Saturday, January 16, 2010

Climate != Weather

It’s Cold and My Car is Buried in Snow. How Can Global Warming be Happening?

Easily, because climate is not the weather.

A few snow storms, cold snaps or even heat waves do not prove anything about climate change, because there is a significant difference between weather and climate. Weather is what we experience on any given day or even over a couple weeks. Climate describes a region's prevailing conditions—including such things as temperature, rainfall, wind, humidity and atmospheric pressure—over long periods of time. Climate is a good indicator of what to expect. For example, in the Midwest, one would expect cold winters. Whereas, in a Mediterranean climate, one would expect a generally milder winter.

Climate change refers to shifts in prevailing conditions observed over decades. One such shift is a long-term rise in global average temperatures. The current cold spells are occurring against this backdrop.