WaPo Climate Alarmism: The Smell of Snow is Changing!
With a gratuitous assist from Monell smell scientist Johan Lundström
Here’s the headline in yesterday’s Washington Post:
And here’s the subhead, including the obligatory “researchers say”:
Its scent is getting stronger as both the atmosphere and the land get warmer, researchers say
The story, by reporter Dawn Fallik who specializes among other things in “digital storytelling” consists of quotes from two scientists and a perfumer.
Here’s the cast of characters:
Parisa A. Ariya is an atmospheric scientist at McGill University. She has an extensive list of publications, many of which focus on atmospheric particulates and cold weather and none of which involve odor. Of relevance to the WaPo story is a single study where researchers blew exhaust from a gas-powered engine over some snow and found that some of the exhaust components were absorbed by the snow. (Shocker.)
Johan N. Lundström is a psychologist who studies the olfactory system and odor perception. He is an Associate Member at the Monell Chemical Senses Center and also an Associate Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. He has a long list of publications, none of which involve the smell of snow.
Christopher Brosius is a well-known, highly creative perfumer and founder of the Demeter collection—perfumes that smell like real things. He has attempted (with some difficulty) to recreate the smell of snow, once for an award-winning fragrance.
So what does reporter Fallik establish from these sources?
That city snow smells more than snow from isolated rural areas (based on Lundström’s anecdotal observations from his charming Swedish cabin near the Arctic Circle).
That lake ice can smell like the lake water it forms from (interesting but not directly germaine).
That merely describing, much less recreating, the smell of snow is difficult (Brosius).
That snow can absorb and desorb particulates and odor molecules found in the atmosphere (Aryia).
Any empirical evidence whatsoever that climate change is causing a change in the smell of snow.
To the extent this article makes any case at all, it is that air pollution can taint snow and that warmer temperatures increase the airborne activity of aroma molecules. That claim that the smell of snow is changing on a planetary basis is entirely speculative.
Has the WaPo given us another reason to wet our pants about climate change?
Have two scientists lent their reputations to bolster the WaPo’s climate alarmism?