While many Americans are regarding the record-breaking East Coast blizzard as yet another reason to be skeptical of global-warming propaganda, we should not neglect events on the other side of the world. Most of eastern Asia is in the grip of a record-breaking cold snap of its own, a meteorological event that has claimed more than 80 lives in Taiwan alone — mostly from hypothermia — and seen snow fall for the first time in decades on tropical islands such as Okinawa.
The great Asian freeze is crippling Pacific Rim nations, many of them ill-equipped to deal with cold winter weather. Normally balmy Hong Kong, for example, is experiencing its coldest weather in nearly 60 years, and has had to close down its schools since few buildings in Hong Kong have central heating. Heavy snow and sleet have caused more than 100,000 flights to be cancelled or delayed in South Korea and China, while across Japan, cities are being blanketed with snow, including areas where snow seldom if ever falls. The southerly island of Amami Oshima (Japan’s seventh largest island and part of the Ryukyu chain), with a humid subtropical climate, has had snowfall for the first time in more than a century. In mainland China, the cold wave has coincided with the onset of Chinese New Year travels, but with road closures and flight, ferry, and train cancellations in the many thousands, holiday travel has been severely disrupted.
The Asian freeze, in conjunction with the paralyzing East Coast blizzard and the heavier-than-usual snow in the western United States, would suggest that Old Man Winter has the northern hemisphere locked down, as is normally the case in January.
Yet the media, as well as the so-called climate scientists that fascinate them, have had little to say about this convergence of events. The climate news we are supposed to focus on was the unusual warmth last December — warmth directly traceable to a stronger than normal El Niño. Yet even El Niño has been overwhelmed by this winter’s cold, which brings up the question, yet again: If not even El Niño can prevent record-setting snow and cold on both sides of the Pacific, whatever became of the long-promised runaway global warming?