The Gore Effect

al gore
I originally clicked on this wikipedia page link as I thought it would be something terrifying. Instead it involves a bland politician and his magic weather voodoo…

The Gore Effect is a term used with various meanings relating to the former Vice President of the United States and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Al Gore. In one use, the term is a humorous concept suggesting a causal relationship between unseasonable cold weather phenomena and meetings associated with global warming, with particular emphasis on events attended by Gore. The phrase has also been used to describe Al Gore’s impact in raising global warming as a public issue.

The Toronto based national newspaper Globe and Mail defined the term in 2007, quoting a user’s submission to the online Urban Dictionary website as “the phenomenon that leads to unseasonably cold temperatures, driving rain, hail, or snow whenever Al Gore visits an area to discuss global warming.”

“In the weather community, we kind of joke about it”, Bob Marciano, a CNN weather forecaster, said in January 2010. “It’s just a bad timing. Every time there’s some big weather climate conference, there seems to be a cold outbreak. But, globally, we are still warming.” “Gore Effect” phenomena are “chalked up as coincidence”, according to Joe Joyce, a weather forecaster and environmental reporter.

The phrase has been used in relation to the weather conditions at global warming venues, the first usage referring to a speech of Al Gore on a global warming rally held in New York City. Other reported events have included the time that Gore visited Australia in November 2006 and an opinion column in the Ottawa Citizen stated “Mr. Gore arrived in the late antipodean spring, together with a remarkable cold front and a late-season boon for the ski resorts.” A Gore lecture at Harvard University in October 2008 is also frequently mentioned. Other weather issues have allegedly affected global warming speeches and events, such as when Gore testified about global warming before the Senate committee in January 2009, at which time the local schools were closed because of heavy snow. Other politicians have also allegedly been affected by the Gore effect. Nancy Pelosi had to cancel an appearance at a global warming rally in March 2009 due to a snowstorm.

Tobias Ziegler, blogging for Crikey magazine, wrote that the Gore Effect can be described by the availability heuristic and confirmation bias. Those who treat the Gore Effect as a serious phenomenon are engaging in the same type of flawed reasoning as when people think it usually rains just after they wash the car. They notice evidence that confirms it – say, when it is cold and a global warming event is scheduled – and store it away in their memory. When the same type of event happens on a mild, warm or hot day, it isn’t something that they pay attention to.

Curtis Brainard of the Columbia Journalism Review has called coverage of the Gore Effect “asinine”, noting the distinction between short-term weather and long-term climate.



Share This Post

About Author Profile: Worm

In between dealing with all things technological in the Dabbler engine room, Worm writes the weekly Wikiworm column every Saturday and our monthly Book Club newsletters.

2 thoughts on “The Gore Effect

    Jeff Guinn
    December 29, 2013 at 06:39

    Nearly two years ago, at the height of the antipodean summer, I was on an Antarctic cruise. One day we were on Zodiac boats putting about in the Lemaire channel because it was too rugged to land anywhere. It was unseasonably cold, with snow. Worse, pack ice was forming so rapidly we found we couldn’t get back to the ship.

    Which then gave meaning to that whole “If you can’t bring Mohammed to the mountain …” thing.

    We found out later that Gore Himself was on another cruise about 100 miles away, preaching about how climate change is big, and its bad, and it is coming to a delicate ecosystem near you real soon.

    Curtis Brainard of the Columbia Journalism Review has called coverage of the Gore Effect “asinine”, noting the distinction between short-term weather and long-term climate.

    So does that mean we shall never again hear of Severe Weather Events?

    December 29, 2013 at 20:19

    This ship of climate scientists stuck in the Antarctic ice is quite Goreish.

Comments are closed.