Weather and climate change aren’t the same

This is a quick one. Plenty of people have been saying that this winter’s very cold temperatures are proof that global warming is not happening. Of course, if one engages in five minutes of study of global warming, one learns that global warming doesn’t predict local weather events, like hurricanes or heat waves or cold snaps. It predicts rising temperatures, on average, over time, which might lead to greater weather volatility, and less polar ice. Global warming models have about as much to do with weather prediction as your 401k has to do with intra-day stock trades and short-term commodities speculation. Very little.

But here’s an interesting article about arctic oscillation, the source of our current cold weather in the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately, this cold weather in our temperate latitudes comes with higher temperatures in the Arctic. Doh! The effects on sea-levels, however, are unclear, because the attendant wind currents might prevent some of the arctic ice from drifting south to melt.

Let us be more informed, and not base what we think about global warming on the weather we experience day-to-day.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Weather and climate change aren’t the same

  1. On a non-weather or climate related point: I’m reading “Going Nucular” by Geoffrey Nunberg now. You’d like it. Not going very deep into linguistics, but it reads fast and is pretty entertaining.

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