6 January 2014

Stop conflating weather and climate

Posted by Callan Bentley

Please. Please. Please.

Please stop conflating weather and climate. It is cold today, yes, and that’s a big deal. But it doesn’t influence any scientific conclusion about climate change, one way or the other. Today’s cold temperatures are a weather event. It’s distinctive, but short-lived.

Climate is a long-term trend: many years of weather events. It’s not something you can point to on a single day, and say “ha!”

Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.

In data-speak, climate is signal; weather is noise.

A warm day doesn’t prove global warming. A cold day doesn’t disprove global warming.

Is a particularly severe “cold snap” consistent with our understanding of a warming planet? Yes. Here’s a video:


Video via here, via Lockwood on Twitter.

Now, for the next 24 hours, you have an opportunity to share this information with whoever makes that crack about missing global warming.

Thank you very much for your attention. Stay warm.