Only dreaming of a “White Christmas”?

December 22, 2008

More and more people are only dreaming of a “White Christmas” because of global warming.

That’s the conclusion by my colleague Erik Kirschbaum in a nice story from Berlin today about how climate change is making it less likely that people in the northern hemisphere will see snow at Christmas.

The picture above proves that this year there has been plenty of snow in some places — this snowman was pictured in Central Park, New York, on Dec. 19. According to one report, Canada may get its first country-wide white Christmas in four decades.

But the white Christmas is set to get ever rarer because of climate change.

And the UK Met Office says that a White Christmas isn’t necessarily even white any longer:

“For many a white Christmas means a complete covering of snow, ideally falling on the 25th. However, the definition of an official white Christmas used most widely, notably by those placing and taking bets, is for a single snow flake (perhaps amongst a shower of rain and snow mixed) to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December.”)

So could climate change doom the White Christmas, especially if it’s just down to a single soggy snow flake?

What do you think?


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How much colder dose it have to get befor they give up on this global warming religion? As most of America digs out from snow, I see a few enviro-waks busily typing away in a frantic effort to keep the hysteria alive. Please don’t let my cash cow go away……..

Posted by The sky is falling | Report as abusive

Definitly climate change has affected the patterns of season change worldwide.some people get early snow, and some dont get any at all…and this sort of thing will repeat itself because now mother Earth is not acting the way it should due to irresponsible involvement of human kind…but it´s time to take action and start contributing with small things to make this pattern of decay change.!

Posted by Ren | Report as abusive

Wasn’t it only 40 years ago when scientists were leading us into another ice-age frenzy?

I’m guessing that the earth’s climate runs in cycles today just as it has since the beginning of time. Those polar ice caps were once water in the Grand Canyon.

Posted by Mike H. | Report as abusive

I think Doyle needs a vacation or is he on something? Lets move on, there are other problems that need solving. The speculation on climate changes is just that. Climate goes in cycles. The earth has been cold before, hot before, ice covered before and the earth is still here.

Posted by david nystuen | Report as abusive

People like Doyle amaze me. In their own simple way they are like those who swear the earth can’t be more than 6,000 years old because the Bible says so. (Actually Bishop Usher said so, but he got his numbers from the Old Testament.) Human induced climate change is just a matter of religion to him and all the other true believers. Most likely we are going into a new 25 to 30 year cycle where conditions much like those seen in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s will prevail. I’m sorry. There is as much solid evidence for long term human caused climate change as there is for the Garden of Eden and Noah’s Ark. A lot of people claim to know the locations — but proof never seems to pan out.

Posted by Doug R. | Report as abusive

Its hard to imagine that so many folks deny the science surrounding global warming. This is science, folks. Just because it doesn’t seem like humans cant cause global warming doesn’t make that the case. Sort of like saying “how could it be summer in Australia, its so cold here in Kansas…” Come on folks, go read the journals. Not the comic book websites. The scientific community is pretty well sure about this one at this point. Look at study after study. Of things seemingly independent; ice cores, vegetation, geology, atmospheric energy measurements,the list goes on and on. It all points to one thing. If you don’t believe it, then do some reading: obviously you haven’t done much yet. Do I need to point out that the Northwest passage opened up for the first time in recorded history last summer?
Sure climate is cyclical, so is the economy. Does that mean that greedy lenders and borrowers aren’t culpable for the current economic mess?

But never mind all that. It feels a bit nippy outside — everything must be just fine.

Posted by Dan F | Report as abusive

So how many of you claiming that climate change isn’t real are atmospheric chemistry scientists? None of you are. Weather and climate are two differnet things. Weather is day to day measurements. Climate is the measurement of weather patterns over long periods of time. All of you who delude yourselves with psuedo scientific BS and FOX “News” intellectual dishonesty threaten us all. The goal of science is to measure natural reality. It is not a religion. There is no dogma. The scientific method is mearly a yardstick for deducing truth from nature. Grow up gang and take responsibility for our worlds health.

Posted by ken willis | Report as abusive

the major proponents of AGW or ACC or whatever, are an ex-pres and a man who specialized in the atmos. of venus. it’s as much the fact that sceptics are branded ‘deniers’ (see your posts) and receive nothing but scorn and often risk they’re jobs (first cnn weatherman to even speculate on other possibilities publicly issued a refutation the next day, hmmm). Co2 as an agent for climate change was first put forward by a british scientist in the 30’s who beleived it was a good thing because at that time the world seemed to be cooling dramatically. look back over 120 yrs of newspaper archives and approx. every 30 years for 120 yrs the press has speculated on imminent dramatic climate change, and each time they do they change from cold to hot and back again. you sir are not an atmospheric chemist either, you are taking opinions from someone you beleive to be trustworthy and well informed and spouting them as facts and damning anyone who disagrees. unfortunately AGW is no longer purely in the realm of academics, it is a household issue and everyone has a right to an opinion on it. i wont even begin to go into the psychological effects of feeling like you’re making a difference, the constant and necessary subsidisation of most recycling programs or how sickening the self-righteous zealotry of true-beleivers is. good day.

Posted by chris | Report as abusive

Yes, there was a scare about an Ice Age a few decades ago but it wasn’t backed up by a huge amount of scientific research.

Try reading Time Magazine’s 1974 story:“Another Ice Age?” ( even has a question mark in the title): e/0,9171,944914,00.html

That’s a big difference with now — the U.N. Climate Panel draws on the work of 2,500 experts and its findings are vetted by 130 or so governments before drawing the conclusion that it’s “very likely” — at least 90 percent sure – that human activities have been the main cause of warming in the past 50 years.

Try the summary of their findings here:  /ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf

…Just because there is no Ice Age looming as suggested a few decades ago doesn’t mean the U.N. Climate Panel is also necessarily wrong to conclude that warming is happening.

Yes, the findings might be incorrect – but the panel puts the chances at less than 10 percent. The world’s governments have found the evidence convincing enough to agree to work out a new climate treaty by the end of 2009.

Posted by Alister Doyle | Report as abusive

ps. there is no scientific consensus, the nature of real science is that until the true theory has been experimentally verified (has AGW been experimentally verified or is it all based on models and snapshots that seem to support them?) other scientists are free to persue and express other solutions, and many of them are doing so despite the stigmatization and loss of funds that seems to go along with it. let me put it another way: all the energy on the earth comes from the sun and is trapped by photosynthesis. all life exists because of energy from the sun, at night it gets cold and during the day the sun warms us. the sun is a million mile wide nuclear furnace, source of all warmth in the solar system. CO2 is (even at it ‘dangerous’ current level less that 0.2% of the atmosphere. which do think plays a larger role in heating the planet? occams razor please. atmospheric greenhouse effect is very real and very necessary (without it life could not exist as it does) but compared to the sun its effects are minimal. all of nature is in equilibrium, the arrogance of man is to think he is ‘so powerful, so important’ when he knows so little. water (and cloud formation) have been experimentally verified to play a huge role in greenhouse effects, much greater than co2’s can be proven to be. its hard to terrify people into asking for taxes and lifestyle limitations when you tell them that water is threatening they’re existence.

Posted by chris | Report as abusive

Mr doyle: thanks for your reply. i’m afraid i cant be bothered looking for links for you but as you evidently know how to use google (if you’d been thorough in your research and not a little bit biased) you’d have already read these: google fire and ice a look back over 120 yrs of climate journalism. also google global warming on mars:the ice on mars (and one of the outer planets) has receded recently because the sun has gotten warmer. do you follow monthly sunspot activity? ive spent the whole summer saying its going to be cold based on the unusual lack of solar activity. seriously its the fact that sceptics are treated as heretics that gives the game away. yours sincerely chris milnes.

Posted by chris | Report as abusive

i spent the summer saying this winter would be cold based on solar drop off. typo. are you aware that a scientifically significant chance is 5%? if scientist are saying there’s a probability that they are wrong and its twice the threshold any scientist considers significant (1 in 20) what does that tell you? i’m afraid that for pseudo science you need only look as far as carbon credits (trees produce co2 at night for starters) and there you find the real reason behind it: profit while making people feel like theyve made a difference. the whole scheme depends on people being so disassociated from natural cycles (like most urban dwellers), suffering guilt and fear because in theyre ignorance they beleive they are endangering the lives of children yet unborn, being given a golden opportunity to redeem themselves in exchange for some small token sacrifice. thats fine if its what people want but it should not be mandatory for the rest of us.

Posted by chris | Report as abusive

isnt it funny how a ‘hottopic’ like AGW isnt eliciting more comments on so prestigious and busy a website as reuters? especially at a time in the year when everyone has time to go online and air their views? is that because any and almost all comments crying ‘bs’ are being removed? and the majority of comments anyones posting are crying ‘bs’? i posted three comments earlier, all civil, reasonably (!) spelt and punctuated. none of them have been permitted into the comments section when i check back a few hours later. shame on you.

Posted by censored | Report as abusive

Climate change is real. But to argue that climate change is causing less snow this year is absolutely absurd. I’m in Southern CA with more snow than I’ve seen in a while.

Posted by Kristopher Stone | Report as abusive

who cares. worst and coldest winter for many a year.
ice age or global meltdown. Its got to get warm to get enough humidity in the air to get a lot of snow that would cause an ice age. Up and down , up and down.

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

Climate change is constant in all celestial bodies. This planet is always changing. Nothing to do with human activity. Our presence here is only a speck compared with how old and powerful this planet and universe are. People need to start putting things in prespective and not let the “green” industry and religion rule their lives.

Posted by Marv | Report as abusive

I remember five to ten years ago here in Texas we would routinely get down to the low teens.

This year, the lowest temperature has been 27 degrees, and that was quickly followed the next day by 70 degree weather.

In some places its colder, but in many others its getting much warmer.

This year we also had the most 100 degree weather days in the summer. I can only remember a couple of days that were below 95.

Posted by Jacob | Report as abusive

The climate is changing because it always does. Why – no consensus but agreement by many scientists. But scientis models are exactly that – models and frequently are biased and value based because many of them are activists based on religious type of hypocritical values.

Using the UN as a credible source should be in the fiction books. The UN is NOT credible. Look at their track record.

Adaptation should be our emphasis.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive

The debate gets lost, again. Honestly who cares which one is right…doubt on, my friends. What we are asking for from the doubters, is something that is GOOD for you too.

We are not asking you to believe, that would be a waste of our time and energy, belief takes faith and faith is not instilled by argument, it comes from within the individual.

We are asking you to do something that makes sense and only serves to bring money into your own pocket.

Turn off your lights when you are not using them, be conscientious of the footprint that you leave on the planet, this will save you money and improve the property and save and preserve things you own.

Buy energy saving appliances. This is going to SAVE you money on electric bills and water bills. You keep resisting what costs you nothing and benefits you greatly.

Wear a sweater, turn your thermostat down a bit..enjoy the feeling of knowing what season you are in…so that in the seasons, you will know the earth again.

Doubt the science, but what we are asking is that you do something that HELPS you, puts money IN your pocket instead of taking it out and GIVING it to a large corporation. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain, why fight what is a benefit to you?

Are you so twisted, owned and bought by large corporations that you fight to give them your livelihood and take the money and food away from your future and your children?

Who are you people? Who is it that you think you are protecting, your corporate slave masters? I assure you that they have no thought for you and are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, as they ALWAYS have.

Posted by Kiki | Report as abusive

Journalists are always the first to blow a story out of proportion and the last to let a story die. In December, 650 scientists from around the world authored a paper saying that the theory of “MAN-MADE” global warming is not substantiated by the science. Only 5 scientists were needed by the U.N. to declare a global “Warming” emergency. Those 5 are paid by and funded by………..wait for it………ta da: THE U.N. A totally political and a-scientific organization. Who gains by global warming? The U.N. Who loses if global warming is a myth? The U.N. As long as the U.N. continues to rake in billions upon billions of dollars, dinars, euros, etc. there will be plenty of one-sided journalists who continue to push the fabrication that global warming is MAN-MADE.

Posted by shawnshine | Report as abusive

Here in Wisconsin we almost beat our december snowfall record. We had a record setting winter last year and are on track to do it agian this year. But don’t worry about record snowfalls it is a part of global warming…
Before you can ask if the current theory about global warming is correct you must first ask if it can be wrong. Global warming predicts both record high and low temps, the earth getting drier and more storms or less storms depending on the modle you use, it even predicts there being an ice age.
If they cannot agree on the outcome how can it be tested? A scientific theory must be testable, repeatable, and used to make predictions. Because of the size it cannot be repeated in the real world. the predictions that you would test are so veried that there is no way for it to be wrong. So it fails the simplest requirements of science but does fall under psudo-science.

Posted by justin | Report as abusive

Have a happy new year everyone i have to go out and from all the snow and ice we just got…

Can’t wait to see the warming part of “global warming” here all we see is the cooling part of “global warming.”

The Farmers Almanac says that this year will be colder and have more snow then last year, i wounder what one will be right will it be warmer or colder here? but ether way global warming must be right because everyone knows it is… lets all jump on the global warming bandwagon and maybe they can come over to help dig us out.

Posted by justin | Report as abusive