Wednesday, January 13, 2010

There's a difference between weather and climate

I'm going to write this post as apolitically as possible. I don't care about Al Gore, cap and trade, etc.

Some people believe that because there is cold weather that the climate is not getting warmer, and they make statements to that end. Most of the time they might be well-meaning statements that reinforce their own world view, but unfortunately they are not accurate.

There is a difference between weather and climate, and it's in the amount of time it's measured. Weather is measured in a shorter period of time as opposed to climate which is over longer periods. A good description, taken from*:

"In short, climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area.

Some scientists define climate as the average weather for a particular region and time period, usually taken over 30-years. It's really an average pattern of weather for a particular region.

When scientists talk about climate, they're looking at averages of precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind velocity, phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other measures of the weather that occur over a long period in a particular place. "

All empirical data points to the fact that the climate is warming. This is a measured fact from the time we've been able to record this data and have it to reference. Whether or not this warming is caused by man is another subject. That is what the debate is about, not whether the climate is changing. Some say that we are coming out of an ice age. Others say it's caused by the amount of different types of gases released into the atmosphere caused by the industrial age and beyond. In this post I'm not going to argue one way or the other, but the climate is changing, as it has since the earth formed an atmosphere. To say that it's not changing is ignorance, pure and simple.

This means that even though the winter may be one of the coldest winters lately, that doesn't prove that over time the climate isn't changing. It's been changing since the beginning and will continue to change.

*Site referenced:


Boringo said...

But, dude, this is the coldest weather we've had in over 10 years.

Boringo said...

Oh and also, how can there be global warming if EVERY FALL in the Northern Hemisphere it gets cooler? I mean, I can understand that there is global warming March through August, but you can't deny that at least in the Northern Hemisphere there is Global cooling September through February.

What part of seasonal changes does Al Gore not understand!

I'm brilliant!

Michael Bell said...

Nice dude

Michael Bell said...

also note, I didn't use the term "global warming" once... you did.

MoodyMoments said...

You may not have used the term 'global warming' but what else do we connect Al Gore with...and you weren't talking about the invention of the it goes to global

Michael Bell said...

too true