"Where -- where does it all...come from?"

“…there seems to be a lot more snow, and something has to be causing it, so, like frog mortality rates and the incidence of algae-based illnesses in Malaysian plankton, it must be ‘man-made climate change.’ “

Poor Al Gore. He seems to have a recurring problem with numbers, leading him into all manner of trouble. Most recently, he explained the surprising amount of snow visiting our “warmer” climate by noting that higher temperatures create higher levels of water vapor in the atmosphere, which unsurprisingly falls back to earth as precipitation of one form or another.

“What most people don’t realize,” Mr. Gore pontificates, “is that the level of water vapor in our atmosphere has risen by 4% since 1970.” And, in fact, the higher the temperature, the higher amount of vapor the atmosphere can absorb. At roughly 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celcius) the air is about 2% water vapor.

Facts. Charts. Boy, are we serious scientists here, or what?

And, as you can see, the higher the temperature, the more water vapor is absorbed.

So — with 4% more water vapor in the atmosphere since 1970, the current average amount of vapor today is — what? The 2% already there in 1970, with another 4% added since?

Well, it’s not 6%. If it were, we’d know what life was like on Venus. It would be 2% plus 0.08%, for a grand total of 2.08%.

And that is the reason, says Mr. Gore, that we have so much more snow.

I dunno. The last time it snowed in Manhattan, where I live, we got about a foot. Add 4% for increases in atmospheric water vapor, and you get 1.04 feet. That doesn’t seem to account for the soot-blackened pyramids of plowed precipitation that obstruct every streetcorner.

Of course, it could perhaps be argued that the marginal increase results in an exponential growth curve in rainfall or snowfall, or in fog, for that matter. But why wouldn’t a 4% decrease in water vapor reduce us to drought conditions? And finally, there is significant disagreement about the temperature records themselves. In spite of what you may be told, this is far from “settled science,” with many climatologists arguing that there has been no actual increase in global temperatures.

Any way you slice it, we have this distinct impression that Al is either misreading the numbers (4% more water vapor = 3 times as much snow because we just went from 2% to 6%) or he’s somehow suggest that a 4% increase translates into three times as much snow because — well, there seems to be a lot more snow, and something has to be causing it, so, like frog mortality rates and the incidence of algae-based illnesses in Malaysian plankton, it must be “man-made climate change.”

When you are the self-elected pope of global climate change, you have to be able to explain things. Once you realize that your worshippers will believe almost anything you say, however preposterous or unfounded, then you stop worrying about it. That seems to be Gore’s straegy, anyway, and he’s getting away with it. In fact, of all the people who have lined their pockets with fables about climate change, Gore seems to have made out the best.

Maybe he’s not so dumb after all.