Any environmentalist occasionally tempted (and I admit I've been one of them in the past) to use one off weather events to highlight the risks of climate change would be advised to pick up a copy of today's Times.
There, under the headline "Global warming? Scotland sees its best snow in a decade" (it's the question mark that I really love), is an article from Scotland Correspondent David Lister detailing how Scotland's five ski resorts are enjoying "once-in-a-generation" spring skiing conditions.
The implication in the headline is that the high levels of snow enjoyed this winter provide some sort of evidence that global warming is not happening.
Now, this is of course utterly nonsensical - although only in the same way as taking a single flood as evidence that climate change is happening is nonsensical.
The fact is that any commentator or business that tries to link individual floods or hurricanes to climate change invites both critics of climate change science and sensation seeking headline writers to do exactly the same thing with those one off weather events that appear to run contrary to global warming.
The only way to assess the risks and realities of climate change is with long term data sets that show a clear and present warming trend – anything else is junk science.
In fairness to The Times it hints at this reality itself in the story, albeit circuitously, noting that while the Cairngorm resort is now expecting 60,000 skier days for the season this is a massive fall on the 150,000 to 200,000 skier days it consistently enjoyed when it was in its prime 30 years ago. Moreover, the resort has only just managed to break even over the last six years and will still only expect to make a modest profit this year.
Scotland's skiing industry may well be enjoying a good year, but those are the long term data sets it should really be worried about.
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