7 April 2007

The Difference Between Weather and Climate

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I invariably get emails from people when we have a cold snap. They usually contain something along the line of “how can you say the globe is warming when we have weather like this?”

The explanation is that people often confuse weather and climate. Weather is what you get. Climate is what you expect.

It is a very cold night across most of the Eastern parts of North America as I write this. It is not that cold everywhere however! A real dry and warm spell is underway out west.

The jet stream is kind of like a rubber band. You push it down with cold air in one place and it bulges North with warm air somewhere else. Usually when we are cold in Alabama, It is warm from the Rockies to the Pacific and in Western Europe. That is the case right now with the UK having a very mild and sunny Easter!

There is little doubt anymore that the planet is warming, and most likely due to the carbon dioxide we are dumping into the atmosphere.

The amount of science done on climate change has increased exponentially in the last few years, and what we can say with a fair amount of certainty has also increased dramatically.

The world we live in IS getting warmer. As it does though, we will still have cold outbreaks. Just not as many of them!
Stay warm (for now!)