribou Forcing, polar vortex butterflies start flapping their wings harder. These very rare creatures are seldom seen, but global warming-cooling theory suggests there are trillions of them.
polar-vortex-butterfly As they do so, the Polar Vortex® starts spinning erratically and moves southward.

Why southward, you ask? Silly Lars, every direction from the north pole is southward. Sheesh. Now quit interrupting…

What then makes the whole process really get energized, though, is the billions of polar bears that have died, and are no longer blocking the cold Arctic winds from plunging into Minnesota.

Concern over the billions of dead polar bears then causes humans to do stupid things to the environment (as part of their fundraising activities) which then causes the oceans to warm, if ever so slightly.

Scientists do not yet understand why humans behave in this way, but there is sufficient anecdotal and photographic evidence to conclude that they really do:

MJS polar p 0749, mjs, news, mjd.JPG

Finally, all of these effects, together, are believed to be part of a positive feedback loop:

Stupid people warming oceans leads to
=> less sea ice
=> whale farts
=> spinning caribou
=> polar vortex butterfly stimulation
=> reduced wind blocking (dead polar bears)
=> (more) stupid people warming the oceans…

…and the whole process starts over.

So there you have it. This is how global warming is believed to cause 50 below zero temperatures in Minnesota.

And that’s a fact, Jack.

95 Responses to “Exactly how DOES global warming cause -50 deg F in Minnesota?”

Toggle Trackbacks

  1. ßri says:

    Hilarious you should be a field reporter for the daily show.


  2. Jake says:

    Brilliant ……

  3. Jeff Gierloff says:

    I experienced -40 F once in my life (of about 70 years) in Eau Claire, Wisconsin….not that I stayed outside for long.

  4. You made me laugh out loud and fart and contribute to global warming and -50 F in Minnesota, Roy, you sly devil you! Great stuff…feel free to climb down out of that lofty ivory perch more often and let your hair down like Rapunzel. A scientist with a fantastic sense of humor––you don’t find too many of them, so cherish them when you do folks. The only thing more rare is an accountant with a fantastic sense of humor…or a sense of humor at all.

    Do you get Direct TV by any chance? Just asking.

  5. Bryan says:

    Amazing how that works. One thing I’m not sure about. Did you really get an email from someone named Lars Olsen?

  6. two says:

    Then what makes the cold air spill over the border to the Hayward area? We have Republican governor.

  7. Sparks says:

    Hilarious… made my day :))

  8. Rick Adkison says:

    Epic!! I had to cease my search for bigfoot and take my tin foil cap off to enjoy that. :o)

  9. Hey TWW, how’s McKibben getting to Birki? CO2-neutral magic carpet?

    I’m beginning to think 350.org has more to do with Al Gore’s weight than it does CO2, although I suppose a case could be made that the increase in both variables is positively correlated. Since they’re both positively correlated, meaning Al Gore’s weight and CO2, using AGW logic, if Al gore loses weight, CO2 levels will follow.

    Let’s pitch in and put Big Al on a diet. I hear the Paleo’s really popular right now. Hurry. No time to waist.


  10. Gary says:

    I dunno, that explanation can’t be right because there’s no computer model output included. I think you’re making stuff up.

  11. Hops says:

    Meanwhile, in Alaska, they were recently on the verge of moving the 2014 Iditarod north (well north) to Fairbanks due to lack of snow? But they are going to try to fix it up.

    I was in Anchorage a few years ago, and being from the lower 48, was totally perplexed to see dump trucks bringing snow into the city to dump on the clear streets.


    “A lack of snow and a January warm-up left trails icy or bare and many people wondering about increased danger to dogs and mushers. Race officials began considering a move in early February. Only once in the Iditarod’s 41 previous runnings, in 2003, has the race started in Fairbanks.”

  12. joletaxi says:

    Maintenant, je comprends mieux les “backeadiation”
    Par contre ici, aux saintes marie de la Mer,Camargue, c’est le printemps,et je prépare activement mon voilier pour la saison.
    Merci pour ce bon moment

    • chance vous, joletaxi, dans le sud de la France.

      • joletaxi says:

        I never miss an occasion to tell the people about Your great job,so You are now, a star in France.
        And many time, I have to confes, I have to fighy hard, because off Your very controversial statements.

        I hope too live long enough too know what was the very “solution” off tje climate controverse( and ebentually,to spent a great time on my new boat)

        best to You

  13. That was great!!! Wonderful. lol lol lol

  14. Charles says:

    I’m sold! Please add my name to the “97% consensus” list right now lol

  15. wazsah says:

    Thanks for a laugh – very neat – dawn is dawning in Canberra.

  16. Arfur Bryant says:

    Thank you Dr Roy.

    This is probably the most scientifically-based piece of non-modelled evidence in support of cAGW that I have yet read.

    My only question would be how do the ‘stupid people’ get down to a depth of 2000m with just a pair of goggles and budgie smugglers?

    Other than that, it all makes perfect sense.

  17. David L. Hagen says:

    Ya Lars, it mus be da global warming dot heated da temperature up to -50 dagres after da winter o’ da blue snow. Ya know, dos vot was when Paul Bunyan found his lit’l blue ox it var so kolt. It ver so kalt dot da pacifik ocen froa. Ol Paul had to hike ober to China to git som wite sno fer his axmen fer Christmas. Paul’s hiking an his capfires causd dat ice to melt wich is vi ve see da polar vatex an da tempurtur bak up to 50 dagres.
    Ya kin larn mor ’bout dot stuf frum dem kilmat scintists at Minnesotans fer global warming. Day kno how impurtnt it is to hav mor global warming. Kip warm.

  18. Murray Allan says:

    I heard the dead polar bear count was over a trillion now and big oil was actually importing in penguins wearing bear suits to help mitigate the shame. Thank god Kerry is letting them know where it matters, a mall in Jakarta.

  19. I believe that, according to substantially famous Dr. Temple Grandin, Animal Behaviorist, University of Colorado, cattle (at least, and which are also ruminants like caribou) prefer circling to the left [counterclockwise]), in spite of living north of the equator where toilets flush to the right. But then who understands all the workings of the inner ear. To resume the thread, however, that is only a bovine preference, and should they be thinking bovines, not only should they be allowed voting status, they should be credited with causing the western drought, which seems profligate with high pressure systems of late.

    • Behaviourist says:

      All ungulates move preferentially to the left. But don’t let that ruin a lovely story. BTW. Dr. Grandin is a wonderful lady.

  20. David in Ardmore says:

    Wow! Now all the “news” makes PERFECT sense! Thanks, Doc!

  21. David.A says:

    Dr. Spencer is a professional scientist.

    Some people still think that carries a responsibility to understand the science and communicate it seriously and accurately.

    Yet he now publishes very few papers, and what papers do appear seem to have been by fooling editors.

    He rarely attends or presents at conferences.

    He keeps one of the major temperature databases — one that has often been found to be in error, and still may be — yet expects to be trusted despite his obvious biases.

    His blog posts now seem mainly to be about (1) criticizing climate science without all the silly bother of having to actually publish papers or rebuttals in the scientific literature, or (2) providing fodder for extreme right-wing publications like The Daily Caller, (3) getting hosannas from a half-dozen regular blog readers (4) expressing frustration with becoming having excluded himself from the scientific community, all while pretending he doesn’t mind at all.

    This is not how science is done, and I am sure Dr. Spencer once knew that. He has removed himself from the scientific community, yet whines that no one respects his ideas. Why should they, when he so obviously doens’t respect theirs?

    • Massimo PORZIO says:

      David A.

      It’s along time I read your posts.

      Being science a question of search for the truth. The truth has the wrong (or good depends on the point of view) habit to come out despite the works done by silly people who want to mystify it.

      IMHO you have a big problem, why do you continue to read this blog, if you already know that is frequented only by “a half-dozen regular blog readers” (probably silly from your point of view)?

      I suggest you to spend better your life, and stop coming here and continue to wrote your “Phd” grade sentences about Dr. Spencer’s professional capability and moral integrity.

      By the way, I visited your “great” blog and seen a vignette about homophobia. Thanks to that vignette, I discovered that you don’t realize the difference between an animal instinct and true love. Since in your world a human male who look at the back of a human female to f**k her back is the normality.

      Have a nice day.


    • Jake says:

      David, you do realize how ironic much of your post is?

    • Oh, dear. Looks like David.A has found me out. Exposed at last. If only I was smart enough to delete his comment.

      …but since David has decided to go down this path….you obviously don’t know about what peer reviewed papers I publish. It’s only one or two a year now, but at my age I am more involved in managing programs…such as U.S. Science Team Leader on NASA’s AMSR-E satellite instrument. This is pretty typical for a scientist late in their career.

      Also, I’ve always emphasized quality and importance over quantity of published papers. Just because people like Trenberth apply political pressure to journal editors to maintain the IPCC status quo doesn’t mean papers he disagrees with are wrong. Quite the opposite, IMO. If I wanted to publish a lot more, all I would have to do is align myself with the alarmists. Most of what gets published is not very important. Life is too short to just rack up publication numbers.

      Our satellite temperature dataset remains the most-validated in the peer-reviewed literature, with numerous publications showing it matches radiosonde data and reanalysis datasets better than others (e.g. RSS). Having to fix a couple errors in the dataset over the last 20 years is just the normal progress of science…AT LEAST WE FIX OURS…when are climate modelers going to fix their errors, hmmm?

      This website had over 80,000 unique visitors last month, and almost 500,000 page views. That’s somewhat more than a couple dozen.

      I’m the recipient of both NASA and American Meteorological Society (AMS) awards, but I seldom attend AMS conferences anymore because they have been taken over by global warming activists. I did my time at these conferences…let the youngsters have their time now.

      My blog is not meant to be a venue for publishing scientific research. It is to help bridge the gap between (very technical) climate science and the public who pays for that science and would like a translation of what it all means. If I veer into sarcasm and parody from time to time, well, that’s just me.

      Oh, and for someone who probably fancies himself as an objective journalistic type…your liberalism is showing. I don’t see you complaining about websites like RealClimate and SkepticalScience providing fodder for left wing extremists.

      • Massimo PORZIO says:

        “Having to fix a couple errors in the dataset over the last 20 years is just the normal progress of science…AT LEAST WE FIX OURS”

        Well said, this is the only way scientific research became life improvement that I know.


      • R.C. says:

        Now that’s taking a bite out of the appell…

      • David A says:

        Isn’t it odd how so many of your corrections have had to be made upward….

        • Massimo PORZIO says:

          Only who do nothing in his life never has to correct himself.
          Dr. Spencer has a respectable CV and like Dr. Christy still have the humility and good habit to recognize his errors and correct them to pursue the truth.

          David, since I read that you consider yourself rich, what do you did for the US richness to feel yourself accredited to criticize the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer?
          I ask that because all the people I known who behaved like you were “born with the shirt”, which is a saying here in Italy which means that they were rich just because of their parents, so that now they completely miss the link between be rich and what to do to become rich and remain rich.


          • David A. says:

            Only who do nothing in his life never has to correct himself.

            But what’s worrisome is that almost all of Christy & Spencer’s corrections have had to be made upward, as John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli recently wrote in The Guardian (their 3rd figure):


          • David A. says:

            I ask that because all the people I known who behaved like you were “born with the shirt”, which is a saying here in Italy which means that they were rich just because of their parents…

            You are very badly misinformed.

          • Massimo PORZIO says:

            “But what’s worrisome is that almost all of Christy & Spencer’s corrections have had to be made upward, as John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli recently wrote in The Guardian (their 3rd figure)”

            So what, you wonder about that?
            Only who voluntarily distorts his measurements can predict the direction of the errors he adds, but if he does voluntarily, surely he never correct them.
            If the satellite’s microwave soundings had a systemic error I don’t wonder if that error had been compensated time by time always in the same direction, it’s just one possibility, nothing strange in it.

            IMHO, what is strange and suspect are those scientist who hide their analysis methods behind the copyright shield.

            By the way:
            who are John Abraham and Dana Nuccitelli?

          • D. Ap says:

            Massimo: You didn’t explain why so many (all?) of Spencer & Christy’s errors have been biased cool.

          • Massimo PORZIO says:

            Do you have any proof of your argumentation, or that’s just your supposition of their dishonesty?

            Instead I remember about the Aqua AMSU channel 5 issue, when Dr.Christy & Dr.Spencer had to correct the data which were warmer than NOAA polar satellites. They did that after 3 years from when they known about the issue for the first time, despite it was evident that Aqua was failing. They waited that time to avoid conjectures as yours, but it seems it didn’t work anyways.
            It seems to me that Abraham & Nuccitelli are very biased instead.
            Have a nice day


      • David A says:

        …and how your model comparisons are obviously manipulated:


        When will you be submitting your recent model comparision to a peer reviewed journal? Or are you too busy calling people Nazis (the kind of undignified thing one never sees on RealClimate) to do real science?

        • Massimo PORZIO says:

          “(the kind of undignified thing one never sees on RealClimate) ”
          Of course, they don’t need to do that, if your point of view disagree with them, your posts are just deleted as fast as the moderator can.

      • David A. says:

        Oh, and for someone who probably fancies himself as an objective journalistic type…your liberalism is showing.

        I am a science journalist, not your stenographer. That requires thinking for myself…. If all you want is someone to merely reprint your views with no questions asked, keep going to places like CNS News and Fox, and keep avoiding the real press (as you have whenever I’ve asked you for an interview).

    • Fonzie says:

      Come on, David, this isn’t Russia… Dr. Spencer is free to present his science/blog any way he wishes. It may well be that his creative dynamic is what makes him a cut above the rest…

  22. m says:

    This is embarrassing

    • Fonzie says:


    • Bill Sparling says:

      NO, David is only embarassing himself. Frankly, I am surprised he has the gall to call himself a science writer. My autistic son does better.

      • ORLY says:

        It’s his AvPD. In his fantasy world, Appell reimagines himself as a scientist, rather than just a “journalist” of average intelligence who doesn’t actually understand anything he regurgitates from the IPCC.

  23. Visiting Physicist says:

    If you want to understand why carbon dioxide has no effect regarding this global warming, then you need to understand that a gravitationally-induced temperature gradient in the troposphere is really what is causing that “33 degrees of warming” and not greenhouse gases.

    The evidence on Uranus proves there is a gravitationally induced temperature gradient.

    “The energy balance of Uranus is therefore E = 1.06 ± 0.08; ” [1]

    The above is a percentage of about 3.7 W/m^2 of incident solar radiation at Uranus TOA. [2]

    So energy imbalance on Uranus is a mere 0.04W/m^2

    That’s quite a small amount, so if you think the 5,000K core is still cooling then I would expect far more imbalance than that.

    But it isn’t still cooling and it won’t cool significantly in a billion years unless the Sun also cools significantly.

    So how is the thermal gradient maintained (very close to the -g/Cp value) when no significant direct solar radiation gets down below the absorbing methane layer near TOA and the mostly hydrogen and helium atmosphere extends for thousands of kilometres above the small solid core that is about 55% the mass of Earth?

    This is highly relevant to what happens on Earth, because physics is universal and we do in fact have a thermal profile that supports our surface temperatures also.

    [1] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0019103590901553

    [2] http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/uranusfact.html

    • Visiting Physicist says:

      Sorry – I should correct that reference to 1.06 ± 0.08. It is the ratio of emitted to absorbed flux for Uranus, but note that it could be less than 1.0, with more absorption. Neither does it necessarily have to reflect what is coming from the core, because it could be due to a small compression of the atmosphere.

      Note this statement …

      ‘The temperature of Uranus’ atmosphere is consistent with heating only by absorbed sunlight … .’ [3]

      [3] Fix, J.D., Astronomy: Journey to the Cosmic Frontier, WCB/McGraw-Hill, New York, p. 286, 1999.

    • David A. says:

      Doug: Can I get a review copy of your book? Email me at [email protected] and I’ll give you my address….

  24. Hey, David A., I thought the science was settled and there is now a consensus. Your post above belies that often parroted trope. Why should Roy waste his time submitting papers to a scientific community that’s made its mind up about the subject and now considers the theory of AGW as solid as the Law of Gravity?

    AGW advocates are perfect examples of Cake And Eat It Tooers. Sorry, David A., the Cake Nazi says “No Cake For You!”


  25. Hey Visiting Physicist, I think you’ve answered the question of “Where’s The Heat?” For now on, whenever anyone asks that question, the answer is it’s in your anus…or more bluntly and less euphemistically, up your ass.

  26. Aaron S says:

    David.A. Climate science makes me laugh bc the way i see it one political party went to war against big oil and started to heavily fund research into co2 and the influence on earth’s climate based on a strong correlation between isotope based temperature estimates and co2 in ice cores (as they should have). Problem is when you fund or subsidize something it grows and climate science created a huge niche for co2 research and the field grew… The grant money was easy and had major political and media backing (I got several grants myself). The problem was as the field grew they reached a threshold in size where the power shifted too far and a scientific consensus was claimed. The field stopped considering other hypotheses like co2 was a thermometer for temperature and not the primary driver (easy to do in models by just decoupling co2 from water vapor) and that significant parts of the climate system is driven by other forcing mechanisms. So currently we are in a state where any contrarian is chastised, but if you read they solar physics literature ( there are entire journals devoted to sun to earth climate relationship) or even geological literature then you know there is no consensus. I feel for dr. Roy bc when he stood up for what he thinks the data says he became an outsider to the scientific community, but history may see things different… And perhaps the flat earthers or geocentric experts are the ones who have taken the path of a sheep and followed the masses. Humans are certainly capable… I struggle to believe everyone in nazi Germany was evil or dumb… Sometimes the group think feels right even if it is very very wrong. And not to compare climate science to nazis but the point is some of the things that are said in media are very very wrong, and sometimes all you can do is step back and say … All there is to do is laugh.

  27. DAVID A is so biased. Everything he says is to further the scam of AGW (the con) global warming.

    Peer review in today’s climate is meaningless.

  28. Walter Allensworth says:

    Ahhhhhh…. the Gore Effect.

    Now if we were to cut Al Gore into very, very tiny pieces and distributed him evenly across the globe then there would be cold weather everywhere which would plunge the world into an ice age.


    Forget I said anything.


  29. dp says:

    Interesting analysis, Dr. Spencer. I’ve always taken it as settled science that wind storms in the Pacific North Wet are caused by the violent shaking of trees, but the beluga/ungulate connection is new to me. Looking forward to more such break-through science.

  30. Villabolo says:

    There once was a little child who woke up one morning and saw that it was snowing in his backyard. The little child then exclaimed: “Mommy, mommy! It’s snowing all over the world!”

    Here is 5% of the planet that is colder than average with much larger areas that are warmer than average. Notice also the temperature color chart and see the intensity of the warm averages versus the cold averages.

    For December of 2013: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/nmaps.cgi?year_last=2014&month_last=1&sat=4&sst=3&type=anoms&mean_gen=12&year1=2013&year2=2013&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=rob

    For January of 2014: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/nmaps.cgi?year_last=2014&month_last=1&sat=4&sst=3&type=anoms&mean_gen=01&year1=2014&year2=2014&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=rob

  31. Baart1980 says:

    but why we have temperatures above 0 in February in Poland ?

  32. Jim Olson says:

    Lars is my cousin, so is Thor.

  33. Villabolo says:

    Baart1980 says:
    February 23, 2014 at 9:18 AM
    “but why we have temperatures above 0 in February in Poland ?”

    When you compare several months worth of anomaly maps you see that the colder and warmer regions fluctuate. February maps are not out yet but when they are try comparing them to the December and January maps.

    They will show that one month a region may be warmer than average but the next month it will be their turn to be frigid. The big picture in both space (the entire globe) and time (the passing months and years) show a pattern where small areas of the world, at any given moment are cold BUT much warmer than average weather persists throughout LARGE areas of the world.

    Big picture – little picture.

  34. tom0mason says:

    Maybe the president will quote you on this, I’m sure Secretary of State John Kerry already has…

  35. Bart says:

    That was marvelous.

  36. C’mon Dr. Spencer! Your are misrepresenting your explanation for -50 degrees in Minnesota. You said that it’s “a fact Jack,” when in reality it’s just another theory that need to be disproved. Hmmm,maybe you get a Federal grant.

Leave a Reply