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In The 1700s It Was Said Women Cause ‘Unnatural’ Weather. Now Mainstream Science Says Men Do Too.

It used to be thought that women were “indeed responsible for the weather” (extreme temperatures, storms, “unnatural” precipitation, etc.). Those women thought guilty of “weather-making” were imprisoned and burned at the stake. Mainstream science has advanced since then. Now it’s believed men (and children) also cause extreme weather and climate.

Believing CO2 is the climate control knob is like believing in magic

Per “conservative estimates” of natural variability in “net longwave radiation at the ocean surface” (Fung et al., 1984), on the rare occasion the atmosphere is free of clouds (“clear sky conditions”) variations in the temperature and specific humidity introduce variability in longwave flux at the ocean surface (LW⇅) of 30 to 40 W/m². When low clouds are present, there is an additional LW⇅ perturbation beyond that facilitated by temperature and specific humidity amounting to 70 W/m². The mid-latitudes can even experience LW⇅ perturbations spanning from -44 W/m² to +74 W/m² when under cloudy conditions. Errors in calculating LW⇅ perturbations can reach 50 W/m².

In stark contrast to the enormous effects clouds, specific humidity, and temperatures in perturbing the net longwave radiation at the ocean surface (and the errors in calculating these effects), CO2 may only introduce a total net longwave impact of 1 to 2 W/m² after about 400 years, or after its concentration doubles from 300 to 600 ppm (0.03 to 0.06%).

Image Source: Fung et al., 1984

This massive magnitude problem for those who believe CO2 drives radiation budget changes (and, hence, climate change) is often dismissed or ignored.

Atmospheric physicist and IPCC lead author Dr. Richard Lindzen hasn’t dismissed or ignored this magnitude problem, however. He once famously said believing CO2 controls Earth’s climate (because it perturbs the energy budget by a whopping 2% when its concentration is doubled from 300 to 600 ppm) is “pretty close to believing in magic“.

Image Source: Lindzen, 2017

From the 16th to 19th centuries, it was widely thought women could control weather and climate

The span of centuries encompassing the Little Ice Age (roughly the ~1500s to 1800s CE) was inundated with decadal-scale cold climates, enhanced storminess, droughts, and consequent crop failures. It was during this era that the prevailing “scientific theory” popularized by leading demonologists was that weather and storms that were naturally derived could be easily distinguished from weather and storms whipped up by women who made pacts with the Devil (Behringer, 1999).

Demonologists insisted women “can raise storms and tempests in the air either upon the sea or land…so as to [cause] trouble,” and this particular type of womanly weather-making was “very easy to be discerned from any other natural tempests that are not nature’s, in respect to the sudden and violent raising thereof”.

In the 1500s, European women who were suspected of “weather-making” (i.e., brewing up severe storms and sustained cold temperatures that led to crop failures) were hunted down, imprisoned, and sometimes burned alive.

The viewpoint women were responsible for extreme weather wasn’t covert or unconventional, but widely held.

“Since everybody thought that the continuous crop failure was caused by [women] of devilish hate, the whole country stood up for their eradication…” (Behringer, 1988).

Image Source: Behringer, 1999

In the 21st century, it’s widely thought that women and men control weather and climate

The modern-day emphasis on computer modeling and achieving “consensus” in the scientific community has enlightened scientists to expand the causal attribution for extreme weather and climate change.

Instead of just being caused by women, men (and children) are now thought to be responsible for causing weather (severe storms, drought, heat waves, cold waves) and climate changes too. Why? Like women, men use electricity, drive vehicles, and ride in jet planes. These CO2-emitting activities are thought to be the “control knob” governing Earth’s temperature.

It’s now even considered “consensus” science that women and men (teenagers too!) can heat the planet just by using smartphones.

Image Source: Salon

According to Dr. Michael E. Mann, women and men are today worsening storms and droughts and floods – both too much and too little precipitation – at the same time and with the same mechanism: CO2 emissions. And, like demonologists of the past, scientists like Mann suggest it’s so easy to discern this human/CO2 emissions impact on precipitation from naturally-occurring precipitation. After all, it’s “not rocket science.”

Image Source: Washington Post

It’s now the consensus that scientists can even determine precisely how much Arctic sea ice women and men are melting by operating our air conditioners and driving our cars to and from work each day.

Just two months of women and men using basic electricity in our homes and/or about two months of driving (2,500 miles) a car directly causes 30 square feet of Arctic sea ice lost.

Image Source: Climate Central

Today we can acknowledge it was grossly sexist to maintain the position it’s just women who cause severe weather and climate changes. We now know men do it too. So do children.

It’s so gratifying to realize we live in the Age of Enlightenment with regard to our views on weather and climate change attribution.