Wednesday's five-inch layer of snow paralyzed the nation's capital and served as a potent display of nature's fury. A blanket four-times as thick pushed a number of northern cities like New York and Newark into the record books with the heaviest January snowfall ever. The storm's aftermath provides a lesson that should linger long after the chilly nights have passed: Depending upon government to solve our problems inevitably ends in disappointment.
Thousands inside the Beltway learned this as their evening commute transformed into a multi-hour nightmare. The region was simply unable to cope with the weather. Maryland's State Highway Administration mobilized its 2,400 pieces of equipment to clear roads that were pretreated with salt brine and a new mixture that included sugar beet molasses. The Old Dominion had 2,200 trucks standing ready in Northern Virginia - up 600 from last winter. Plows also were set aside to clear subdivisions as soon as the snow hit, rather than waiting for it to accumulate. Washington's Department of Transportation was a bit slower to muster, but it got 200 plows on the road.
None of this mattered. Virginia state police responded to 91 crashes and 446 disabled vehicles in the area - half the total number of wrecks for the entire commonwealth. Disabled and abandoned vehicles snarled traffic, making streets impassable. No fewer than 17 tractor trailers broke down or jackknifed on I-95/495 near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Maryland, grinding vehicles to a halt and creating backups that stretched for miles.
No matter how many times nature is proved more powerful than man, false prophets of the global-warming movement continue to insist that mankind can control the weather through tax policy. The pseudo-scientific doomsayers at the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have stuck to their story that global warming is real, despite numerous flaws uncovered in the group's research. One of the most embarrassing of these revelations was the sourcing of the 2007 IPCC report claim that the Himalayan glaciers were melting. The idea that these imposing blocks of ice would completely disappear by the year 2035 fed a breathless media hysteria preaching impending doom. It turns out this conclusion was based not on a peer-reviewed study but on a press release by the WWF, a left-wing activist group. Nonetheless, the IPCC reaffirmed its commitment to the melting story last January as "robust, appropriate and entirely consistent with the underlying science."
The glaciers, however, stubbornly refuse to melt on cue. On Sunday, a detailed study of that region's glaciers was published online by the journal Nature Geoscience. Using high-resolution satellite imagery, the researchers demonstrated that although some glaciers were indeed melting, the majority of the others in the northwestern Himalaya were either advancing or stable. "Our study shows that there is no uniform response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change," they concluded. Neither over-salted roads nor carbon credits can overcome the natural cycles of the weather.
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